As thousands of U.S. companies ship jobs to other countries, the resounding response from young people is, “Who cares? I wouldn’t want one of those jobs anyway.” To the new U.S. workforce many of those jobs look boring, routine and uncreative – the equivalent of a manufacturing job to a baby boomer.

Kris Helenek is a software engineer at Student Universe, an online travel resource for students. He’s not particularly worried about losing his job to someone in, say, India, because he’s involved in discussions concerning product features – something difficult to outsource to someone lacking a deep understanding of the customer. But what about his future? Helenek says, “I’m confident that I’ll always be innovative enough and skillful enough that people will want to hire me.”

We are entering a new age in economic history, and it will elevate those who are nimble and creative. When we moved from industrial economy to the information economy, jobs became more interesting; coal miners were unemployed, tech support centers hired like mad, and secretaries became small-time database operators. Now we’re in the early stages of the “conceptual age” in which data will be less important than creativity, and jobs will be more fulfilling.

Daniel Pink presents this one-minute economic history in his book, A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. He says, “Key abilities will not be high tech but high touch,” and we will value the ability to make meaning and connections in a world where information is a commodity.

According to Pink, the people who will do best in this economy are those who don’t just take and give orders but also move smoothly between boundaries, like the technical guru who understands marketing or the accountant who speaks four languages. “But,” Pink warns, “you cannot get a move-smoothly-between-boundaries aptitude test, so a lot of this is about self-discovery.”

Here are some traits you need to develop to do well in the conceptual age:

  1. Empathy. Think emotional intelligence on steroids. The most empathetic people have the ability to see an issue from many different perspectives. And work that can be done without infused empathy begs to be outsourced.
  2. Aesthetic eye. Pink says, “Design sense has become a form of business literacy like learning to use Microsoft Excel. Smart business people should start reading design magazines.”
  3. Ability to negotiate and navigate. The conceptual age will be filled with possibilities that point to no single truth. Pink says, “People must learn to do something that is not routine, that doesn’t have a right answer.”

Bottom line: You’ll have to be creative to stay employed. But really, who doesn’t want to be creative? It’s inherently more rewarding to be creative than to be an information drone.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, professor of psychology at the Claremont Graduate University and author of Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, says that, “Being creative is a way in which life becomes richer.

“But if you want to be creative you must learn to do something well. You need to learn a set of skills, and then, once you feel comfortable you can ask yourself how you can make it better.”

Those with no patience for methodically developing a special talent, pay heed: Innovation without a good knowledge in that area is not creativity but dilettantism. Not that dabbling in topics you know nothing about isn’t fun, but that lifestyle will not create the kind of value that allows you to flourish in this new economy. To find what you love to do, Csikszentmihalyi recommends exploration.

“A richer life is one in which you have access to different aspects of the world.” Sure, you need to find your talents to figure out where you will put your creative energy.

But Pink reminds, “Failure is a part of mastery.” So give yourself room for missteps.

This is good news for Helenek. He invested in Boston-area real estate as a way to hedge his technical career. He planned to live in half his duplex and rent out the other half. But after the deal closed a pipe burst, and now Helenek is working on a fixer-upper. Tough work, but the good news is you can’t outsource floor sanding to India.

When someone asks me, “What does your husband do?”

I say, “I don’t know.”

This is not an answer our society is set up to deal with. It is not okay to have no idea what you want to do, let alone be married to someone with no idea. We have two kids, and I’ve noticed that the more responsibilities you have, the more unacceptable it is to have no idea what you’re doing.

But the truth is that my husband is trying to figure out what to do. He is an artist, and a former game producer, and a former a lot of things, but right now he is being a dad who wants to be a dad-slash-something but he can’t figure out what.

There is a lot of good advice about how to craft an answer to The Question. Pamela Slim, at Escape from Cubicle Nation has a classic post titled, So, what do you do for a living? about how to talk about your new entrepreneurial escapade while you are still working for your old employer. And Herminia Ibarraha, a professor at INSEAD, shows that if you talk about yourself how you want to be, then you will probably become that person. In both cases, the advice is to answer The Question by focusing on where you are going instead of where you are.

