Thirty is a magic number for the new generation — a time when people want their career path and their family life in place. This is a difficult convergence to pull off, but more and more people are aiming for it.

Jessica Marshall Forbes summarizes these feelings as she describes getting married: “We always knew we wanted to get married before we were thirty. When you’re younger, in college, thirty seems like a turning point. And as I’m nearing that age, the significance hasn’t changed. Thirty is when you’re really grown up. At thirty you should know what you’re doing.”

For both men and women this is a key age to have their career goals in place. Lia Macko is co-author of the book, Midlife Crisis at 30: How the Stakes Have Changed for a New Generation — And What to Do about It Macko writes, “It may be socially acceptable to spend time searching for a professional calling during your twenties, but after 30, that grace period ends fast. Adjectives begin to change — ‘aspiring’ actors/filmmakers/musicians/writers are recast as ‘wannabes’ or ‘dilettantes’.”

However women have a more loaded marker of age thirty: Their biological clock. “Women take into account their reproductive potential is diminishing,” says Jeffrey Arnett, professor at Clark University and author of Emerging Adulthood. “Women think if they marry at thirty they can have two years with their husband and have a kid and then wait to years and have another kid. But if this doesn’t happen then they worry about the impact on their reproductive life.”

The worries are well founded: The chance of birth complications skyrockets after the age of 35. It used to be fashionable to tell women, “Don’t worry about babies. You have time. Concentrate on your career.” But now that the statistics on late motherhood are clearer, fears have set in. For Forbes, the self-imposed deadline for having children has everything to do with medical risk. She says age is not a concern “as long as I’m not getting to the point where complications start.”

So today many women find themselves in a position where they are struggling to line up a grand convergence of career, marriage and motherhood within a couple of years of age thirty. Lia Macko says, “In the past, women had kids when they were lower in the masthead. Now women are making decisions about kids and earning potential and marriage all at the same time and this is specific to their generation.”

This convergence means that it’s the first time in history that a large proportion of women have a big career and small children, and it appears that the combination is almost impossible. For example, sixty percent of women with MBAs are working at home, and an epidemic number of women are leaving corporate life when their children come. Women approaching age thirty face these statistics.

How can women alleviate some of the pressures of turning thirty? For one thing, Macko advises that you “Tune out the cultural white noise” and figure out a plan that will meet your own needs, regardless of the expectations people place on you.

Starting your own business is a great way to ensure that you can control your time as your thirty-year-mark approaches. Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin, author of How to Run Your Business Like a Girl, says that most entrepreneurs she interviewed for her book, “tried to do kids and corporate life and they couldn’t.” But Baskin encourages entrepreneurship at a relatively young age. She says “younger women are smarter about these issues from the get go” and realize before trying that corporate life is not compatible with family life.

Linda Babcock, professor of economics at Carnegie-Mellon University and author of the book, Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide encourages women to manage the convergence of fertility and finances by negotiating up front with their partner. “Ask questions like who will find the nanny and who will change jobs. You might change your mind, but you will set the tone for both parties making an adjustment when the baby comes.” Managing the changes one faces at age thirty is much easier if both partners are committed to absorbing some of the shock.

For those of you who are not in a position of convergence – for example, fielding the annoying question: “So you’re already 30. Where is your husband?” – recognize that all women face crisis issues at 30, it’s just that some issues focus on finding a partner or career and some focus on coping with having found them.

And while everyone has a different opinion about how to make women’s decision points easier, there is unanimous clamor that women must talk. The women who are most successful at navigating these issues are those who help each other, and talk about it with their significant others and their community. Dialogue is the first step toward finding a solution that works: Talk to your friends, and even your enemies – the wider the discussion the better.

I decided to spend the lull at the end of December working on my time management skills. What has happened, though, is I have merely gained a deeper understanding of why my time management has fallen apart.

