Sarah Palin’s resignation inspires me

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There are a million times we intuitively know what we should be doing in our careers, but the chatter around us makes us question ourselves. Too much. If I have one regret in my career it's that I didn't trust myself more, earlier.

Watching Sarah Palin resign from her governor post in Alaska inspires me to be more brave in my own career. She's running her career in ways I intuitively think we should all be running our careers. And she's reflecting my own experience back to me in a positive way: That breaking new ground is difficult but it pays off.

Here are four new career management ideas that Sarah Palin’s modeling, in an inspiring way, right now:

1. Get out of a job when you’re done doing it

We know that the old ways of managing a career aren't working. But it's so scary to try something new. For example, you know you should job hop, but it's not what careers used to be. And it's scary. People are constantly telling you you'll destroy your career if you job hop.

But Palin is refusing to waste her time in the Alaska governor's office. Who can blame her? It's a lot of small-issue local politics that take away from her establishing big, national-level ideas. Of course quitting a local job is a good idea if you want to run for national office.

But most people who run for national office pretend to still be in their local-level office. When McCain announced he paused his presidential campaign to go back to Congress, he was widely mocked, because really, if you are running for President, you can't be in Congress. But for some reason we have been embracing the bullshit value that it's more important to stay in your job and perform badly than to admit you want to change jobs.

I like that Palin refuses to kowtow to the idea that you have to finish a job just because you started it. There is always someone else who would love the job that you’re leaving out of boredom. This is true of Palin, and all of us as well.

2. Ideas matter, not your resume

We don't need to elect someone based on their resume because the world changes too fast for experience to be a huge factor. On top of that, the internet makes most information available to everyone, so putting in long hours gathering knowledge is not as valuable anymore. Authority isn’t what it used to be — it’s based on what idea you have right now, not what you’ve done in the past.

We should judge people for their ideas, not their experience. I think we know this intuitively, especially young people: At my company, Brazen Careerist, we talk all the time about how your ideas are your resume – and you should aim to be known for your online conversation rather than for your resume.

If you put a resume online, the older people look better than the younger people. But the resume gives a false sense that older means wiser. Palin knows this, so she's not afraid to break resume rules – like leaving a job in the middle, and aiming for a job largely outside of her experience.

3. Careers are built on teams and networks

Today Palin announced that she's building a right-of-center coalition. This should not surprise anyone who uses social media to manage their career, because the career of the new millennium is about connections. A resume of experience is only valuable if the experience creates a network of people who genuinely care about you. Building your personal brand only matters if your brand stands for helping people create value in their lives. And online connections are only good if you are able to translate that to an offline life.

Palin knows all this instinctively. She is ditching the governor's job, which, by nature, is about helping people in Alaska, and she is making herself available to help a wider range of people. So smart. She is campaigning across to help people she respects.

And she's building a team, which makes sense because the best way to sidestep the need for experience is with teams. Entrepreneurs overcome their lack of skills by taking on partners. Middle managers overcome their lack of authority in the hierarchy by building internal coalitions. Palin is doing what we should all do: form teams in order to fast-track our lives beyond our limited experience.

4. No one controls your career except you

She could do what she's supposed to — finish up her job, focus on state-level politics, and talk to the press about ethics problems. But that's not what she wants to do. She isn't complaining that other people are thwarting her. She's not letting them.

So many people complain about being controlled by sexual harassment, unfair treatment, bad bosses, etc. But we each have power to control our own career. We can go where we can do what we want, how we want. We have to take risks to do that, though. We have to believe in ourselves and our own vision for what's best.

Palin does this. She does not make it look easy. She makes it look smart, though. And that might be just what we need to inspire the same bravery in our own careers.

162 replies
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  1. Liza
    Liza says:

    I don’t entirely agree with this post, but the idea of taking charge of your career is accurate.

    The downfall of Palin’s resignation is that now she will be widely viewed by those that don’t like her as a quitter. She QUIT a job she was ELECTED to do. That is different from quitting a job an employer hires you to do.

    I think there is a fine line in taking charge of your career and being selfishly irresponsible about your career. She took a huge risk, and we don’t know if its paid off yet. By doing this she has more media attention (which was partly why she resigned), more rumors and speculation and now she has to take all the negative attention and turn it into positive attention. If she ever decides she wants to run for a national office, its going to take a lot of work to undo the damage her resignation has done to her image.

