I do a lot of interviews. At least two or three a week — ranging from CNN to local newspapers. And no matter where the interview is running, there are some things you need to know about doing a good one:

1. Be interesting. The questions people ask you are not really what they want to know. It's what they think will be interesting. They would ask you about the price of tea in China if they thought the answer would be interesting.

So your job in an interview is to give an answer that is entertaining and thought-provoking and all the other things that people like. You don't need to answer the question as much as you need to answer the need for interestingness.

2. Be short. The world does not have an unlimited attention span to hear how your mind works. So you can't think out loud in an interview and have everyone wait til you get to your point. Your point has to start right away.

Also, if you are short then you are more likely to be interesting the whole time. The longer you talk about a given topic the harder it is to keep someone's interest. In the PR world this is called “soundbite”. But really, you can use the sound bite technique everywhere — on radio, in a blog post, on a date. Read more

We finally locked up funding for my company. There are some catches, though, and one of them is that we can't use the funding to pay back debt.

This is a problem because our company has been out of money, pretty much, since November. We have revenue, but not enough to cover operating expenses. So we've all given up a portion of our salary for a while now. And we stopped paying rent. And we didn't pay freelancers, (which meant that for the past months, any time something broke, it was very high stakes because we couldn’t hire someone to fix it.)

The lack of money got so bad that one day I was driving to Chicago to meet an investor but the company credit card (which is really Ryan Healy's credit card) was declined. And I didn't have money for gas. So I had to drive back to the Brazen Careerist office and get money from Ryan Paugh, who is the only person in the company who has any sort of financial cushion in his life. But he only had $20, which is not enough to get to Chicago, so the investor had to meet me in Milwaukee. And buy me lunch.

The no-money thing has also been stressful at home. At first I cut back on stuff that was not a good idea. Like, cut back on the vet for our two new kittens, and then it turns out they are not that new, at least to the world, because one got the other pregnant. And now it's really expensive because we have to have a cat abortion. Read more

I love RealSelf. It’s a site that educates women about choices for looking younger.

I have written a lot about how anti-aging information is essential for managing one’s career. Aging is not equal in the workplace. Women are penalized much more heavily than men. So women can gain power in the world through knowledge of the tools for looking younger.

But mainstream media is reluctant to recommend that women turn to a resource like RealSelf. Those reporters don't like the reality of the world they live in, so they don't write about it.

That's why public relations professionals should scrap the traditional pitch to mainstream media — saying that is almost cutting edge, except that Obama's team beat me to it:

Time magazine has great analysis on why Obama's campaign team was so effective. Read more

As the recession persists, we can watch social shifts and cultural trends. Some are good, some are bad. But in either case, one way to control how the recession affects you is to watch the larger trends and decide where you want to fit.

Here are five trends that are emerging in the face of the largest job-loss numbers in the last four decades.

1. Being cost-conscious is cool.
These days, for the wives of the few investment bankers who still have jobs, shopping couture is something to do in secret. Hermes gives unmarked bags for customers who request it. The Obama girls showed up to the inauguration wearing J. Crew. And they looked adorable, which should inspire the reasonably-priced shopper in all of us.

And cost-cutting isn’t just about fashion. Michelle Obama has to overhaul the White House décor. (Great quote from Barack: “I’m not a plates-on-the-walls kind of guy.”) And she’s heading toward Pottery Barn. I love that!

This trend is very freeing to me because my favorite dress for this winter is from Target. It is velvet but not really velvet — sort of crap, cheap velvet. And when I bought it, in September, I worried that it was over-the-top-cheap. But now, I feel more uncomfortable wearing my $400 boots than I do wearing the $20 dress.

2. An increasing backlash against baby boomers.
Newsflash: The baby boomers got us into this mess. They borrowed against future generations. They mishandled SEC regulations. Read more

The house manager comes in my front door at 8am. I tell her, “The exterminator is in the kitchen but I forgot to get the cats and bunny out of the house, and the cleaning woman is in the dining room, but she cannot clean while the exterminator is here, and I forgot to send the violin to school for first-grade show-and-tell day.”

The house manager watches me run upstairs to change and yell behind myself that I have a big meeting at work and I can't reschedule the exterminator because my son already thinks we have too many ants in the kitchen and I don't want him to think we live in a nut house where we can't even deal with an ant problem. Then I yell downstairs: “Does anyone know where my black top is?”

The house manager comes upstairs. She says, “First of all, you have twenty black tops and second of all you sound like you're losing your mind.”

I look at her.

She says: “You need a drink.”

“A drink? Are you kidding? I have to go to work. It's 8am.”

“You need to take the edge off yourself. You sound like a nut.”

I decide that this is an interesting idea. “But,” I say, “We don't have a drink here. I mean. What would I drink?”

She points out that I still have the wine my editor at Yahoo sent when he fired me.

