According to Julie

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Why it got so quiet here

It’s been almost ten years since I started this blog. I have now been on a kind of blogging break for months. This is why:

1. I can’t blog about other people’s secrets. For the past few years, between client confidentiality and some serious family issues, more and more of my thoughts I just need to write to make sense of, have been unpublishable. One of the biggest things going on in my life since October 2012 has been my sister getting cancer – twice. She has been very open about this in her own digital presence – check out her instagram – and also went viral when she took part in a remake of the “Call on Me” music video with a group of cancer patients. So her cancer was never a secret. But it was never my story to analyze online either. This is only one example of several important topics I have needed to put into words lately, which I have chosen to talk about or write privately about, rather than blog about.

2. I got my dream job. People regularly pay me to write, to critique other peoples’ writing, to make websites less annoying, to follow people on Twitter and to talk about digital media. A lot of what I used to do on this blog is now stuff I get paid to do. Sometimes that means I can’t do it for free after work, either because it wouldn’t be fair to my clients and employer, or just because I want to unwind by doing something that isn’t my job. This is a good thing. I used this blog as a writing practice space, and it got me exactly where I want to be.

3. I live with someone. When I moved out of my parents’ house and into my own apartment years ago, I suddenly had a lot of extra unsocial time on my hands. I had a few hours almost every day when there was absolutely no one around. Filling this time with writing was a natural choice, because I was exchanging telling my parents about my thoughts (whether they wanted to know or not) with writing down my thoughts and potentially telling the world (the world did not need to listen). Now I come home from work, and there is usually someone there who actively wants to know what’s on my mind.

4. Over the past few years, I have been learning with my body at least as much as with my mind. I started learning partner dancing about five years ago, and since my move to London and back to Oslo, West Coast Swing has taken over a lot of my free time. Breaking my wrist made it necessary to train my arms, shoulders and back more specifically, which also helped my dancing. Gradually, and without noticing, I built up the strength and fitness to be able to enjoy jogging, so I started doing that. And finally, after 28 years of not quite cutting it as a proper Norwegian, I can now confidently say that I actually do know how to cross-country ski. After going to school and filling my brain with new information for over two decades, it feels right that my learning experiences as an adult should be about training my body to do new things. But this training has filled up time I might otherwise have spent writing, and it has not inspired me to write about exercise. Perhaps because I do not have the right vocabulary, or perhaps because it simply isn’t very controversial: I jog and it makes me able to jog more. Not worthy of a blog post. When I have wanted to write about this, it has been very difficult to put into words without fear of being too personal or making other people feel bad. I have gone through periods of being very frustrated with dancing and struggling to write about that in a way that could possibly be published. (My blog post about competitive dancing gets into some of this.) One thing all this training has made me think about – to the point of wanting to blog about it – is that my gym classes could have been so much better when I was in school.

5. The internet changed. While blogging in general is alive and well, many of the bloggers I used to follow have quit, turned writing words into a paying job (like me!) and/or just relocated to Twitter. Posting something on Twitter is faster, both the actual posting, and the response I get from the internet. I don’t really like this, but it’s the truth.

6. I grew up. Growing up means a lot of things, but this is one way to describe it: You become less selfish, but at the same time, you become more important. What I write here now has more serious potential consequences, because I am important to more people than I used to be. Unlike when I first started blogging, I now have co-workers, clients, bosses, students, competitors and a boyfriend (who also has a family and a network of people who I am in some way important to). Over the past ten years, I have also deepened friendships, started friendships and ended friendships. I don’t pretend that the majority of all these people read my blog. But I have become more aware of the consequences of what my audience might think, and this has introduced a self-consciousness in my writing that I do not like. Can I blog about how weird it feels to be called a social media expert without discouraging potential clients? Can I complain about something bothering me about the West Coast Swing community without a backlash from other dancers? Will being upfront about my opinions on companies or brands come back to bite me when Burson-Marsteller wants them as a client? I didn’t have to worry about this when I started blogging. I barely had to worry about what my parents and teachers thought.

I do not know what all of this means for the future of According to Julie, but I do know that writing is an addiction that I have not fed enough lately and that I need to do something about that.

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Pastellstilen på forsiden av D2

I går tok D2 opp hvordan ungdommen nå til dags vil kle seg “plain”, enkelt, praktisk, konservativt og likt.

