How to make amends for bad behavior

Photo by Roz Joseph c. 1970

It used to be that the reason people hated me was because I offended them. Poor social skills. I’m sure you can imagine, but if you can’t, here’s the post about how I spoke at a women in business blogging event and I offended everyone by telling them that their blogs sucked and how to fix them.

Maybe I should set up a coaching business where I tell people how to fix their blogs, but really, most people don’t want to know. It’s like going to couples therapy. It’s a lot of work. And there’s always the hope that great sex can make up for everything else. People strive to write the blog equivalent of great sex.

1. Understand your personal style for bad behavior.
Anyway, the way I offend people today is different. Because I’m much more conscious of my lousy social skills, and I’m always trying hard to compensate for them. So my new way to offend people is to have terrible followthrough.

In case you are wondering how bad it is to have terrible followthrough, it’s one of the five most damaging deficits you can have in the workplace.

Anyway, here’s a list of what I do with my life:

Do you want to know how I do it? I miss stuff. Not the stuff you are thinking. I mean, I miss that, too. Like, I rarely see my friends, I don’t go to movies or out to dinner. I don’t go shopping.

2. Don’t say you’re sorry. That gets old. Take action instead.
But I also miss stuff  like Chris Guillebeau had a book coming out, and he asked me to endorse it. I know Chris, and I like his work, and he’s a fun guy. So I wanted to help. I carried his manuscript around with me for months. During those months, Chris sent me two followup emails asking if I was still doing it. They were really nice emails. I sent back emails saying “Yes, of course, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, okay next week.”

Also during that time, the Farmer had a chance to read the manuscript.

“Did you read the book by Chris Gillebeau?” he asked.

I said, “Do you think that’s how you pronounce his name? I don’t think it is.”

He said, “So you didn’t read the book, right?”

“Did you like it?”

“Yeah. It’s good. You should read it. “

I didn’t read it. But then Chris sent me a copy when it was done, with endorsements that included, of course:  A list of all the people who had their shit together. And I read the book, and here’s my endorsement: The $100 Startup is a book that shows you there is nothing keeping you from launching your own company. (It’s a great book to give to all the people who talk about how they are entrepreneurs but never do anything.)

3. Do unexpected favors to make people forget about unexpected rudeness.
Another thing: I missed a conference. I was supposed to give this talk in Madison. Melissa says the reason I didn’t go was because I wasn’t getting paid. This might be true.  I know that this whole blog is a diatribe on how money doesn’t make you happy. But money makes me motivated.

So this was a really small thing about giving writers advice on being writers and I wasn’t getting paid, and I missed it. Not that I didn’t have a good reason. We realized that our siding was falling off in pieces and it is asbestos (I always wondered why our siding didn’t look like any siding I had ever seen) and then when the guy came he told us that we had asbestos all over the pipes in the basement and the cats were clawing at it and the air was totally infested.

I think that’s the real reason the farmer is always coughing, and it’s not really allergies. I told him that and it just made him freak out more because I’ll tell you what farmers hate to do: spend any money on the house. There are barns to maintain and fences to build. Those fences are expensive.

So the Farmer was having a fit over having to spend money on the house and I was having a fit that the kids had been in the basement playing for two years and they were going to die before me and there is no more terrible thing in the world than watching a kid die and there were hazmat guys climbing all over our house and I forgot to go to the writer’s thing.

It’s particularly bad because the writer’s thing was in Madison and I worry that people in Madison don’t like me. I worry that they won’t do playdates with my kids because of this blog and I also worry that they just think I’m a nutcase. I’m not going to link to nutcase. You can think of a lot of appropriate links, I’m sure. But maybe there’s someone reading who lives in Madison who came to my blog because they heard I’m really fun and interesting. I don’t want to give them any bad ideas.

Wait. Here’s a link for fun and interesting.

So I called this hazmat guy in Madison to come ASAP, because I’m from NYC and everything for me is ASAP even though I expressly moved to rural America to stop being the ASAP type.

I called him and he came right away. Advanced Health & Safety. That’s the company.   The guy’s name is Bob Stigsell.  I’m putting his name here so it’s free advertising for him. This is a way to get people in Madison to like me.

So look, if there is anyone who was planning on going to my talk about how to make money being a writer—or whatever the talk topic was, I can’t totally remember—but if you were supposed to see me, and you’re disappointed, you can just email me and I’ll set up a time to talk with you. Actually, I’ll set up a time to talk with anyone about how I’m making money being a writer. I’m great at doing that. But if you were’t signed up for the conference you have to pay me my regular consulting fee. (And, what do you think? Would that count as making money being a writer or is that something else?)

4. If your bad behavior is toward yourself, be judicious with second chances.
Finally in my list of things I messed up because I am doing too much is my essay about why eating meat is ethical. That’s right. The New York Times had a contest for who could write the best essay on that topic. Melissa sent me the info and said I should enter.

I thought: She’s right. And I wrote my essay on the spot and I sent it to her.

She wrote back, “I love it. You’ll totally win.”

I thought, “Yeah. She’s right. I’ll totally win.” I thought how I should start entering contests again. I used to do that when I thought I was going to be the female version of Philip Roth but now I just write blog posts and I think I’m a winner if I get more than 100 comments.

Okay. So I didn’t send in my essay. I decided I would hold onto the essay for a few days while I figure out how to replace the part about killing kittens. (We do that. Kill kittens. I wasn’t sure if it really had a place in the winning essay about how eating animals is ethical.)

But then I forgot to send in the essay. I noticed one day while I was supposedly catching up on stuff. But really you can’t catch up on stuff that is past. So I was just sulking, really, and then Jeanenne came into the room and said, “Do you want this sweater washed or dry cleaned?”

And I said, “Whatever. It’s clean just put it away. Don’t talk to me.”

I am so disappointed that I sent my essay in late. I was thinking maybe they would let me be late. I was only a day late. But the contest is in the ethics column. And The Ethicist can’t really let me cheat on the contest.

So I am fixing this, too. I am publishing the essay myself. Here. You can read my winning essay for The New York Times contest on why it’s ethical to eat meat.

And I’m wearing my sweater anyway. I’m pretending it’s not dirty. And it seems that people are pretending right along with me.

 

Posted in Self-management
71 comments on “How to make amends for bad behavior
  1. somecorporateguy says:

    You definitely have the gift of making people uncomfortable, which is different from offending. That must be one of the main reasons you are successful. Only the self-conscious get offended and they need a different kind of therapy…

  2. Debbie says:

    I know you have written some great posts in the past but I think this is my favorite. You are so witty (love the sweater part!) and it actually has lessons I can use today – I was beating myself up pretty badly yesterday about something at work I was having trouble doing, and of course that translated to me thinking I’m a failure at EVERYTHING else in my life. So, today, I’m forgiving myself and going on. My hair is actually not clean but I’m pretending it is and that nobody notices it!

  3. chris says:

    I don’t get how you were/are judicious with 2nd chances–point #4. Is your point that you compromised? Or that you did the 2nd best thing?

    I used to tell my children to make it right if they had argued/offended/insulted/neglected. I note that you don’t say you’re sorry for missing a deadline/breaking a promise. You say that you took action instead by writing an endorsement belatedly. Was this accepted/appreciated by Chris G? Did HE feel you had made it right?

    Finally, I think you may be saying what you said several blog posts ago–that is, forget failure and focus on success.

    AND I believe that you have to accept that you may be perceived as unreliable and you may be doing damage to your friendships/networking associates. (And edgy-brusque with Jeannenne.)

  4. Alan says:

    The Amazon intro says that Chris G “has a special genius for turning ideas into income…” So I guess that’s the secret: You have to be a special genius.

    Or smarter that I am, anyway.

    Love,

    • karelys says:

      I guess you just have to buy the fruits of their genius to have some benefits. Just like we all don’t have to invent electricity to have some light. We just benefit from the genius who made it. Or discovered it or whatever.

  5. Grace says:

    I just read your essay about meat, which was interesting as your writing always is.

    I’ve been thinking/reading a lot about this topic lately. I think the problem with eating meat comes down to a question of resources.

    Meat is very consuming of resources: land, water, grain, human energy. It produces a tremendous amount of pollution (which again consumes many resources to clean up). In other words, it’s very expensive: the archetypal luxury good (since meat is not essential for proper nutrition).

