The process of picking the best posts of 2008 is actually very subjective. But I do think that year-end lists are a good way to look at the conversations we have had this year, and how our thinking has changed both personally and collectively.

Posts about my divorce weren’t my most popular, but I learned the most from them:

A Case Study in Staying Resilient: My Divorce Feb. 2008 (131)
I was scared to post an announcement about my divorce because I was in the middle of raising our first round of funding, and I thought I’d freak out investors. But I was more scared that if I stopped posting about myself I’d ruin the blog and my desire to write it. So I followed this post five seconds later with one about me being on CNN in an effort to distract investors. It turned out that investors were much more interested in divorce than CNN, and I realized that I was being rewarded by investors for being true to myself. Bonus: We raised $700,000 in funding.

Keeping an Eye on My Career While I go through a Divorce May 2008 (95)
The New York Times wrote about my divorce and questioned whether I should be blogging about it. My divorce lawyer told me I was going to jeopardize my settlement by blogging. “You look reckless,” he told me. I decided that I was willing to lose money in the settlement to be able to keep writing about my life. Addendum: My almost-ex-husband never complained about the blog.

Posts about the farmer were also not my most popular. But they were the most exciting for me to write. It’s been a year full of soul-searching about a lot of things in my life, including this blog. I knew I didn’t want to 500 posts on how to write a good resume. But I knew I wanted to still write about the intersection of work and life. The farmer gave me the opportunity to try something new. And these posts ended up opening a larger conversation among you guys about what I should be writing on the blog — input and insight that I really appreciate.

A New Way to Measure Blog ROI June 2008 (112)

How I Started Taming My Workaholic Tendencies June 2008 (136)

Vulnerability is the Key to Likability at Work (and on the Farm) Aug. 2008 (104)

Self-Sabotage is Never Limited to Just One Area of Your Life Oct. 2008 (47)

How to Go to a Meeting When You Want to Sit Home and Cry Nov. 2008 (103)

This is the list you were probably expecting. Before I got sidetracked:

Subjectively popular posts of 2008

The Hardest Part of My Job is that Everyone Lies about Parenting June 2008 (161)

Plastic Surgery is the Next Must-Have Career Tool, Maybe May 2008 (126)

Advice from the Top: Marry a Stay-at-Home Spouse or Buy the Equivalent May 2008 (168)

7 Reasons Why Graduate School is Outdated June 2008 (135)

Living Up to Your Potential is BS June 2008 (202)

My Annual Rant about Christmas at Work Dec. 2008 (187)

Post that generated the most thank-you notes:

How to Answer the Toughest Interview Question Feb. 2008 (117)

Post that I cried the most while I wrote:

The Part of Postpartum Depression that No one Talks About Feb. 2008 (102)

Post with the most diatribes in the comments section:

Writing Without Typos is Totally Outdated May 2008 (151)

Post that generated the most interviews from mainstream media:

Give Thanks that there is No Job Shortage for Young People Nov. 2008 (115)

Most popular guest post:

Twentysomething: Why My Generation is More Productive than Yours Sept. 2008 (140)

Thank you so much for all your comments and emails. The blog continues to be my favorite part of my job. And maybe my favorite job that I’ve ever had.

12 replies
  1. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    Your blog has been a great learning experience for me also – from you and your readers.
    I like that you broke out these post selections by category. I LOL when I saw “Post with the most diatribes in the comments section” was a category.
    I look forward to reading your blog in 2009.

  2. jrandom42
    jrandom42 says:

    I asked this question of Penelope a year ago, and I still haven’t gotten an answer. In hopes of getting an answer, I am reposting the question:

    “You said, in numerous entries, that social skills were crucial in the workplace, and that anyone with deficient social skills, especially us Aspergers, would essentially doomed to be fired eventually. Despite decades of classes, coaching and the help of family, I still find navigating the social arena like walking through a minefield blindfolded. I still find myself fumbling through social situations and feel even more awkward than an actor who is failing at a role in a totally different language. My social skills are mediocre at best. I'm exhausted at the end of the day, attempting to extend my awareness to other people, only to find that my efforts have been only partly successful.

