How to deal with getting fired (from Yahoo)

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I just got fired from Yahoo Finance.

The long road to my quick termination started in the spring, when I grew friendly with one of the higher-ups in engineering at Yahoo. When he became my boss’s boss’s boss at Yahoo, he suggested that we meet if we were ever both in New York at the same time.

It turned out that we would both be there in December, so I asked him if he wanted to get together, and he said yes. His secretary said she’d email me the venue when the date was closer.

The week before, the venue turned out to be the Yahoo offices in New York. I thought that was weird for a casual meeting with a guy who did not even have his own office at that building. That is when I should have called to find out if we had a specific topic for the meeting.

When I got to the meeting my boss’s boss was there as well, so I knew there was a big topic. I told myself to never ever walk into another meeting in my life without knowing who is coming and why I am there. I told myself to stay calm and start looking for clues about our topic so I could mentally prepare.

They went on and on about some sort of technical problem that was happening that day. Of the three of us, two were nontechnical, so I realized this topic was selected due to nervous energy: A clue that this meeting would be really bad.

To his credit, the guy I thought I was friendly with got right down to the point: “We are not renewing your contract.”

The first thought I had was: When is my contract up?

And then I realized: Oh. Now.

The next thought I had was: Be poised. Do not break down right now.

I have been fired a lot. Sometimes it has not mattered, like when my grandma fired me from her bookstore because I kept reading on the job. Sometimes it has been a bad scene with me shaking because I was so scared – like when I was fired at Ingram Micro for using the computer for non-work-related stuff (Yes, people got fired for that in 1995.)

But I checked in with myself at Yahoo and realized that I was fine. I was not going to cry. I was actually in problem-solving mode.

So I asked why I was being fired.

Maybe you are thinking it’s because every week, 400 people leave comments on Yahoo saying how stupid I am. (And surely today’s final column at Yahoo Finance will break records for she-is-so-stupid comments.) But that’s not the reason my column was cancelled; Yahoo is about traffic, and according to Wikipedia, my column has some of the highest traffic on all of Yahoo.

It turns out that financial content gets a higher CPM (advertising rate) than career content. So while my column has a lot of traffic, Yahoo sells my career column to advertisers as part of the Yahoo Finance package, and I bring down the CPM of the whole package.

That’s a fair reason to cancel the column. And actually, if it were not resulting in a huge financial hit for me, it would be an interesting reason.

Here’s what a career advisor does when she is being fired: She tries to remember the advice she gives to everyone else when they are getting fired.

I asked if there’s another place I can write at Yahoo. This tactic is straight out of the book: Use your last moments to network, even if you are getting fired.

Here’s what my boss’s boss’s boss said: “You should write for Lifestyles. That is more women oriented.”

Immediately I was reminded of when my column was cancelled at Business 2.0 magazine. After I had recently announced that I was pregnant and said I did not plan to take any time off from writing the column.

My editor told me, as he was firing me, “Now that you’re going to be a mom you should try writing someplace like Working Mother.”

This advice from ex-bosses makes me question my own advice about getting help from people who are firing you. But still, discussions progressed at Yahoo to HotJobs, which is a Yahoo channel, and I could end up writing for them.

Also, a big trade publication called me last week to see if I want to write a column for them. The editor said that she sees me as such a huge risk taker, and she expects that the column will be a lot about that – how to take risks.

The thing is, I don’t think I’m a huge risk taker. I just choose the lifestyle I want first, before I choose my work. Lifestyle first means that I turned down entry-level bullshit jobs in favor of playing professional beach volleyball. Not because I was dying to have all my friends think I was a lunatic, but because I couldn’t believe people expect you to do mindless work after earning a college degree.

And the same is true now. I am a freelance writer because if I worked nine-to-five I wouldn’t see my kids. That’s my bottom line. There have been so many times when I’ve told myself that I can’t stand the instability of a freelancer’s life. But more than that, I can’t stand the idea that I would only see my kids on the weekends.

People ask me all the time how can they get this life that I have where I do something I love, get to make my own hours, and support a family. Seems great, right? But that life also comes with this: having no idea how I’ll get paid next. And it happens all the time.

Soon, I hope, I’ll be able to draw a salary from my startup. And my speaking career is going well enough that getting fired from Yahoo won’t kill me. But I am worried, and I think about not telling people that I feel worried because everyone who is negotiating with me now knows that money is super important to me, and I’m probably not going to walk away from an offer.