    More troubling to me is that its expense is not paid for by the people who eat it. In the US, water and land use for farmers are heavily subsidized (in other words, the full cost is not charged, meaning their real cost is paid for by someone else; in this case, US taxpayers and the environment). Pollution controls are not sufficient, meaning meat producers don’t have to pay the full cost of that either (instead, it’s “paid” by the poor–those who live or work near slaughterhouses, meat packing plants, etc.–and the public at large).

    By regularly eating meat, you are running up an enormous “bill” (in terms of the resources you consume), yet not paying for it. You are in effect living on credit and sending the bills to the poor and future generations.

    And of course the resources spent on meat are limited (we only have so much land/water), so if they are used to make cows they can’t be used for something else (wilderness space, human housing, etc.). Choosing to eat a lot of meat means choosing a world with millions of acres dedicated exclusively to the convenience of meat animals.

    Consuming meat produced as your husband’s is is the best case scenario (at least the animals are pretty happy and well cared for). But even then, the resource issue remains the same.

    I don’t think that there is any morally honest way to justify eating a lot of meat as a result (much to my sorrow, I love the taste). Eating meat ethically means eating very little.

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      What you’re writing about is not meat. It’s about everything. Nothing is okay to consumer unless production is ethical. This is true of rugs (no child workers) and iPods (there’s been a ton written about how unethical production is) and everything else we consume.

      It’s true that meat should be more expensive. So should iPods. And probably a ton of other stuff. So instead of focusing on the result, focus on the process, and use your own wallet to pay for a better process by paying more for what you want to buy.

      It’s true that meat is a luxury good. So is your iPod. You should probably be paying double for both.

      This is a societal problem, and probably a cultural problem, but not a meat problem.

      Penelope

      • Ebriel says:

        If our neighbors assembled iPods (or computers, or mobile phones), we couldn’t afford to buy them. That’s true in the USA, it’s also true here in China.

      • Grace says:

        You’re right. However, the difference between meat and iPods is that the price of iPods mostly reflects the cost it took to produce them (although yes, the cost of labor is lower because they are produced in China).

        This is NOT true for meat, because water and land aren’t sold at prices reflecting their true value. The government sells these and other similar resources at an artificially low price (for example, the US government charges $1.60 per cow for grazing; the market rate is $10/cow).

        Thanks to these policies, even though meat IS a luxury good, it isn’t priced as one (and thus isn’t perceived to be one).

        I don’t have any problem with the consumption of luxury goods: what I have a problem with is charging the cost of your luxury goods to other people.

        Unfortunately, given the state of meat production in the US today, this is almost inevitable (though I agree buying from farmers like your husband is the best way to attempt to solve this problem).

        • Ebriel says:

          Good points on the meat subsidizing. However your astute comment of “what I have a problem with is charging the cost of your luxury goods to other people” ignores the fact that there is quite a large cost to the production of these goods. It is borne by people on the other side of the world, not directly by American taxpayers.

          Every time we buy them (most electronics, not just iPads), we participate in the pollution and hazardous working conditions that it took to make them.

          Personally, I try to avoid upgrading/buying new electronics and just repair them whenever possible.

        • thatgirl says:

          you’ve introduced reason to this debate that isn’t often expressed in an easy-to-grasp fashion for many. most people who consume meat in the 21st century don’t know a time when it was considered a luxury, prior to subsidies, mass/factory production, and national distribution. you’re right–to continue to subsidize this on the backs of taxpayers (ebriel looks at this only from the standpoint of global environmental damage; while this is true, it’s not the whole story) only shortchanges those universal measures that make a difference to society as a whole: namely education and health. prioritizing those first would help us realize that propping up both the fossil fuel and meat industries merit a second look.

          so you are, indeed, writing about meat, and introducing the idea that its production and consumption is not one of vital necessity. in all the talk about how we, as a people, need to decide what we’d like to be and contribute as a society, arguments like yours need only be quantified to convince a wider audience. of course, that would assume that we could embark on a national dialogue; this is where we are particularly challenged.