    Although you claim that the world is changing and a resume is changing, I agree. But it hasn’t changed as much as you are stating. Entrepreneurship and Government Office has completely different ways of hiring. For an Entrepreneur, it may be fully acceptable to decide to quit every job you have before it has a positive impact on your resume, or a lasting impact. But for someone who wants to run for Senator, President or any other high-profile Government title, your resume shows what kind of policies you would (or have/do) support and what kind of direction you would want to take Government Politics (among many other things).
    Right now Palin has City Mayor (of a tiny town), Governor of Alaska (minus the full-term completion), and a failed Vice-Presidential bid.

    Although inspiring, her risks haven’t matured to show the damage she may (or may not have) done.

    So, please, don’t tell people to quit their job (during a recession) just because they’re done with it. It takes maturity and the ability to handle responsibility to stay in a job that you don’t like until you are ready to take the leap towards your next one. Classic example: Entrepreneurs don’t leave their full-time gig until they’re sure the company they’ve created is ready for their full attention.

    • Kevin Marshall
      Kevin Marshall says:

      Liza – I’m on board with you for this one.

      From a personal point of view, I don’t care one way or the other what Palin does or she manages her career…but to me, she asked for the gig. as Governor knowing up front how long the gig would be (you might not know what the job will really be like, but you do know how long it’s for in this case)…

      It’s fine to change your mind or discover that something really isn’t for you…but be open and honest about why it’s not for you (saying you don’t want to be a lame duck is basically taking your ball and going home because the kids won’t let you play…you’re already in the game/system, change something if you don’t like the way it’s playing out, don’t just quit the game because you don’t think you’ll be able to do something)…

      And know that if you do decide to quit, even if it’s the right/smart thing for you, it will have long term affects on your future options (ie. I think her political career is dead) … there is just no way the ‘general public’ will be able to ‘trust’ her going forward for any sort of political position (why would I believe she’ll go the extra mile, do what she says she’s going to do, or even stay around full-term for something like the presidency when she didn’t even do it at the Governor level?) …

      Of course if she was fine with her political career being over, and was just ready to get started with something new…then this isn’t the worst move she could make (though I think she could/should just come out and say it that way then)…

    • ronny
      ronny says:

      Your assessment is completely unfair.

      I have never seen a political candidate deal with the amount of abuse this one has had to go through. She was not even a presidential candidate, and yet 5 months after the election she was still being treated with a disgusting amount of abuse.

      Furthermore, she has also been subjected to a never ending slew of politically motivated frivolous lawsuits. Which at this point have put her and her family into near bankruptcy.

      On top of that, the DNC has sent a ridiculous amount of money to their affiliates in Alaska to simply oppose her. Compare the amounts from 2006 to 2008 to get an idea of what I’m referring to.

      In essence, it’s impossible for her to do her job, and her life is being slowly ground down as part of an attempt to make her a bogeyman. Under those circumstances, she is perfectly entitled to resign.

      • Jeannie
        Jeannie says:

        I wholeheartedly agree. Sarah Palin has been persecuted because she is a strong conservative woman. Have you heard any of the liberal women’s groups coming to her aid? Not on your life, because it’s not about her being a persecuted woman, it’s about her being a persecuted Christian conservative.

    • Jim Johnston
      Jim Johnston says:

      Sarah is a perfect example of how to leverage your career. She stops loosing money paying off law suits and she goes national and collects 10 times the money without the legal expenses and having to answer to a constituency. She is exactly how everyone should look at career leverage. I am not a Sarah fan but she made the right career move for her.

  2. Kim
    Kim says:

    What are SP’s very valuable ideas, exactly? Because other than blathering on and on about a state she doesn’t wish to govern anymore, and desiring to take away choices from women like you, I haven’t heard any ideas. Your overall point about not being afraid to move forward is a good one, but SP seems to be an example of how to do it wrong: Ramble on for half an hour about quitting in front of a national audience, have no content or ideas, and pretend like your image alone is something other people should be interested in.

    (Also, with respect to commenting, what is “URI?” Typo?)

  3. AG
    AG says:

    Like Liza, I’d agree with this post if it did not concern an elected official. Because it does, I only see Palin as failing to uphold the responsibility she agreed upon when she accepted her position.

    Yes, ideas matter. And experience supposedly matters less than it used to. But ideas are formed from experience and elections are not entirely like the job world. Unless elections change dramatically in the next three years, experience and actions will come up again and again in the preceding debates.

    It will definitely be interesting in 2012 to see how this all plays out. But, who knows? That’s three years away and in the political arena, it’s a long time for a lot to happen.

  4. Pam
    Pam says:

    “We should judge people for their ideas, not their experience. I think we know this intuitively, especially young people: At my company, Brazen Careerist, we talk all the time about how your ideas are your resume – €“ and you should aim to be known for your online conversation rather than for your resume.”