Et av mine første blogginnlegg, da jeg selv var tenåring, handlet om denne klesstilen. Jeg kalte den pastell. Det betyr ikke at folk kler seg i pastellfarger, men at folk oppfører seg som pastellfarger: søte, uprovoserende, litt high-maintenance, men på en tilsynelatende diskré måte. Pastell er en ny variant av soss, som er mer opptatt av stil enn prislapp. Og den er neste provoserende i sin mangel på provosering.

Forsiden av D2 viser ungdomsskoleelever som kler seg konservativt og likt.

Les hele det opprinnelige blogginnlegget her

Da jeg selv gikk på ungdomsskolen i Lier, var normen Miss Sixty-bukser med korte t-skjorter til (ofte slik at øvre del av g-strengen syntes over buksekanten). Dette ble kombinert med store platåsko. Merkene viste at man hadde brukt mye penger (eller helst fått foreldrene til å bruke mye penger), mens synlig undertøy viste at man var tøff, sexy og opprørsk. Voksne gikk ikke slik.

Det er noe av det meste interessante med pastellstilen. De unge gjør ikke lenger opprør mot de voksne gjennom klær. Nå skal man kle seg som en mini-voksen.

I mellomtiden har den voksne moten blitt mer opptatt av klassisk kvalitet fremfor trender. I 2008 og 2009 dreide mye av motejournalistikken seg mot “investment dressing”: Kjøp selvsagt klær selv om det er finanskrise og du har mistet jobben, men kjøp kvalitet. Prangende merker eller skiftende trender er ikke noen god investering i nedgangstider. Men beige cashmere og svarte kvalitetsbukser er trygge, lure kjøp som kan forklares og rettferdiggjøres. Det er ikke rart dette nå får konsekvenser for ungdomsmoten.

De unge pastellene tilhører også “CV-generasjonen”, en gruppe unge som “vi voksne” er bekymret for fordi de er så motiverte. De er femten og kler seg så de alltid er klare til jobbintervju. Har det noen sammenheng med at de stadig blir fortalt at det er blitt vanskeligere å få en god jobb?

For all del, jeg setter pris på at jeg ikke trenger å se undertøyet til ungdomsskolejenter på bussen hele tiden. Jeg forstår godt at tenåringer ønsker seg store ullskjerf i nøytrale farger til jul. Men kan dere ikke ta noen vågale klesvalg innimellom? Tenk på det min lillesøster sa da hun var 14: “Det er jo nå jeg må kle meg som en fjortis og gjøre dumme klesvalg.” Beige og off-white passer veldig fint til knallrødt.

Her er den gamle bloggposten igjen. Man skulle tro jeg skrev denne pastellbloggposten i går

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The real status update about millennials

Matt Bors’ reaction to trend pieces about my generation is funny and true: We’re not lazy. We don’t mean to delay adulthood – it’s just that adulthood has changed. Post-college life is less stable – financially and socially. And our moms are at least as distracted by social media as we are.

I especially liked the part of the comic I’ve copied in below, but please check out the full comic here.


Related posts about being a millennial:


I guess I’m a social media expert

vintage social media

I am reluctantly accepting my fate as a social media expert.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to call myself a guru in my Twitter bio or anything, but I’ve stopped rolling my eyes when people introduce me as their expert source on Facebook or Instagram (“Have you seen my Instagram?” I shudder, but I keep it to myself). At first, being introduced as a social media expert made me feel like my boss had just said:

“This is Julie. She likes wearing clothes in her spare time, so we made her our stylist.”

Then I realized that I have actually gained some experience over the past decade or so, even if my Masters degree is in Economic History, not Digital Future.

Or to continue the metaphor, most people are more naked than I thought.

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I miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone

I’m growing up, and I can relate to this one MGMT lyric, from a song I used to listen to at parties, so much more now:

Yeah, I’ll miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone.

I like my life now. I don’t miss being single or broke and I definitely don’t miss the general insecurity (financial, emotional, mental) of being younger. But sometimes it feels like there is too much going on, too many people who depend on me, too many projects that would stop if I didn’t do the responsible thing all the time. I’ve tried to write about this, but nothing describes it better than that one line.

Does anyone know what I mean?

Somewhat related post about growing up: In an alternate universe, I’m American

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Er jeg blitt kjerring?