I think about how Alex Morris wrote in New York Magazine that women who are in control of their lives drink because drinking is more fun: I want fun. I want control. So I say, “Okay. Fine. I'll try it.” Read more

Being laid off used to be taboo. But not anymore. And most of us have thought through some sort of plan for if it happens to us. Gone are the days when people pretend this is not happening.

One of the things my ex-husband and I did well, as did our peers, was learn to tag-team in the layoff department. We both got laid off pretty much all the time throughout the 90s. And somehow, we got a sort of routine, and it became a normal way of life.

Today there is a generation of us in the workforce, totally familiar with layoffs, and totally unfamiliar with the idea that a job is secure. Ever. The good news about this is that there is not a huge difference between someone laid off and someone not laid off in that all of us feel vulnerable and scared.

Which means the etiquette is different than it used to be for talking to someone who's been laid off.

1. Don’t ask “how’s the job hunt?”
Do you know how many times a day someone hears this if he is unemployed? Ten. And even if it’s not ten really, it’s ten in his head. He asks himself that, and he imagines other people asking that, and he stresses about the answer. Because the job hunt doesn’t change much from day to day, but it’s demoralizing to report that.

So trust that someone who is laid off who has something great to report will volunteer it without you asking. Read more

This guest post is part of the Twentysomething series of guest posts that I run periodically.

Today’s guest post is an open letter to Obama from a twentysomething investment banker working in a London office of a US bank. The letter is in response to the salary caps Obama is putting on bankers who receive bailout money. The cap is $500,000.

I do not necessarily agree with the ideas in this letter, but I think this is an important workplace topic for debate.

Dear Mr. Obama,

First of all, I would like to say how relieved I am to have made it through your firewall despite writing from my workplace account. Secondly, I would like to congratulate you on your bold and assertive moves to nip that pernicious weed we call capitalism in the bud. It’s about time somone brought change to the outdated american dream.

I would like to humbly request however that you apply the principle of capped pay to other areas of my professional life. For instance, can we also cap hours worked? Read more

Here’s a post for all the people who are trying to be artists. It is not a friendly post. I do not think that people who want to create art need to get paid to do it. Do you get paid to have sex? No. Same thing. You love it, but you just do it after work. And sometimes, if you are driven mad by it, you leave work in the middle of the day for it.

Treat art the same way, and you will stay sane. Really. Here are five things I would nag you about if you were talking with me about your burgeoning career as an artist:

1. You cannot do art if you are starving.
The starving artist routine is total bullshit. I know because I did it. Once you know that you are not going to make rent, you can’t really make art. Because your sense of self-preservation insists that your brain focus on the possibility that you will be out on the street. Your brain cannot stop solving that problem long enough to solve the problem of what is truth and beauty.

Here are some things I did while I was becoming a writer: I ate only bagels because I didn’t have enough money for anything else and then I got anemic and had to go to the doctor but I didn’t have health insurance so I had to lie and say I did in order to get the iron pills I needed so that I didn’t pass out from exhaustion the moment I woke up in the morning. Believe me, I was not making great art during this period. Read more

When you want to get a new job, don't look at your resume to see what you could get. Instead, take time to build a resume that meets the requirements of the jobs you want. This doesn't mean using keywords that are in the job description. That is not going to work. Instead, look at the types of experience that are required to get the job you want, and then get yourself that experience.

1. Make up a project for yourself
You don't need to be paid in order to put something on your resume. A resume is about experience, not income. So invent projects for yourself, and do them, and make sure you execute exactly what you need in order to put a bullet on your resume. For example, if you need to be able to say you executed national campaigns, then do one.

Jessica Goodman is a great example of this. She just graduated from the University of Denver and she's looking for a job in public relations or marketing. Inevitably, the job she lands will involve social media. Because that's where both industries are headed.

In the meantime, Jessica created a project for herself that showed her college counseling office why they should be teaching students how to job hunt with social media. (And she wrote a blog post about it.) This is a great project because whether or not the college does anything with it, Jessica conceived and executed a project to promote an organization-wide adoption of social media tools. Read more

A recession is typically a good time for graduate schools. Their application pool goes up because people see them as safe shelter from the storm. The scariest part of a down economy is the idea of having no income. Of course, graduate school does not solve for that. But graduate school does solve the second most scary thing about a bad economy: lack of a learning curve.

The more desperate you are for a job, the more likely you are to take a job that doesn’t teach you what you want to learn. And then you get to that job and you think, “Grad school could solve this problem.” But in fact, grad school creates larger, and more insurmountable problems. And some the problems you’re trying to solve with grad school might not be problems at all.

1. Grad school pointlessly delays adulthood.
The best thing you can do for yourself is take time to figure out who you are and where you fit in the world. No one teaches you that in school. You need to do it yourself. Grad school is a way to delay this process, rather than move you forward, according to Thomas Benton of the Chronicle of Higher Education. So instead of dodging tough questions by going back to school, try being lost. It’s normal, and honest, and you will end up with more self-knowledge and less debt than your grad-school counterparts, and in many cases, you will be similarly qualified for your next big job. Read more