It's the fifth annual Penelope Trunk Q&A. It's not that I don't answer questions. I actually answer almost every question I receive. But only rarely in a blog post. The problem is that most questions suck. Look, here are posts about how to ask good questions.
In fact, I’ve been getting so ornery about questions sucking that I did a webinar about how to write a good blog post and I got pissed off in the middle because the questions were so bad that I walked off camera and half the video is Ryan Paugh telling me not to be a brat.
So, in the spirit of not being a brat, I am answering questions that I think are interesting.
Question 1: Your recent post about Lebron James really resonated with me. [Note: Making a reference to that post I wrote is good. It makes me like you because I like people who read my blog.] I too have been in the quagmire of “interesting” versus “happy.” I’ve decided to go the happiness route and head home to Kansas and settle down. But I'm not sure on how to approach the job situation. I can use a relative’s address on my resume, but I am working in New York so I am technically a non-local candidate to Kansas companies. And we all know how well that goes over with recruiters. [Note: I have written about this topic before. I know that she knows a long-distance job hunt is really hard, so I can't send her to that link, so I had to write a new response. I like when people have already done some research"?it usually helps them have a good question.] I can’t go without a job so it’s a difficult situation. Are there any strategies that are effective in handling this?
My answer: Say you are moving there in two months and in the mean time you are in Kansas every other week, getting things in order.
Something like that. So they don’t feel like they are relocating you. (This, of course, does not have to be true.)
And, good luck with the move back home.
Question 2: How do I become an evangelist? Is the most important thing to getting a good network? Do I need to first become an expert? What is the key to this career path?
My answer: I think a better question is why would you want this job? The highly paid evangelists have big travel schedules. And it’s a hard life. Most evangelists you can think of are people who are trying very hard to get away from that life of high travel. Seth Godin, for instance, focuses on writing and at this point takes (pretty much) only speaking engagements that are a one-day-round-trip flight. Guy Kawasaki is focusing on writing books and speaks only in California unless it is for tons of money. I got paid $15K a speech and traveled every week and would never go back to that life again. So the whole evangelist thing I think might be a myth, not a career anyone wants to sustain when they have it.
Sometimes I think I do not give practical answers. I am trying to be a more practical person. So here is actionable advice: Forget about being an evangelist. Work hard at knowing yourself and being kind to people. The right career path comes from that.
Question 3: [I'm paraphrasing a five paragraph email that was not as crass as my wording.] I'm 22 years old and I have a dream job, the kind everyone hopes for right after college. I love the job. I love my boss. But I also love this guy who is in the US Virgin Islands. I am in Baltimore. He makes a lot of money and I never get to date guys who will make more money than I will. Should I relocate?
My answer: Move for the guy. You can always get back on your feet. I’ve moved three times for a guy, giving up a great network and great job each time. It didn’t always work out with the guy, but I always get back on track with a great career. And I never regret moving. You’re young. You have so little to lose. And being in love is so fun.
[Then I wrote a second answer to her.]
I hate to sound like your mom but just listen: The Virgin Islands is known for really shady business deals. Be sure he’s an honest guy. Not that any of us is totally honest, but maybe hope that he’s in the top 30%. Don’t get kidnapped. Maybe do a background check. Not kidding. I did a background check on the farmer before I went to his farm for the third date. It's not paranoid, just practical.
Footnote to that last answer: For those of you who are naysayers about relocation for a guy, here is a photo that my ex-husband (who I relocated to NYC for) took on the farm (where I relocated for the current husband). It’s my son’s birthday, and we all had a great time, so following men, even if it’s not good for my career I think has been good for my life: