I confess that she got engaged way earlier than just now. I had to get used to the idea. It’s a big change and of course I’m happy for her, but I’m nervous about the change. Read more

My brothers are always the first people to send an email to say I misinterpreted research that I’m linking to. (Which I accept as a love note to let me know they read my posts.) So last week when my brother sent me a link he thought I’d like, he also sent me a summary: Read more

Many of you have asked what happened with Kate. In case you don’t remember, Kate was a homeless teen I found myself coaching in Florida. When I realized she was homeless I bought her a plane ticket to come to my house. We made our guest room into her room. I bought her all new clothes, and I told my sons to stop asking how long Kate is staying for. I told them, “This is her home. It’s the only home she has. She leaves when she wants and comes home when she needs to. Just like you guys will do when you’re older.” Read more

I took my son to a Lady Gaga concert.

I could tell you that. And I could tell you I take at least one kid on every business trip I have, and they are sick of it, so I tried to make Seattle fun by adding Lady Gaga. Read more

This is a guest post from Cassie Boorn. She is 25 years old, and she is a social media specialist at a large public relations firm. She is also a single mom to a six-year-old son, and they live in a town in Illionois with a population of 2000.

I read Penelope’s blog posts about abuse and bulimia and failure and oral sex and I wondered if I could ever be that brave. I built my career by becoming friends with big bloggers, and I decided I wanted to make Penelope my friend.

So I hired her for a career coaching session because I knew if we talked on the phone she would remember me. After that I just kept emailing her links to stuff I thought she would like and pitching her for projects I was working on.

She hated all of the projects I pitched her. Read more

In the last week I have written three blog posts that my editor told me are stupid. The first one was about the Olympics. April Ross, a silver medalist in beach volleyball, said that she quit playing indoor volleyball because the practices were too regimented. That made me realize that there are some professional sports that are entrepreneurial. Beach volleyball is one. The coach works for the players, instead of the other way around, and the players drum up their own money instead of receiving a paycheck from the team.

My editor said, “I hope you have a great photo for this post, because your readers generally don’t respond with much gusto when you write about entrepreneurship.”

This is true. So then I wrote a post titled, “I hate USA Today and I don’t fucking care if you’re sick of me ranting about how women cannot have it all. I’m still writing about it because I’m so pissed.” Read more

I have never been great at picking my own clothes. I’m great at interior design, but I have a blind spot for clothes. So I email Melissa photos of my outfits, and she uses her photographic memory of my closet to edit my outfits.

When I sent her this photo, she said: “What is this?”

I only wanted her opinion about the color of the shirt, so I thought it was okay that it was blurry. But the more I look at the picture, the more I think that it’s how I feel about myself right now.

I am not quite sure who I am, right now. And given the current career climate, this is actually how most people see themselves, too—blurry from constant movement, settled on the basics, but unclear on the specifics.

And then I read an article in Fast Company this month titled Generation Flux. The article is about how careers are constantly moving and our identity is therefore moving as well.

So I am focused on how to make myself more clear about what I look like. At least right now. And here are things I think we each need to do to pin down our moving-target, career-jumping selves. Read more

This post is sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

After I realized that the most underrated skill is asking good questions, I realized that I am not very good at it. I don’t ask for help enough because I don’t know what question to ask. And also, I worry the question will be bad and then the person won’t want to help me again.

So I started forcing myself to ask for help. Like, I put myself on a schedule. And the result was not so much that I got good help (I did) but what I really got was good at asking questions. Because I thought so much about it.

Here are things I’ve been noticing about what makes a person good at asking questions:

1. Surround yourself with people who make you curious.
The first time we had a bonfire at the farm I was dating the farmer and he was winning over my boys with tree climbing and hot-dog roasting. I was concerned about fire safety, but I knew it was hopeless when I realized that the number-one rule I learned about building fires — put them out before you go to bed — does not apply on the farm. He just lets it burn out itself. Read more

Melissa left yesterday. She moved back to Austin. She moved for a job that I think is totally stupid, but her future employer reads this blog, so I have to watch what I say. On the other hand, she ended up giving references the same day I posted about me worrying about her having an affair with the Farmer, so the woman interviewing her decided not to use me as a reference.