Here are three strategies that everyone should be doing that I am not:

1. Do the most important thing first.
I have interviewed at least ten productivity experts who have said that this is one of their essential pieces of advice. So I decided to start doing this. But for the past week I have followed through on this commitment less than half the time.

Here is the cause for my failure: Fear. The most important thing of the day always matters the most, or is the hardest for me to do. Otherwise, I would have done it earlier. I am thinking that if I tell you this, then I will see how obvious it is that I have to plow through the fear or I’ll get nothing done.

But here’s a secondary reason I am not doing my most important thing first: I am addicted to the immediate gratification of blog metrics. I love that I can watch my achievements hour by hour. Minute by minute if I am particularly dreading my to do list and the traffic is particularly interesting.

I have a feeling I need to change the way I’m thinking about this problem. Dan Markus, one of the guys who told me how important it is to do the hardest thing first, gave me a suggestion: Treat yourself like you’d treat a kid. No dessert until you eat your dinner. No television until you clean your room. No blog metrics until you write your column.

2. Keep your email organized.
I know you’re supposed to use folders, and Merlin Mann can talk forever about how it’s important to keep your in box empty. So I have a filing system that empties my in box, but it involves arcane routines of renaming files that I transfer to folders I forget about.

So when I was buying the Lifehacker book I noticed that the book people most often bought with it was Total Workday Control Using Microsoft Outlook. So in a vote of confidence for the Lifehacker community, I bought the Outlook book, too.

Some people learn visually. I do not. And to me, the hundreds of screen shots in this book look like one of those puzzles where you try to find what has changed from one picture to the next. Besides that, just renaming one Task category took five pages. (Not that I got to the end, but I did skip ahead to take see where the end would be.)

I decided that my problem is not my task list so I stopped trying to adjust it. And according to the book, having a few more folders for moving mail quickly out of my in box will help. What a relief. Because I really like writing my to do list by hand.

3. Stick to a schedule.
If you don’t have a plan for how you’re going to meet your goals, then you probably won’t meet them. This advice is about to do lists, but also about schedules. You need to control your time so that you are spending it in a way that reflects your values.

I used to be really good at this. One of my strengths, for example, is that I block out 1pm to 8pm for my kids, and I can count on one hand the times I have made an exception to this rule in order to get more work done. But my schedule took a turn for the worst when I started blogging.

I told myself I need to remake my schedule where I block out time to blog each day. (Full disclosure: My posts take me more than three hours each. When I was first investigating blogging I interviewed Dervala Hanley, who is known for lovely writing. She told me she spent two hours on each post and I thought she was crazy to spend that much time on a blog. But now, look who’s crazy.)

Mysteriously, I figured out Outlook’s calendar without reading a book. So I started a calendar in Outlook. I scheduled every minute so I wouldn’t have time to sneak in visits to other bloggers’ metrics. I built in time for all the stuff I am not making time for lately — like getting my columns in before the deadline and spending enough time at the gym to feel like I’m actually doing something there.

My days were looking really good until I saw that I need three days every day to get my stuff done. Then it became clear why I am not sticking to a schedule: I’m not willing to give stuff up. (My husband says, “Give up the blog. That thing is like an online lottery ticket.” This comment, of course, is true. I will ignore it, but its a word of caution for anyone who is thinking of blogging.)

Parkinson’s Law says that our tasks expand to fit the amount of time we allot. (Thanks, Andy) This rings true to me because if I didn’t have kids I would swear that I had to work in the afternoons in order to survive. So I decided that I am not going to cut things out, I’m going to do things faster.

But to be honest, this has not been a rip-roaring success so far. For example, I told myself that I could only spend an hour on my post today. I went to Jason Warner’s blog, Meritocracy, and started thinking about his great statement of purpose that he posted this week. It is full of ideas about where we are with recruiting and what the workplace should provide people, and how we should treat each other. It’s an important post that would take me at least three hours to blog about. So I skipped it.

But believe me, this post that I wrote was no quickie, either.

