Wouldn't it be nice if recruiters called you regularly to see if you're interested in interviewing for one of their jobs? Here are some steps you can take to make that fantasy come true:

1. Get a high profile in your industry.
Speak at conferences. You might not get paid in cash, but you'll be noticed. And because you won't get paid, landing a spot on a panel is actually not that difficult. Speakers get noticed not only by conference junkies, but also by the press (a fine line, really). And the best way to get your name in the news is by saying something intelligent and elucidating to someone who can quote you.

Also, if you can afford it, hire a public relations professional. I got the idea for this column from a press release (generated by a public relations specialist) sent to me in the form of an article by David Theobald, CEO of Netshare. Who knows if he really wrote it (I doubt it since writers are cheap and CEOs aren't.) But he does have good ideas. And look, it worked. Now you know his name and might check out his company.

2. Send a resume recruiters can use.
Become a specialist. I once met a recruiter for lunch. She spent the whole meal finding out about me, and then she said, “You need to say what you are up front. Generalists don't help recruiters.” I did not take her advice. At the time, I was scared to specialize — I thought I'd miss opportunities.

But research shows that after five or six years, you will move faster in your career if you establish yourself as a specialist. This makes sense, because a recruiter has to sell you to her client in one sentence, for example, General Motors guy who is a management star, or advertising genius who can take a brand to the top.

Also, create a keyword-friendly resume. No one wants to imagine that their career is dependent on some computer plucking them out of a black hole. But the reality is that recruiters manage large piles of quality resumes with keyword searches. So write a resume that includes the keywords you want to be identified by.

3. Say the right thing.
You never know where you are going to meet a recruiter. Maybe you'll sit next to one on an airplane, or maybe you'll get a phone call in the middle of your busiest day at work. You have to be ready to talk at any time.

So have a pitch about yourself ready to go, and focus on accomplishments. When a recruiter asks, “What have you been doing?” he is sniffing around for star performers, not just people who get their job done. So don't bore the recruiter by listing job duties. (Many people say they cannot do this because the recruiter needs background to understand the accomplishment. This is not true. Everyone understands raised revenues, saved time, and decreased costs. Lead with one of those phrases, and if the way you did the task is a little obscure, you'll still get your point across. Don't bother clarifying details that don't matter.)

Also, be prepared to talk about what you're looking for in your next step. If you can't answer that question, a recruiter can't determine if you're a good fit.

After all this, you're probably wondering what Mr. Theobald has to say. Here's an example: Have a good voice message. “You have only one opportunity to make a first impression, and everyone thinks that’s eyeball to eyeball, but it’s more likely to be on the phone. Be sure the tone and message on your answering machine is upbeat and professional.”

Here is my second annual list of things I hate. However, it seems to have morphed into a list of types of people I hate. But this seems fair; no one's animosity should be limited to inanimate objects.

1. Perfectionists.
These are people who have lost perspective and get nothing done.

Of course, you can guess that I am not a perfectionist. In fact, I am a person who painted my own walls and didn't paint near the windows because I didn't want to do the detail work. I am a person who accidentally addresses the envelope upside down and doesn't get a new envelope.

But there is good that comes out of a lack of perfection: I can set a lot of goals for myself because I get them done.

Let me just cut to the chase:
Perfectionists procrastinate because they are scared of not being perfect.
Perfectionists are hypercritical to the point that they cannot support people around them.
Perfectionists can’t finish a project because they can always think of a way to improve it.
Perfectionists are phony because no one is perfect but they can’t handle showing that in themselves.

2. People with messy desks.
I didn't used to hate people with messy desks. I used to just feel sorry for them. Now I have disdain, because after I wrote a column about the University of Texas study that showed that people with messy desks are not creative, all the messy desk people wrote to me. I realized, from the onslaught of mail, that people with messy desks don't think they have a problem. They are in denial. I wrote about a study. They argued with me. They did not do a study. They told me they are proof that the study is wrong. The emails were so disingenuous and defensive that they actually caused me to have less respect for people with messy desks.

