Get an internship now, at age 20, 30, or 40

It used to be that internships were just for college kids. But today, the internship is for anyone who wants to do work they have no track record for doing. The internship is learning ground and proving ground for any age. It’s true that kids in college absolutely must get work experience to be employable after college, and an internship is a good way to do that, at any age.

My favorite internship story is when my eight-year-old son got an internship as a stylist and found himself dressing a model.

People in their 30s get internships to make up for lost time in their 20s. And also to land hipster jobs that are impossibly hard to get—this internship at Versace, for example, went for $3200. That’s right. Some internships are so cool that you have to pay for them.

more…

Test yourself: Are you an Information-Age star or a cog in the wheel?

I must be a cog in the wheel, because I asked Melissa to get me some links to read that answer the question, “What information is important?” and she came back to me with, “I think that’s a bad question, but here are five links.”

Which made me decide to write this test to find out how good an Information-Age worker you are.

1. Can you frame a question? Plus one point.
The first link Melissa sent is about how you are information illiterate if you can’t ask good questions:

The ability to critically evaluate and ethically apply that information to solve a problem are some of the hallmarks of an information literate individual. Other characteristics of an information literate individual include the spirit of inquiry and perseverance to find out what is necessary to get the job done.

more…

The big secret to a more simple life

I’ve been an amazingly consistent blogger lately. My secret is that I’ve been calling Carmen a lot and dictating my posts to her.

In the middle of my blogging flurry, I read this book to my son, Flat Broke by Gary Paulsen. Its about this kid who can see businesses everywhere in all kinds of talents that other people have, and he ends up making money from all his friends.

Throughout the book I was thinking, “Oh my God, I have to do this with Carmen. I have to start selling her services because everyone can be a great blogger if they could dictate posts while they’re driving. Now all the people who are driving to and from work can now be big bloggers and love their commute too! Stay‑at‑home moms can do a blog post every time they drive to ballet lessons!”

So I pitched the idea to Carmen, except I didn’t tell Carmen about how the boy in the book pissed everyone off because he was making money from all the things they do, and he ended up with no friends and no money. Instead, I just told her that I thought I could sell her services as a court reporter.

more…

9/11 Shifted my values, which is why I’m on my phone all day long

People are still finding debris from the World Trade Center attacks. Tucked into crevices, between building where you don’t expect it. This is what I feel like is happening in my body as well when someone brings up a topic that makes me think of my day at the World Trade Center all over again.

Recently, it was the discussion of how it’s a messed up life to work on your phone all day. Why are so many people saying they need to be an unplugged as parent? I think those people are desperate and misguided; being tethered to my phone gives me freedom to make decisions completely consistent with my values.

A way I test this hypothesis is go back to the moment on 9/11 when I was at the World Trade Center when it fell. I remember every minute of what happened from when the World Trade Center started to fall to when somebody found me. So I say to myself, During that time when I thought I was going to die, would I have been grateful for the times I was tethered to my phone? The answer is yes. Here’s why:

more…

The hardest time management decision of my day

The reason I have time to write this blog post is that I had sex with my husband last night. Choosing writing rather than sex is a calculated risk for me, because it’s really me saying that I don’t want to pay attention to him that night. I did that a lot in my first marriage, and I’m pretty sure that contributed to my divorce.

In the beginning of my first marriage, we had sex a lot. Then I had a baby, and I breastfed, and really, the last thing I wanted in a day filled with twelve feedings was to having someone else touching my body. So I just said no. And he said okay. That was it. During the last six years of our marriage, we had sex twice: once to conceive when I miscarried, and once to conceive when I had my second son.

Later, my ex-husband would tell me he thought my second son was not his. I understand why he would think that. My ex and I have stunningly terrible social skills, awkward everywhere, but our second son is the life of every party. Everyone loves him. But the idea of me having sex with someone else while I was married to my husband and had a two-year-0ld and a job is laughable. I had absolutely no time for anything, let alone finding someone to cheat with.

more…

Hate your job? Here’s how to fix it.

When we’re in a terrible job we think we’re the only person who is in a terrible job, and everyone else loves their job, and everyone’s life is great, and our life is terrible. But, in fact, every single person, no matter where they are in their life now, has had a job that they hated.

The only people who don’t have jobs they hate are people who don’t take any risks and end up having terrible careers, because part of a good career path is having moved through a job that you hate.

Here are three steps to make a horrible job good.

more…

Social media rules for Jews on High Holidays

As the High Holidays approach I start feeling anxiety about whether I’ll work during the holidays. Will I do two days or one? Will I write emails and send them? Or not hit send until sundown, or just not write emails at all?

It’s part of being Jewish to have a workaround for everything. For example, this is a picture of my sons participating in a not-real bat mitzvah for their cousin so we can take pictures because you can’t take pictures during the real bat mitzvah.

I’ve read that people who have willpower don’t actually have willpower. Rather they make decisions for themselves that have clear parameters and then they don’t reconsider them, so those people don’t need any willpower.

I’m pretty sure that my everything-is-negotiable approach to Jewish holidays requires an insane amount of willpower that I’ll never even come close to having. But I in that vein, I propose a few guidelines for those of you who are like me and trying to figure out what to do with social media on High Holidays.

more…

5 Things you have to unlearn to succeed at work

A big theme in my life has been how much I had to unlearn to come to the decision to homeschool my kids.

I had to unlearn all my assumptions about parenting (it turns out that kids don’t need teachers, they need love). I unlearned my assumptions about self‑management (well-roundedness is a false goal). And I had to change my assumptions about how much respect each child deserves (freedom to choose what we learn is a fundamental right).

Now that I’ve been homeschooling for a while, I understand that the reason it’s traumatic for most young adults to enter the workforce is because they have to unlearn so many things from school in order to survive in adult life.

No matter what age you are, the faster you start your unlearning the faster you can shed the weights that hold you back from moving forward in today’s knowledge-based workforce. Here are five things most people need to unlearn.

more…

Assess yourself: Should you launch a startup?

I fired Melissa.

We were bickering all the time. And she was saying I’m impossible to work for and I was saying she’s impossible to manage. The problem is I’m a mad raving lunatic about making sure that people who work for me like working for me.

When Ian, the guy who I was going to do a company with but then ended up not doing a company with, asked Ryan Healy and Ryan Paugh for references for me, they said I was loyal and caring and they both gave me so much credit for helping their careers and it just made me really really happy. I want to know I am making peoples’ lives better.

So when I told Melissa I was going to launch a company, she asked what her job would be, and I said, “Nothing. You are not in my company.”

more…

How to measure your own progress

I have big goals for myself, but I try to measure my progress day by day instead of looking at the big picture. The big picture is overwhelming. For example, for the last three years, I’ve known I wanted to launch another company, but I didn’t have an idea. Or I had an idea that couldn’t grow big enough. Or I had a great idea but the investors wanted me to relocate. There was always a problem.

This is a picture of where I sulk when I feel overwhelmed. (It’s actually also the music room, and I get so frustrated forcing my kids to practice, that the room is already sort of a torture chamber, so I figure why fill another room with sulking karma when I have already ruined this one?)

But on good days, I measure my progress with three questions:

more…