The need to have regular human moments at work is similar to the need to stand up and stretch on an airplane: Your well-being depends on it. On top of that, a workday with regular face-to-face contact is more energizing than a day full of contacts exclusively via computer and phone.

So get out from behind your computer and have a “human moment” — a term coined by Harvard lecturer Edward M. Hallowell. He defines the human moment as “an authentic psychological encounter that can happen only when two people share the same physical space.”

The human moment is a quality of interaction you don’t get from computers, or even the phone. “In order to really converse with someone, you have to keep reading them– when they look at you, when they smile, when they turn away,” says Jayme Lewin Rich, an occupational therapist who specializes in treating sensory integration dysfunction. In front of a live person our brains read slews of visual cues every second, and we don’t get that opportunity otherwise.

Often the computer encourages superficial attention to streams of data, but talking face-to-face demands focused emotional and intellectual involvement. (This is why, for example, many people with autism love the computer and have little interest in faces.) Visual data about a person is fundamentally different for a brain to process than computer-screen data.

In the article, The Human Moment at Work (subscription) Hallowell presents a wide body of research to show that face-to-face interaction is essential for keeping our brains sharp. For example, deaths are three times higher for socially isolated people than for those with strong connections to others. And researchers at McGill University found that it takes less than a day of no normal contact with the outside world for an adult to start hallucinating.

Even when it’s not such drastic circumstances, talking to a live person can give us a surge of energy in the middle of the workday. “In-person contact stimulates an emotional reaction,” says Lawrence Honig, a neurologist at Columbia University. Bonding hormones are higher when people are face-to-face. And some scientists think that face-to-face contact stimulates the attention and pleasure neurotransmitter dopamine, and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that reduces fear and worry.

This explains why working at the computer or talking on the phone for a long time is as exhausting as staring at the TV. The brain starts to crave rest from input overload and fuel from human contact.

So when you’re feeling tired at work, try creating a human moment for an energy boost. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering and intimate. It can be short and professional. You just need to be paying attention.

Most people change jobs every two years, and, guess what? It’s a good thing to do for your career.

The Bureau of Labor reports that people in their 20s change jobs every 18 months, and CareerJournal reports that 75 percent of all workers are job hunting. All this change has been scoffed at by people who say the word “job hopper” with a sneer, but if you want to be engaged and passionate about your career, frequent change is probably a silver bullet.

Troy Jackson, who has had stints in Fortune 500 companies, a startup, and Harvard Business School, explains the rationale for changing jobs: “Being in a new position and doing something for a year or two is great. But later, the things that are not as appealing about the job start to wear on you. So changing positions or going to a new environment keeps you excited and keeps you wanting to learn.”

But let’s be clear: Haphazard change, leaving job after job for frivolous reasons – like you want a cubicle near a window- is not going to get you far in terms of finding engaging work. But switching jobs specifically to spark more engagement in your career is a smart.

“The people who win are not necessarily the smartest people, but they’re the people who are able to sustain drive, commitment, passion and engagement,” says David Maister, management consultant and author of the blog Passion, People and Principles. “What it takes to succeed is not intellectually difficult. Everyone knows what to do: Eat less and exercise more, for example. Success is about having the confidence and determination to do it.”

A precursor to sustaining passion, of course, is finding it. Sometimes you can do this with some help from a career coach. Curt Rosengren, for example, specializes in helping people find what they’re passionate about and creating a work life that harnesses that. He says you need to understand what motivates you — for example some people are motivated by competition, and some people are motivated by making personal impact – because those are the goals that will make you most excited.

But in many cases, the intense soul-search is not as effective as just going out and trying jobs until you find one you like. We are not very good at guessing what we’ll like, according to Daniel Gilbert, Harvard psychologist and author of the book, Stumbling on Happiness. He recommends that instead of philosophizing about career passion, just try a lot of jobs to find one that makes you happy.

Once you find that passion, it’s enticing to keep doing the same thing that you’re good at; the work world encourages this, because once people know you are good at something, they will ask you to do it all the time. But after a while, your learning curve plateaus, your personal growth sputters, and then your passion dissipates.