3. People who complain their job is not creative.
It's not your job, it's you. Creative people bring creativity to everything they do, no matter what. It is inside them and no job can stifle it. Some people are driven to do art and will do it no matter what their job is: Think Kafka holding down a job as an insurance company drone. But creativity is not just art, it's also problem solving. If you are good at your job you are undoubtedly creative because any form of success requires some sort of creative problem solving.

4. People who think their problems are unique.
Women in finance who think they are the only ones who suffer sex discrimination. People in government who think they have a corner on bitching abut bureaucracy. Teachers who think they are the only people who have to be “on” all day long. If you have ever told people that your job is especially taxing for one reason or another, you are lame. Your job is not special; all jobs are hard for people who have a hard time doing a job. If you can't cope with sex discrimination in your job, you couldn't cope with it in someone else's job, either. If you can't cope with high standards in your job, you wouldn't meet anyone's high standards. Stop thinking your circumstances are unique. I can't think of one situation where that sort of thinking will help further your career.

5. Grammar mavens.
As a person who is not a sticklers for detail, I tire of people who call out a grammar error like they are a second-grade overachiever who will never get picked in kickball.

But, any list of hated things would not be honest unless the author admits that we only hate the things that somehow remind us of ourselves. So, now that I've admitted that, I will tell you my grammar pet peeve: You should not, ever, in any situation in the whole world, say, “and myself” in the workplace. Use “and me” or “and I” instead. The only way to correctly use “and myself” is if you are doing something directly to someone else and to yourself, so it is a grammatical construction that is basically appropriate for nothing except pornography.

I am on a campaign to make my husband a stay-at-home parent. I am convinced that this is a precondition for me having a huge career, but also, it's a precondition for the sanity of our family.

After a generation of two-income families, there is little anecdotal evidence to show that a family can survive with two spouses in high-powered, time demanding careers with children at home. Invariably, one spouse takes a slower career path in order to support the children and high-powered spouse in their endeavors.

Before I launch into the intricacies of my own family, here are some facts that will affect your family, too:

1. There is no equality in taking care of kids. Even if there is a full-time nanny, one parent feels the majority of the burden on sick days, parent-teacher conferences, Halloween and soccer games.

2. Among highly educated women with children, 43 percent have left the workforce voluntarily during their first eight years.

3. Most women at the very top of the corporate ladder are not the primary caretakers of children. The women either have no children or have a husband taking care of the kids.

4. Women who are parents are held to significantly higher standards at work than women and men who are childless and men who are parents.

5. Women and men have parity in pay until they have children. Then women who are parents earn less money for doing the same job that men who are parents do.

So look, I don't mean to be a buzz-kill on the feminist revolution, but more like a reality check: If you want kids, don't marry a lawyer who is going to work 16-hour days if you want to work 16 hours a day, too.

Lately, I have been experiencing these statistics first hand. I am the primary caretaker of our son, I handle all household things ranging from moving the 401K to buying nieces birthday presents, and on top of that, I earn as much as my husband does. When I tell him I'm doing too much, he says, “You're right. So stop doing so much.” And he proceeds to tell me why things that I see as essential — like getting a set of keys to the babysitter — do not need to be done.

So when my husband's job ended, I told him I didn't want him to get another office job. He was shocked. I explained to him, over about ten hours of heated discussion, that I couldn't keep doing everything without help from him at home. I tried to put it in terms he'd understand: Our bedroom heater had been off for more than half the winter because no one could stay home for a whole day to accommodate the parade of specialists who needed to come to our apartment to fix it.

Then I put it in harsher terms: I have very high earning power and which I cannot realize if he does not stay home to facilitate it. “You do not have high earning power,” I told him, as gently as I could, which surely was not. I spewed statistics to him, and I told him my conclusion that one person needs to be on the not-fast-track and I don't want it to be me.