But more important than preserving an edge negotiating money is somehow documenting how hard it is to be true to yourself, how hard it is to be at risk all the time. It’s a tradeoff. Sometimes my life looks glamorous. Sometimes it doesn’t. It’s all the same life though.

268 replies
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  1. aaron
    aaron says:

    Ahh…yes. One more indication showing how google gets it and yahoo doesn’t.

    Because at yahoo, they’ve (sadly) long since digressed into “maximizing shareholder value” vs. “helping the customer kick ass”

    “yeah…she’s a great draw, does a very excellent job, but frankly you’re just not meeting our arbitrary metrics”.

    Take heart Penelope, it could be worse. ( )


  2. chuck
    chuck says:

    Sounds like a very strange way to get fired, a chance meeting while both are in New York? I guess they weren’t too upset at your work. At least there are other sources of income while you seek better employment than at Yahoo. Your articles are certainly thought-provoking and interesting to read.

    I agree with another poster, call Google – they’d love to widen the gap with Yahoo even more….

    Enjoy those kids during the holidays!!

  3. A Gal
    A Gal says:


    Your advice has always been about what is *really* going on in the world, but people are either too stupid or too scared to acknowledge it. I would say also that your comments about the “next generation” of work are also true. Here in Silicon Valley where I work, your posts are stunningly accurate and on point. I suspect that many of the commenters on Y! finance are simply old men, or perhaps someone you’ve personally offended, or perhaps even a competitor. People in the midwest do not understand yet—their old line factories have not yet caught up with the new world reality. These are the same people who riot at the idea of the global economy.

    Hang in there, girl. I must tell you I think the people at Y! really are Yahoos—-I’ve yet to meet people who worked there who were intelligent with leadership skills. I’ve turned down several opportunities to work there because the people were just insufferable. Most are people trying to do as little as possible to get by to protect their stock options. Having you fly on your own time and expense to NYC to pull this crap is typical of the Harvard Business School morons I’ve worked with—::snort:: leadership my a$$.

    I don’t always agree with you—In particular I think you embrace the “age wars” concept a little too much—but you are honest about your life, direct in your writing, and always have something new and interesting to write about.

    Slightly off topic–I was stunned to read the comments at Y! finance that someone suggested you not use links in your posts? Where do their readers come from, Mississippi? Sheesh!

    You’ve been on my RSS feed for awhile, and like the others I hated going to Y! to finish a column from my blog reader. So….consider me a loyal reader.

  4. Jeremiah
    Jeremiah says:

    I’d occasionally glance at the comments from your Yahoo article and was really disappointed with the unprofessionalism. It’s one thing to disagree but name calling is just ridiculous.

    Yahoo’s audience really wasn’t a good fit (I can’t believe I just used that HR cop-out phrase)for you. Microsoft’s MSN is in desperate need of some attention, maybe you give them a call.

  5. John
    John says:


    I’ve been using the MBPT as my hammer lately and it works for alot of nails!

    I am a ENFP and am guessing that is what you are too. When I read your material, I understand your points exactly. With this type of thinking, I have had a very successful (in flexibility and money) engineering consulting career.

    The 400 comments came from mostly IS (Introverted Sensing) people. Who is most likely to be conducting a dialog using a computer, introverted or extraverted? And who bases their decisions on written information, intuitive or sensing?

    Why are there so many IS boomers writing negative comments?

    1. Your largest audience is by definition IS people which is our Inferior type.

    I suspect the x’er culture has produced more EN people and the boomer culture has created more IS people. I also think something in the Jewish culture tends to create more EN people. (I would like to see a study on this!)

    2. The IS people don’t understand EN people.

    We synthesize and draw conclusions based on things that seem perfectly obvious to us, but they don’t understand how we come come up with this “crap”. Professionally, I try to have a ES or IN person buffer my dialog with the IS types. (seek an editor of these types)

    3. IS are more likely to write comments.

    As an ENFJ, I have never left comments on Yahoo in support of you. Unless I have something insightful to add, I have better things to do.
    Only a bored person would leave comments with no added insight. The IS people like to be in a routine, don’t move on for better things, therefore are more likely to be bored.

  6. Denita
    Denita says:

    I really enjoyed reading your articles on yahoo. Now that I have found your blog I am hooked. By looking at the amount of negative comments left on Yahoo, I will have to agree with Jeremiah. The Yahoo audience (in general) was not a good fit.

    Keep up the good work.

  7. jahmai
    jahmai says:

    You are simply awesome. I found you through Yahoo; so if nothing else it was a conduit to a larger audience. I am eager to see what the future brings to you, you are a role model and mentor to me and many others. Wherever you land, we will all be here.

  8. Alexandra Levit
    Alexandra Levit says:

    Hi Penelope, I’m really sorry to hear about this. If it makes you feel better, from my perspective your personal blog has been more influential than your Yahoo! column. I know how hard the financial stuff can be, but at least the speaking is bringing in good money, and you still get higher advances for your books than most authors I know.

    I too sometimes get mired in the difficulties of the life we have chosen, and it helps when a colleague or reader says to me that they would give anything to be in my position: to be doing what they love, on their own schedule. I think that we really are very lucky in the scheme of things.

    Hang in there. 2008 is bound to bring lots of good things.


    Alexandra Levit

  9. Charlie
    Charlie says:

    Hi Penelope! That really sucks about Yahoo. I loved reading your column there. I know you will land something great very soon. In my experience of getting fired, it always frees me up to accept an even better opportunity!

    Also, I think your life seems glamorous because you have the knowledge, ability and platform to help people. You have helped me to clarify my career goals and to see what matters most to me. It’s really wonderful what you do.

  10. late_twentysomething
    late_twentysomething says:

    Well — sounds like the Yahoo! execs don’t know how to make money off great content. This does not bode well for them, but given the way that company has been going lately, not much does.

    Good luck! If more people just add your RSS feed here, you won’t need Yahoo! :)

  11. Jim
    Jim says:

    Sorry to hear about the unfortunate turn of events.

    But at the risk of preaching a bit…..As a career adviser, you would do well to take a lesson from Dave Ramsey’s teachings to prepare yourself financially for the sudden loss of income. If you follow his philosophies, you’ll make yourself financially healthy enough to withstand the uncontrollable circumstances you’ve just experienced. The grass will be more green and the air will be more fresh than ever once you’ve achieved financial freedom. It’ll set you free.

    Good luck going forward.

  12. finance girl
    finance girl says:

    Hey Miss P, sorry to hear about this.

    It’s never fun.

    As you know, personal finance, especially behavioral finance, is my Big Passion.

    So if you ever want to discuss personal financial ideas/options, just email me, ok?

    As you know I volunteer as a financial counselor here in SEA and help people all the time with their financial roadmap.

  13. Leonard Klaatu
    Leonard Klaatu says:

    The end of one thing signals the beginning of something else. You can’t have one without the other. Now that the end of Yahoo is behind you – let’s see what now gets started.

    It’ll be fun to watch. Maybe even inspirational.

    Live long and prosper – Spock


  14. Suzanne
    Suzanne says:

    I can guarantee that there is a bigger opportunity for you and this firing is just making room for that. I’ve been telling my friends this for years when crappy things happen at work. Then about 1.5 years ago I had a crappy work thing happen to me (didn’t get a promotion I thought was in the bag) and one of my friends gave me the whole “bigger opportunity” speech and I was really annoyed with her. But she was right. I got my dream job six months later. Had I been promoted, I’d still be at my old job working with a bunch of monkeys.

    I know you’re a tough chick and really don’t need my pep talk, but I wanted to send some positive vibes your way.

  15. Ted
    Ted says:

    Hey, don’t look the lifestyles thing like an insult. Career driven advice does fit in better with a lifestyles channel than an investing channel. Regardless of the proposed audience, it could just be the perfect fit with far fewer dismissive comments.

  16. Mojo
    Mojo says:


    Most of the people who cast stones on the Yahoo blog aren’t smart enough to use an RSS reader – as always, it’s sure that you’ll receive a more thoughtful and critical response on your blog.

    Yahoo’s decision to enable comments on their expert blogs was a misguided attempt to generate any sort of viral effect after so many other failed attempts at creativity – I’m sure it boosted the bottom line a little, but it will inevitably drive away talent. They have consistently grasped at straws and shuffled their feet as the managers and sycophants wrench the reigns away from the creative and technically adept at that organization.

    Yahoo is a company in deep pain and in serious need of an identity enema. They have a staggering (internal and external) inferiority complex to Google and are hacking away with a machete at everything outside the core group (you) before they actually admit the true depth of the coming restructure. This reeks of a mid-level executive attempting to save his job.

    It is truly ironic and sad that they would cut loose such a fruitful source of traffic without even considering an immediate internal referral – it speaks to the deep disfunction and siloism that exists in that organization.

    The truth is rarely popular with corporatism – you have been honest and helped those who would listen to maybe avoid the 2-7% yearly pay increase for which so many misguided souls will settle. In that, you have helped people grow and enjoy more fulfilling lives. Thank You.