That is excellent advice, for everyone who knows where they are going. But how do you craft an answer if you have no idea where you are headed?

I know my husband is not alone in the world because I do a lot of career coaching for very smart, talented, ambitious people, and many have no idea what they want to do with themselves. Ten years ago, if you didn’t know what you were doing, the typical response would be, “I’m consulting.” Today, you don’t need to do that. It’s okay to be lost.

For people under 30, feeling lost is de rigueur. But if you’re over thirty, it’s okay too, if you believe it’s okay. The first step is to respect the fact that you are in transition and that transition is part of normal life. In fact, with the right attitude, coping with uncertainty can be a positive experience.

The important thing is to be honest about it. If you hedge, and look embarrassed, ashamed or evasive, you will look bad answering The Question. But if you look someone in the eye and say, “I don’t know. I’m trying to figure it out,” it’s reasonable to trust that people will respect you. They will ask you about your process for figuring things out. Maybe they’ll say, “What have you done in the past?” or maybe “What are you thinking about doing?” These are not personal attacks. They are genuine curiosity because we are all fascinated by the process of self-discovery — it’s the basis of our whole literary canon, after all.

Linda Chernoff is decked out in a black, floor-length gown and heels that kill her at the end of an evening. She has the conversational skills of a socialite and team building talents of a top executive. Her resume could start with her prized “people skills” as an entree to almost any career, but instead, she focuses herself more narrowly: Event planner.

Good move. The best way to ensure you’ll always be in demand is to become a specialist.

In Hollywood terms, this means you should typecast yourself. You know, action hero, funny guy, tough girl. Ezra Zuckerman, professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management spent three years studying actors’ careers and concluded that even though actors see typecasting as deadly, it is, in fact, a ticket to a solid career. Actors who get typecast early on get more work, more consistently.

The typecasting rule applies to other careers; specializing is a way to differentiate yourself in a crowd. Many people describe themselves as generalists so as not to eliminate job prospects. However, specializing makes you more likely to be hired and hunted. Zuckerman explains, “Headhunters are specialized and they look for something they can package and sell. Since a candidate search is specialized, the headhunter is not set up to process people who don’t fit into a specialty.”

As with almost all career advice, solid execution requires knowing where your gifts lie. And, like most people, Linda Chernoff was not initially sure. She started out as a law firm administrator, then worked in publicity at Temple University.

Her favorite part of that job was planning events like golf outings and tailgate parties. Now she is development associate for special events at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Specialization is the goal, but be wary of too much or too early. If your specialty is marketing on Mars, you’ll be the only person in your field, but you probably won’t get paying gigs. Even a reasonable specialty can go awry if you limit yourself before you know enough.

Liz Ramos, a partner at the consulting firm Bain & Co., wrote, “At Bain, we think it is more and more important as a business person to develop one or more areas of deep expertise over time.”

The path they’ve laid out for their consultants is useful: In the beginning, the focus is on “learning communication techniques and skills for the job.” After two years at the company, Bain emphasizes learning to “manage one’s job and develop as business leaders.”

Only after three to five years does Bain encourage people to “think about if they want to continue in consulting or go to business school or another opportunity such as an entrepreneurial venture.”

Once you get to that last step, you necessarily take yourself out of the running for some jobs. But if you don’t position yourself as extremely good at something, you will never have a chance at a top position.

Opera singer Stephanie Chigas knows this intuitively. She is a Boston-based mezzo-soprano at the beginning of her career. While other opera singers accept chorus roles for supplemental income, she does not. “Some people will say, ‘I’ll do anything that comes my way,’ but I don’t want to do that. I have different goals for myself. It may sound a little snooty, but I want to be a solo singer.”

Snottiness is paying off for Chigas. She’s performed with the Boston Lyric Opera and she’s sung at Carnegie Hall. In fact, snootiness is part of specializing, because committing to a path requires an implicit revelation that you think you’ll succeed.

