I was thinking that a new blog design would be frivolous, and I should just write good posts. But then I ran the post about my new headshots, and the comments section was filled with people saying how much they hate the photo on my blog masthead.

That photo is from a time when I was just getting my big writing jobs—at Yahoo Finance and the Boston Globe—and my book was coming out. And the headshot was all about making me look older and wiser than people maybe thought I was.

But, really, I am not big on authority. I’m more about conversation. And I think it’s way more interesting to look a little off-kilter and ask good questions, than it is to look perfect and act like I have all the answers. So I knew it was time to change my photo.

Then I started getting excited about trying lots of new things on my blog.

Then I did what I do best: Found great people to work with.

The first person I chose was Jessi Pervola. She does the design work for my company, Brazen Careerist, and she is super fun because she thinks of new features and fun layouts that make people want to do more. So I thought maybe she’d do that for my blog.

Of course, all top-flight designers do what Jessi does, on some level. But the other thing that made me choose Jessi is that I love her blog. I love that the design is weird—with tons of white space that would scare most people. And I love that the first things you see when you go to her blog are these two links: What’s my problem? and The full list. It makes me laugh. And I think she must be really, really pulled together because she actually knows the number of problems she has.

The other person who worked on my blog is Clay Collins. He is the crazy, night-owl SEO guy who I have to stay up til 2am to talk to. But he is always worth the phone call, even though I usually consume 2000 calories in sugar-enhanced bread products in order to stay up that late. Clay has ideas like the poll. Or maybe that was Jessi’s idea. But that’s what is great about picking people who are great. They don’t bicker about whose ideas are whose. They don’t step on each others’ toes. They just come up with amazing stuff.

So here are some of the things that are new, and if you look around the site, you’ll find a bunch more:

My twitter feed is back. And for those of you who worry that I write too much snark about investors, you will be happy to read this twitter: An investor tells me don’t stop writing about investors. “It makes you differentiated,” he says. And he says, “Would that be a good pickup line?”

There is a poll. It will change every week. Maybe every Tuesday if I can stick to a schedule. There are so many things I want to ask you guys. Today’s question is about sex with your boss. But only because I wanted to ask if you thought I should change my photo all the time, but my editor—yes, now I guess I have a poll editor—said the sex one is more interesting.

The header is different. The queen of branding herself has a branding problem: I sold Brazen Careerist to my company, so I don’t actually own it anymore. So I really need to separate myself from the Brazen Careerist brand. I don’t quite know how to do it. Maybe Penelope’s Blog. Like Seth’s Blog? Or maybe I am too full of myself and I will never be Seth. (After all, Seth keeps getting book contracts to republish his posts, and when I tried to do that, my editor nearly canceled my contract.) So the header will probably change a lot—like, every night at 10pm when I have branding panic and call Jessi to make changes to the art.

It is no coincidence that I’m launching a new blog the week of Thanksgiving. Thank you so much, each of you, for being part of a community that makes finding success at the intersection of work and life a much less lonely process. I like that we all do this together.

This has been a tough year for me. Divorce, farmer tumult, funding a company in an economic crisis. And all of you have been a great reality check for me about what is going right and what isn’t and what we can expect from life.

You have also helped me to see that it’s been a great year. My blog allowed me to start my company, and my company allows me to have big, fun job and still pick my kids up after school. And believe it or not, I actually still have a fun dating life . . . but you’ll have to come back here to find out about that.

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  1. Celia
    Celia says:

    > Then I did what I do best: Found great people to work with.

    Wrong. What you do best is deceive with a manufactured/misleading resume and endless self-publicity. What was the name again of all those tech companies you founded? Still waiting, PT….

  2. John
    John says:

    Hey, Pee, you say your career advice appears is more than 200 papers.

    Could we have a list we could check please?

    You claim one of them is the SF Chronicle.

    I went over to their site http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ and did a search under your name for all of last year.

    ZIP!

    Then I called them. (I live in SF, so this is easy.) After much phone transferring, I tried the Jobs/Employment section. “Who?” the woman asked. I tried the blogs section. “Not here,” another woman said. “She says her writings appear in your paper,” I said. “What’s her site?” I told her. She wrote it down. “She should stop,” she said. “It’s not true.”

    We can just add that to the list of BS from PT.

      • John
        John says:

        Wow, one article in 2.5 years?? No wonder no one there ever heard of her. I guess that makes me a writer for the SF Chronicle too.

        I guess she subscribes to the Sarah Palin school of achievement. “I can see Russia from my house. That makes me qualified on foreign policy.”

    • gregcnorca.aim
      gregcnorca.aim says:

      Why does it seem so exciting to call out Penelope on meaningless things such as how many newspapers her articles are syndicated in?

      Bottom line, she was hired by the Boston Globe. She makes a living doing this. If you think it is all built on untruths, you are delusional and have far tooo much time on your hands.

      With all respect, stop being a such a pansy.

  3. Bill
    Bill says:

    @John & Celia – We all know that PT’s resume is, to be kind, embellished. (To be less kind: Wildly exaggerated.) That’s part of her charm and mystique.

    • John
      John says:

      Yeah, and other people get fired for doing what she promoted–oh, wait, she’s gotten fired for it too. Repeatedly. And now she’s a “career guru.” It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic.

      Even the farmer fired her!

      • Bill
        Bill says:

        Well, I don’t think she’s getting too many people fired these days. The last column I can find from her 200+ newspapers is from April in the Boston Globe. Maybe somebody here can post a link to a current column.

        “Appears” versus “has appeared”, 200 versus who-knows. Why get all technical? I’m only here to follow her personal life.

  4. zbnet
    zbnet says:

    Ah, I see envy at work in those comments, disguised as disapproval. Whatever.

    For the record, I’m with Chris above on the new blog layout – I actually preferred the old style. I’m a Gen Xer, just like you, Pen, and I’m wondering that if all the Gen Xers start to mimic Gen Y behaviour, eventually we’ll all be alike and the Gen Yers will lose their distinctiveness. I’m not saying be a cultural Luddite and resist all modernity, but celebrating diversity with eclecticism seems like the best of all worlds to me(!).

  5. Jennifer Lynn
    Jennifer Lynn says:

    Penelope-
    LOVE the new layout. It’s clean and modern, and the photo looks like you (or, the person I imagine writes this blog, if that makes sense).

    I’m also glad you’re separating yourself from the Brazen Careerist brand. First, it can be confusing who is the Brazen Careerist…you? the web site? the company? But it also seems like careerism is only a part of the conversations you start. I wonder if you need to be so narrowly defined. Sort of like the “advice” thing. Your blog is so much more than advice; it’s the beginning of a conversation.

  6. Tonia
    Tonia says:

    You mention you need a new ‘brand’ …
    It may be a little simple and even lame, but I think Penelope’s Trunk would be suitable.
    Your blog is simply a trunk full of your original ideas, thoughts about the career and self.
    You are your own brand. Just be you.

  7. Tonia
    Tonia says:

    … on second thought, if I recall correctly, you aren’t actually Penelope Trunk. So … my advice is void.
    But best of luck!

  8. marci alboher
    marci alboher says:

    I absolutely love the redesign. Fun features — the survey, the popular posts — will now make me read it here, rather than in my inbox where I usually do, which seems smart for traffic. (One odd thing — I think the comment form asks for your “URI,” rather than “URL”).

  9. Rachel - I Hate HR
    Rachel - I Hate HR says:

    Every time I read the comments to your blog I wonder why people keep coming back. If you don’t like what you read then go somewhere else. It’s like they get off on insulting you. I think it’s because you don’t fight back. It’s like beating a woman because you know she’ll hit back.

  10. Kari
    Kari says:

    This is great! And if I may suggest a new name, how ’bout just “The Intersection?”

    Also, totes agree with the person who said the haters are jealous.

  11. Sidney
    Sidney says:

    The troll comments, yes, are rude and not very clever. But the “lovers” (opposite of haters?) responses are frankly more troubling to me. When did this country become so intellectually insecure that now one can only read what one agrees with instead of content that challenges you? And if someone has a different take they should just “go away”?

    I don’t agree with a lot of what Penelope writes but I keep coming back because it is compelling, she’s a good writer and the blog is a nice time waster at the end of the work day. Plus as a Gen X’er who doesn’t worship the young nor is convinced that Gen Y is really going to do much to change the world I want to read someone (and follow various links that come up) that are the opposite of what I believe. How boring to only read stuff that validates your world view.

  12. An admirer
    An admirer says:

    Guess a new design really brings out all those jealous, insecure people who get a kick out of being nasty!
    I was glad to read that you chose “Georgia” with intent, as I’ve just redesigned my own blog and used Georgia. I’ve always looked to you and your blog, Penelope, to learn about blogging, so I’m glad we (and our designers) are of the same mindset for the font! Helps convince me it was the right choice. (Thanks to Jessi for jumping in with the links!)