    Good luck with your future – I will be reading.


  17. Katie
    Katie says:

    I fired Yahoo about 10 years ago. Who really does use Yahoo?? Do they really have anything to offer? They aren’t anything special..

    This is a blessing in disguise as the ending of most jobs. You should be really happy you are not associated with a company that is not going any where. They seem to be content with being number 2. Personally I think your writing is star status and I am really surprised that I randomly found your web page.

    Oh and I am here also

    “The thing is, I don't think I'm a huge risk taker. I just choose the lifestyle I want first, before I choose my work. Lifestyle first means that I turned down entry-level bullshit jobs in favor of playing professional beach volleyball. Not because I was dying to have all my friends think I was a lunatic, but because I couldn't believe people expect you to do mindless work after earning a college degree.”

    it makes life more livable and interesting.

    Good Luck with whatever you do.

    P.S. Yahoo: Business 2.0 went out of business because they made stupid business decisions like letting great writers go..

  18. Jeff O'Connor
    Jeff O'Connor says:

    I’m sorry to see you leaving, Penelope, and even sorrier about Business 2.0, which I still miss even after all this time.

    I’d like to think there’s some possibility the “Lifestyles” comment was meant sincerely and with the best of intentions but just came out horribly, horribly wrong. This doesn’t seem to be the case, however.

    I wish you the best going forward, and I’d like to see how Yahoo responds to this, if at all (you know there will be people posting about it all over the blogosphere and the conversation boards at Yahoo – I came here via Valleywag).

    It might come as a total shock to them to find out that there are actually working women who make and invest money and appreciate a woman’s presence – and perspective – on finance and career issues!

    How about *that* for a “Lifestyles” topic?

  19. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    Although I have rarely agreed with your advice. I have enjoyed you column. It’s been nice to get a different view point than my own. I’m also far to mature to bash you on your own bandwidth.

    Good luck in your future endeavors. I will continue to follow your blog

  20. matt
    matt says:

    I’m glad that your alarmingly bad advice such as “Don’t ask for time off, just take it.” and “Tone down your work ethic.” will no longer be part of Yahoo!.

  21. Pamela Slim
    Pamela Slim says:


    Strange how after reading your post and all the comments that all I feel is happiness and joy for you.

    Getting fired sucks, yes, when you aren’t quite prepared. I know theoretically we should all have six month’s expenses in the bank, but the reality is that most people don’t. For all I know you may … but it still requires a big attitude adjustment to get used to less predictable income each month.

    The reason I know you will be ok is that you speak your truth. You may not feel like a risk-taker, but from my perspective you are one of the most courageous people I know. You speak your truth, even when you know it is unpopular and will make you a target. Those that don’t write for a living may not understand the emotional fortitude it takes to write from your heart about things that are important to you, then hang a picture of your face on a great big target when you press the “publish” button. It is so much easier to criticize than come up with original ideas!

    I agree with the readers that say Yahoo was not the best place for you. There are “your” people out there (many at this blog) waiting for your specific advice, who will put it to good use and make positive changes in their life. No advice is right for everyone, since we are all different.

    Taking you out of that gig has freed you up for a different situation, one which will stretch and grow you in new ways.

    When my husband lost a few huge contracts this year with no notice, we used the time to step back and re-assess what we wanted to do with the business. The downtime allowed us to complete some key things that have positioned us for more stability and growth in the coming year. It was scary as hell figuring out the financial side, but we made it and everything worked out.

    You are bright and talented and will not hurt for money to take care of your family. Trust me! Just keep doing what you are doing.

    Happy New Year! Looking forward to the next chapter.

  22. lizriz
    lizriz says:

    Your column was the first and only thing I’ve read on Yahoo! I loved the fresh perspective, and to be honest, the weird hate comments were really an interesting window into a dying corporate mindset. I’ll miss your column, but I look forward to whatever comes next. Personally, I’m hoping it’s not “lifestyles” – blech!

    Good luck.

  23. dawn
    dawn says:

    Penelope, I know you’ll bounce from this and likely onto something even better. Here’s hoping this is one of the closed doors/opened windows deals, which will lead to a more prosperous 2008!!

  24. Dave Atkins
    Dave Atkins says:

    Thanks for sharing this; I can imagine how disruptive it would be to lose that contract. But I’m still a little envious–you have multiple streams of income whereas I merely have multiple streams of work. Losing a big income stream is tough, but it is not the same thing as if I were fired from my job and suddenly unemployed without health care coverage for my growing family.

