Friday, February 24, 2012

My secret life

What the hell do freelancers do all day? I reveal all in my latest column for "The Secret Lives of Independent Contractors."
2. We use fuzzy math.
Most of us work at home. That means we may spend 45 minutes out of an hour focusing on your project and 15 minutes watching the end of "Bethenny Ever After." Or walking the dog, who had to go right then and would not wait. Or eating lunch and finishing up that project at the same time. Are we overbilling you? Are we underbilling you? It's hard to say.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I get email

Hi, My name is [redacted]. I am a freshman at [redacted] in [redacted]. I read your blog entry on the "Letters From Working Girls" site, and was interested in what you spoke about. My class topic is "Sex Work", and my subtopic is asking the question of "Why people pay for sex". With your permission, could I possibly quote you about your discussion for my webtext project that I have to do? My instructor says all of the students must get the ok from the blogger to use what they have written. It's not finished because I am still researching the topic, but here is a link if you would like to look at it [redacted]. Also, if you wouldn't mind, could you give me a little insight on what more I could talk about from a woman's point of view. Since I am a male, I don't have the mindset of a female; although, it is still difficult to write about men as well. I see it at a neutral standpoint in which both men and women do the same thing, so neither one is excluded from what the other can do unless there are physical limitations. I would very much appreciate it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Lake Michigan, Chicago, Illinois

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I wrote a post for Forbes on how men deal with cancer. I included email exchanges with Howard Rheingold, who had, as he puts it, "cancer of the asshole," Damon Brown, who had testicular cancer, and Marty Wehrenberg, who had stomach cancer.

Thank you to all three men for helping me out, for giving me permission to share their emails, and for being awesome.
So….I know this is not the easiest medicine to take right now, but what I’m telling you boils down to: the fear will diminish with time. Eventually, it becomes a kind of blessing. You notice that everyone runs around pretending they aren’t going to die. Your relationships with your loved ones becomes more intense and poignant. A lot of poetry makes sense at a visceral level. It’s really easy to not sweat the small stuff. On the other side of cancer is an appreciation of life. I have moments every day when the simple act of breathing and the feeling of sun on me is a kind of ecstasy. I see life through a cleaner lens. Nobody would volunteer for this, but surviving the diagnosis and treatment and fear has certain psychological and philosophical benefits.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Want to know how to deal with employees you can't see? Suck the last bit of blood from your freelancer? Not annoy the crap out of your independent contractor?

Read my latest column on Inc.
3. Don't be a harpy.
One of the most nerve-wracking aspects of working with an independent contractor is meeting deadlines. Still, regularly checking in with high-pressure tactics—i.e., sending hourly emails asking, "Is it done yet?"—means your contractor is spending all of her time—and some of your money—babysitting you and not meeting the deadline.

Friday, February 17, 2012


I got an email a while back from German Glamour, saying they wanted to feature me as one of the most interesting people on the web in an upcoming issue, or some such thing. (It's German, so I can't read it.)

They were kind enough to send me a copy. The main article is about interesting German women on the web (I think), and then there's a sidebar called, "AMERIKAS BESTE," which I assume means women on the web in America who are interesting.

They mention my Forbes blog and Letters from Johns. I have no idea what the rest says.

Hilariously, the other women in the sidebar are Arianna Huffington, Sheryl Sandberg, and Felicia Day.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

I get email

"Here’s what emails I get from young men asking for advice are like: self-assured, to the point, confident. Here’s what emails I get from young women asking for advice are like: supplicating, meandering, questioning."

I think it's related to relationships.

You can be a woman that's "self-assured, to the point, confident", but the message that comes across to me, as a guy, is "I don't need you. I'm fine all by myself."

I'm not interested in being the completely unneeded "roommate with a penis" in her life.

Would you want a guy in your life that's "supplicating, meandering, questioning"?

So everyone  learns dealing with the opposite sex, and that gets extended to other facets of their life.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


What's the most important job interview question you can ask?