        • Raul kinnickinick says:

          The price of iPods doesn’t reflect the cost of their production, it reflects a decision by apple about volume vs profit, and what the market will bear. Likewise, my $10 trakfone isn’t priced according to cost of production. I don’t think meat should be subsidized the way it is, but our economy is warped by thousands of factors. I would say most products have their prices warped by subsidy, short sighted thinking, and failure to properly price limited resources.

    • Kristin says:

      Grace — the resource issue is not the same. You are talking about CAFOs, which are Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. These are places where cattle are packed in and fed hormones, antibiotics, chicken bedding, and corn produced on farms that use copius amounts of fertilizer and pesticide. This is the meat that would be unethical to eat because it destroys the earth in so many ways (I’m sure you have read Omnivore’s dilemma). Grass-fed farms utilize little resources outside of what is produced within. The animals fertilize the grass and the cows eat the grass. Corn is terribly bad for a cow, and by eating grass one doesn’t have to consume the resources that CAFOs consume. It is a continuing cycle that has a natural flow, and yes, the meat is more expensive. Regarding the land issue, when I drive out into the country I see LOTS of open space. Much of it is taken up growing corn for feed and other purposes. Most of what we eat is corn, by the way. If we could just replace that land with local farms and people could eat local grass-fed meat, they would be much healthier and the world would be less polluted. Of course people want to eat more meat than they actually should. I think the combination of less meat in a diet plus more small grass-fed farms is on of the est things we could do for our country and for future generations.

      • thatgirl says:

        this ignores the fact that many kinds of meat production, and agriculture at large (not just the CAFOs), receive federal subsidy. subsidy can come in many forms, which include huge tax breaks for those who don’t grow a thing on their land. making a blanket statement that grass-fed meat is the big solution ignores the fact that such production can be subsidized in some fashion, AND that it still produces a significant volume of methane–a real detriment to our ecosystem. there are technologies for recapture/reuse of methane being explored, but uptake is in its infancy. those communities that lie near grass-fed production can, indeed, benefit. however, our culture depends on a great level of national distribution because many areas (e.g. urban/non-agricultural populations) can’t support cattle farms of any genre. if we were to shift back to a regional approach to food production and distribution, it would address far more than meat production.

        • Kristin says:

          I believe that Penelope’s essay was trying to show under which circumstances eating meat is ethical. She is only speaking about the limited case of her farm, which sounds like a sustainable, grass-fed farm (I don’t know the details about its funding or organic nature). It sounds to me like she is saying it is ethical to eat meat if it is raised on a farm such as her husband’s where the meat is more expensive because of how it is raised. She says nothing of mass-produced cheap meat being ethical. In fact towards the end she says, “If you don’t pay enough to buy ethically produced meat, then your meat eating is probably not ethical.” So why are you jumping on this mass-produced meat bandwagon?
          And I do believe that any community, even non-urban/agricultural can establish and live off sustainable local farms. It just takes some out-of-the box thinking. If I start talking about it, I may never stop, and I have to get back to work.

          • thatgirl says:

            who’s jumping on a bandwagon? if one reads the challenge penelope responded to, it’s about defending meat consumption in its entirety. penelope reasoned why it’s ethical, based on the way she and the farmer are raising meat; however, that scenario doesn’t represent how the vast majority of americans (let alone the rest of the world) source their meat. yes–it would be nice to return to smaller-scale, responsible production, but it won’t happen as long as long as we feel the need to produce cheaply not only for millions of americans, but other cultures as well.

          • chris says:

            I recently bought some grass-fed beef (ground) for $5.99/lb at Sendiks in the Milwaukee metro area.

            Just wanted to name a price-range.

      • Grace says:

        I don’t want to get too detailed, because Penelope’s post was only tangentially about this.

        But CAFOs exist for a reason: they are the only way to mass produce meat efficiently.

        If meat is an expensive luxury good, consumed irregularly, then it’s possible to fill the demand with less efficient, small-scale producers. Given the current meat consumption of first world nations, though, it is NOT possible (and that’s ignoring the fact that as poorer countries like China get richer, they begin buying meat too). Either we eat less meat or we must keep the factory farms.

  6. Clinton Fleenor says:

    Wow. Another “print and keep” for me.