Conversely, generalizing often looks weak, lacking direction or commitment. Zuckerman says, “Generalizing could be useful as a hedging strategy if you are in a volatile industry.” But if you see yourself going to the top, you need to sell yourself as a specialist, not someone hedging for a darker day.

Of course, it is scary to specialize because there is the chance you’ll choose something in which you can’t succeed. But you can always try again. MIT’s Zuckerman offers hope in the form of Bette Davis. Her career began in the 1930s as a blond bombshell. But there was no spark. So her studio recast her as a vampy, man-slayer type, and she was a hit.

When Carin Rosenberg and Erik Lawrence got married, they had already done a lot of planning. They had a plan for a baby (lots of hands-on parenting) and careers (no out-of-control hours), and while each were earning advanced degrees, they had no plans for high-powered jobs.

For Generation X, super careers are out and shared parenting is in. What used to be mistaken for a “slacker” work ethic (by media dominated by workaholic boomers) is actually a generation-defining concern for work-life balance. A report from Catalyst says that professionals in Generation X “place more emphasis on personal goals than on those related to work.” Both parents expect to be closely involved with the children, and full-time childcare is widely rejected as not consistent with the core values of the generation.

When children enter the picture, there are three possible paths for dual-career couples:

First path is where one partner leaves the workforce to run the household. This is the path that made men’s careers soar for years, and it was the most popular choice when women had no choice. The second path is where both partners work full time and outsource running the household. This was a popular choice when women thought they could “have it all.” But the women entering the workforce today know better, and most want no part of that lifestyle which now appears to be impossible.

The third path is what Generation X aims for: Reconfigured work around the needs of family. According to Lisa Levey, Director of Advisory Services at Catalyst, most people starting out in their work life say they want a union of equal careers and equal parenting. But most people are unrealistic about what this setup requires. “This is a tough situation to establish because the paradigm has shifted but the jobs have not.”

Most career-worthy jobs are prepackaged for a 40 hour (or more) workweek, which makes little room for two careers and dual parenting. According to Levey, “Five years after business school, only 60% of women are working outside the home. Women look ahead and the path seems impossible. You can’t have two people gunning in their careers, and women are more likely to quit when there’s a problem.”

Phyllis Moen, professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota and author of the Career Mystique: Cracks in the American Dream, warns that “What happens with two high powered folks is that it becomes impossible and one bails out, typically the woman.” But she offers encouragement in that, “Cracks provide an opportunity, a way to rewrite the script. And Generation X is poised to do that.”

Levey offers a game plan: “You need good planning that starts in one’s mid twenties. You need to have a very substantial conversation about it.” When it comes to choosing a third path, “you have to really want it – seek it out, plan for it over a long period of time.”

That last piece of advice is difficult. Rosenberg and Lawrence know they both want to have family dinners, but neither is sure who will be home at 6pm to do the cooking. “We’ll talk about logistics when we are ready to have a baby,” says Rosenberg. But for optimum chance of success on the third path, the couple should talk about it way before they’re ready for a baby.

Here are some guidelines for early conversation and planning:

1. Build expertise to gain flexibility.
Moen reports that a lot of young people “Say they won’t go for high level jobs but will go for one that allow them to have more time. But that is shooting themselves in the foot because all jobs are demanding but some have more resources than others. If you think you are taking a job that would give you more time, talk to people in that job. We have in our mind that lower status or lower paying would be easier to balance, but this is not the case.

Levey recommends that you focus on building value. “It’s very hard to get a part time job off the bat. If you’re pregnant it’s late to think about part time. Usually you have to earn the opportunity to work part time. Work at the same company for a while, and develop a certain niche. Over time, you can craft something that will work for you.”

2. Live below your means and forget the big house.
If you choose an unconventional path then you need to expect your income to oscillate as each partner steps on and off different career tracks. Levey warns: “People get stuck because they can’t imagine decreasing their financial lifestyle.”

Moen zeroes in on the house: “The one thing that people seem to equate with adulthood is buying a house. In the past – for boomer generation especially – advice was to buy the best house you can afford. But now that house is an albatross, especially because today that purchase is based on two peoples’ salaries.”

