The generation leading the revolution in divorce is, of course, Gen X. The biggest change is that there is a generation of people getting a divorce who were more or less equals in parenting and in work. Baby boomers talked about it, but when the women went to work, they did all the housework and childcare as well. Not as true with Gen X.

Don’t get me wrong – women still do more than their male counterparts — for example, even women who have stay-at-home husbands are more involved in parenting than men who have stay-at-home wives. But Gen X men have been more involved in parenting than any generation before. And Gen X women have done a better job of mixing high-powered careers and family than anyone else.

There is another trend here as well: Gen X is much more family-focused than previous generations. Baby boomers talk about putting kids before work, but Gen X actually does it. For example, even with full-time jobs outside the home, Gen X spends more time playing with their kids than housewives did in the 1950s. (I can’t remember where I read this. I think it’s from Sylvia Hewlett.)

The result is a new sort of divorce, especially in the case where the woman earns more than the man. The woman cannot stop working. We already know the laws require the breadwinner before the divorce to continue to be the breadwinner. But when the difference between breadwinner and caretaker are not as clear cut, it’s not so clear where the kids should live. Read more

People always ask me to answer questions on my blog. So I am sort of going to answer questions. Questions I hate (that I have edited to save people from the trauma I probably caused David Dellifield):

Email number one: The obnoxious reference check

[Name redacted] is applying for a position at our company and listed you as a reference. I was hoping that you could complete the brief questionnaire attached to this email to provide your feedback. Thank you in advance for your help, and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

This email is from Let me tell you something: That questionnaire was not brief. It was about ten essay questions and then insanely inapplicable multiple choice questions.

This company is ridiculous for sending an onerous questionnaire to references. For one thing, it puts me in a bad spot because I loved working with the guy who gave my name as a reference, so I want to give him a good report, so I have no choice but to fill out the BS questions and try to have a good attitude.

The other reason the company should not send a form like this is they look incompetent. Not just for destroying the relationships potential new hires have with their references, but also for not being able to make hiring decisions without asking a third-party if the candidate is professional. Seriously. Open your eyes in the interview, guys. Read more

I have had two abortions.

The first one was when I was twenty-seven. I was playing professional beach volleyball. I was playing volleyball eight hours a day and I spent two hours a day at the gym. I noticed that I was getting tired more easily, but I thought it meant I needed to train harder.

Then one weekend, a doctor friend on a visit saw me drop a plate one day, and a vase the next. I told her my hands just gave out because they were so tired.

She said I was anemic. Then she said, “Maybe you're pregnant.”

“I'm not,” I said. “I have a regular period.”

It turns out, though, that you can have a regular period and still be pregnant.

And I was. Fourteen weeks.

My friend said, “Schedule the abortion now. You're already late for it.”

I didn't do anything. I was in shock. My boyfriend was in shock. Neither of us had ever had a pregnancy. I couldn't believe the whole process actually worked, to be honest.

I told my mom I was pregnant. She said, “Get an abortion.” Read more

The Institute of Social and Economic Research recently published a study about the connection between popularity in high school and earning power later in life. New York magazine, information source to the rich and popular, summarized the study like this: “This study may seem to burst our Revenge of the Nerds fantasies, but it’s logical that people who are attractive, likable, and socially comfortable”?the class officers, the cheerleaders”?should get ahead in corporate settings.”

There is absolutely irrefutable data to support the idea that good-looking people do better in life than everyone else. Gordon Patzer, in his book, Looks, draws from a wide body of research to describe the advantaged life of a good-looking person from the time they are a baby (good-looking babies get better parenting) to the time they are in sales (the whole sales team performs better if there are more good-looking people on the team.)

As a result, I have jumped on the plastic surgery bandwagon. Super-smarty Chelsea Clinton got plastic surgery before she entered the work world. We should all do that. And while I haven’t taken my own advice, I do find myself pinching and pulling at my nose to see what it would look like after a $10,000 investment.

But wait. Before you take out a loan to straighten your nose, maybe you should just start thinking like a tall person. Being good-looking means having the right mix of a lot of things, and for you, being tall might be the final keystone to hold it all in place. (Wondering if you’re already tall? Fast Company has the answer: over 6’3″ for men and over 5’9″ for women, which, by the way, makes me half-an-inch into the land of the tall.) Read more

More than 80% of young people say they want to live in New York City, according to Time Out New York. I can understand that. I lived there for seven years. Of course, NYC is amazing. But I have also lived for about ten years each in Chicago, LA, and Boston. And now I live in Madison, WI. And I can tell you with certainty that anywhere you live requires you to give up some things.