I can see why she wouldn’t want to have to deal with me. But, if I am not a reliable reference then I’m probably also, in her eyes, not a reliable person for assessing whether the job that Melissa took is totally stupid for her to take. So maybe she is just ignoring my blog anyway. Or maybe she is printing out each post and putting it on she office wall and throwing darts at it.

The second-to-last day Melissa was here, we went berry picking.

The farm is full of little pockets of wild blackberries. And we set out to pick enough for me to make a pie.
Read more

Why are almost all the bloggers in the Life at Work section at BNET women? I’m worried, because it’s never good for one’s career to be in a room full of women unless you’re a model or a stripper. Because where there are women there are lower salaries.

This is not a case of discrimination. I mean, it’s not that men get paid more for the same work that women do. It’s that women choose to do different work. I interviewed Al Lee, the quantitative analysis genius who combs through salaries at PayScale, and among the fascinating things he told me was that women and men get paid similar amounts for similar work but that women pick lower-paying fields, and lower paying paths.

So, for instance, neurosurgeons are men and family practice doctors are women. And social workers are women and psychiatrists are men. Al says that the best thing women can do to increase their earning power is “to choose fields dominated by men right out of college.”

I have actually been given this advice often in my career. For example, mentors told me to stay in line for management positions where I would be responsible for profit and loss for the company (product manager, for example) rather than go into support roles where I help people become stars in profit and loss but get no direct credit myself (human resources, for example).

So I went into tech. All men. And I started doing venture-backed startups. All men. And when I have been in departments that were all women, I either quit or switched to another department. Really. I am not stupid.

But all that careful work throughout my career and now I’m writing with all women. I am sure this is not good.

I went over the BNET to investigate the situation and I stumbled on Kimberly Weisul’s piece titled,Why Mentoring Helps Men More than Women. I clicked, mostly because I am always worried about not having the right mentors.

It turns out, I probably don’t have the right mentors, because women connect with people lower on the food chain than men do. I panic. I need to connect with business writers who are not writing work life stuff. No. Wait. I need to connect with Eric Schurenberg, who is editor-in-chief of BNET. I need to go out to lunch with him and make him love me, and then he’ll think of me first when he creates the power-writer’s group that lives on the home page of BNET and pops up in everyone’s browser with the urgency of a subscribe-now button on a porn site.

The thing is that Kimberly concludes in her post that women are getting ripped off. It kills me. I don’t want to be writing next to women who believe that women are getting a raw deal and then complain about it. I don’t buy it.

As I said, there is not a salary gap between women and men. There is a competition gap between women and men. Women choose collaborative, feel-good jobs, like writing in the how-can-we-all-get-along-better section of BNET and men choose the competitive, dog-eat-dog jobs like managing all the feel-good writers on BNET. That link is to Paul Sloan. My editor.

Will he even let me run this piece? I don’t know. You know what? I can’t stop writing about him. I have a little crush on him even though he won’t answer his phone when I call and he always returns my calls at 6pm central when he knows I won’t pick up the phone because I’m having dinner with my family.

Women: It is very bad to write stuff about dinner with family if you are trying to get ahead. Do not do this. People assume that if you have kids you will do less work. This may or may not be true – I mean, doing less work. But what is true is that you should not talk about family at work if you want to be in the all-boys departments.

However it is okay to talk about crushes at work because it is more of a single person thing to do. I mean, everyone has crushes, but only single people talk about it. So I think it makes me have a better chance of getting out of the girl ghetto at BNET if I tell you that Paul is a little shorter than I am, and not as good-looking as I am, but still, he is fun and cute.