Jessica DeGroot of the Third Path, and non-profit that coaches couples in creating a work-life balance says that in addition to homes, people also scale back vacations and maybe even family size in order to afford to reduce work hours.

3. Marry someone whose career aspirations are consistent with yours.
“If one person has a 60 hour/week job and one has a 40 hour a week job, the person with fewer hours at work will do most of the work at home,” says Moen. Similarly, if only one person has flexibility to come home when a child is sick, then that person will come home every time.

4. Talk all the time.
Most people know if the person they’re dating wants to have kids, and they have some sort of idea of how many and how soon. Most people also find out the career aspirations of the person they’re dating. But the intersection of kids and careers is usually in a don’t-ask-don’t-tell paradigm.

People say they can’t talk about how to manage kids and careers until the kids come because they don’t know what they’ll want. But you could say that about everything. And you don’t. So when it comes to the combination of kids and careers, you don’t have to have the perfect answer, but you have to have something you’re shooting for, together, or you won’t have any control over the direction you’re going.

This is true when you are dating, but it’s also true during the course of your whole relationship. An ongoing, engaged discussion of kids and careers is the best way to make sure they work well together for your family.

Good internships are treasure troves no matter how old you are. They give you the opportunity to make a new start –figure out where you fit, switch your career path, or just find someone who cares enough to help you make good decisions.

That said, the big internship business comes from college students. Eighty-two percent of graduating seniors will have completed at least one internship, according to Mark Oldman, co-founder of Vault, a media company for career information, and author of Best 109 Internships. “In the United States an internship is no longer an optional benefit but an essential stepping stone for career success.”

The time to start looking for a summer internship is now. Some industries, like finance and journalism, typically have deadlines in the fall. Other industries have spring deadlines. But regardless of deadlines, the earlier you start the better an experience you are likely to have.

Brown University holds meetings in November to get students started on the internship process. “Internships are a really important part of career exploration so you should start as early as possible,” says Barbara Peoples, associate director in the Career Development Center at Brown University.

No matter what your age, an internship can help you to know as much about what you do like as what you don’t like. It’s very hard to tell which sort of job you’ll be happy in, and Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard University, says working summers in a few different industries is a good way figure it out. “Don’t ask people, “?Does your career make you happy?’ because most people will say yes. Instead, observe people in their work to see if you think they look happy.”

Oldman points out that the benefits of an internship extend way past college. “Increasingly recent college grads and even career changers of all ages are doing internships. They are a great way to ignite career interest. But they are also a low risk way to sample a new industry without committing yourself.”

No matter what age you are, you should follow the same advice for evaluating opportunities. Here is the list of characteristics that make for a good internship, according to Oldman:

Substantive work.
Mentoring opportunities.
Some sort of pay.
Chance for gaining permanent employment.
Good quality of life.

So, how do you get one of these plum internships? For everyone, the best source is, of course, your network. But in most cases, people have not been great at networking before they need an internship.

For college students, the next best resource is the campus career center. A career center measures its success by how many students actually get jobs, so they have a vested interest in making sure you get an internship since that makes you more likely to get a job when you graduate. Besides, one of the most important aspects of succeeding in a career is learning to ask for help, so get started now, when the stakes are not so high.

It might seem that you cannot go wrong in the internship department, but it is not without controversy. Many internships are unpaid — toeing the line of labor laws and sometimes even crossing it. And some internships pay, but not nearly as well as, say, a summer job in construction, or a job corralling ten-year-olds at overnight camp. For people who do not have parental funding or a nest egg of their own, subsidizing an unpaid internship is often out of the question.

But Peoples says that even if you are not doing unpaid labor in the field of your dreams, you can benefit from your summer work. You should “know what you are seeking from a summer experience. Even if you are working at a summer camp, think about goals like becoming a supervisor or working in a different area.” Peoples says that “everyone should have learning goals.” And in fact, the process of crafting goals for personal growth on the job might be the most important internship lesson of them all.

