Brazen Careerist opens an office in DC

Brazen Careerist is opening offices in Washington, DC. Our CEO lives in DC, so Ryan Healy is moving there — along with Photis, the developer (who I convinced to move from Philadelpia to Madison by telling him that his life would suck and he would die a slow, painful career death if he did not come work at Brazen Careerist and he said forget it and slammed the car door in my face, but then he moved to Madison anyway.)

You’d think I’d be panicking that the center of the company is shifting to DC. But really, I have been aiming to remove myself from the center of the company for a while.

Those of you who have been following the drama of Brazen Careerist know that it started when I was working 100-hour weeks, and I convinced two bloggers, Ryan and Ryan, to move to Madison with me to start a company.

I was scared I was doing something crazy. Now it’s clear to me that all entrepreneurship is crazy, and it’s like an addiction. But it’s also clear to me that the timing was perfect for all of us. Ryan and Ryan are really not cut out for corporate America — they are born entrepreneurs sitting in cubicles in the Fortune 500. And I was not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom. So we all sort of rescued each other.

Then we went through three very difficult years together. Up and down financing, constant adjusting to each others’ personalities, propping each other up when we felt like the company was stupid, and bringing each other down to reality when we were certain we’d take over the world.

Running a startup is so intense. And it’s impossible to not feel very close to your co-founders. So I had a good-bye party at the farm.

Before dinner, I gave a tour. I felt self-conscious when I was catching the pigs. I wanted to look good at it, so I looked like I belong on the farm. Like each of us is ending up where we belong.

Penelope Trunk holding a pig

We visited the donkey in the pasture. I was the only one who wanted to ride her.

Penelope Trunk mounting a donkey

The chicks were more popular than the donkey.

Ryan Healy with a chick

The farmer taught everyone to play apple baseball next to the orchard. Chipping the apple is a base hit. If the apple explodes in the air it’s a homerun. Here’s a picture of Photis at bat. (I always think that more women should be dating Photis. He is cute and smart and funny, and speaks Greek. He’s also pretty high up on the weird spectrum, but I have a feeling that women who read my blog are women who like weird. So you should email me if you want a date.)

Photis Patriotis up to bat

Photis had a knack for pitching apples.

Photis Patriotis pitching

I cooked dinner, which is significant because when Ryan and Ryan first came to Madison I invited them for dinner and didn’t cook. You can’t cook meals when you work 100-hour weeks. But at this point, I find I’m happier cooking for everyone than managing them.

Dinner with Brazen Careerist

So I’m sad to see the company shifting to DC. I am not sure where I fit right now, and the company is doing a lot of cool stuff that does not depend on me. But we have each grown so much since we started the company. And I think that’s what we each want most from a job — the excitement of rapid personal growth.

And I guess this is a thank you note, to Ryan and Ryan and Photis: Thank you guys for how much you taught me during the first phase of the company, and thank you for your patience, and humor and insanely huge ambitions. And here’s to phase two of Brazen Careerist.

55 replies
  1. Maggie McGary
    Maggie McGary says:

    I live in a suburb of DC–so excited Brazen is moving here! They have farm land near where I live so Penelope you need to come too!

    And I have someone to set up with Photis…don’t worry, she’s way younger than I am. I’m forwarding her this post!

  2. Celine
    Celine says:

    From your posts it sounds like you haven’t been the center of the company for years. Ryan seems to have put up with your antics in small doses. It’s good that Brazen Careerist is moving to DC. It has more of an audience and talent than its prior location.

  3. Mairzy
    Mairzy says:

    Nice post, Penelope, and good of you to recognize the highs and lows you’ve been sharing with your readers. Best of luck to BC in my town. Let me know if you need help. ;-)

  4. Tara
    Tara says:

    Congrats on the move, best of luck ahead…

    And Photis… I am very single, and I love weird and intelligent men! Introduce us!

  5. Redlefty
    Redlefty says:

    Photis does a nice job of keeping his front arm elevated and his body closed to the target until it’s time to rotate quickly, starting with the hips. Not bad for a guy in sandals in a field, throwing apples.

  6. Anna
    Anna says:

    Does this mean no more webinars with annoyed, freaked-out Penelope and calm, sensible Ryan Paugh? That’s such a darn shame. I often came more for the show and dynamic rather than actual “information”.

  7. VelDean Fincher
    VelDean Fincher says:


    Just please don’t stop blogging. I love your writing and even though there are a number of ways that I see the world differently from you, your comments stimulate my thinking. I would miss your blogs! (Incidentally, your various insights into Asperger’s Syndrome have really enlightened me in relating to a couple of people within my circle who have the same.)

      • Jonha @ Happiness
        Jonha @ Happiness says:

        Do you think you can convince the farmer to move to DC too? haha I don’t think you would both love that idea. But anyway, right, please NEVER stop blogging and thanks for always giving us fresh views of the world, that you can live a simple life and still be adored. More power to BrazenCareerist and P!

  8. Sabrina
    Sabrina says:

    Speaking of weird, I live in a suburb near Madison and am desperately in need of meeting other weird people, but I don’t know how to make friends or meet people. Anybody interested in starting a weirdo’s club?

  9. neko
    neko says:

    I live in the DC metro area, so here’s a big welcome to the BC gang!