  7. sam says:

    You are one narcisstic bitch… Like i care what you make which is far less than the way you pontificate.. And you travel to LA for cellos lessons once a week for your son? Your area isnt good enough for the budding Yo yo Ma? you are a crackpot. Do you get some kind of thrill by writing this pablum.. If you think it is ethical to eat meat do me a favor and start with your fingers.

    • Kristin says:

      You must not read this blog much if you are shocked by THAT. Why so offended? I take it you either don’t have kids, or you don’t care for them much.

    • MoniqueWS says:

      WOW! At least you could get your facts straight. All you had to do was scroll up dude! Troll much? It is her blog and she can write about whatever she wants to write about. You do not have to read it. Have a nice day! :-)

    • thatgirl says:

      reading is fundamental; it’s clear that you didn’t read, nor comprehend what was written. troll elsewhere.

    • Carmen says:

      Sheesh….bitter much? Your unhappiness in yourself is palpable.

  8. MrAtoZ says:

    What was really of dubious ethics concerning the NY Times contest was having a group of vegans, or near-vegans, judge the entries. I totally agree in your entry that people in NYC can’t have the worldview necessary to judge life in rural America; the same applies to people who have already decided not to eat animal products, in terms of them passing judgement on this contest. It’s like they were looking to see if anyone could out-moralize them.

    • thatgirl says:

      maybe you should do a little research on the judge panel for the contest. all of the judges admit to a lifetime of meat dependence, until they understood, granularly, how meat is produced, what it costs us, and could quantify its nutritional value so that they could make a decision for themselves. bittman still publishes culinary writing/recommendations for meat eaters–he merely recommends varying one’s diet, as does pollan; neither are avowed vegans–at best, they are “sometimes vegetarians.”

      re-read the purpose of the essay challenge: much has been written in argument against meat production and consumption; the invitation was for omnivores to craft reasoned arguments for its practice, because little has been published. being reactionary guarantees your inability to convince anyone of your point, and your snark about “people in NYC” and their inability to possess a worldview is laughable–there are probably more people there that have had life experience in rural communities than agricultural sorts have had in living anywhere urban. your argument is false equivalency, and typical of someone who, more often than not, chooses not to participate in reasoned debate because of some silly suspicion that it’s “rigged” on some level. way to think small, mr. worldview!

      • MrAtoZ says:

        Girl –
        I will let your sanctimony go unchallenged…you’re entitled to your opinion…but not to the facts.
        In terms of stacking the deck by using vegans and near-vegans as judges, that is EXACTLY what the NY Times did. Foer and Singer are prolific, zealous vegans. When Pollan (“eat mostly plants”) and Bittman are the vegan-sympathetic moderates, then the fix is in. Where are the butchers and cattle ranchers among the judges? What about a chef? Talk about media bias.
        And in terms of my “snark,” please read the original post of PT’s: SHE was the one critizing having a myopic worldview, because SHE was the one living in NYC before moving to Wisconsin. Think more, type less.

        • thatgirl says:

          i’m not entitled to the “facts” (as you see them)? you’re still demonstrating a lack of understanding of the call for essays, and you fail to accept that each of the author judges were lifelong meat eaters. the invitation is for impassioned writing in defense of meat eating/production. the litmus is not about political affiliation or acceptance of non-writers (these cattle producers and butchers you mention)–it’s about producing a convincing, well-written argument–something of which you seem incapable.

          since you’re so fond of screaming caps, you AGREED with the “myopic worldview” remark, therefore puting yourself squarely within a category that invites comment. but you haven’t offered anything of substance to support your position, except to oppose yourself to those appointed judges, accusing them of zealotry.

          those who can’t do criticize everything–at least those involved have proposed a reasoned forum. too bad you can’t take the time to understand the proposition. this is what begets the “you’re either with us or against us” nonsense that has stopped our country’s progress in its tracks, because it’s all based on fear and ignorance. but do go on with your caps-filled rants. they’re really revealing.

