The farmer is separating his farm from his parents’ farm. To say this has been a summer full of drama would be a total understatement. I would say that the drama has gone from his larger family, to our little family, and now, to the economics of the farm.

This is probably where the drama should be: The Farmer is essentially starting a new business. I have always thought he would do a great job on his own and it’s been fun to watch him.

He is experimenting, trying to figure out what he wants. This summer, for example, he let the pigs graze in our field of sweet corn after the season was done.

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During the year after 9/11 I went to counseling for post-traumatic stress. I went to a group that met weekly. The counselors explained that if we told our story over and over again, the story would have less power over us.

So I have been telling my story for ten years. I am lucky to have a blog, and an amazing community to tell my story to. And recently, as the 10th anniversary has been approaching, I've been telling my story again, to many news outlets.

I was there when the first tower fell. I was so close to it that I could not even see what had happened. I didn't run. I ducked for cover. I got trampled. By the time I could stand up, everything was completely dark.

I remember the moment I realized I should close my mouth and stop breathing. Time got so slow. I remember thinking that if I had stopped breathing sooner, I would have had a few extra breaths right now. I remember thinking don’t swallow, because there was too much stuff in my mouth.

I thought to myself that I had no idea what to do to save my life. I was in the dark and couldn't breathe. I thought I'll only be alive for maybe a minute longer, so I only have to keep trying to figure out how to save my life for one more minute. I told myself I can't give up until I pass out. I remember that I hoped for a fast death. Read more

The second start-up I did was with a guy who had great data about city governments but didn't know how to turn it into an Internet company. So I wrote a business plan and got it funded.

It turned out that he also had no idea how to use the Internet. He had a secretary, Laura, who printed out his emails for him to read and then he dictated responses to her.

He hid this from me until one day I needed to dig through his emails to find correspondences from investors. I said, “Give me your password.”

“I don't know it.”

“Okay. I'll get it from Laura.”

“No. Okay. I'll give it to you.”

“What is it?”

“Hold on. There is stuff about sex sites in there and I want you to know I don't know how it got there. ”

“I know. Everyone gets spam from sex sites. It's not just you.”


This is funny now, right? It's funny that he thought typing was not in his job description. It's funny that he thought he could get by without learning how to use the Internet.

But that was 1996. The corollary to that today is people who think they do not need to be good at using social media.

The whole Internet is going to be social media: shopping will be social, your resume will be social, your whole career will be built on social media, and your kids' education will be built on social media. (And if you think you don't want kids, then the way you are going to get to a place where people don't bug you about that decision is through social media).

I wrote very early that social media is the key to a good career. It seemed so crazy when I wrote it, but I was sure it was true. And now that I am running a vibrant tech career from a rural farm, I thank god every day that I'm great at social media.

Do you think social media is too much work, and you have a life to live? This is what social media gets you:

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Look at this picture. I love this picture. I am carefree, pulled together, and a little bit like a farmer but not too much.

I keep thinking I want to put this picture online. And then I think, I can't. I'm too sad. I need a picture of me moping.

This feeling reminds me of when I was younger, it was very hard for me to get a job, and also hard for me to keep one. I was job hunting all the time. Read more

I’m convinced that the biggest impact Generation Z will have on the workplace is in their schooling. They will be lifelong, self-learners, who take more personal responsibility for their ongoing education than any generation in history. I am not talking about graduate school here. I am talking about a more creative, independent way of learning that does not stop at college, but rather, picks up pace remarkably after college, when real experiential learning starts happening.

The question is, how do we get this lifelong learning bug now, as adults, so we can compete with the young people when they enter the workforce. I thought about this question a lot last week, while I was at cello camp with my son.

1. When it comes to learning, keep your bar very high.
At cello camp my son's classes are about 80% Asian. It's like being a Jew in NYC — sort of a demographic optical illusion. We are at ground zero for the Tiger Mom. We are at a camp where six-year-olds play cello for five hours a day.

I am used to being the crazy, overbearing mom in the rural farm community where we live. I’m asked, “Why do you have to drive two hours to a music lesson? There’s a piano teacher in Darlington!” because I ignore the advice of my neighbors and I drive four hours round trip so my son can take lessons from a music professor at the University of Wisconsin.

And I think I’m on the right track, because Lisa Nielsen, an education reformer working in the New York City public schools, says that lifelong learners are great at creating their own networks of experts.

2. Walk a narrow path so you can keep learning to jump off the path.
But at cello camp I find that I’m the laid back, bar-is-low mom. My son played ping-pong with little white girls in between classes. There was one soccer ball in the whole camp, and my son joined the other kid. Who was white, of course. And in group class, my son is the one who wants to try his own rhythms “just once I promise please please mom.”