    I think it is smart for you to tell the story (the facts behind the “why”) here. The permanently pessimistic readers at yahoo will claim victory and try to spin this as vindication of their criticism of you. Actually it simply proves they are worth less to yahoo than the successful people who read the financial blogs on yahoo. All those yapping fools are bringing down the collective value of the Yahoo Finance brand…so, arguably, they got fired too.

    I think you will find something better quickly. Good luck!

  25. Samara
    Samara says:

    First and foremost edw is a loser and needs to grow up.

    Secondly I am sorry about being fired from Yahoo, but you never know…being fired from Yahoo could open up new and better doors for you.

    P.S. I wish I could make a living off of web-design so I could be with my 3 children everyday instead of working a 9-5. You’re truly blessed.

  26. Susan Sherrouse
    Susan Sherrouse says:

    I’ve always been a firm believer in two things: When God closes a door, he always opens a window; and living well is the best revenge.

    Go & get ’em! I know that you will do a great column wherever you land, and it will be fabulous! You always seem to get to the root of the issue (even if others don’t want to hear it) quickly, and offer great advice.

    Good luck in the New Year, and in your new endeavors!

  27. Tyler Sigman
    Tyler Sigman says:


    I’ve really enjoyed reading your Yahoo! column–such a fresh perspective on careers and life. Don’t lose any of your edge and your opinions; they challenge us as readers and life-livers. I look forward to seeing where you land next.

    Game Designer, Writer

  28. Mrs. Micah
    Mrs. Micah says:

    I suggest you get in a flowery dress with a frilly apron and go back to the guy who suggested you write about “Womens’ topics” and tell him that you’d love to take his suggestion, but you’re afraid that your role is to stay home and cook all day long, so you really don’t feel comfortable with it. You’re grateful however, that he was so kind as to suggest something like that…..ahh, what a twit.

    Business is as much for women as finance and as childraising and as cooking.

    Anyway, good luck with your next move!

  29. A Gal
    A Gal says:

    Another idea, you might consider writing for the Wall Street Journal. They have some great blogs and I think your content would be super fresh for them. They have a great blog called The Juggle that is often controversial and heated in its exchanges, though much less filled with vitriol than Yahoo Finance.

  30. Tertius
    Tertius says:


    The whole ‘I got canned because I brought the CPM rate down’ is pure baloney. Doesn’t it make sense that if “Yahoo is about traffic” and your “column has some of the highest traffic on all of Yahoo” then Yahoo would keep you around since you provide their advertizers with the exposure they desire? If you provided more impressions than the other columnists (which your citation of Wikipedia supports) then you should attract a higher CPM, not lower.

    I can only conclude that CPM was not the rfeal reason they dumped you. The real reason was that your advice was just terrible – plain and simple. Your column made a mockery of Yahoo’s attempt to provide reliable, sound advice, so they no longer wanted to associate your “brand” with theirs. Result – you got canned. You weren’t the first (e.g. Rosie – great for the ratings, terrible brand), and you won’t be the last.

    My advice to you and your readers is: work hard, do a good job, and don’t expect something for nothing.

  31. Casey
    Casey says:

    I never read what you write for Yahoo, unless you link to it from your blog. I’m extremely selective about the blogs I read daily; I only allow myself five and if I find one I like better than my five, I have to eliminate one. You are solidly in my five. I admire your fearless candor and your balance between your personal struggles and achievements and career advice. I’ve used your advice to my significant benefit when negotiating salary for a new job. Just wanted you to know that, even when I totally disagree with you, I think you are quite spectacular.

  32. Erik
    Erik says:

    Tertius –

    CPM is not about how much traffic you have. It’s about how much each impression is worth. Yahoo is about traffic, but they need to monetize that traffic.

  33. A Gal
    A Gal says:

    I’m amused the pinheads from Yahoo have shown up. They must really be losers with no life to follow someone around like this.

    Don’t feed the trolls folks. Ignore them and they will go away.

    Penelope, I urge you to purge the comments that come from people like trunk addict. I don’t want to have to read that negativity.

  34. bob
    bob says:

    maybe you should go get an MBA. It’s a great degree for changing the direction of your career. In addition to providing a great business network, it gives you more qualifications and education to put on your resume, which it seems like you might be needing now. Just a thought.

  35. Arlene
    Arlene says:

    I can’t believe that Yahoo thinks “finance” is just about what the stock market is doing or not doing today or whether the housing boom was actually a bubble (DUH). Zillions of sites cover money in a male-oriented way, complete with sports metaphors, which is a real snoozer for over half the population.