          • CJ says:

            I cannot reply to you either, this is in response to your last. I am not tech AT ALL, which btw, can be either screaming or just HIGHLIGHTING. While I am certain, as you said yourself, “those whoe can’t do criticize” and I am sure reading lots of your critical opinions. However, you are entitled. My reason for responding is to simply point out that you are so bent on arguing that you missed my point: I do not understand the argument you two were having. You are WRONG to state that I imply the essay topic or “competition” is wrong in anyway. I like Pollan, I like Bittman, I like them all- bloody steak eaters to the most squeamish raw foodists…lovem all. I was suggesting the panel would do better if it had more depth. More experienced eyes to share advice. Have a glass of wine thatgirl

      • meistergedanken says:

        I concur with MrAtoZ; you can’t substitute feelings for facts. Maybe you can get away with that at some feminist site like Jezebel; perhaps you should hang out there instead – or at least spare us the pissy attitude that your comments reek of.

        • thatgirl says:

          what are the facts, exactly? seems you’re both making a judgement about the tenets of the essay contest and its appointed judges. instead of submitting your valuable points of view, you find it easier to pile on and profess to know what’s wrong with the call for essays in the first place–sounds like you’re the one with an issue with “facts over feelings.” don’t pretend you can tell people where to go or what they can say–you’re offering nothing to the dialog. grow a pair and read for context, junior.

          • CJ says:

            Both sides of this argument I find really confusing. A person arguing about the vegetarians, my thought is the panel isn’t veggie enough. The person arguing this panel is fair…not enough meat eaters/raisers. I adore the work of Pollan- he is a journalist that quite rightly joined the movement for real food and Bittman, a food writer, self proclaimed expert because he writes for the times, but a writer, not a food activist, animal activist, maybe he is becoming one, but that doesn’t qualify him, yet. The two ethicists I am fine with. What is missing: Hal Herzog- a man who is at the height of understanding human/other animal relations (if you havent read Some we love, Some we hate, Some we Eat, then you will not get my ref and rev to him), and we also need a real farmer that raises and kills animals for food, could be Joel Salatin or could be wild/free range Buffalo farmers from south Dakota that have been farmers for several or more decades. The judging panel lacks serious depth for such an enormous ethical conundrum. This is not simple, nor should it be fodder for the foodtv star judges. If we are going to ask serious questions of our society and then request serious writers to contribute profound explorations, we need to think about who is judging for us. Most meat eaters wouldnt kill their own food- that is evident in survey after survey. And, especially considering the NY Times, we have to realize many people will take their advice when their game is over. No matter which side you are on.

          • thatgirl says:

            CJ’s post doesn’t allow replies–this is one.

            it’s easy to pick apart those who propose dialogue/invite rationale from those that represent “the other side,” even though it’s not wise to think there are only two sides to this issue. at least this group is opening the dialogue. but it’s amazing how many object to it, merely because they believe those participating won’t be “fair,” whatever that may mean. bittman’s entire career has been writing about food, cooking it, and developing recipes–including meat.

            as stated prior, all of these writers are admitted meat eaters–that they’ve written arguments against it really shouldn’t matter, and since the exercise they’re proposing is about writing an ethical argument (not a financial argument or otherwise), they’re within their right to decide who filters the entries for their written quality and rationale. you want cattle ranchers and others involved in the dialogue? then assemble that dialogue. making others wrong for promoting the conversation isn’t constructive–at least they’re bringing it to the fore, instead of disqualifying it from the sidelines. but making unqualified dismissal of others’ efforts seems to be a popular sport.

  9. Cecily says:

    This is the only blog I read. Love the post, as usual. Don’t know what the kitten part was about and don’t want to know. I’m sure you’ve looked into this, but is it possible for the boy to take cello lessons via Skype? That commute is crazy-nuts. Thanks!

    • Kelsey says:

      I have relatives in Idaho and they have to kill cats too. They produce like rabbits.