Nå som jeg er i slutten av 20-årene, (Eller er jeg det? Jevnaldrende venner er usikre på om 27 er slutten), er det på tide å forsikre seg om at jeg ikke er i ferd med å bli kjerring. Jeg tok kjerringtesten her på bloggen i 2006, da jeg var 20. Da fikk jeg 10 poeng, i grenseland mellom “i faresonen” og “fare på ferde”, ifølge testen. Nå prøver jeg igjen.

Treff på 5 -10 kjerringtegn viser at du er i faresonen. 10 – 20 JA viser at det definitivt er fare på ferde, mens over 20 JA tyder på at du burde gått av med pensjon.”

wheelchair princess

Du er kjerring hvis…

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11 things I learned from my mom

















How to react to an invitation: You check if you can make it, then respond as soon as possible – and then you are committed to actually going.

How to get dressed: I can wear whatever I want, as long as I’m warm enough, and as long as my shoes are appropriate.

How to shop 1: It’s better to save your money and buy a few things you really, really want.

How to shop 2: Walk in to the store. Scan the whole room for what you want. If you don’t see it, leave and move on the next store. Be efficient.

How not to cry over spilled red wine: With the right cleaning products (Biotex in Norway) you can get rid of most stains, as long as you treat the stains as soon as possible.

How to make sauce: Years after teaching me, she now regularly asks me to be her “sauce consultant” before family dinners.

How to walk: Short girls can walk fast too. (Especially if they have tall boyfriends.)

How to make great food: It’s all about preparation.

How to keep your home tidy: Never walk from room to room empty-handed – there is probably something in Room A that needs to be in Room B, so take it with you. (Not that either one of us necessarily practices this rule at all times.)

How to stand out in the crowd: If you wear something home-made or customized, there is no way anyone else will be wearing the same outfit.

How to be a parent: Talk to your kids like they’re real people. Believe in your children. Even when they’re teenagers.

Thank you, Mom, for making me fantastic unique outfits like my bridesmaid dress and customized handbag. Thank you for customizing my dress when it turned out my friend had bought the exact same one to wear to a high school dance. Thank you for learning how to dance West Coast Swing with me (you said it was just to stalk my new boyfriend, but then you got addicted). Thanks for all the home-baked bread, hemmed jeans and hand-knit socks. Thanks for being my secretary before I learned to write. Thanks for listening. Thank you for all the time you’ve spent on making my life better.

Thank you Mom, and happy birthday!

danse med mamma og pappa

Photos: 1 and 2: My mom at her surprise birthday party a couple of years ago. My own photos. 3: Dancing West Coast Swing with my parents. Photo by Jean-Christophe Saville.

Related posts:

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Voksenlesing og tidsriktige problemer

SPOILER ALERT! (men ikke mye)

Leve Posthornet! av Vigdis Hjorth og Følg meg av Nils Gullak Horvei handler begge om konsulenter som misliker livene sine og feilaktig tror at både løsningen og problemet er mediet de kommuniserer med. I Følg meg forsøker Hans å unnslippe livet sitt gjennom Twitter. I Leve Posthornet! gremmer Ellinor seg over gamle håndskrevne dagbøker og bestemmer seg gradvis for at det livet hennes mangler er håndskrevne brev.

LevePosthornetJeg tenkte det skulle bli morsomt å lese romaner om konsulenter i Oslo (Ellinor er til og med kommunikasjonsrådgiver, sånn som meg!) Dessuten har jeg besøkt Nils, og Vigdis besøkte skolen min en gang, og det kom til å bli koselig å lese bøker som dermed var nært mitt liv på så mange måter.

Men jeg tok feil. Nærhet var verken morsomt eller koselig.

Nils synes jobben i rekrutteringsbyrå er både kjedelig og stressende. Han klarer ikke kommunisere med sin kone, som har en ME-diagnose og bruker tiden sin på å snakke om seg selv på TV og på Twitter. Sønnen hans nekter å bli voksen, noe som ikke er spesielt overraskende, gitt at foreldrene lar ham gjøre nøyaktig som han vil, samtidig som de er tydelige eksempler på at å være voksen er dødskjipt. Hans begynner å tvitre mer og mer, og får dermed stadig dårligere grep om livet utenfor Twitter.