    I believe this is wrong-headed and leads to problems. We don’t pay people for ideas, we pay for RESULTS. All the ideas are meaningless if you can’t execute on them. A mediocre idea that is flawlessly executed adds more value in most businesses than a great idea that is poorly executed. I agree that new people often have good ideas and can contribute great energy and enthusiasm to work. But these have to be tempered with some experience in actually getting things done.

    And that’s what experience (like you see on a traditional resume) brings to the party. Many of us can think great thoughts or have lots of great ideas, but the really valuable players in a company are the ones who can successfully implement them. This isn’t a skill that people are born with or learn in school, its something you learn on the job usually.

    It’s a lot like making a sandwich. A mediocre sandwich – like a hamburger – can be amazingly good if it is executed well. But all the expensive ingredients in the world can’t make up for sloppy knife skills or careless assembly in the kitchen. So a newbie-chef may have a great idea of a smoked salmon/avocado/watercress sandwich but be unable to execute anything but an unholy mess on a plate.

    • Scarlett
      Scarlett says:

      Agreed. Ideas and online chatter may make for good resume and network building if you want to be an entrepreneur, especially in E businesses, but there are many, but MANY fields where this thinking just does. not. hold. up. Science? No. Must have results. Engineering? No. Must have results. Government? No. Must have results. And so on.

      I’m a scientist, and my ideas aren’t worth crap to the scientific community until I have proven that I can implement them and advance knowledge in well-controlled, thorough studies.

      Obviously the same doesn’t hold true for blogging. People send ideas out into the ether, their sites look nice and they have good grammar (or editors), so the masses take those thoughts as authority. There is a lot of stupid floating around. And then there are posts such as this one, which seems to me to boarder on irresponsible. There are so many twenty-somethings out there who would like to be worth something just for their ideas, which are born of inexperience and naivete, and precious few of them are capable of seeing those ideas brought to results. And now here is their agreement, from the voice of authority. Hrm.

  5. Elisa
    Elisa says:

    This is exactly what I needed to hear today, this morning I quit my job of six months to take a more creative and collaborative job across town. The boredom was killing me as a result my work was becoming laughable, but somehow I felt guilty for leaving so soon. And now I don’t.

    Thanks P!

  6. Stephen
    Stephen says:

    Another thoughtful post. I note that you have been careful to confine your comments to Sarah Palin’s career tactics without necessarily endorsing her politics. Good, because I hope we don’t get sidetracked into that kind of discussion–plenty of other forums for that. Students of politics can respect Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, and David Axelrod for how they played the game. For the record, staunch veteran Democrat Willie Brown admires Sarah Palin’s move, too. (

  7. Danilo Campos
    Danilo Campos says:

    Really inspiring behavior, all right. Sacrifice the goodwill of those who got you elected for your own petty, empty-headed, narcissistic pursuits. If there were any nobility or grace to the resignation, I might agree with this post. Instead, it was done with Palin’s trademark incompetence:

    "Honestly, Sarah's resignation was complete bullshit and I'm saying that as a Republican," a Republican political veteran working in the legislature told me. "In all my years in politics, nobody has left Alaska in such a mess. Everyone here is just shocked." The Republican added, "There's no choice but to hold a special session. The conflict has to be handled in an orderly way."

    I know you’re socially, er, blind, Penelope, but you really do yourself no credit with anyone who actually reads the news when you announce your adoration for Sarah Palin’s childish behavior. Her tactics have all the sophistication of her politics. There’s nothing inspiring about publicly screwing up and claiming it as virtue.

    • Terry
      Terry says:

      right on – couldn’t have said it better. Penny is only posting thsi for its sensationalistic hit value, however…

    • Marta D.
      Marta D. says:

      Very well put. I didn’t know failing to complete the term you campaigned for was inspirational. Sure, there’s something to be said for ideas and for leaving a job that no longer interests you, but come *on*.

    • rebecca
      rebecca says:

      I agree. This post has to be for hits and links. Sarah Palin is simply not an example for the young people or the old people. Start with the kind of person who enters beauty contests and carry on with that thought.

  8. Kayla L. Munro
    Kayla L. Munro says:

    You bring up very valid points here that I wish were more frequently mentioned in the classroom setting. Our colleges and universities are doing us a disservice by teaching us to stay and “wait it out” in positions that we intuitively feel are wrong for us.

    Your post reminds me of the book: The Dip by Seth Godin. I actually think you were the one who recommended reading the book in one of your posts. Excellent commentary. Thanks for the fantastic insight!