Maister says each of us has three modes: Dynamo, loser and cruiser. The first two are when you are doing something – getting a lot accomplished or failing – and both are important for growth. We all cruise, too, but “the trick is to have a system around you where you don’t let yourself cruise for too long,” says Maister.

So how do you do that? Force yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new. Once you accept that success and failure are both worthy avenues of personal development, it’s easy to understand the importance of trying new things, and risking that they’ll be bad ideas.

Jackson agreed to relocate from North Carolina to Boston, where his wife had a new job, and he started interviewing for jobs. He focused on large companies, because that’s where he had always worked, but in an effort to look at something new, he interviewed at a smaller startup, HiWired.

“It wasn’t until I started interviewing and talking to the people I’d be working with that the opportunity really revealed itself,” he said. By seeing how things were done at HiWired, he better understood the frustration he had at larger companies where getting something done took forever. He also realized that he could have ownership of something large at a startup – in this case, all of marketing.

Now, he realizes that one of the things that energize him about his job is getting things done quickly. Jackson would not have found this opportunity if he had not interviewed at a company outside the normal scope of his targets.

Another way to keep yourself from cruising is to always understand what gets you out of bed in the morning. “Really clarify this, because this is what keeps your momentum,” says Laurence Haughton, management consultant and author of the book It’s Not What You Say…It’s What You Do. To this end, he recommends, “Getting a checkup: Going to the dentist or doctor reminds you to floss or get on the treadmill. Go to a mentor who understands your goals … but will ask you tough questions.”

The problem with finding work that makes you passionate is that we are all passionate about a lot of things that don’t mesh well with work. Sex, for one thing, is something we love to do but don’t do for work.

So when you are deciding your next career step, try using the criteria Maister uses in his own career: “I ask myself three things: Is it as much fun as I thought it would be? Can I get paid for it? Can I make a [notable] contribution with it or will I be just another player?”

A lot of maintaining momentum is actually about dealing with setback. And even a passion maven like Rosengren, says, “It ain’t all sunshine.” So recognize when you need to manage yourself through a bad time, and when you are in cruising mode and need to get out.

And next time someone calls you a job hopper, stand up tall and proud, and tell them it’s a new workplace, and strategic job hopping is a new way to create a passionate career.

It’s been a big few weeks here at Brazen Careerist.

First, I’ve been accepted at 9Rules, a smart, very picky, community of serious bloggers, and I’ve been invited to be part of the Washington Post’s blog program as well.

On top of that, blogs with very heavy traffic have been linking here, so average daily page views for December have jumped to about 4000.

With all this attention has come an amazing community of people who comment on the blog and who email me directly. The conversation is a gift to me — a bunch of very interesting people who are willing to talk about topics I’m interested in. The community is what makes blogging fun. People told me that at the beginning of my life as a blogger, but I didn’t get it until a few months later.

Hosting a conversation is tricky. I’ve been writing a column for seven years. People who have been reading for the whole time have put up with a lot of repetition as I revisit and revisit my pet topics. And when I see a bunch of new readers, I think, the conversation will be better if I get everyone up to speed on these issues.

It’s a fine line, though. Sarah Davis pointed out that I’m repeating myself. It’s true. In the post she’s referring to I link five or six times to other posts of mine.

I think, though, that sometimes to grow with a topic you have to revisit the topic, and look at a slightly different angle. It’s a fine line between that and sounding like a scratched record. I am working on finding the right side of that line.

Meanwhile, I like that Sarah is sticking with me – and reading critically – while I’m figuring out when to revisit a topic within a fast-growing community. I hope there are lots of people like her out there.

I am sick of advice about how to achieve financial freedom. Freedom from what? I have asked some people, who I will not link to, since I’m dissing them, and the most common answer is that they want to be able to make decisions about their life based on what they want, not on what they can afford.

