#1 Rule for giving advice to women

Black people should not wear hoodies.

That’s one way to deal with the problem of people shooting black people. Maybe not the best. Who even knows. I have a friend who is white, married to a black guy and they have two sons, who, as you can guess, count as black in this country. Even she has no idea how to teach black boys to avoid getting shot.

This makes sense. But I am mystified when I see that the Global Summit for Women this year was all men. That’s the picture, up there.
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Test yourself: Are you preachy, arrogant, and annoying?

The secret to the success of this blog is that instead of showing you how perfect my life is, I show myself drinking in the morning, before work.

My husband is always worrying that I make us look bad, so he makes up rules like how I can’t write about our sex life, and then I violate the rules while pretending to follow them. Like, I write about our not-having-sex life.  For example, it’s asparagus season so there is no oral sex because asparagus doesn’t change the smell of just your pee.
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Report from my own happiness lab

After about a decade of doing research on happiness, I realize that my favorite research comes from university labs that use self-reported data. Most of our happiness lab research is based on self-reported data about who feels happy.

Which means, maybe, that I am my own lab. I can self-report just as well as anyone else. So here is my self-reported research. And, like all good university lab results, there is a little third-party oversight at the end.
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How I learned to live without a refrigerator

I lived in New York City for ten years. I had a 500 square foot rent-stablized apartment in Park Slope. Every week I lived there someone asked me to tell them if I’m planning to move.

To squeeze into 500 square feet with my husband, we put our winter clothes in storage. Then our books. When our son was born, all our belongings went into storage to make room for his. And when we had a second kid, we got rid of the beds. The kids slept on a counter that turned into a bed and a dining room table that turned into a bed.
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How to cope when you’re in a dying industry

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This is a guest post by Cassie Boorn. She works with me at Quistic, and she blogs at cassieboorn.com

We are packing up our trunk outside of a friend’s house when he approaches the car.

It was late at night. We’d spent all day at a funeral. We were so distracted that we didn’t even see him walking towards us.

We think it is a joke.

We are in a nice quiet neighborhood. This guy couldn’t possibly be mugging us right now.

He tells us to get in the car.

We see the gun.

Everyone is silent.
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Take risks to be your true self at work

I intuitively knew to hide my kids when I started having them, because I had already had a rip-roaring career where I steered clear of women who doted on their kids. (It’s always women, even today.) The kids were annoying to me. I couldn’t understand why the women would lose focus on their jobs to get stupid about their kids.

I made sure to stay in male-dominated departments so as to not get sucked into the kid thing by proximity.

I made sure to take no maternity leave. (A terrible decision, but one that many women make.)

Even with all my precautions, my editor suggested that instead of writing a workplace column I should write a women’s column.

That suggestion pissed me off — but I just vowed to hide my kids more.


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How to shine in a meeting

First of all you’d be surprised how many meetings I attend given that I live on a farm and I hate to leave. And, to be honest, every time I’ve written advice about how to handle yourself in a meeting, I’ve actually written about how not to handle yourself.

Like, how to gross out investors. How to disrupt a board meeting by tweeting about a miscarriage. How to look crazy in a parent-teacher conference.

For me, each meeting begins with trying on every outfit I have and sending Melissa a picture to ask if it is okay for a meeting. The pinnacle of each meeting is when I wow people with my ideas, which is immediately mitigated by my insanely terrible social skills.
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What does it really mean to work full-time?

I am at O’Hare flying to Pittsburgh to give a speech. I try to never give speeches. Actually I try to never leave my house. Because I think I will regret any time I spend away from my kids.

Well, definitely I will. Here’s how I know:

Because I chose to live in abject poverty in NYC because I didn’t want to leave my kids to work in an office. So I started building a freelance writing business on $25 articles. We ran out of food a lot, and I thought I’d look back and be horrified that my kids did not have beds. (We all slept on the floor because we had no room for beds.)
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5 Ways to make people think you’re nice

We are at the dining room table eating dinner and my eight-year-old son who is dying to have a girlfriend tells us, “Taylor Swift said she’s only going to date guys who have sisters because they understand women better. Is that true? I think I need a sister.”

I say, “I read that, too.”

Matthew says, “I don’t want to hear quotes from Taylor Swift at the table. She keeps dating men and then writing about them. I can’t stand it.”

“Really?” I say, “You can’t stand it? How do you put up with me?”
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There’s a high price to hiding from the need to transition

This is our spring family portrait. The calf wandered into the photo.

Winter is peaceful on the farm because there’s nothing to do but keep the animals alive. It’s hard work, but it’s only a few hours a day. Summer is busy because all the fields are ready at different times—farmers cut hay many times in a season, farmers rotate the animals to graze different fields, and there are baby animals that have to grow and become independent by winter. But the rhythms of summer are predictable because everything is part of a system.
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