    They’re SO wrong about this. Chin up, Penelope.

  36. ejohnson
    ejohnson says:

    I think the column on yahoo finance was just geared toward a different crowd and age group. Mostly workers in their 40’s who work a stable 9-5 job and find it insulting to read any other options are available, which they obviously are. People don’t like change. Especially old timers who work their daily jobs, raise kids and don’t think they have time to be creative. I think they are partially angered because they know a lot of the information in PT’s blog is true.

    Now I don’t want to insult anybody who “work hard, do a good job, and don't expect something for nothing” like my man Tertius says, but I don’t see anything in this blog that has anything conflicting with working hard and getting something for nothing. On the contrary, the advice on this column emphasizes the hard work it takes to make it and PT’s career path shows that.

    It’s unbelievable to me the amount of negative comments these old timers describe in the yahoo finance articles and it really feels that SOME of them believe in what they write and aren’t just writing for fun. As a 27 year old Y gen, I now realize the age gap makes such a huge difference. Its amazing.

  37. Tertius
    Tertius says:

    You said “Yahoo is about traffic, but they need to monetize that traffic.” I could not agree more. In fact that was my point. Her brand outweighed the traffic. Same thing with Rosie. PT’s advice was terrible; and her reputation was even worse. This was especially the case once she was outed as Adrienne Eisen. Yahoo had no choice but to dump her, high traffic or not. The fact is, like it or not, we are often judged by the company we keep. Yahoo is trying to build/maintain a reputation as a credible/professional source for business and financial news/information. We can debate whether or not they’re being successful, but the bottom line was that PT seriously undermines that goal.

    And here Gen-Y is another lesson – the choices we make while we are young can have lifelong consequences. Once PT decided to establish herself as a professional business/career advisor, she should have buried all the Adrienne Eisen stuff as deep as she could. It completely destroyed any hope of her ever having professional credibility.

  38. ejohnson
    ejohnson says:

    it’s not terrible advice, just not fit for yahoo finance maybe? Old man Tertius is just bitter and has nothing else to do at his 9-5 job. Where he gets paid to sit around surfing the web and chat with other losers who make an average of 50k a year with their benefits and great vacation time complaining about their jobs and lives all day and being annoyed when people tell them they have to actually do something like pick up the phone or send out an email.

  39. Laser-Red
    Laser-Red says:

    Been there: Done that! I too recall an annual contract that was not renewed. It was a dream job while it lasted. Not really a problem though, because I left a bunch of axx holes behind, even though many friends suffered as well. You will be better off being who you are, and not getting back into the same future you faced coming out of college. You now have a terrific credential to list on your resume’. Perseverance is a virtue; hang in there!

  40. Elizabeth Partin
    Elizabeth Partin says:

    Penelope, I always look forward to your blog. I read my blogs in order and your voice is clear, informative and quirky. I usually read through your post twice to see if I missed anything. Your links are plentiful and worth visiting.

    I never understood the Yahoo column anyway except for the good pay. I guess I thought Yahoo was trying to broaden their base by adding your column. And I thought that was a good strategy for them.

    I noticed a few comments telling you that you owe your popularity to the Yahoo column. For me, it was the other way around. I read Yahoo because I had visited your blog most days. You seem to be a ‘land on your feet kind of girl’ so…. on to the next venture.

    Elizabeth Partin

  41. Jesse Cline
    Jesse Cline says:

    Anyone else appreciate the irony of the comments here?

    Number 1) Ad hominem attacks on the audience of Yahoo! Finance who are usually criticized for their ad hominem attacks on Penelope.

    Number 2) All of you people think Penelope’s advice is dogma, but she just lost her job.

    Yahoo! Finance is a well respected finance site and the home page of thousands of professionals. We are not all Baby Boomers (I’m 26). Of course the ad hominem attacks are uncalled for, but there are plenty of people (like myself) who debate and debunk Penelope’s advice when we disagree with it (which is honestly only like 25% of the time). Every week I read insiteful commentary that addresses the same topic from a different point of view.

    Penelope is a human that just lost her job and I feel bad about that. But it is just proof that no one knows everything and all “expert advice” should be taken with a grain of salt and scrutinized. In the accounting world we call it professional skepticism.

    The thing is, its hard to give advice that hits every personality type. There is no definition of successful, so of course there is no way in hell of describing the personality type that becomes successful. There are tons of extroverted people who make a killing in sales or executive positions, and there are tons of introverted people who make a killing managing hedge funds and analyzing portfolios. It doesn’t mean one is better than the other or one is right and one is wrong, it just means we are different and take different paths to be successful.