  10. Kirs Costello says:

    Might be ethical, but not much fun if you’re the cow…

  11. CJ says:

    Since you like lists, Here’s Three THINGS YOU KNOW:
    1. You are an adored nutcase, it is a huge part of your honest charm and a big part of your mass appeal. You are way too intelligent not to know this.
    2. Maybe you didn’t make amends, but you did explain beautifully exactly why you forgot some things- asbestos is definitely a good reason to drop everything else from mental focus. Health = way too important and moreso than money. Health of your kids home trumps EVERYTHING.
    3. I too meant to write an essay for that competition. I was somewhat annoyed at the panel of judges, I got too busy and forgot the deadline, and at least you wrote an essay! I have a note in journal that says I should remember to write an essay. And, I am supposedly “the most organized person” said to me all the time by loved ones. I drop the ball regularly. To be human is to error

    Oh, I guess there is a number 4. Home school parents get to wear dirty sweaters when they drink their coffee and remember all the things they forgot, like we are doing right now ;-)

  12. Karl Staib says:

    I’ve actually gone into self inflicted tirades when I forget to follow up with someone then 2 weeks later I remember. I’m too embarrassed to do anything and I just let the self hate fester. I need to be more forgiving to myself. I’m try to stay on top of everything, but it’s impossible with my brain. My mind likes to wander, attack something new, forget the old and run like a naked man through a field of low cut grass with only sneakers on.

    At 35 I’m just beginning to understand true wisdom. Understanding who you are, accepting it and letting other people fill in the gaps.

  13. Chris Guillebeau says:

    Thanks so much for the kind endorsement. It made me smile, just as every PT post does.

  14. emily says:

    wait, so you put 100K into your business each year?

  15. Roberta says:

    Penelope, do you have to kill the kittens? Can’t you give them away? Bring them to the cello lessons and sit outside with a box of kittens saying “free to good home” or something. Do you drown them? I was OK until I got to that part of your post.

  16. Julianna says:

    asbestos? holy christ.

  17. Mark W. says:

    This quote from above –

    “But then I forgot to send in the essay. I noticed one day while I was supposedly catching up on stuff. But really you can’t catch up on stuff that is past.”

    I do this too on various things. It’s not so much about forgetting as it is about delaying a decision and then the decision is made for you because you didn’t make the decision in a certain time frame for whatever reason. Basically, a decision is made without making a decision.

  18. CS2010 says:

    I wonder how long it took for your family and friends to not mind you sharing so much personal information. I’m (somewhat) anonymous on my blog, and I still can’t share as much info as you do.

  19. Rachel says:

    And I wasn’t signed up for this Madison free seminar, nor do I live anywhere in the vicinity, but is there any way for me to Finance a One-Hour Session over the next 25 years?

  20. Cheryl says:

    I love this post! There are just so many parts that point directly at me it’s scary… LOL

  21. Cubicle Rebel, Jennifer Kley says:

    It is my opinion that people get “offended” far too easily. Makes me wonder if people just hate truth. Or if they love sugar…coating. I’m annoyed by easily offended people or worse–people who use the word “inappropriate” too often.

  22. Zee Stylist says:

    Penelope here’s my comment to help reach the 100 goal to help you feel like a winner. :)

  23. Zee Stylist says:

    Speaking of consultations, believe or not, first thing on my to-do list when my website went live last month was to email you and ask you for your opinion. But I forgot. I’ve been a fan of your blog ever since James Altucher posted a link to your blog and I’ve been reading you since. :)

    • Rebecca says:

      I think your website looks pretty good. I like the color scheme. Easy to navigate and understand, AND, I am intrigued by your service. There is a funny font color change on the bottom block of copy on this page. http://www.my-ewardrobe.com/#/eservice/4562171743 (viewing in Chrome)

      • Zee Stylist says:

        Rebecca THANK YOU so very much! Your feedback is golden. :) Please feel free to contact me for any style advice. I’d be more than happy to help you. As for the funny color change…it’s meant to be darker because of the light to dark cascading effect. I use chrome too. But I’ll defitnely keep that in mind. :)

  24. Anthony says:

    “I’m not going to link to nutcase. You can think of a lot of appropriate links, I’m sure.”

    LOL!!!1!

    I’m imagining you gave it some thought which link would be most appropriate before deciding against.

  25. shayla says:

    for the record: i’m from madison and i’ve seen you speak, maybe twice (?) and i don’t think you’re a total nutcase. not any more than the rest of us, anyway. i enjoy reading what you have to say-even when i don’t agree because it gets me thinking and i really believe that’s important. also, now i’m trying to pinpoint my own bad behavior.