My Chinese radar really perked up last week when I read the Economist article about Alibaba. This Chinese company is the largest online business-to-business marketplace in the world, and it just purchased Yahoo! China, which makes Alibaba the12th most popular site in the world.

I checked out the site right away, and, guess what? It looks just like eBay, except that the testimonial on the home page is from someone who lives in Vietnam. Moments like this make me think career advice really needs to address the China issue: How will you survive in China? But the answer is, of course, that you probably won’t. Which is why I don’t write a lot of advice about it.

Some people will do well in China, though. So let’s take a look.

There is a brisk business in Chinese nannies for American babies. New York Magazine reports that, “The lycee is passe (old Europe has no trade surplus), and some parents are scouring Craigslist and placing ads in the China Press for sitters who speak Mandarin, China’s official language.”

One of those parents says, “Even if my little girl weren’t very smart, she’s always going to get a job because she’ll be totally fluent in Chinese.”

This is not true. It takes a lot more than speaking Chinese to succeed in China.

China is among the easiest countries to attract outsiders to work but is also one of the hardest places for them to succeed, according to David Everhart, regional practice leader for Asia at the recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International.

Everhart gave me this list of five traits of people who succeed on a Chinese mission:

1. You are generally a very patient person, with a high tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity.

2. You already have a certain knowledge of Chinese culture — not only societal, but also the business culture.

3. You have evaluated your company’s China strategy and are empowered to manage expectations at the home office about what it will take to meet your goals.

4. You have researched and secured extra support so your family will be able to adapt socially in China.

5. You arrive in China and immediately begin thinking about succession planning: how to develop the leaders of the future who will allow the firm to localize its management team.

Most of us will never work in China, but there’s a lesson in this list. You need social skills and a big-picture strategy for any job you take. In China, because of a cultural gap, you need them even more. But don’t kid yourself: If you can’t tolerate a certain amount of uncertainty and ambiguity, you will flounder in a leadership position anywhere, not just in China.

Finally, check out Melanie Parsons Gao’s blog. She is a Sun employee who blogs about making the transition to China. She posted a list of what to bring that is interesting even if you never go.

Are you worried that you have no idea what you’re doing with your life? A lot of how you feel about yourself stems from how you look at the world. For example, instead of worrying that you are not on a track, consider that the tracks are not viable.

It’s a hard mental shift that might require some tricks. Here’s one to try: You can draw things more accurately if you turn them upside down before you put the pen to paper. Artist (and my aunt) Judith Roston Freilich says, “That’s an old trick. Also, people often suggest that when you are drawing and you’re stuck you turn your page upside down.”

The work world corollary to that might be to take a closer look at the people who pull their whole life together by age 24. In fact, they are the exception to the rule, and they are probably not that innovative. Wayne Osgood, professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, told me these people are “fast starters,” and he says that they are only about 12% of the population. This group typically does not finish college and appears to have conventional personalities and expectations.

Before turning yourself into a pretzel to fit someone else’s mold. Try turning the world upside down and then take another look at yourself.

Henry Kasdon learned to break dance on his mom's tennis court. Now he's a dance teacher who is astute enough about marketing to change the names of moves from the Brooklyn to the Brookline. He is a successful dancer; he's getting ready to switch careers to trial law. “I want my kids to be taken care of,” he says. Not that he has any now, but Kasdon is a man with a plan.

The odds are, recent college grads will be working for the next fifty years. That's a long time. No one expects to stay in the same job for fifty years, and probably not even the same career. So why not have a starter career before you get down to the business of making enough money to buy a home or raise a family?

A starter career is similar to a starter marriage but without the pain of divorce. Pamela Paul, author of Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony, says, “Once you're at the end of a starter marriage, you realize all your mistakes, misperceptions and false expectations that you had, and you can make better decision next time.” And the same is true for careers. Pick a starter career with the best of intentions, but be ready to learn from your shortcomings to make the second one even better.

A starter career is serious business. This is not a McJob to pay the bills. You might need one of those in your life, but a McJob is not a conscious, career decision so much as an acknowledgement that starving is painful. A starter career aims to accomplish something; otherwise you're just spinning your wheels, biding time.