    I think the target market at Yahoo Finance should have been the latter, and that is what Penelope’s major flaw was. Instead of targeting that group, she did the opposite and created a divide pitting intros vs extras, young vs old, etc. How relevant would it be for me to go to a marketing website and address the importance of keeping current with economics and accounting standards?

  42. Jesse Cline
    Jesse Cline says:

    EJohnson: “As a 27 year old Y gen, I now realize the age gap makes such a huge difference. Its amazing.”

    Please don’t speak for our generation. You are perpetuating the myth that we are all arrogant and have a sense of entitlement.

    When I was 16 I thought I knew everything, by the time I was 18 I looked back and knew I had no idea.

    When I was 18 I thought I knew everything, by the time I was 21 I looked back and knew I had no idea.

    Now I look back at when I was 21 and realize I still had no idea what I was talking about. Hopefull when I am 60 I will still be looking back like that. Its called wisdom and experience. Don’t assume you know more than an older person solely because you read career blogs. A lot of these blogs just say what we want to hear, and it doesn’t mean its true.

  43. deepali
    deepali says:

    You know, getting fired is like breaking up. Sometimes it’s because someone did something wrong. And sometimes it’s because it just isn’t going to work out. There’s nothing wrong with the second. Penelope’s losing her job at Yahoo doesn’t mean she isn’t qualified to give career advice. It just means she was in the wrong position, will hopefully learn something from it, and will go on to blog about it and share the lessons. That’s where the really good advice comes from – someone learning something the hard way and sharing that experience with the rest of us.

  44. Doug K
    Doug K says:

    I’m sorry for your firing. Personally I’d have had a very difficult time not kicking the condescending twit who told you to write “womens’ stuff”. That’s disgraceful and he should be ashamed. I hope his wife gives him hell..

    This astonished me:
    “I don't think I'm a huge risk taker. I just choose the lifestyle I want first, before I choose my work. ”
    Choosing a lifestyle is a perquisite of the rich, more specifically the rich who inherited their wealth. The rest of us don’t get it. You have to sell a part of your life to get a living. Now I agree that the price of getting a living may be far too high, but it’s on a scale with the risk taken. Choosing your lifestyle first puts you on the extreme edge of risky business.

  45. ejohnson
    ejohnson says:

    Congratulation on being happy and excited about your career. It’s defintely one path, I’m just saying there are others. I graduated from UCLA computer science back in 01 and worked at northrup as a s/w engineer for 2 years before I started consulting work and jumping on various projects. Not the greatest technical school nor grades, but it was easy to get a job back then with the degree. I have a couple clients which has provided income on a retainer bases since the time i worked at northrup, i also do consulting work at a regular industry rate of 65/hr fulltime. I also am involved in various startups which generate just enough income to cover the costs but have high upside potential and are damn exciting. I do NOT have vacation, benefits (i pay them on my own and have SEP IRA as well as 401k from northup and great medical which costs about 4-500 a month) and although i took the past 2 months off to work on other projects and to travel. I requested a part time contract for renewal as opposed to a fulltime to allow for more flexibility. Here are some of your criticisms, I know you were bringing them up in a snide kind of way, but just wanted to make comments on them anyway:

    Do yoga in the bathroom – Many people work out or do stretching exercises, go to the gym, and even have posters that companies hand out to teach them how. Her advice was pretty much aligned with those in corporate.

    facebook my CEO – I facebook, google, linked in a lot of people I meet which help me gain information before meeting with them, interviwing or talking to them about business. “Never eat alone” is a great book that mentions these tools in networking. a CEO would be a great candidate for this.

    for the ladies: show a little skin – thats obvious. I like that, you like that.. even girls like that if its not in a slutty way.

    also for the ladies: expect a little sexual harassment at work (but don't tell HR as it is bad for your career) – the main point was “little” sexual harrasement. she doesn’t advocate not reporting actual misconduct (and come on, you have enough common sense t know what that is, and also enough comment sense to know that the way many guys communicate with girls regularly can be construed as “little” sexual harrasement depending on who you speak with) to HR.

    take vacation whenever you feel like it, without asking your boss – You should take a vacation when you need it while making sure your responsiblities are taken care of and if your boss has a problem with you taking a vacation even though all your bases are covered.. then thats another issue with the company and boss.