NYC has the most extreme benefits to it, but it also requires the most extreme concessions in order to get those benefits. This makes sense. It’s how most of life is. So in order to understand how good a fit you’d be in NYC, you don’t need to look at the benefits — we all want the benefits of NYC. What you need to look at is what you give up.

Here are three questions to ask yourself. You need to answer yes to at least two before you start researching movers in New York.

1. Are you a maximizer?

Optimizers are people who are always looking for the best of everything. You know if you are this kind of person because you are never complacent. You are always trying to find if there is something better. It could be a someone who cuts bangs better, a better pickup basketball game, you keep trading up boyfriends, maximizers are always looking for something better, and they usually get greatness in their lives in many aspects. Non-maximizers can be satisfied with what they have. Each of us falls somewhere on this spectrum. New Yorkers skew heavily to strong maximizers.

This is because you can find pretty much the best of everything in NYC. (Yes, maybe there are some things, like the best ski slope, that you cannot find there, but if that’s what you want most, you probably shouldn’t be in NYC.) Read more

The cocktail party conversations I have about what I do for a living reveal so much about the world. For example, if I say I have an Internet startup, people generally think: She's unemployed. If I say I write a syndicated newspaper column that runs in 200 papers, people are impressed. If I tell people I'm a blogger, they say, “I don't have time to read blogs.”

Here's what I am going to start saying to those people: Only losers say they don't have time to read blogs. Because everyone has the same 24 hours in the day. So it's not that you somehow are more busy than everyone else — no one is actually too busy for anything — the issue is that reading blogs is not high enough on your priority list to read them.

So the real response, when I say, “I'm a blogger,” should be “I stay away from blogs so I can shield myself from alternative opinions to mainstream media.” And you wouldn't want to be that person, right? In fact, you're probably not that person, because look, you're reading this blog.

But the problem of saying “I don't have time to read that” applies to anything — it could be blogs but it could be those really long articles in the Atlantic that scream: “I know no one is reading this article! I only wrote it to get a book deal!”The reality is that you have time to read everything.

Here’s what to do if you feel like you can’t get a grip on your reading pile:

Stop talking about information overload. That term is for weaklings. Guess what? Generation Y never talks about information overload. That's because they know how to process information better than anyone else. That's actually what they were doing when their parents told them to turn off the TV and the music and log off of IM and do their homework. Read more

One way to understand the possibilities for solving the US health care crisis is to take a better look at how people make career decisions.

I have a lot of doctors in my family and lots of friends who are doctors, so I'm reasonably familiar with the careers of doctors, and I'm astounded that we're not talking about paying less for health care.

Why do doctors need to make so much money? The non-financial rewards for being a doctor are larger than almost any other profession. Except teaching.

There's a reason we pay an almost non-living wage to teachers: It's rewarding and meaningful and you do not need tons of schooling to do it.

So okay, there's a shortage of teachers, but not by a lot. Because the trend today is to do meaningful work and work with civic duty. Teach for America is one of the most popular choices for college grads. So the salaries can't be that out of whack for the job.

Also, the Institute for the Study of Labor says, “When teachers were offered cash rewards for good performance (measured by factors like grades and parental feedback) student scores on national exams significantly declined.” So I don't think paying more to people with meaningful work actually gets a more meaningful performance from them. Read more

I have said about ten million times that there is no more glass ceiling, there is no more salary gap between men and women, and there is no reason to keep bitching about sexual harassment because it's merely a legal issue, not a men-are-evil issue.

Okay. So if the gender gaps are not around these feminist favorites, then are there any gender gaps we should be concentrating on? Yes. Here are three:

1. The startup gap. Women need to be compensated at a higher rate than men if they are to give up their personal lives in order to work. Law firms accomplish this by keeping women on partner track even when they're part-time. Corporations do this by offering flex time and other business-bending options for high-performing women who want to take care of kids.

VCs talk endlessly about why there are so few women running venture backed companies, but it's incredulous talk. The reason is that VCs don't pay women more. Here's the bottom line: If you take a man and a woman doing the same office job and the same parenting job, the man will think he's doing a good job at parenting, but not the woman.

This makes genetic sense. The men had to think the kids were fine when they left the cave to hunt. Or else they wouldn't leave and no one would have eaten. The women had to think the kids always needed more attention. Otherwise, the women would say, “This is good enough” and then the kids would starve or get eaten by lions. Read more