    • Ian Oxley
      Ian Oxley says:

      @Kayla I’d definitely agree with you on that: this post reminds me a lot of The Dip as well.

      Also, forgive me if I’m wrong, but I think a lot of the comments are missing the point of the post and focusing on the political ramifications of the resignation rather than how “we each have power to control our own career” – which for me was an important point to be reminded of.

      • ToilingAnt
        ToilingAnt says:

        Sure, we have the power to control our own career– unless, say, we agree to give that power up for a certain period of time. People in elected office (or the military, and maybe people holding a handful of other such jobs) don’t get that luxury. Penelope’s ideas are valid, but she should have chosen a different example to make her point.

  9. caren
    caren says:

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? I read this whole post, waiting for the punch line, but it never came. I think you are such a smart woman, so it shocks me to read your support of Palin’s half-wit career choices.

    She quit because she couldn’t hack it. She quit because “people were picking on her too much”. She quit because she thinks she’s way smarter than she is and she completely lacks any sort of much needed self-awareness.

    And she is not smart. Have you actually ever listened to her speeches? She could not pass a grade 6 writing test with her pre-adolescent public addresses. She can’t pull together complete sentences. Certainly I make grammatical errors all the time, but I’m not ADDRESSING THE COUNTRY!! I'm not even going to touch on her lack of knowledge on foreign and domestic policy and the rest of her "don't knows".

    To your points – I'm sorry, but experience DOES have a leg up on ideas. Ideas are easy…we all have them. It’s those with “experience” who EXECUTE on their ideas. Most just have ideas and then eat their lunch. When you have experience, it demonstrates that you had an idea and you followed through on it. To assume that Palin is “inspiring” because she has ideas is hilarious. Have you heard this woman's ideas??? She thinks its "God's will" that we are in Iraq. Is that the sort of "idea" that inspires you?

    In terms of your point about "building a team, which makes sense because the best way to sidestep the need for experience is with teams". I'd be interested to see what sort of "team" this woman builds. Have you read the recent Vanity Fair article about her interactions with her "VP campaign team"? She was barely on speaking terms with any of them by the time they lost the election. She will build teams that sees her cockeyed vision – her narrow-viewed, gun-slinging, moose-slaughtering, Christian-evangelistic "Wasilla style" vision of how America should be. That scares me. And for someone with a lifestyle as liberal as your own, I'm shocked you would think any differently.

    Or perhaps this was intended to simply be controversial to add energy to your ratings. Who knows, but it was a very stupid and misguided post. I'm genuinely shocked that your points were so bad.

    • Lloyd
      Lloyd says:

      Thank you Caren, I felt the same way waiting for the punchline that never came. Sarah Palin “smart”??? Sorry Penelope, 37,444 minus one subscribers.


  10. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    While I don’t like most of Palin’s ideas (those few that she has managed to express coherently), I loved this post.

    There is a lot to learn about 21st century career building from her actions. And, FWIW, if a politician loses interest in the job we elect them to do, and they feel they can no longer do their best, I’d rather they step down and allow someone who passionately wants the job a chance to do it. (Same goes for non-elected positions too!)

  11. Alexis Grant
    Alexis Grant says:

    Ack. Penelope, this is the first time I disagree with you (although I’ve only read your blog for a few months now). What about the value of following through on a commitment? That’s a resume-builder in itself.

  12. William Bruce
    William Bruce says:

    On reading this post and its attending comments, I am quite tempted to repeat a previous assertion: “I told you that ‘Brazen Careerist’ was simply a brand-name euphemism for ‘Machiavellian’!”

    However, I chastise myself for the very thought of juxtaposing Sarah Palin and Machiavelli. Fie!

  13. Brian Johnson
    Brian Johnson says:

    Of all people, you certainly understand that the resume is nothing more than a marketing document. And if you’re selling yourself, ideas are one way to go, but you’re always better off selling results, if you have them. Ideas can result in initial success as the result of an emotionally based decision (sale), but those emotions will soon be followed by rational evaluation based on the expectations from the ideas that were sold. And to have any ongoing success (renewal) there had better be value delivered. Your own book implores the idea of presenting quantifiable measurable accomplishments when selling yourself. Not an expansive ideology.

    Politics is perhaps the one industry where the rational evaluation is not always applied. You can get by with ideas because the measures of success are so arbitrary and subjective. Success, itself, has a million definitions if you’re governing a million people.