HELLO???? Can everyone standing in line to buy a Lear Jet please get a reality check? You do not need a plane to be happy, you need a plane to go visit the people who make you happy. A jet is not an expression of financial freedom. It’s an expression of your decision to not live near the people who mean the most to you.

I think the root of the idea of “financial freedom” means freedom from having to do a job you don’t like. But this thinking comes from the baby boomers who felt compelled to climb ladders doing jobs that destroyed their personal life.

Today we don’t do that. Many people of ladder-climbing age today don’t believe it’s worth the trouble. Today you can hold out to get a job you love at the beginning of your career. Financial freedom is not a prerequisite.

Financial freedom is becoming an outdated goal for today’s workers. Jim Buckmaster, chief executive of Craigslist, mystified Wall St. analysts when he explained that he’s not interested in building a megacompany, and he just wants to maintain Craigslist as a company that gives people what they need (via the tweney review).

But I think most people are not so much mystified as just plain grateful for the down-to-earth attitude at Craigslist. And plenty of research shows that the people at Craigslist have the right attitude; it’s futile to make money a career goal since you’ll never feel like you have enough.

You know what really determines our happiness levels? Not money, but how optimistic we are and how often we have monogamous sex. Money cannot solve big problems, like cancer or world hunger or happiness. Money solves small problems, like, can you have a big wedding, can you go on a good trip. Small problems are what people talk about when they talk about “I can help you get financial freedom.”

But why spend your life figuring out how to get rid of small problems with money? You can work hard to make yourself a more optimistic person, and then you will be able to overcome most small problems. So let’s stop talking about financial freedom and start talking about learned optimism.

Optimism is the ability to see the world in a positive light. Optimists are happier people, and there is no reason why everyone shouldn’t attempt to think more optimistically. Don’t tell me a happy outlook will squash your creativity. Part of creative production is the manic optimistic self-confidence that what you are thinking of is a great idea.

How does this relate to careers? Once you make the switch to thinking like an optimist you will have real freedom — freedom to do what will be fulfilling and accommodate your personal life instead of what will make you rich.

One of the mantras of the online marketing world is that if you want to get something noticed, you need an offline and an online marketing plan. Because each type of marketing is more powerful when used with the other type.

Bloggers are generous with advice about how to get mentioned on blogs, but what about the other way around? How do individuals — bloggers and nonbloggers — get mentioned in print?

We all need to get ourselves noticed for what we are doing. Sometimes you will promote yourself as an employee, sometimes as a consultant, sometimes it’ll be a product idea you have. Also, today job hunting is a lifestyle, not an event, and you are always on a publicity campaign for yourself (via CM Access). So advice for bloggers about how to get into print applies to the nonblogging careerist as well.

Here are six tips for getting yourself into the mainstream print media:

1. Don’t pitch yourself, pitch an idea.
Bloggers get popular by infusing their personality into their information, but the mainstream media doesn’t care about your personality as much as your ideas. (This might be why it’s so hard for many mainstream journalists to become bloggers. But it’s also why bloggers are so annoying to many mainstream journalists.)

Also, most articles in print are not about bloggers. If you want to get into the majority of articles, you need to pitch yourself as an expert on an idea. The blog is secondary -it’s like an author’s book. The book or blog is not the news, the ideas are.

2. Pitch an idea with the print audience in mind.
Your idea needs to appeal to the hundreds of thousands of readers of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, not the 40,000 readers of your blog. So for newspapers, pitch broad. If you wrote a gardening blog, for example, broad would be ten winter gardening trends.

Magazines are more niche-oriented, but it’s their niche, not yours. An angle for Self magazine is how gardening gets you in shape. And you, the gardening blogger, can be quoted as an expert. An article in Maxim would be how to have sex in a garden. You can still be quoted as the gardening expert – like, don’t do it near rose bushes.

The trick is to pitch a topic that gets the media outlet excited. So you really have to know what they have written about before in your area so you don’t sound redundant.