A starter career should have meaning to you. Sonja Lyubomirsky, assistant professor of psychology at University of California at Riverside, describes meaningful work as a job that meets a core goal. “People have important goals that come from inside themselves, for example personal growth, community or relationships. Jobs that allow you to meet intrinsic goals will lead to more happiness.”

Kasdon is audibly elated when he describes how he's grown as a dancer and how he has helped other people to learn, which is what makes his dancing a starter career rather than just a sideshow to pay bills.

It should be too risky to do later. Barbara Reinhold, director of the Executive Education for Women program at Smith College, generally recommends that if you can squelch your spending, you should make some money before you launch a low-paying career; if nothing else, creative juices work better when they are not diverted to financial crises. But in many cases, there is no time to wait. For Kasdon, we're talking knees. A break dancing career will not be available to him physically later in life. For others, like math rockers, the cool factor precludes breakout success as a forty-year-old, so you should get out your CD earlier than that.

Paul says that most starter marriages are to college sweethearts. Read: Married for love and not earning potential. And that's what you should be thinking with your starter career. The money can come later — the second time around. Jason Cole, managing director of Abacus Wealth Partners, a national financial planning firm, says when asked about people in their twenties: “We encourage people to pursue their passions. They'll have a lot of years to earn money. Sure you'll lose something by forgoing the ability to put money away, but you need to balance what is most important to you.” (Savor these words because you will not qualify for any more advice from Abacus Wealth Partners until your net worth reaches $1 million.)

You might think a starter career is risky, but there are dangers to taking time to make some money before you do what you love. Reinhold warns that a good paying career straight out of the gate leads to “golden handcuff syndrome”. She writes that, “You have to be careful not to grow your tastes with your income”? anesthetic spending is the phenomenon where you spend and spend to try to forget that the lucrative work you’re doing doesn’t really fit you.”

For those of you not totally convinced of the financial genius of a starter career, take solace in the fact that even if you don't begin saving for retirement until you're 25, you'll be ten years ahead of the average baby boomer.

Are you considering entrepreneurship? It’s all the rage right now because the bar at the start line has never been lower. Here are nine new ideas about entrepreneurship that will make you feel like you can do it, too. Right now:

1. You don’t need a venture capitalist, you are the venture capitalist.
Today, you can make something people want without spending money. Technology is simple enough to use that you don’t need to pay for high-end software to get a business off the ground. If you can figure out how to pay for food and lodging (hello, mom and dad) then you can fund your own startup.

2. For a killer marketing plan make a list of your friends.
“Businesses these days are built on word of mouth,” says Scott Fox, author of Internet Riches. You know 200 people. Send them an email telling them about your business. If it’s great, word of mouth will generate a customer base. If your business isn’t great, you’ll know right away.

This can be true offline as well. Daniela Corte started with an even smaller base than 200. She gave five friends custom-fitted pants. “I wanted this pair of pants to be their favorite pair,” she says. And it worked. After interviewing the friends about fit and texture preferences, Corte created pants that were buzz worthy, and she grew a multi-national business from those first five women raving about their pants.

3. Globalization is good for you.
As long as your needs are well defined, hiring a programmer in India is a great way to save money. When Katherine Lee wanted to create a database of yarns for her business, she paid an Indian programmer $250 — a significantly lower price than US developers would have charged.

But you have to know what you’re doing when you outsource to India. If you’re looking for someone to hold your hand and teach you about online design, forget it. But you can pay the online design maven her US rates and then send the design plan to the guy in India to execute.

4. You only need to master a small niche.
Google makes searching so effective that customers with a very specific interest can find businesses with a very specific interest — at such a high rate that niche businesses are more viable than ever before (like mobile game development). This is the premise of Chris Anderson‘s book, The Long Tail, which encourages entrepreneurs to focus on the small areas of the world that are neglected by big retailers because the market is not big enough.

And Fox points out that everyone knows a lot about something, so the best place in the long tail to start experimenting is where you have a good deal of specialized knowledge — which is likely to be a niche.