    Hmm, looks like I’ll have to wait my turn in the rapidly growing Win-A-Date-With-Photis line. (So, how old is he? And, does he plan to visit DC ? Just curious …)

  10. Laura
    Laura says:

    I think it’s great you’re starting a new life on the farm. I know it probably is hard leaving something you’ve invested so much in. It sounds like you’ve found some happiness on the farm. Also, it sounds like you’re an idea person. You have great ideas, and a lot of dedication and energy. You’re the perfect type of person to come up with an idea and begin a startup. You can get people invested in your ideas, and now you’re leaving the startup in the hands of people who can build upon your vision.

    I work in a company that is finally moving from startup to the making money phase. One of our founders is still around and even though he has a lot of energy and passion, he’s not so good at managing people and running a department in the company. We kinda wish he *would* get interested in the next great idea and take a step back. So I think, even if you don’t know where you don’t fit, it’s incredible you’re letting the company evolve and move to DC.

  11. Dawn
    Dawn says:

    DC will be a great fit for the company, and thanks for sending cute men to my city! Photis seems to have a wait list, but what about the Ryans? ;) I vote for a Brazen Careerist reader happy hour once they settle in.

    And since this is my first comment…I have to say that I love your writing! There’s a lot of pressure at my firm to be perfect and professional; it’s refreshing to see someone honestly embracing and working with their quirks.

  12. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    I stumbled upon your blog late one night a few years ago. I love your posts and I doubt that I am in your targeted age group (53). I am engaged by your links. I forward some of your posts to my children and even some of their friends. I have often toyed with starting a business of my own, so perhaps you inspire me. You definitely make me laugh. Just want to say thanks and congratulations on your first phase of Brazen Careerist.

  13. Dannielle
    Dannielle says:

    Penelope – I’ve been following your blog and recommending it ever since I stumbled on your post about transparency. I love your stories about your life and hope you keep writing. I like your poems too. I’m a DC-area public servant who’s also been an entrepreneur and a private-sector employee so it will be interesting to see what Brazen Careerist does. As far as your work goes, even though you’re staying in Madison, I hope you research and write about working in government. I blog at (as well as at BrazenCareerist) and if you look the site, you’ll see a lot of articles and discussions about working in government. Best wishes, Dannielle Blumenthal

  14. Tom Hawkin
    Tom Hawkin says:

    Wow-congrats on allowing yourself to take a step away from the company. I have been in business a few years now and am just getting started on the web with my website/blog. I would love to speak with you to hear more about your startup as well as the ups and downs you experienced. Do you have an email address I can reach you at?

  15. Jen Gresham
    Jen Gresham says:

    So happy for all of you. I’m a big fan of Ryan, Ryan and Photis (& you of course). I think the move will just continue to result in personal and professional growth.

    I lived in Bethesda for 7 years and LOVED it. I’d move back there in an instant. If you ever expand that office, please keep me on the short list!

  16. Mike
    Mike says:

    This post was warm, beautifully written and an appreciated dose of inspiration for at least one guy making a go of it at a small company.

    Mazel Tov, Penelope – the vision you all started is taking a life of it’s own and it’s fun to watch evolve.

  17. karen
    karen says:

    I thought about entering the “win a date with Photis” contest, but it seems that it will be a crowded field.

    It did get me thinking, however, that perhaps you could move into the matchmaking field. A little Yenta on the farm. Could be awesome, could be a train wreck. Would be interesting. No?

  18. Matt S
    Matt S says:

    Congrats on the expansion!

    FYI – Your past 3 blog updates haven’t shown up in the RSS feed I have using My Yahoo. Is something different about the blog lately?

  19. Chris
    Chris says:

    I love the pictures of the apple baseball. Looks very “Field of Dreams”. Who said running a blog empire can’t be fun.

    Here is a fun video my company made regarding HR Technology. You are your readers might find it amusing. It even includes a great reference to the Pina Colada song.

  20. Noah Fleming
    Noah Fleming says:

    Ahh phase two. You’ve given these guys some nice props. Very nice.

    Good luck to all of you on the next phase. I’ll be watching and participating on the site.


  21. mitchel
    mitchel says:

    After a long wait and shrewd patience we should be rewarded with something like this. To learn and fulfil your career is truly a magnificent way to change the course of our daily lives.

  22. Alma Frankoni
    Alma Frankoni says:

    I don’t understand something. You speak of your blog and website and continually use the word ‘company’. I’m not sure what is so ‘company’-like about your blog/website. Scores of people have blogs, and many more have websites. Yet you are making a tremendous production of your ‘entrepreneurship’ – I don’t entirely get it. You have a blog. And a website. Did you need to raise money for these?

  23. ann hooker
    ann hooker says:

    just letting you know that I appreciate you and what you contribute to us readers. wish I had your spunk and energy. go get ’em, as your company makes its transition.

  24. Mike
    Mike says:

    >Brazen Careerist is opening offices in Washington, DC. Our CEO lives in DC …

    So your CEO moves the entire company to where he lives. Nice of him to put his needs over the needs of the company. What a loser… (Not that he is that unique, but it is still sad to see this kind of thing.)

  25. Page
    Page says:

    Photis definitely has date potential for many women, but if he wears shorts with a tattoo, he must consider an open-toed shoe instead of a loafer, even on a farm.

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