3. Tailor the idea to the journalist.
Here’s something print journalists and bloggers have in common: They love when you do the heavy lifting for them. And like bloggers, sometimes if you write a pitch well, a print journalist will run the pitch almost verbatim, (even in the New York Times).

Also like bloggers, print journalists have an area they write about, and you need to pitch ideas that are in their area. For example, I write about careers, but not all career stories are right for me; I almost never write topics that are geared toward someone over 60, but people pitch me those topics all the time. (Those ideas are perfect for AARP magazine, which, by the way, has an enormous readership.)

4. Sign up for Profnet.
This service costs a few hundred dollars, but it’s worth it if you really want offline publicity. Journalists go to this site to ask for specific information from a specific type of person. If you meet those criteria, you can send the journalist a pitch via email and if you really are a match, the journalist will contact you. Profnet is a key tool in most publicists’ toolboxes and it’s accessible to anyone (who can pay).

5. Answer questions strategically.
Just because you get an interview doesn’t mean you’ll be in the piece the journalist is writing. You need to give a useful quote.

You will not get a treatise into the San Francisco Chronicle, so when they call, don’t spew one. Give succinct summaries of big ideas because that’s what’s quotable. If the reporter asks for more information after that, then give it.

On a broad topic – like what are the new snowboarding trends? – have three main points. On a narrow topic – like snowboarders break a lot of bones – give a snappy quote that supports the journalist’s point of view, if you can. The person who gives the journalist the key quote is the last person to be cut.

6. Be available.
A lot of people want to be quoted in the paper. And you are probably not the only person who would be appropriate. So respond to an interview inquiry quickly, and be available when the journalist needs to talk. Unlike bloggers, print journalists answer to someone else’s schedule. They are on deadline. Help them and they’ll love you.

This is, indeed, a lot of work, but remember that viral marketing isn’t only online. When a print journalist sees you quoted in one print publication, she is more likely to write about you in her publication.

Conversely, if you gave an interview and you’re not in the article, you did a bad job in the interview and probably won’t get a call from that journalist again. But keep working at it. I have found that the people who give the most interviews are the best at doing them.

And when I interview someone who is great at giving an interview, I realize that this skill is really about talking in a way that makes people feel engaged — a skill anyone can use at any time in their career.

I moved to Madison without knowing anyone here. So I found a babysitter through the University of Wisconsin graduate program in early education. The woman I found was great. But she said that she was really busy, and could her boyfriend babysit instead.

I squashed all my sexist stereotypes of babysitters and asked for his qualifications. She said he has a law degree in Puerto Rico, where they are from, but he can’t work here because he didn’t pass the Wisconsin bar, and he doesn’t want to study for it because they’ll only be here two years. So he is looking for work. He has five younger siblings and he babysat them.

I said okay. I did the normal routine — stayed with him and the baby one day. Went out for a little the next. The third day I told him I’d be at the coffee shop. It’s the only store in our neighborhood, so I told him if he wants to go there, go when the baby is asleep so the baby doesn’t see me and start crying for me.

Sure enough, the babysitter shows up at the coffee shop at naptime.

I say, “Where’s the baby?”

He says, “At home.”

“AT HOME?!?!?”

So I sprint eight blocks home, imagining all the most terrible things a mom can imagine about a steep flight of stairs. I get home and the baby is asleep, on my bed, ten feet from an open stairway.

The guy says, “I’m sorry.”

I say, “You can just go.”

He says, “I think it was a language problem. I just misunderstood you. I thought you told me to go to the coffee shop and leave the baby at home.”

This actually happened two months ago. I haven’t written about it because I was blaming myself. But really, this could happen to anyone. It does. My friend paid a chic-chic agency in the New York City area to find her a bonded, background-checked nanny. But she turned out to be anorexic and she fainted behind the wheel. My friend didn’t know until the car was wrapped around a pole. (Everyone safe, thank goodness.)