Ellinor synes jobben i kommunikasjonsbyrå er både kjedelig og stressende. Hun klarer ikke kommunisere med sin kjæreste, som virker snill, men anonym. Hun mister en kollega, og når hun overtar hans jobb med å arbeide mot postdirektivet, får hun endelig noe å bry seg om. Horvei_FolgMeg

Romanene skildrer de situasjonene de skal skildre, på svært treffende måter: Jeg lo for eksempel av Følg meg, da jeg satt alene på toget (buss for tog!) og leste om fest sett gjennom øynene til to mennesker som helst vil hjem for å tvitre. Og jeg heiet mer og mer på Ellinor etter hvert som Leve Posthornet fortsatte. Men stort sett irriterte hovedpersonene i begge historier. Jeg klarte ikke å tenke på dem som noe annet enn eksempler på problemene sine, problemer som skal være typiske for vår tid: ukontrollert bruk av sosiale medier, ensomhet, meningsløshet.

Jeg ville ikke leve i disse karakterenes verden. Verre: Det irriterte meg at jeg gjorde det.

Hvis disse menneskene liksom lever i mitt univers, hvorfor kan jeg ikke ta kontakt med dem og be dem skjerpe seg? Si at det er åpenbart at kommunikasjon er løsningen for dem begge, men at det ikke spiller noen rolle om de velger Twitter eller posthorn, bare de kommuniserer med de menneskene de faktisk vil ha ordentlig kontakt med. Problemene deres og løsningene på dem eksisterer helt uavhengig av hvor de velger å notere tankene sine. Og som en fotnote: Twitter kan kombineres med et godt liv hvis man i utgangspunktet klarer å oppføre seg ordentlig.

I en morsom kronikk skrev Olav Brostrup Müller for noen måneder siden at det å le av seg selv fordi man samler “voksenpoeng” er latterlig: At vi blir voksne, kjøper voksenting som gressklippere, tar ansvar og slutter å late som om vi er barn, og det er bra. Jeg er for at folk skal ta ansvar. Og når jeg sier at jeg har samlet en del voksenpoeng er det bare en forkortelse for at jeg har en mastergrad, fast jobb som henger noenlunde logisk sammen med utdannelsen min, samboer og evne til å ta ansvar (og å lage helstekt kalkun til 10 gjester). Jeg trodde også jeg hadde evne til å lese bøker for voksne. Nye norske romaner om voksne med voksne jobber og voksne problemer.

Disse bøkene handler om voksne som ikke vil være voksne, som til tross for sine ytre sett fine liv ikke finner noen mening i tilværelsen. De handler om at vanlige liv er triste. De slutter svært forskjellig, og det er ikke bare trist, men underveis er det trist. Kanskje det var meningen at jeg skulle finne dem uhyggelige, fordi de liksom minnet meg om hvor tomt og meningsløst mitt eget liv er. Men mitt liv er fullt av mening – og av problemer som jeg er smertelig klar over at Twitter og brev ikke kan fikse.

Etter å ha lest disse bøkene hadde jeg et akutt behov for å veie opp med den dystopiske fremtidsromanen A Calculated Life, og store mengder Buffy– og Angel-episoder. Jeg ville inn i univers med vampyrer og cyborgs. Her er problemene langt fra realistiske, men de er i det minste mer interessante enn mine egne.

Er det noen der ute som fremdeles synes det er rart at fantasy-litteratur for ungdom er blitt så populært hos voksne?

Dette er ikke dårlige bøker; da ville jeg ikke giddet å lese dem ferdig. Jeg skjønner ut fra anmeldelser ellers at ganske mange er uenig med meg i min opplevelse av at dette var mest trist. Kanskje de er voksnere og kjenner seg igjen i fortellingene. Men jeg håper ikke det. Jeg håper dere har det bra.

Les også:
Siri Hustvedt skriver realistiske romaner om voksne som jeg
virkelig lever meg inn i. De er likevel fryktelig triste.

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Hva har DU på deg på jobben? Gjesteblogging hos Tinteguri

Utfordret av Elin Ørjasæter, åpnet jeg klesskapet ved å notere og fotografere hva jeg valgte å gå med på jobb i én uke. Jeg fikk en ny respekt for “dagens outfit”-bloggere da jeg oppdaget hvor vanskelig det er å ta gode bilder av seg selv i speilet med mobilkamera. Jeg avslørte for meg selv at jeg er et vanedyr: I løpet av uken gikk jeg med to utgaver av samme t-skjorte, to av samme skjørt og to og av samme cardigan. Jeg fikk også tenkt litt gjennom stilforvirringen jeg opplever nå i overgangen fra masterstudiet til jobb som kommunikasjonsrådgiver.

