I know you're thinking that the workplace is dead between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but actually, December is a great time for careers. Here are five reasons why:

1. Job hunting is great in December.
January is the biggest month for hiring, but December is the second-best month for a job hunt. This is because people have budget allocated for jobs on a yearly basis. And if they don't fill those jobs, they lose the position in the new budget. So all those hard-to-fill positions have to get filled no matter what this month. Also, people have money they did not spend in other areas that they can put toward a new hire. But they don't know if they have that money until the end of the year. This all makes for a hiring frenzy in December, and since most candidates don't realize this, the candidate pool is not as full in December either. Read more

I get an incredible amount of email from people with Asperger Syndrome. It’s all really similar. Here’s a sample:

“I’m 45 and a lawyer and I have Asperger’s. I don’t know what is appropriate, and not appropriate some of the time, such as talking too much about very personal info, or saying something that offends someone.

“I’ve gone through many friends in life. Most can’t deal with me, I’ve never been married, relationships get complicated, but luckily I’ve had a few who hung on regardless of my flaws.

“How do you feel and deal with the fallout when you say things that cause more problems than you would have had if you just kept your mouth shut? I want to take the attitude that if I say something inappropriate and it’s held against me, screw ’em, I’m not going to worry about it, life is short.

“Do you think there a way of saying inappropriate, blunt things into an asset even though others don’t approve of your behavior?”

I respond to everyone. I don’t even know why I’m writing this in a post—that I respond to all my emails. Because it just means I’ll get more. But I think, even though I know it’s terrible time management to respond to all emails, I must like it because look: I launched the Mailbag section. The emails are probably human contact that I need. Read more

This post is sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

Take a look at Steve Martin’s business card. I love it because it brings to light the lack of meaning we often feel during the daily routine of work life.

When I was new to the workforce, I saw two ends of a spectrum. On one end, risking one’s life to save dying children, and on the other end, hedge-fund banking to make millions.

If you see the work world that way, then you feel compelled to choose between making good money or doing good deeds. But at this point, I don’t think the world breaks down like that. I think all jobs are meaningful. Read more

My homeschool blog is mentioned in the New York Times. It’s a small mention, but it’s a big deal for me, because lately I’ve been obsessed with how people learn, and what makes a successful adult. It’s appropriate that the Times would link the day I wrote about what my day is like trying to homeschool and work full-time. It’s a colossal mess, really. But it’s a work in progress.

When things got really bad — me trying to do everything, and me having marriage trouble — Melissa said, “You need a vacation.” So the boys and Melissa and I went to Hermosa Beach. We stayed at a hotel called The Beach House. It’s right on the ocean, and it’s in front of volleyball courts I used to play on when I was on the pro circuit and too poor to stay in hotels as nice as this one.

I thought the best part of the vacation would be the hotel. It’s dreamy – with a perfect balcony and a fireplace, and soft thick towels that I never had to wash.

But it turned out that the best part was watching the kids learn. The hotel was the facilitator.

The first thing the kids did was line up their Pokemon everywhere so the place felt like home.

Read more

I’m doing a series of webinars about how to blog.

I will teach you how to set goals for blogging and meet them, continuously. I’ll also show you how to develop an approach to blogging that will get you noticed by people you care about very quickly. The bootcamp takes place November 14-18. You can sign up here.

Here’s more about what we’ll cover:

1. Use blogging to jumpstart your career and your earnings.
Blogging will transform your work life. Here are things you can do with a blog:

  • Double your earning potential
  • Switch careers with flair
  • Win a more flexible work schedule
  • Create a reliable revenue stream
  • Build a large, useful network very quickly

Blogging is something you should do to meet a specific goal. I’ll show you how you can meet almost any goal with a smart approach to blogging. Read more

Melissa and I had a fight yesterday. We have this fight once or twice a month. Someone who neither of us knows well will ask Melissa something about me just out of an odd curiosity about my life. Something stupid, like, What’s Penelope doing for Thanksgiving?

It’s stupid, yes, but I think it’s even more stupid that Melissa answers. So I tell her don’t talk to anyone about me. I don’t want her to be a source of Penelope information. I just want her to be a friend.

You will notice this is very hypocritical of me. But I don’t care. I make the rule anyway: No talking about me. Ever.

Then she thinks everything is an exception. Like, telling her co-worker what it’s like sitting across from me while I make up dialogue that she is not saying.

So I say, “I’m not talking to you anymore. You’re a terrible friend.”

She says, “I am not a terrible friend. I have really good intentions.”

“Okay. You’re a retarded friend. You don’t understand boundaries.”

“I’m trying. And you see everything black and white and it’s not.” Read more