At first I was thinking I am in a race to keep up with the Asian parents. Read more

My garden is full of vegetables that I never would have guessed I could grow. There is so much that I am not sure what to do with it all.

Because the acorn falls close to the tree, my son decided he wanted to sell rhubarb at our local farmers market. To be clear, a farmers market looks very different in a community of farmers. It’s very unregulated, and people sell stuff off their trucks. Also, two farms sell heirloom rhubarb, ours and one owned by an Amish family. If you haven’t noticed, the Amish are very good at what they do. They know their customers, and they always have something fun to sell, no matter what’s in season.

My relationship with my customers centers on my ability to always piss off someone, no matter if it’s on my blog or in person. To make up for that, I tied ribbons around the rhubarb. I think the only thing I accomplished was a nice picture.

My son is enterprising, though. And he realized that what people really want is our eggs. (Farm eggs are way better than supermarket eggs — even organic ones.) So he sold those at the market, and we took the rhubarb home. Read more

Today is the first hay baling day of the summer. The farmer is used to making huge, round bales, with big, loud machines. This time, though, he did smaller, square bales, and he found a way to include our son. And the dog.

I spend part of each day counseling people who don’t know how to find work that is satisfying. It’s one of the hardest things to learn to do. Here is how to do it well, at any age:

1. Get yourself accustomed to trying new things.
To find work you love, you have to try working at lots of different jobs, maybe 50, maybe 100. You are limited only by the ideas you have for what to try.

To instill this spirit for experimentation in my son, I have helped him do things like sell rhubarb at a farmer’s market, decorate containers to market eggs, and raise animals to sell. Read more

Melissa is back. She stayed with us on the farm a little while over the winter, telling me to shut up, and playing with me in the snow.

I think by now you get the picture that Melissa is one of those people who breaks every rule and lands on her feet. One of the things I really admire about her is that she quits a job as soon as she knows it's not the right fit for her long term.

1. Keep rewriting your story so that it makes sense.
I don't think I've ever told you that Melissa worked at Ogilvy in NYC. Her stint was less than a year, but long enough for her to become an search marketing genius. Not that she's doing anything with that knowledge.

“It's interesting to know,” she told me. “And everyone should live in NYC once in their life. For as long as they can stand it.”

She took a finance job in Hong Kong and retooled her resume to tell a new story: Her developer resume showed a child prodigy programmer becoming an Ogilvy SEO queen. But she changed it to a sales resume where she is an Ogilvy account management and moves seamlessly into hedge fund sales. It's all true. But good storytelling on a resume requires selective shifts in focus for each job description.

2. Do two jobs at once to hide a job that is death to a resume.
Then Melissa quit her private equity job in Hong Kong with tons of tax-free money in her bank account and fled the finance industry to become a nanny in Milan.

It seemed like a great job. There's one kid in the family. He's nine years old and he's in school (the British school) until 3pm. For this, Melissa was earning the equivalent of US$100,000 per year. Here's the area where she was living:

The idea was that she'd hang out in Milan for a year, but she'd also do some sort of official launch of a career coaching business where she helps me put a lot of my individual career coaching online so that I can do more coaching over the phone. And then, I told her, she could drop the nanny job from her resume and say she spent the year building a coaching business. Her resume will look fine. Read more

Melissa is back from Italy right in time for the Royal Wedding. We stayed up all night, but at 2am, we went over to my neighbor’s house, because they have a huge TV.

Melissa fell asleep. My neighbor, Kathy, stayed up with me. And it was so cozy to sit on the sofa in the early morning darkness watching the wedding unfold.

I’m fascinated by the royal family. I think it started when my mom woke me up at 3am to watch Diana get married. I woke up for Diana’s funeral, and now, I’m so happy to wake up to watch William marry Kate. I love the story of a commoner becoming royal. But what I’m most fascinated with is the idea of work. Read more

It’s hard to confess to you that I’m happy on the farm. The Farmer and I are getting along well, and all that research about how if parents are in a happy marriage the kids are happier — well, that seems to be true for us.

So I spend my days writing career advice and reading about goats and figuring out how to make enough unleavened desserts to keep the Farmer from hating Passover. When I need a break from thinking, I plant my vegetables in perfectly straight rows and hope for no more snow.

The thing is, though, that it is not my nature to be sunny and bright.

Now there’s a study to support my instincts toward stress and anxiety. According to Leslie Martin, author of the new book, The Longevity Project, stress and anxiety that arise from working hard at something that is engaging and exciting to you is actually a more healthy way to live than in a regular state of cheerfulness. Read more