  13. astrorainfall
    astrorainfall says:

    Love the new design, Penelope. The header you had before did make you look more intimidating, so the new photo puts a very human face to your voice. Look forward to reading about sex & relationships in your posts! lol…

  14. le
    le says:

    hello P … firstly thanks for stopping by the THIRD and adding to the thoughts – that post had my first public comment from you and the first ever from my husband …. so it will be rather special in my blogging world for some time.

    as to the freshen up – ya the photo, ya the work by Jess and co.

    Being an old school marketer I think you could easily progress away from the BC brand and migrate permanetly to the PT position – I recommend you as PT not BC – although it does make a catchy tag …. but the intersection line
    is very captivating as it stands with PT lead in.

    I for one join the queue of those who like the complexity of your material – you would have lost me months back if you stuck 100% to a one dimensional tack – without the PT elements.

    I do wish the ‘got nothing nice to say/not constructive criticism’ folk would pack up and picnic elsewhere …. it’s just not great reading when it adds no value to the overal sense of what is being discussed.

    Cheers for now le

  15. Amanda Hite
    Amanda Hite says:

    penelope,

    love the attractive photo change, new design and great poll. I actually come here because you mix it up a bit. i never know what to expect. it’s like a nice surprise and refreshing break. Career, sex, the farmer, divorse.. it’s at the intersection of work and life right? The important thing is you right good and interesting post. Period.

    about the brand. personally my interest has been in PT not BC.

    @ the haters. Get a life. Seriously, there are so many blogs and communities to be apart of out there. If you don’t like it don’t read it. Why would you waste your time? Instead get a hobby, see a therapis, whatever…

  16. principalspage
    principalspage says:

    The new site looks great. Well done.

    It’s the right combination of professional with just a hint of girly. Fits your blog to a t.

    Any chance of you sending your designers my way? I am assuming they work for free????

    Another quick question… is all of this… writing, meetings, companies, etc… fun or has it crossed over the dreaded line to work?

    Just asking. Not judging. We all have mouth(s) to feed.

  17. lilacorchid
    lilacorchid says:

    I really like the new design. Even though no one asked, the only thing I didn’t like was the “read more” link. I clicked on it to read more of the article, and found comments instead of more article.

  18. Kendall
    Kendall says:

    Just noticed this due to the new redesign –

    Why are all of your guest bloggers men?
    Or conversely, why don’t you have any female guest bloggers?

  19. Carla
    Carla says:

    I have nothing earth-shattering to add about your post, I just know you read the comments so I wanted to add my voice. It’s a brilliant photo and I think the new design really suits you and your objectives with this blog.

  20. Pamela Slim
    Pamela Slim says:

    Hey P!

    I LOVE the new blog design!!! Having met you in person, I can say that the new photo definitely captures the beautiful and bright person that you are.

    I am about to undergo a total overhaul on my blog as well, so I was so delighted to see someone else handle it well!

    And, as I always say, you have some of the most interesting content, and ruthless comments of any blog anywhere.

    To the first person who commented who obviously got bitten by his cat right after it pissed in his Cheerios, I would say: giving background and thoughts on your personal branding process is exceptionally useful and relevant to anyone who works for a living. Consider yourself lucky to see behind the curtain of someone who does it well and isn’t afraid to take huge risks in the name of authenticity.

    And, you absolutely can and should brand under your name. You have all the chops you need from a professional standpoint, and besides, this is your blog, do whatever you want!

    (but don’t change the photos every day – my editorial – will be confusing).

    Love the poll idea.

    Rock on sister!

    -Pam

  21. Patrick
    Patrick says:

    Love the new design and the new photo.

    A slight demerit for the way the comments look – they seem to have too much white space in them, or something.

  22. Brent
    Brent says:

    I am Brent and I am from NZ. If I am the one you’re thinking of “thanks for positive comments”… in fact, even if I’m not, thanks on behalf of whoever!

    It’s the adrenalin, lack of pretension and good positive overlap between cynicism and reality I like here… motivates!!!

  23. Meridith
    Meridith says:

    I love the new layout and your new photo, which is so much more flattering (and probably truer to what you look like in person) than the old one. You write that the new photo was taken to make you look older and more authoritative, but I think it makes you look youthful (not that you’re some old hag.) It must be odd to have so many random people like myself commenting on your appearance? Perhaps you’re used to it by now.

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