    I've developed a specialty, and I think I'm pretty good at it. But that apparently doesn't mean anything anymore. If I'm not socially adept, then all my knowledge, skills and experience is useless, according to you. So, after all this, what else is left for me and others like me?

    Is there any place where I can make use of my strengths, minimize my weaknesses, without being seen as strange, weird, socially crippled and inept? Or is it simply that none of my strengths matter and that being different in the workplace is a swift ticket to being gotten rid of? I have seen far too many situations where likeability and social skills are so crucial, that competence is ignored.

    What I would like to see, especially from a parent of an Asperger child, is some entries in your blog on how us Aspies can succeed, make a difference and advance in our work life and home life. Is it too much to ask for a little help, advice and hope? As it seems now, from your blog, my future (and that of many other Aspies) is unrelentingly bleak, being doomed to be unemployed and alone.”

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Okay. Let me think about it. I actually get this request pretty often. I have some ideas.

      Look for a response to your request in 2009.

      And until then, hang in there….

      -Penelope

  3. Miriam Salpeter
    Miriam Salpeter says:

    Penelope – I’ve just celebrated one year of blogging, and I wanted to thank you for helping to inspire my writing. When I first joined the blogging world, you were one of my first blogging mentors (albeit unknowingly)! I learned a lot about how blog writing is different from essay writing, how to link and how to find my own voice by reading your work. Imagine my delight when you asked for a guest post for BrazenCareerist.com! I appreciate your blog and am glad to know that it’s your favorite job!

    I hope the New Year brings you much happiness and success!

  4. Neil C.
    Neil C. says:

    Best 18 posts? Way to narrow it down. What’s next-the best 100 movies of 2008? It’s all good.

    On a serious note I appreciate the sincerity on some of your posts in 2008-you really opened up about the struggles in your personal life. It is one of the things that makes you unique as a writer. I will remember 2008 for the birth of my daughter & I appreciated your advice on it.

    Did you mention earlier something about being on 20-20? Let us know.

  5. Mark F.
    Mark F. says:

    They were all good, favorite was Living up to your potential, in reality you are living up to yours, whether you realize it or not. Being an evangelist is hard, especially in your chosen work/life. You inspire others, which is in a sense leadership too…you take risks, you do not kiss ass (except for an occassional VC)…you buck the status quo. You are not afraid to say what you think even if it is not politically correct…maybe potential should be replaced with Living Life to your FULLEST…I strive to live my life to the fullest too… everyone sets there own Life bucket to fill and yours is spilling over…enjoyed having a view into your life and work in 2008…
    catch you in the new year (Happy holidays)…
    M

  6. Kristin T.
    Kristin T. says:

    I really appreciate how you tackle the work-life intersection in your writing. Finding that balance is never easy; the messier life gets, the more tempting it is to compartmentalize (I know first-hand–I also went through a divorce with young children).

    In looking back at your posts of 2008, you’ve proven, once again, that as bloggers we shouldn’t be focused on what we think we should be writing about, or what we imagine people want to read–we have to write about what’s real, and what matters most to us.

  7. SallyR
    SallyR says:

    Thank you. You have made me laugh, cry and get mad, sometimes all in the same post. Keep going. You are a special lady (not in a freaky 1970’s cologne commercial kind of way, but in the you’re really great and I admire you kind of way).

  8. Milosz B
    Milosz B says:

    Dear Penelope, I don’t really have a career and English isn’t even my first language, but I really, really do appreciate your writing – insightful, funny and straight to the point.

    My favourite quote of 2008 and possibly of the entire blog: “You are on this earth to be kind. That is your only potential.”. This hit very close to home, because the reason I don’t have a career is that the world just doesn’t recognise me as the talented genius I am, so there you go. Keep on with the great work!

  9. Susan Lim
    Susan Lim says:

    I really like it when you blog about your life, and not just work. It makes you more like a human, because we all struggle in life to find and fight for the things we want.

    I respect you in a lot of ways because you are not afraid to write how sad and vulnerable you are when dealing with things like relationship and divorce.

  10. William
    William says:

    The idea just came to me this evening. I’m interested in
    quite a few different things. I am 83 years old, I worked until I was 78 and have been miserable every since.
    I enjoy working with the computer. I a have pretty good list of subjects that I believe would be interesting to other people.
    Bill Brown

Comments are closed.