Les innlegget i bloggen Tinteguri


P.S. Min Style-board på Pinterest er stadig oppdatert, men likevel ganske konstant: det går i nøytrale fargekombinasjoner med innslag av rødt, grønt eller blått, perler, blonder og prikker.

Les også:


Over to the dark side?

The day after tomorrow, I start work as a communications consultant with Burson-Marsteller in Oslo.

Source: have asked me if this means I am “giving up on journalism” or “crossing over to the dark side”. I answer that I am going to start a job that seems challenging and interesting, and well-suited to my talents. Try as I might, I haven’t been able to feel a single negative emotion about that.

Because I loved to read and write, I decided to become a journalist. It was the more sensible version of becoming an author. That same love of language could have made me choose to study law or literature. I originally wanted to be a librarian, back when I was four and thought their job was to read all day.

I absolutely loved my job as front page editor with E24. Putting together the combination of headlines and pictures on a constantly updating news page was challenging and exciting, especially because it called for an understanding of current events, journalism and esthetics at the same time. I enjoyed working as part of a team, and I loved that my job was about adding the finishing touches: taking my co-workers’ great reporting and turning the news site into a finished work, then changing it again when something new happened in the world. Editing for argument was another opportunity to add polish: I loved taking someone’s extended notes on something complex, and turning it into a finished article, with a catchy headline, and memorable opening and closing sentences. I was beginning to wonder if I found the process of editing more interesting than fact-collecting and actual reporting.  Despite being a complete geek about headlines and lay-out, I wasn’t so geeky about the news. Not that it wasn’t interesting. Typing bold letters across the front page as the news unfolded was a rush. I just didn’t feel that I knew enough about the world to make explaining it to thousands of readers my permanent job. At least, not yet.

So I got a Master’s degree. While at The London School of Economics, I started searching for a job that might put me in some happy medium between the hyperactive content production of online news and the meticulous snail pace of academic writing. I hoped that I might find a way to combine the information curating and analysis of the London School of Economics with the bold communicating of tabloid news sites. At an LSE careers event for economic history students, a consultant in the oil and gas sector told my class that consulting was a lot like my LSE classes: if you could collect and interpret information and then present it in a way that was as interesting as possible, you would be doing a good job. After some research, some luck and a few interviews, I had a job.

I don’t yet have a snappy four-word definition of what communications or PR is, and I am not 100% sure what I will be doing on a day-to-day basis. But that’s one of the things that appeal to me about this. If my luck continues, and if my instincts are correct, I think I can look forward to learning a variety of new skills, with a diverse group of talented people.

After spending some time in the insecure, temporary world that is the job market for young journalists, I am also looking forward to getting paid, consistently, because my contract doesn’t end when someone older than me comes back from maternity leave or travelling. The working conditions for journalists and other writers are a story for a different blog post, but I will say this: it feels good to hear someone say they want to pay me for what my brain can do.

All the reasons I’m a journalist are still true. I still believe that the world needs good journalists, and that I could be one of them. Norwegian journalism books are written in the first person plural (“We write like this…”), which makes it almost too easy to identify as one of “us” from the first day of school. But throughout my time at journalism school, I always said that if my job was writing (about something other than sports), I would be happy. I was there to get through the system so I could get my first internship, so that I could get the experience I needed to put me in a position where someone would pay me to write. I honestly believe that most real-world problems can be solved through good communication. This is a good philosophy for me, because it means I can, theoretically, save the world with words.


Answers to other FAQs: Burson-Marsteller was established in 1953 by Harold Burson (who, at 91, is still writing speeches, articles and blog posts) and Bill Marsteller. B-M is one of the biggest public relations companies in the world, with 67 offices and 71 affiliate offices, operating in 98 countries across six continents. That last fact is from 2011, but feel free to count the offices yourself. The Oslo office has been around for about 30 years, and there are roughly 35 people working there. I think. I’ll count them when I start.

Image credit: backofthenapkin (CreativeCommons),