    But in the private sector, ideas are a dime a dozen. I think most VC’s will say that finding someone with an idea is easy, but finding someone that can deliver results (experience) is far more difficult AND valuable. So while it’s conceivable that her strategy will be effective in the world of politics, I don’t think it’s a great model to replicate in other industries. I’ll take hard work, humility, and performance every time over debate, grandstanding, & rhetoric.

    I think you’re fascinated by Palin because she’s a complete train wreck and you can’t look away. You feel guilty watching and want to justify your fascination.

    • KateNonymous
      KateNonymous says:

      “I think you’re fascinated by Palin because she’s a complete train wreck and you can’t look away. You feel guilty watching and want to justify your fascination.”

      I’ve been wondering why PT has posted about Palin’s tactics–which seem poorly thought-out and executed to me–more than once. But I think you have the answer here.

  14. rohan
    rohan says:

    Was this post a joke?

    I too waited for the “psyche, just kidding” or the sarcasm tag “/s” or something.

    Please somebody tell me this was a joke. I mean, did Nixon’s resignation inspire you too? You know, cause he was blazing a new path and really managing his career!

    I’m at a lost for words…and you seem so smart.

  15. Tracey
    Tracey says:

    Like me, Sarah Palin was born right at the trailing edge of the Baby Boomers/beginning of Gen X. When I heard her explanation of getting out of a no-win situation, I thought it was a classic Gen X move. People who had to scratch out the beginnings of their careers when the rules suddenly changed had to learn to turn on a dime, be clever like a fox and be relentless to find that next wedge of opportunity. A dead-end job is a dead-end job whether it’s working for an uninspired Boomer who will never retire, or working for a state with an unfairly stacked ethics policy.

    Bravo for Ms. Palin. Too bad more of our so-called politicians don’t have the fortitude to stand up to the pundits and professional leeches in Washington.

  16. JR
    JR says:

    Palin’s move is stupid only if she still has naive illusions for a presidential run. Otherwise, by staying on as governor she had nowhere to go but down. Campaigning for others is a much easier gig.

  17. Dallas
    Dallas says:

    You saved my day with this post. I am now confident I made the right decision to leave my current job for a new one, despite only having been at my current one for 7 months.

  18. Matt
    Matt says:

    Like others, I agree with your post in general. But definitely not on the specifics of Palin, or any other elected official. If she runs for any office that I can vote on (assuming POTUS), I am going to have to base the vote as much on her as her running mate, more so than any of her opponents. There is a higher standard for elected officials. Yes, some times they need to step down, but I am still at a loss as to why she quit. Tired of it? Then at least give a straight answer and not the “I am not a quitter, I am a fighter line.” The last thing I want to do is the the POTUS resign because he/she is tired of it. I am ready to resign because I am tired of and so are any number of my teammates, but there is a rightful double standard for elected officials, especially those at the top. I am not in Alaska, but I do nto think she was losing her ability to govern like the SC governor.

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      An additional thought on this… This is like a starting quarterback, point guard, pitcher, goalie (take your pick) quitting on the team in the middle of the season. She is on a fixed term of employment, she would have been done soon enough to pursue other things. I think she let a lot of people down, and they won’t forget. I do not think many people would view their co-workers leaving in the same way.

  19. GInger Rose
    GInger Rose says:

    You must be kidding. There’s a huge difference between most of us and the jobs of public servants who happen to be celebrities. Most of us can hide our flaky moments, finesse the details of job transitions, etc. Sarah forgot that she was in the public eye.

    Switching jobs can be great IF it helps you build an area of expertise. The thing is, the more expert you become, the less jobs there are out there for you. When you switch jobs, you lose a measure of hard-won trust and seniority and institutional knowledge and knowing the politics of an organization, who to go to for what, etc. That never seems to get taken into account in these posts. It’s more than just the work.

    Also, most of us can’t afford to be one of those unfortunates who have remained unemployed for months, or years. So before I think about jumping ship, I’m going to look very carefully and check for sharks in the water.

  20. John
    John says:


    *Please* follow her lead. You’re about as competent and accomplished, and you even sound similar. Then there’s the whole Narcissistic Personality Disorder thing.

  21. Helen
    Helen says:

    PUHLEEZE!!!!! Palin will not be able to reconcile the money from bookdeals, speaking engagements, etc., while still Governor. And, don’t forget folks–shen she reenters the political arena, she brings this kind of behavior with her.

  22. Anca
    Anca says:

    Definitely one of your worst posts. Yikes. Get out of a job when you have to, but don’t leave your employer/coworkers/constituents to pick up the pieces. Ideas matter…unless they’re stupid and/or your own daughter can’t live up to them. As others have commented, it’s results that matter more, both at work and in politics. Someone already mentioned Palin’s talent to alienate her team. No one controls your career except you…and maybe also the electorate or your past work references.