So, okay, he's agreed, on some level, to give up the idea of a full-time job outside the home. It should be a victory for me, but it does not feel that way. My husband has the same problem that all people who stay home have: It's often boring, and always much harder than going to an office. And there are few rewarding job opportunities for people whose first job is to maintain a home.

Additionally, I have spoken to a few women who have a stay-at-home husband they say it is hell for the men socially. This news should not come as a surprise because most high-powered women who have men at home taking care of their kids will not talk about it on record in order to protect their husband's ego.

In fact, we have already experienced the social problems. When we tell people my husband is going to stay home, people say, “And do what? He can't just stay home.”

On the other hand, when I tell people that my husband has decided to stay home and I'll be the one working, people raise their eyebrows, and they talk to me differently. They take me more seriously. It shouldn't be that way, but since it is, I'm glad I found a husband who is willing to try staying home. I can't tell you that he's going to be happy. But I'm happy that we're giving it a try.

Career success depends on how you cope with failure. Whether it's a big failure or a small one — you must be able to bounce back. Much of the grand success in life comes from grand opportunity, and you don't find that opportunity unless you keep looking. People who are easily discouraged get fewer opportunities.

But how does one become good at failing? How do you bounce back quickly? Martha Stewart provides some good lessons in this area. Because whether or not you think she should have gone to prison, you have to admit that prison does not seem to have gotten her down. When it comes to scope of failure, most of us would have crumbled way before we got to prison. So take a look at the steps she took to ensure she would bounce back, and use them to create your own career resilience.

Of course, it's easier to have resilience when you have millions of dollars. But Martha made four tactical moves that you can do yourself, even on your relatively penurious budget.

Use your network as a safety net.
Networking isn't only for a job hunt. It's also for failure, which tends to make you feel alone, even if others fail with you. A circle of your own informal advisors and supporters can make you feel less isolated and help you to bounce back faster. You need a range of friends when you fail. Sometimes you need a lawyer, sometimes you need someone to hang out at a bar all night with you. When you are failing, and you think the damage is irrevocable, your network will help you get perspective.

And don't forget your family — the people who are usually last to abandon you when you do something stupid. During Martha's ordeal she was dependent on her daughter, Alexis. Alexis showed up for court every day, as is customary for families of the rich-and-famous-and-accused. But Alexis also visited Martha in prison and served as her mouthpiece to the media. (“Martha is fine. She is eating out of vending machines.”) Martha shows us that we are never too important to need family in our network.

Fail fast.
Once you see things spiraling downward, face reality quickly and get out. The faster you fail the faster you can move on to the next thing. Denial can derail you. Don't continue to try to fix the unfixable because you can't face the fact that you failed. Martha had the benefit of many paid advisors to help her out of denial. Though you will have to depend on unpaid friends who may not be experts, listen to them to gain some perspective on how deep a hole you're in. It's always easier to see someone else's trouble than your own.

Once you see recognize big trouble, focus on speed. Martha could have dragged the court battle out even longer. She could have stayed out of prison while she appealed. But for the public, the drama will be over when Martha leaves prison, so she went in quickly.

Don't hide.
Failure is loud. If it weren't no one would have to admit to failing. So once it's obvious, face the crowd and show that you can handle it. The most interesting failures are when people completely fall apart. If someone looks resilient, and not likely to fold, failure is not as interesting to watch. That's what you want: Such flair for failing that no one pays attention.

As soon as Martha left prison, she took steps to show the public that she was her same old Martha self- and maybe a little bit better. She took a chartered jet home wearing fashionable clothes. She strolled the grounds of her home feeding her horse and serving drinks to the media circus surrounding her home. She also took questions from reporters, which is brave thing to do in a situation when most people would be too embarrassed.

Frame failure for yourself.
Failure is subjective. You can frame failure as career killing, but you gain nothing from this outlook. A better decision is to frame failure as a learning opportunity. Martha announced that she's a better person after her time in prison. Most of us, in fact, are better people from our failures, but if you don't frame it that way to yourself, you lose the opportunity to consciously put the learning to use.