The difficulty of leaving a baby to go to work cannot be understated. And babysitting situations like this make it even more difficult. So we’ve now gone months with no babysitter, and my husband is about to kill me (because he’s picking up a lot of the slack).

So here’s where the advice comes in, right? Where I tell you how to find a perfect babysitter or something. But there are no perfect babysitter situations. It’s the nature of motherhood to be unsure of leaving. One thing I can tell you, though, is that this I am a part of the opt-out generation: I sprinted up corporate ladders and ran two startups of my own, and I don’t want to do that now, when I have young kids.

A press release from Lifetime Television just announced, “Women in generation Y do not want to permanently drop out of the workforce.” The assumption here, of course, is that the Generation X women– me — who are dropping out of corporate life today are going to abstain from all business for the next twenty years until all their kids are in college. If this were not the assumption, no one would bother with the Lifetime press release.

Newsflash: The current opt-out phenomenon is not permanent. Leaving a baby with a sitter is very, very hard for the mother, (even if the sitter is not leaving the kids at home alone), and only moderately okay for the baby. Some moms can do it, some can’t, most fall somewhere in between, like me.

As the kids get older, the opt-out revolution is about opting out of the absurd and inflexible hours that corporate America is demanding right now. It is not opting out of all work that does not involve kids. In fact, the majority of small businesses are started by women for these very reasons. This is not about being stuck. This is about being true to our values.

So finally, here is some advice: Understand that babysitter problems are not unique to you. They are part of a massive trend that is changing work and home. One bad babysitter doesn’t mean you should give up on corporate life, and the crazy demands of corporate life don’t mean that you should give up on work outside the home. We are all trying to find a compromise, and some of us are trying to find a sitter.

Recruiting practices are changing at a break-neck pace as new technology emerges, and many recruiters are software savvy and focused on innovation. (In fact so many recruiters are blogging that this week is the annual best recruiting blog contest.) These changes in recruiting cause fundamental changes in job hunting. Two months ago, I listed ten job hunt tactics you might not know. Here are six more to consider:

1. Use your blog as a resume.
Yes, that time has officially arrived: In some cases, “you can stop with the resume and just use a blog,” says Jason Warner, head of North America recruiting for Starbucks and author of the blog “I could send you my resume. But do you really care what I did at Starbucks, or do you care how I’ll solve problems at your company and what’s important to me?”

Also, the presumption is on your side if you let a recruiter know you have a blog: “Blogging has given me an outlet to think about things differently,” says Warner, “and I am convinced that blogging makes people smarter.”

2. Find a blogger you want to work for.
Your chances of landing a job are much better if you know the person you will be working for, so find a blogger you’d like to work for, and start posting comments.

Most companies have at least one employee, or even a CEO, who is a dedicated blogger. Large companies, like Sun, have hundreds of serious bloggers. And most blogs have very small communities — one blogger and about twenty people who post intelligent comments on a regular basis. Make yourself one of those regulars over the span of a couple of months, and the blogger will appreciate you enough to do an informational interview. And then you’ll be at the top of his mind when he has a job opening.

Bonus: A blog is revealing of the writer, so you’ll have a good sense what you’re getting into when you go to work for a blogger.

3. Negotiate to change your current job.
Smart employers understand that they need to make flexible jobs in order to keep employees. Deloitte says they saved $100 million by creating flexible jobs for people who would otherwise leave. And Warner writes, in a post with one of my favorite titles, Holy Negotiation, BATNA!, that you are often in a more powerful position than you realize when you negotiate with an employer.

4. Build something the employer wants to buy.
It’s hard to stomach the idea of going to a big corporation and being entry level, but it’s also hard to imagine running a startup out of your basement for years and years with no financial stability in sight. A compromise is to build a feature that some company wants to buy for their current product line.

Writely is an example of this tactic — Google bought the company while the software was in beta, and now the Writely team works at Google.

Another example: Netflix is offering $1 million to anyone who can improve their search mechanisms by 10%, and you could either take the money and run, or you could sell what you develop to a company that will take you on board in a salaried position you help create.