  23. brenda
    brenda says:

    Wow,your post got a lot of chatter going and this is exactly the kind of chatter that prevents people from moving forward. Too many people are stuck in old ideas that are preventing them(us)from being happy. “Follow through commit, who cares that you are unhappy, or bored out of your mind it’s the responsible thing to do”….Hmm not sure I agree with that message. People will always have an opinion good or bad, but I agree with you that Trust in ourselves is the most important attribute to have. Too many of us including myself rely on other to tell us what to do with our lives, or even worse question ourselves and our creativity to the ground. Loved the post!

  24. Michele
    Michele says:

    Please do another posting about Sarah Palin – this time about how she perpetuates the stereotype of the “unstable histronic female”, who single-mindedly (and crazily) presses her personal ambitions without regard for her job responsibilities, her work relationships, or her personal obligations. Seems Palin has failed on all fronts, except to keep her name constantly in the media’s focus, even if it’s predominantly tabloid press.

  25. Paul
    Paul says:

    Can anyone real tell me that you were impressed by her exit speech? You can't real believe that she is the only person that can win in 2012. You know, if she can't take a joke, don't get in the game, its politics, they all get kicked around. Let me paint you a picture, in my opinion, for the last eight years where the mantra was no regulation and no oversight and spread to all federal agencies and the justice department was filled by unqualified religious types and the dullard (ex-drunk) religious president started two wars of choice with extreme tax dollar spending, is anyone surprised with our current economic situation because of those choices. Sure "W" sucker the religious right to vote for him and that's why he placed unqualified people in positions of responsibility and they failed (almost a "plan to fail"), do you forget Katrina, where the Director of FEMA Michael D. Brown, was relieved of his duties because of incompetence? Or can you forget disgraced White House correspondent James Guckert, AKA Jeff Gannon, the male escort, why was a male escort getting into the Whitehouse, hmmm? I know it was Barney Frank's fault, he controls the county and republicans had their hands tied (even though 7 of the last 8 years they had the majority and the presidency to do something (fact or fiction?), but not the will to act). Oh, by the way I read that God blog, very funny, it reminds me of those TV evangelists who claim the talk to God and want so and so foreign country leader to be killed or such and such a us state to be punished by God for a court ruling that intelligent design is just another word for religion. We had enough of religious dullards in our government. If you believe that the USA has strayed from God then go out to your communities and preach to your neighbors, the sick, the shut ins, the poor and invite them to take part in your church, build a community. But I know that's hard work we want a government official to do that for us, well they tried that and look where it left us, in the gutter, but our country does not quit and we will rise again. Do you remember how Ronald Reagan got us out of a recession? By spending and we will do the same. But she is just another "W" in heels and she is stringing the religious right along, she will sell you her books, her radio/TV shows and speaking engagements. Lastly, I do not want you to believe what I believe, so please keep writing, feel free, I am starting to enjoy this.

  26. Happy Guy
    Happy Guy says:

    I have to agree with the earlier commenter about the importance of execution over ideas. When you’re young, maybe ideas are useful to help you get a leg up in the job search, but eventually it’s the execution that matters. To cite a trivial example, this and your other blog posts are good not because of the ideas but the writing.

    Or for a more meaningful example: The War on Terrorism was a pretty good idea. Attacking Iraq was very bad execution.

  27. Rich Kazmierczak
    Rich Kazmierczak says:

    Points 1, 3 and 4 make perfect sense in the context of society’s new structure of work and relationships, but point 2 sits uneasily with them. Ideas are important, no doubt, but they don’t by themselves trump experience, and especially experience in actually executing ideas for change. Everyone has ideas, but unless you (or your network) can put forth a rational argument for those ideas and how they can be implemented, then they will not (and should not) have much impact.

  28. ToilingAnt
    ToilingAnt says:

    Another where’s-the-punchline reader checking in. Palin *took an oath* to do a job and she’s quitting now the new’s worn off. That’s not smart, that’s self-centered. She promised God and the nation that she would serve the people of Alaska and now she’s leaving them in the lurch. Maybe she’s quitting because she wants to go back to being a hockey mom and isn’t worried about the consequences of burning her political and career bridges. (And were she leaving a job in the private sector, that would actually be a valid option.) However, I don’t buy that idea for a minute. If she’s looking to be president, she would have done better to finish out the term, then go for the senate or something that would actually give her some national cred before she asked for the biggest job in the country. As it is now, though, she’s perceived as a folksy know-nothing oath-breaker who can’t stick with a task after the new wears off.