Let's find out.
What’s the salary? What are the benefits? What’s my role? What are the responsibilities? What’s the workplace culture like? What are my opportunities for advancement?

Over and over again, people who write career advice will give you the same advice on what interview questions to ask. The same boring advice. The same wrong advice.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

I've got a new letter on Letters from Men Who Go to Strip Clubs.
It was as if the entire world was upside down inside the four walls of the club. Women were expected to make the first move, not men. Women flirted with men. Women were dominant. My loneliness and insecurity were not liabilities here. They were seen as cute, quaint, even desirable traits for a man to have. When I got my first lapdance, I felt like I was on a higher plane of existence occupied only by the two of us. The music faded out, the lights dimmed, and all I could feel was the warmth of her soft skin and tight body rubbing against me.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm a brand

That's what I am.
I called the blog — and myself, at times — The Reverse Cowgirl for two reasons. One: It’s the name of a sex position, which helped draw visitors. Two: I grew up riding horses, and the idea of a cowgirl riding a horse backwards seemed an apt description of me, someone who often went about things in a somewhat backwards way.

Friday, February 10, 2012


I haven't gotten any new letters from men who go to strip clubs in some time.

Will you send me one?

By doing so, you will become part of an improvisational sociological study on why men will exchange dollars for thong views.

This is important stuff.

EMAIL me today.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

This is what it looks like when Business Insider rips off your post

This is my original post HERE.

This is Business Insider's ripped-off version of my post HERE.

This is what happens when a news site run by someone banned from the securities industry hires someone dressed in a bee costume to pretend to be a journalist.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The gig economy

I've got a new column at It's called The Gig Economy. My first column is on how to spot (and be) a top hired gun: "5 Traits Your Next Freelancer Must Have."
4. She's a killer negotiator.
Being a freelancer has forced me to hone my negotiating skills. It's during your negotiations with your prospective hire that you'll find out exactly how much she thinks she's worth. Bad signs: She takes your first offer without question, she signs on for significantly less than you expected, she doesn't discuss payment terms upfront. In all of those cases, the freelancer is telling how much she thinks her work is worth—which is not much.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I get email

Dear Ms. Breslin,

My name is [redacted] and I’m an associate producer for [redacted] in New York. I’m currently working on a new non-fiction series for [redacted] that seeks to shed light on violent crime by examining the tragic intersection between offenders and victims. We would like to devote an hour-long episode of this series to the 2010 killing of Herbert Wong by Stephen Hill. We read your fascinating Salon article on the story and we’re hoping you might consider doing an interview with us later this month about the case. (We’re planning to head out to LA in a couple of weeks to conduct our interviews and shoot recreations for the show.)

I’d love to speak with you, when you have a few minutes, so please let me know the best way to contact you (or feel free to call me at any time).

Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing from you.



Monday, February 6, 2012


Miracle Mile Mannequin, Chicago, Illinois

Friday, February 3, 2012


I've got a new online column starting next week.

Wait for it.

Whatever you think it is, it's not that.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

I get comments

Very, very lame posting...Forbes had better consider some minimal quality standards for the submissions, or risk tarnishing the Forbes brand itself.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I wrote a post about the best and worst things about working from home. Because that is what I do. Work from home. I didn't really get into the whole NEVER LEAVING THE HOUSE WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO STAB OUT YOUR EYES thing, because I like to keep it upbeat at Forbes, and anyway wanting to stab out your eyes is better than having to spend day after day with coworkers you hate.

I wrote this post in part because this one about the best and worst advice I've ever gotten did well. I also wrote it because I was feeling down about working from home and forgetting what the sun looks like, but sometimes if I "reframe" something in a post, I feel better about it.

That pretty much worked. 
4. It’s more human

Apparently, your brain only does well focusing on something for an hour-and-a-half or so at a time. Cubicle slavery doesn’t allow for that. Traditional jobs are structured thusly: START TIME, WORKWORKWORK, END TIME. Over an eight to nine hour period, that’s not maximizing productivity. That’s just stupid. Being able to focus, move away, and return when ready means you’re working with your brain, not against it.