    cut corners on your work – work efficiently..i bet your employees could finish their work in nearly half the time alloted… more or les.. especially if you’re an “engineering” manager, you shoud know this. I have various projects I outsource and as long as the clients are satisfied and service is exceptional, i don’t see any problems. I’m not a brain surgeon, i think it’s fine..

    work at 8 different jobs by the time you're 30 – I dont even understand what you issue is with this. You think it’s better to stay at a job for 8-10 years out of college when you know that most recent grads aren’t sure what they really want to do or what their real skills lie in at at that point in their lives? They’ll be stuck at a certain point with the choice of starting from scratch in another career path or just staying with a current career they hate.

    get training on how to deal with e-mail in lieue of pay raises. when I was working in corporate the raises were 5-8%, it varies depending on industry and company of course. But I spent more utilizing their training in programming/database/leadership/speech/business courses than that easily. 1 course was 2500 itself.. it was condensed all day weekend course for programming that lead to me taking a jump into consulting and side projects i did during my time at northrup which doubled my income instantly based off the billing rate at that time. I totally agree training is so much more valuable than the pay raise. People work at great companies with low rates because their training programs and experience you get could be exception, for example accenture.

    don't take promotions as they are bad for your career. – If you think that promotion is what you want and will futher your career in what you want to do OR personal goals then go for it.. if it doesn’t then why do it unless you care solely about the title.

    skip the graduate degree and advanced education". – Before I left the company one option was to stay and get a MBA paid for by the company or get out there on my own. My brother has MS and an MBA with a stable finance company with 30K bonuses.. but my total income has been consistently 50-80% greater than his depending on the year and quarter and continues to grow.. I’m not knocking on advanced degrees, im just saying I agree with PT that it’s not necessary, you just have to see if it aligns with your goals and weigh opportunity costs. I myself want to go back for an MBA in the future because of other business and networking opportunities.

    Now if I didn’t follow advice like this, advice that involves personal growth, and logically analyzing the situation and seeing if it makes sense in regards to what I want in the future and not basing it on the status quo and on what the majority of the people out there say, then I would be a software engineering pulling in 75-85K will full benefits, vacation, year end shutdown (like many engineering companies, 401k and all that crap that sounds good but at the end, they’re all just numbers… I would be working 9-6 or 7-3:30 and I would be doing FINE… But I looked at the directors and managers (like yourself) and saw their daily tasks, compared their salaries and benefits (similar to yours) and just decided it wasn’t for me. It might be for YOU but to judge other people’s career advice as invalid just because it doesn’t follow yours doesn’t make sense.

    Yes I know you consider me young at my age. That’s fine, i know i lack experience in many aspects of life, business and career, but thats the fun part of designing your own lifestyle and career paths. I make money and I have fun doing it.. some of the things I do aren’t traditional, and im fine with it. The articles on this site aren’t traditional as well. It’s more of a way of thinking, part personal development, part financial and career. It might not have been a fit for yahoo finance but oh well…

  46. Joe
    Joe says:

    It’s one thing for Yahoo commenters to blast away at Penelope’s articles. It’s quite another to come over to her online home and kick her on her worst day. The latter violates basic human decency. Penelope, I wish you well.

  47. ejohnson
    ejohnson says:

    Jesse Cline,
    I agree with you. But I am a gen Y’er that could be arrogant and could at time’s have a sense of entitlement… I definitely do not know more than those older all the time, but also could in certain subject matters. I’ve had the same experience as you looking back and know i still will.. i don’t see what your point is in that.
    “Don't assume you know more than an older person solely because you read career blogs. ”
    I think most people who read career blogs don’t think they know more than other on the subjects they read.. and neither do I. Sorry you got that assumption from the comment. There are those know it alls that do that but i’m not one of them.

  48. Brian Johnson
    Brian Johnson says:

    So glad to hear you’ve been unbridled from that baggage of a responsibility. I know that you’ve never been phased by the criticism from the brain trust commenters at Yahoo, but I think a lot of us that seriously contemplate these topics are tired of the surface level inflammatory reactions that do nothing to move an important conversation forward. To the extent that those idiots migrate to this forum, we are all worse off for it.

    And isn’t it likely that at SOME level, taking that kind of verbal abuse weekly has a negative impact? I’d be shocked if there isn’t at least some adverse impact on your writing, relationships, or approach to public conversation from that abuse. I’m really looking forward to your insights about that experience a year from now after it’s been purged from your subconscious.

    Your confidence, pride, and ability to take criticism make you a hero of mine, but even still, I think this is outstanding news all-in-all.

    Can’t wait to watch the new company develop.

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