    What she’s done is quit a short race before crossing the finish line so that she can concentrate on training for a marathon. Makes no sense at all.

  29. Wil Butler
    Wil Butler says:

    I agree with many of your points, especially that sticking in a career you don’t like is a ridiculous way to attempt to find happiness.

    I’m also tired of people blaming everything that happens to them on others. Your career, and your life, to a large extent is in your hands, and what results from it is largely up to you.

    But, honestly, by the logic in point #2, a high-school kid with good Google skills and tons of Facebook “friends” would be a better choice for running a country and working out foreign disputes than a 50-year old with years of experience and understanding into the functions of the world.

  30. tina
    tina says:

    perhaps this post calling palin ‘smart’ is a backhanded way to lower her poll ratings? generally the demographic that votes for palin and her cronies don’t trust the intelligent ‘elitists’ out there….

  31. Leon
    Leon says:

    Mark it down under Penelope champs another unlikely hero, eh?
    Even when I disagree with you I end up getting something out of the post, like: (repellent, but memorable) Sarah Palin is doing in the US what Pauline Hanson did in Oz politics ten years ago. She’s showing that national politics doesn’t have to be a two-headed monster of guys (and girls) in suits, spruiking two sides of the same well articulated non-opinion. Palin, like Hanson, showed (to the head-scratching amazement of political experts of all colours) that there was a genuine interest in inarticulate, uninformed dunderheads who nevertheless exuded a raw charisma and energy (or so I’m told). Dubya got by on the same abilities, and Obama is another example of a personality-driven success. (How the hell did Bush Senor get in?!)
    I guess this is an example of how being well-liked in the workplace is more important than being a good worker. Does this also mean in 50 years time all of the US govt. leaders are going to be muscular Austrian ex-actors?

  32. wilma Ham
    wilma Ham says:

    Thank you for this; “But we each have power to control our own career. We can go where we can do what we want, how we want. We have to take risks to do that, though. We have to believe in ourselves and our own vision for what's best.”
    My daughter who has just entered the coprorate world and after 6 months feels squashed already, needs to hear this as often and as loudly as she can before she is killed off by corporate hierarchy. I can also see from the comments that when you dare to take a different path you need to be steadfast to weather what comes at you, because everybody will have an opinion and they are all world’s apart. Your only compass then is the believe in yourself and your own vision. That takes courage and that is what I am going to support my daughter in. I have that courage now too.

  33. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    I think you’re missing the point entirely.

    Sarah Palin isn’t quitting some 9-5 corporate gig she isn’t fulfilled by; she’s abandoning a public service post she swore to uphold for four years. Presumably because she thinks she can make more money marketing herself. Not only does this exemplify a complete lack of character and integrity, it pretty much proves that she is wholly unqualified for any elected position. I’m not sure what about this there is to admire.

    I’m not sure where you got the notion that ideas matter and not execution, but I think most people would disagree with you. Anyone can think of something to do, but unless you actually DO those things, none of it matters. You know who thought he should be able to take credit for an idea, regardless of how the execution went? Jeff Skilling.

    As for building a team, I think you need to read a bit more about Sarah Palin. I think you’ll find that her record shows she cares about one person: herself.

    And your last point is so ridiculous. She’s in trouble so instead of answering to the state she was elected to serve, she’s just going to quit. When I’m being questioned by the SEC or the police or my boss, can I just print your blog post and show it to them and say, hey, you’re not going to keep me down, I just won’t answer your questions. Why haven’t more criminals thought of this?

  34. LA
    LA says:

    Give me a break! There are so many wonderful blogs to read and so little time. After today, I’ll have more time to read someone else’s. Look, I don’t have to read blogs that parrot my own opinions to enjoy them but I do demand a certain amount of integrity. I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months and favorited you because I enjoyed the thoughtful and engaging style. This is so transparently meant to set off pyrotechnics and increase traffic. I can’t believe you admire Sarah Palin for her “bravery” and other assorted nonsensical attributes.(Nonsensical when it comes to Palin anyway.) I love it when an excellent product can generate income but I lose respect when I feel I’m being “used” to generate your income. I’m out.

    • Lee
      Lee says:

      Ha! Penelope having integrity??? Just about every entry she blogs shoots that assertion out of the water. The David Dellifield fiasco was the icing on the cake for me.

      Penelope will do anything for exposure, and blogging about controversial and taboo subjects takes care of that for her.

      It’s all about her and how outrageous she can be inorder to profit.

  35. Karl Staib - Work Happy Now
    Karl Staib - Work Happy Now says:

    A detailed and thoughtful post. The only problem I have is you are commending a woman who I don’t agree with.

    Politics aside I feel that you are right. I sometimes feel trapped. As if I have to hold on to my job for the health benefits they provide.

    In reality I don’t. I know this, but it’s hard to let go.

    I can be free to make the career that I deserve. I’m trying to do that by building my blog one post at a time, trying to get my tribe together. So far it’s been a great journey and I couldn’t ask for anything more. Eventually when I start earning serious money from it, that will be a glorious day. Until that day I keep building and reading posts like this one, letting it inspire me to take my career to the next level.

  36. Jessie
    Jessie says:

    My goodness, this post generated a lot of poison from Palin-haters. Of course, all the cool kids bash her. It’s the in thing to do.

    I loved this post. Points 1 and 4 resonate so clearly. Please don’t recant your admiration for Palin’s actions or allow replies like Brian Johnson’s “I think you’re fascinated by Palin because she’s a complete train wreck” get you down. I love this blog for many reasons, not least of which its refusal to flow with the mainstream.

  37. caren
    caren says:

    This has nothing to do with cool kids bashing anyone. It’s about a bunch of smart people who are questioning Penelope’s logic, authenticity and transparency with this post.

    One who brags about such a liberal sex life seems out of step supporting a religious wing-nut that would ban abortion and pre-marital sex if she could.

    It just doesn’t fly.

    Oh, and BTW… Palin is a train wreck. I’m comforted by the amount of people that support that opinion…. thank Gawd for smart people who have common sense!!!

  38. Linda
    Linda says:

    I think you guys dissing on Sarah Palin need to review her resignation remarks. She didn’t quit because of the criticism, which was unrelenting BTW.

  39. rohan
    rohan says:

    So why did she quit Linda? We all have the same transcripts and you’re not privy to anything that we’re not.


    What were you able to gleam from her ramblings?

    Why did she quit?

  40. GREG
    GREG says:

    Palin lives outside the box, therefore she thinks outside the box. All those, including many above, are critical of her decision, but, it must be remembered that she accomplished everything that she said she wanted to accomplish on the outset of her term. Instead of that taking 4 years, it took 2.5 years. She has essentially become, not a lame duck, but a sitting duck up there in AK, with both the 0bama led dems and the Murkowski reps making common cause to stymie all progress. Rather than sit, get nothing done, and rack up another million dollars in legal defense expenses, she did what was best for her, and best for the citizens of her state. What most can’t figure out is why anyone would give up power without being forced to by scandal or by law. What she did is just another example of her not standing for the “politics as usual.” Palin 2012

    • KateNonymous
      KateNonymous says:

      She met all of the goals she wanted to accomplish as governor, and there was no way for her to set new ones? Sorry, don’t buy it.

  41. John
    John says:

    So many people “impressed” by this post and so many of them are women. Are women this dumb? No wonder they suck in business and leadership positions. They’re better off staying home and watching Tyra and Oprah.

    • Joselle
      Joselle says:

      I love how you dismissed women’s business acumen by name-checking two very successful, business-savvy women. Good one, smartie!

  42. Andy
    Andy says:

    Being a Governor is not just a job, it is public service. It is unconscionable for Sarah Palin to walk away from it before finishing her term, especially if it’s because she wants to “cash in”. Shame on you, Penelope, for applauding it. What kind of message does that send to our young people? No wonder why we, as a country, are struggling.

  43. BB
    BB says:

    If you believe PT’s sincerity, this is a case of the sisterhood bond trumping politics. If you don’t, it’s merely a cynical effort to generate cheap buzz, by praising someone she previously called “nuts”.

  44. Andrew in Toronto
    Andrew in Toronto says:

    Reading the vitriol thrown at Penelope here, especially when I understand that her blog is mainly apolitical or nonpolitical, including insults and veiled threats, just goes to show that liberals don’t believe in respecting others’ opinions unless they match their own. (And ‘respect’ and ‘agree with’ aren’t the same things.)

    It’s also funny that I’d have thought that liberals would have *wanted* Sarah to be the GOP’s 2012 candidate, knowing that she’d lose. But I guess not, showing just how scared you guys really are of her. And maybe someone here can tell me a job, any job, that Obama saw through to its end? (Especially without voting ‘present’.)

    BTW, enjoy paying for the trillions in debt and deficit the elite, your moral and intellectual superiors, have created. (And those 2-month waits for an MRI scan.)

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