5. Find a recruiter to be your agent.
For this, admittedly, you have to be a star performer, but if you are, you can work with someone like David Perry, who has been known to attract the best of the best and then successfully represent those people to companies as if Perry is a Hollywood agent and the candidate is the movie star.

Perry describes this process for a time he represented two marketing geniuses: “I took them as a team. I calculated the return on investment and wrote the value proposition. I researched the market, created a web site and blog for them and built their profile by lining up newspaper interviews and podcasts.”

This is actually a primer for anyone who wants to market themselves. But by hooking up with a recruiter-agent-type like Perry, the results can be dramatic: “In the end,” he says, “the guys received eight offers, and they took five and started their own advertising agency.”

6. Sift through resume piles for possibilities.
If you have ever hired someone, you probably faced the loathsome stack of random resumes. But hold it. Maybe there’s someone there you don’t have a job for but you’d like to meet. The pile can tell you who’s out there. Or maybe there are twelve resumes from the same team at the same company. That’s competitive information. And maybe you can find a job for yourself in that pile; giving career advice must be genetic, because this final tip comes from my mom.

Countless workplace studies have shown that a diverse staff is likely to outperform a homogenous staff. So with all this talk about diversity, why are we still hanging Christmas wreaths at work?

Not everyone at the office celebrates Christmas, and acting as if everyone has the “holiday spirit” squelches the spirit of workplace diversity.

Diversity in the workplace is not “diverse religious expression.” Diversity should express itself in how people approach business problems. Religion is not appropriate at work in the same way that politics is not appropriate; both are divisive.

Corporate events that are tied to religion make people who don’t practice that religion feel like outsiders and therefore inhibit diversity. (And those of you who think Happy Holidays is non-sectarian, please realize that almost all non-Christians I know hear “Happy Holidays” as “Merry Christmas to those of you who do not celebrate it.”)

For me, the Christmas problem starts early – at Yom Kippur, which usually falls in September. This is the most important holiday for Jews, but I have never gotten this holiday off from work. I take vacation days to observe Yom Kippur. And I don’t complain about using my vacation days because it is absurd to think everyone should stop working because the Jews have a holiday.

But as workers, Jews have to observe Christmas. For us, it’s a weird day to be off from work. No stores are open. There’s nothing on TV. Most restaurants are closed. It’s a boring day, a good day to be at work. So when Christmas rolls around, many Jews would be happy to work on the 25th and have a more useful day off. But we are forced to take a holiday.

Given the nothingness of Christmas to most Jews, it is absurd how much Christmas cheer that Jews partake in just to fit in at the office.

Vendors send Christmas cards, co-workers say “Happy Holidays,” clients expect Christmas gifts. Jews partake in all these moments because the best way to succeed at work is to fit in. The bottom line is that Jews are forced to be what they are not in order to fit in, and that is never good when you’re trying to promote the diverse expression of ideas.

I can already hear the uproar: “Christmas is not about religion!” It’s always the Christians who say that. Christmas is about religion because Christians celebrate Christmas.

Jews don’t do Christmas. Muslims don’t do Christmas. Buddhists don’t do Christmas. And no one rants and raves about how religious or nonreligious Christmas is except the Christians. That’s because they feel they have authority over the holiday – it’s theirs.

Here’s an exercise for those of you who have gotten to the bottom of this column and are infuriated (I know you’re there – you send e-mail to me every December): Try to see my point of view. Even if you don’t agree with me, acknowledge that my point of view represents a minority in the workplace. If you cannot step outside yourself and see things from a minority perspective, you will not be able to manage minorities. And if you want your career to be upwardly mobile, you need to be able to manage diversity.

If you want to be kind and generous and contribute to peace on earth in the New Year, help minorities to fit in. Open your mind to experiences that are different than your own. Look at ways your office makes diversity difficult and fix them. You can start by getting rid of those Christmas wreaths.