  26. Caitlin says:

    Asbestos is an ASAP event. I would be freaking out too!

  27. JML says:

    So fun!

    And it oddly captures most of the drama in my life – asbestos, meat and dirty sweaters.

    Odd, indeed.

  28. krishnaroy says:

    I completely agree with you. I really like this article. It contains a lot of useful information.I can set up my new idea from this post. It gives in depth information. Thanks for this valuable information for all.And of course nice review about the Veterans fight and their present prospect.hip hop music

  29. Watchacallit says:

    I once lived on land that belonged to a relative, who ran a farm. And he killed kittens too. He also killed stray dogs. Didn’t take them to a shelter or adopt them. He shot them. Because dogs and cats dumped on a farm by idiots are very destructive, and my relative didn’t have any choice. He hated doing it, but he had to. Once I took a sack of kitten and dropped it in a lake. He told me, they’re so young, they don’t know what’s happening, they just go to sleep and drown. I hated doing it, but some idiot had dumped a cat on MY property and it gave birth and I couldn’t have all these feral cats around. They can destroy your property. People who dump their pets near farms are morons and jerks and frankly I’d like to shoot THEM. The animals always suffer unfairly. Anyway, I no longer live on that property and I will never live on a farm again if I can help it. It’s not nearly as idyllic as you think, and not just because of dead kittens and puppies either.

  30. Kayla Cruz says:

    You know, maybe you DO offend people. But you know why? Because you think differently. But that’s nothing to be sorry about. I just wrote on my blog about this. About how I tend to get in trouble a lot because I’m innovative and challenge everything and most people just think I’m a brat. But you’ve got opinions and that’s a great thing. That’s something to be proud of. Don’t ever apologize for that because way too many people, including myself, think you’re awesome.

  31. John@PGISelfDirected says:

    When I read the part about the veggie garden I knew you were Wonder Woman!

  32. Simone says:

    What happened to yesterday’s post from Ryan about health care and start-up life?

  33. Ann Crutchfield says:

    Your essay IS the winning essay from the NYT contest! (I kind of hope the writer who was designated by the NYT as winner misses this post so they don’t feel bad when they read your essay!)

  34. Ellie says:

    I am the queen of offending people and making them uncomfortable.

    My solution? Do good. Volunteer, make a nice comment on someone’s photo, send a birthday or congratulations cards.

    When I really f*ck up the good PR works wonders (or at least I hope so).

  35. Becky says:

    I live in Madison and I think you’re interesting. Too bad I didn’t know that you were speaking here in town.

    I grew up on a beef farm, so your essay made sense to me. I’ve learned not to talk about what happens to farm cats, but I get that too.

    I’m also a would-be homeschooler – especially if we can’t open enroll out of the Madison schools – but I can’t figure out how to do that and still make money. Keep writing about it, and I’ll keep reading.

  36. Katherine S says:

    Where you can don’t kill kittens, get the adult cats spayed and neutered. That all I wanted to say.

  37. Tzipporah says:

    Just looked at the “Five most damaging workplace” post and I have to say, it sounds like the profile of someone stuck in a job/situation they hate. And having more than one of these is a big clue you need to something you enjoy more.

    1. Unreliable
    2. “It’s not my job”
    3. Procrastination
    4. Resistance to change
    5. Negative attitude

    For example, every single one of these comes up for me, as a now-mostly-unemployed, freelancing, startup-owning mom – but not over business stuff. Over shit like scheduling a dentist appointment for my kid. Which my husband has :asked: me to do repeatedly for 6 months, and I’ve avoided, largely because I’m scared of dentists and we have crap student insurance and I don’t want to put him through replacing fillings in teeth that will fall out in a few months.

    Unfortunately, when it comes to some jobs (like being a parent), there is no alternative to gritting your teeth and just doing the sucky job anyway.

  38. john pearse says:

    Don’t you feel many people heart with your writing style.
    you can say this in a polite way

  39. SLB says:

    Just curious-why are you killing kittens?

  40. John Bond says:

    I think the best way to deal with it is to just not behave badly in the first place. It’s to just not instigate because it causes problems. Sometimes I think it would be better to just not get involved.
    John Bond

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