5. You don’t need a widget, you can sell yourself.
The idea of an Internet startup is to grow an audience first, and then figure out how to make money. So a logical place to turn to is yourself, because if you can build an audience, then you’re an expert in something.

At the sprightly age of 24, Ramit Sethi writes the very popular personal finance blog He has parlayed this success into a public speaking career (seriously — Fortune 500 companies are paying him to come talk to employees about finance) and a book-writing career (stay tuned for his advice on how to recruit hotshots like him to your company).

6. You don’t have to quit your day job.
Jessa Crispin did not set out to start a business. She was just writing books reviews and posting them on her web site, Bookslut. The reviews were so popular that eventually she was able to quit her job and make Bookslut her fulltime job. But she built the business while working at another job.

Of course, not everyone is a genius on the first try like Crispin. But Fox points out, “The feedback loop is short. So you can try several different things to see what works.” The trick is to recognize when your idea is going nowhere before you’ve sunk too much time into it.

7. Entrepreneurship is about choosing a lifestyle.
Most entrepreneurs don’t start a business to get rich, they start a business so they can live the life they want. Maybe they want to be creative, maybe they want to do what they’re passionate about, increasingly, they want to have flexibility to manage their own workday.

When Corte had a baby she realized that her current business model with daily fittings was too time-intensive. So she moved her retail business to online in order to continue to be able to offer her clothes direct to consumers but to regain time for her daughter.

8. You don’t need to wait to cash out.
The 1980s brought us real estate flipping; the new millennium brings us web site flipping. Not only are people auctioning their companies on eBay for denominations formerly reserved for successful garage sales, but there are more than 70 Internet locations where people are buying and selling web sites 24 hours a day.

Tom Kuegler, partner at New Concept Factory, runs an incubator that is starting eight Internet companies each quarter. He estimates that most of these companies he’ll “unload at a low price” and two out of twenty-four will grow into “super companies.” If this sounds pie-in-the-sky to you, consider that Kuegler is no neophyte. He’s been starting and selling Internet companies since 1994.

9. Entrepreneurship is a way of thinking, and you can change the world.
This idea comes from eighteen-year-old Ben Casnocha, who founded Comcate, a leading software company for governments, when he was twelve years old. Yep. That’s right. Twelve years old.

Casnocha says, “Entrepreneurship has a lot to do with business but it is a way of thinking about things that everyone can do: Seeing individuals as empowered as agents of change; Trying to figure out the status quo, the normal thing, and then thinking about what we can do differently. If more people thought like entrepreneurs the world could be a better place.”

Here are three tidbits I’ve collected that haven’t fit in other places over the week.

Condoleeza has a workplace crush
Maureen Dowd brings to light the evidence that Condoleeza Rice has a crush on the Canadian Foreign Minister Peter McKay. Scroll down in Dowd’s column to see a great photo of the two of them looking at each other, which reminds me of all the times I’ve fallen in love — how exciting it is. The photo also reminds me of all the crushes I’ve had with people I worked with. In each instance, unfulfilled sexual tension at the office made my work life more productive. Really. Probably due to some sort of synergy and that I was so in tune with how the other person was working. Side note: Peter McKay is so cute.
(Hat tip: Ben from AMVER)

Homework in grade school encourages bad habits in the work world
Doing more than 90 minutes of homework a night in middle school means lower test scores, according to Claudia Wallis writing for TIME magazine. She shows why excessive homework is ruining kids’ childhoods and family lives for no purpose. One expert suggests extending the school day so kids get all their homework done before they get home, because home is for family. My friend Mauri points out that when we encourage kids to bring school work home and do it at the expense of family, we set those kids on a path to bring office work home at night and do it at the expense of family.

How to make useless career lists useful
CareerJounal has published what seems like their five thousandth list this year on which are the best careers.What can we learn from this list? First, lists with juicy titles get linked to a lot, and I should have made this post “Three essential things for September”, or something like that. Second, the criteria someone uses to come up with the best career list is more useful than the list itself. Some editor decided that the question to ask is, do you have these things in your job: