1. Don't be the hardest worker.
No one can work 70-hour weeks forever without losing their mind — or at least their perspective. You need to pace yourself. Besides, at this kind of pace, you may not always the best worker, but you’ll surely look like the most desperate.

2. Hire people you wouldn't want as friends.
Diverse business teams are more successful than homogenous teams. Creating diversity doesn't mean hiring one guy from each fraternity. It means hiring people who scare you, disagree with you and think in totally different ways than you.

3. Don’t fear failure.
Most people who have wild success have wild failure first. Have your failure early and significantly so that you're primed for success.

4. Learn to write direct mail.
A resume is a piece of direct mail. At best, it will get a 10-second scan from a hiring manager trying to decide whether to interview you. Know how to control what happens in those 10 seconds. Hint: You don't want the person to spend that time reading “References available upon request.”

5. Bake cookies for your team.
Surprise people with your caring and kindness. They will view you — and your mistakes — much more generously. Also, showing your soft side at the office is risky. Cookies are softness without the risk that you're revealing too much.

6. Give the brand of you a rest.
You cannot get to the top alone, so stop looking at yourself like you're a one-man show. Education is the No. 1 factor in determining who will be successful. The caliber of your stable of mentors is the No. 2 factor. So start looking outside yourself. You need help.

7. Blend in.
Do not stand out for how your dress. Stand out for your intelligence and creativity. If you dress in a way that makes people look at your clothes, then you say “look at me for my clothes”. If you dress in a way where no one notices what you are wearing then you force people to look at you for your brains. Remember, though, that boring, frumpy fashion stands out as much as flashy, funky fashion.

8. Toss the business books: Read fiction.
Your career is as dependent on your people skills as it is on your professional skills, so read books and magazines that help you to understand people. Read novels your co-workers recommend, and you'll have reliable repartee for weeks. Besides, most non-fiction tells you about peoples' mistakes, but fiction describes what’s achievable.

9. Say no frequently.
Be choosy about how you spend your time so that each project you work on becomes a great bulleted item on your resume. Don't work on projects that don't matter, will get killed or are clearly mismanaged. When your boss asks you to do something you don't have time for, remind her of her priorities and say you want to work on what’s most important to her. This is a professional way of saying no to unimportant assignments.

10. Ignore the urgent stuff.
Most urgent items on your to-do list are not big-picture items. But it’s the big-picture tasks that will make a significant difference in your career. So block off time each day to work solely on big-picture aspects of your to-do list. You don't have to be a visionary at work. But if you aren’t a visionary for your life, who will be?

For all of you who are plotting to ditch your company's holiday party, forget it: You have to go. And for all of you who are really excited about the holiday party, you can also forget it: The open bar is off-limits to you.

Before I launch into a diatribe against people who ditch company parties, let me just say that I am not a fan of the company holiday party. For one thing, not everyone has a December holiday in his or her life, so the concept is culturally alienating. For another thing, in most cases, holiday party means Christmas party with a token menorah hanging from the rafters: More cultural alienation. But my biggest complaint is that company parties are almost never on company time; they are unpaid overtime for employees.

That said, when I have attended “holiday” parties at which the only holiday is Christmas, I have pretended to have a good time. And you will have to do this, too, because the people who are promoted in corporate America are the people who fit in. Console yourself with the idea that if you are successful in corporate life, you can run your own company and abolish all holiday shenanigans from your offices.

People who blow off company parties look like snobs. Everyone has something better to do that night. But the people who actually DO something better are dissing the people who show up. You will get more done at the office if people like you, and attending one or two office parties is a small price to pay for co-workers who do favors for you when your projects are behind schedule. Luckily, you do not need to be the first there and the last to leave. Show up, make sure people who know you see that you're there. And slip out as soon as you can without being rude.

Some times you have to attend client’s holiday parties. The number one thing to remember when participating in holiday parties — either at a client’s or your own office — is that it is a chance to enhance your image. So since you don't wear short skirts to client meetings, don't show up to a client's Christmas party as Santa's hottest elf. Leverage annoying conventions like grab bags to remind people that you are clever and thoughtful. Buy a good gift but follow the rules: Paying $15 for a $10 grab-bag gift is cheating and dishonest, and stupid gag gifts are just that – stupid.

And even though everyone knows not to get rip-roaring drunk at an office party, people do it all the time. Remember in junior high school when the drug awareness counselor told you to be ready to “just say no?” with a prepared speech when friends tried to push you wayward? You probably didn't use the speech then, but you can use it now. No matter how boring and intolerable the party is, the open bar is not your last opportunity in this lifetime for free mixed drinks. Surely you have a friend who is getting married or getting dumped. Save the ten Cosmopolitans for that event. The only way to manage your image effectively is to do it sober.

You should also buy your boss a gift. Not because she is starving or has a hankering for a fruit basket, but because a gift is an excuse to write a card. Take the time to thank your boss for what she's doing to help you. Be genuine and specific so you won’t seem like a brown nose. Maybe your boss has actually done very little for you, but I would bet money he thinks he's been very helpful. So you can thank him for trying, even if he has failed. After all, isn’t being generous and understanding what the holidays are for?

In college I was such an introvert that when I went to parties (I had to be dragged) I brought a book. It was a lonely existence, but the pain of having to talk to people in an unstructured environment was too much.

So I was shocked a few years ago when someone told me, “Job hunting is easier for you than most people because you could sell yourself to anyone.”

That comment was testament to the fact that I had recognized you can’t get what you want in life without networking. Even though my natural instinct is to sit home and read, I worked very hard to learn how to talk to people. Luckily for me, books are a great resource in this regard.

I read everything I could find. I read that most introverts are scared they'll say something stupid or have nothing to say at all (both applied to me). So I read up on ways to feel self-confident in a room full of strangers and come up with things to say when I felt intimidated. (Here's a recommendation: You are the Message by Roger Ailes.)

I learned that people who are good at networking are interested in other people. And they are good storytellers. After that, I was able to go almost anywhere and talk with people. Good talkers recognize that there’s something interesting about every person, and it’s their job to get them talking about it. But you can't only bombard people with questions. You also need to reveal things about yourself. The best way is by telling fun and interesting stories that make you look good.

Not everyone can do this, though. After I had been dating my husband for about six months, I watched him print out a spreadsheet of names and phone numbers. “What's this?” I asked.

“It's my networking list,” he replied.

“But you never call anyone, ever.”

“I know, but networking is important, and I read that the first step is to have a good list.”

It was an extremely detailed list. For every name, there was a phone number and description of the person. For example, “Bennie Conover. High school music teacher — dead.” Or my favorite, “Penelope Trunk. Girlfriend.”

But my husband is an introvert, someone who loves details but hates talking to people. If you’re similarly introverted, you can still network even though you’ll never get excited about going to parties and learning interesting things about each person in the room. These tips can help.

Use email. Nowadays, you don’t have to speak face to face with contacts. You can write and rewrite your message until it’s right. And you don’t have to worry about saying something stupid because the person caught you off guard. Of course, you lose the intimacy of a personal meeting, but sometimes you can compensate for this by sending an extra e-mail or two.

Read everything. When something is published about someone you know, send a congratulatory e-mail. Incessant reading means getting gossip without having to gossip. Just be sure to act on it.

Go to parties rather than dinners. If you’re like most introverts, the problem isn’t the quantity of people, it's having to show up at all. You can kill more birds with one stone by making one of your rare social appearances in front of lots of people. And think ahead: Have a few things prepared and ready to say to other partygoers.

Write for trade publications. While you aren’t actually talking to people, you’re reaching them, making a point and hopefully being memorable. A reader may even write back to you: Miracle! You have just met someone without leaving your home.

Help others. For instance, send leads to jobseekers you know. You don't have to talk to them, but they'll remember the favor and view you as a friend. My husband maintains a list of specialized job sites that he sends to friends who have recently lost jobs. They're grateful for his help and the time it saves them, while my husband is grateful that he only has to research job sites instead of having to talk to people.

Send New Year's cards. Sending cards at year-end is tantamount to saying “You’re someone I care about.” So send cards generously. If you can, include a short note to each person. Sure, it's a struggle to find things to say, but since it's early November, you have two months to think. Write a few cards each day, and when you're stuck for words, remember the key to good networking: Be interested in other people and talk about yourself in interesting ways. Networking is one of those long-range, money-in-the-bank types of things; you never know when something you say will have a great return. So introverts, start writing!

In New York, a town where one third of the workers worked downtown, and more than one third were affected by the twin tower attacks, one of the best places to network is at trauma groups.

You have to interview to get in a group. Not because they’re exclusive, but because peoples’ experiences are so different and the groups, apparently, are most effective if people have similar experiences.

There are groups for people who lost a spouse and there are groups for people who sat in their apartment in Queens watching TV. The group I got put in is filled with people who escaped from their offices by dodging splattering body parts of jumpers. I am the curious standout in the group. As the other members were running away, I was walking closer. I am the authority on what it was like to suffocate under fallen debris.

After a few sessions, though, we all knew each others’ stories, and we all found we were in the same place: Tying to reacclimatize ourselves to the world, which for everyone, included somehow getting back to five days a week at work. Most people are still employed, at the large, or small-but-largely-affected firms you’ve probably read about, like Marsh & McLennen or Cantor-Fitzgerald.

One guy, from a large trading firm, has a cube next to someone who has cried every day for three months but has not gone to counseling. Is it appropriate to suggest counseling? Normally, a suggestion like this would be out of line, but the group agrees that in this case, it would be okay.

A woman in the group was caught in the subway, under the tower when the second plane hit. People panicked and could not decide to get off or not and the doors jammed. Now she won’t get on the subway, so her commute from the Bronx is three bus transfers and a ten-block walk. She is often late to work and she is scared it’s affecting her performance. People in the group gently tell her how they overcame transportation fears. But we all admit to having formed weird transportation rituals to ward off flashbacks.

Sometimes someone remembers something new, and it’s horrifying: “When I fell, I got hit by a severed hand.”

Sometimes the reports are gossipy, and it’s fun to be an insider: “A woman I know was burned on 40% of her body and survived, and her high-profile trading company pays her only $170 a week for disability.” (We all concur that the company is scum.)

Some of us are looking for jobs. One guy who worked at a brokerage firm decided to take a severance package rather than commute to the new office in New Jersey. He said he’s sick of information technology and he wants to work in a nonprofit. The social worker gave him a list of possibilities.

One guy kept talking about his wife who worked in human resources at a big company in tower two. Every time he talks about her — her phone call, her escape —- I hear “human resources.” Finally, I asked him if I could send my resume to her. He gave me her email address and her work and home numbers. I sent the resume, (and my friend, who is not in the group, said, “Oh god, I just interviewed there. I asked the hiring manager what he liked about the company and he said, “Do you mean now or before all my friends died?'”)

One guy quit his job because even a month after the attacks his boss still had not even mentioned the World Trade Center to him. This guy worked in a building that had one side blown off. That means there’s enough of the building left for him to go collect his belongings.

His company scheduled collection times with the cleanup crew. The guy in my group went last week. He said it was creepy to go back because the buildings he went to every day were gone. But it was worth it, he said, because right before the attacks he had ordered PaintShop Pro furtively, for personal use. He stole it when he went back to Ground Zero.

When he said that, the group laughed. “A was sign of normalcy,” the social worker said. A sign of hope to all of us.

There were no available hotel rooms in Los Angles last weekend. That's because E3 — the Electronic Entertainment Expo — is the biggest trade show that ever comes to LA, unless you count the Democratic National Convention.

At E3, the rooms are dark and the budgets are high. The booths that house the large video game publishers are like amusement parks. The booths flash and moan with sex and death, and video screens are everywhere, as if MTV has taken over the world. The people who go to E3 are generally eighteen-year-old boys who do not work in the industry unless you count playing video games every night in their dorm room work.

There were no available hotel rooms in Los Angeles, but I persisted. For some insane reason I forgot how incredibly stupid E3 is, and I told my company I would go. I told my company I've been to E3 a million times (true) and I'd be able to cut some deals (false).

I forgot, though, that I have hated E3 every time I've gone, and every time I've gone I say I'll never go again. I also forgot, that I am not really a deal maker. I am great at strategy and I'm great at process, but I am not a person who can sell oil to Arabs, or whatever that expression is.

So I stay in a hotel an hour from the convention center and work out in their crappy gym in the morning to prepare myself for my powerfulness on the negotiating floor. I check my email but I cannot check my email because I cannot dial up. I call the front desk and they send up a “technology person” who says he's not allowed to touch peoples' computers.

I get to E3 in the early afternoon. As soon at I approach the convention center doors, I remember how intimidating E3 is. The ratio of men to women is about 100:1. I'm not kidding. So you can imagine that the place is a fashion nightmare: Shorts and T-shirts rule, and I'm not talking about the clean kind.

I am in my DKNY negotiating clothes and I look like an adult who came to pick up her kid at a birthday party. I spend about ten minutes roaming through the multi-leveled Micorsoft booth, the beer-filled Apple booth, and the Nintendo booth that is so large and packed that I have to push a kid off his video console in order to escape.

I realize the sad truth is that the people cutting deals are not on the trade show floor — they are in rooms at the edge of the building where it is invitation only and I don't have one. I realize the sad truth is that my company spent $1300 for the plane ticket and $500 for the hotel and I will do nothing at E3.

In fact, after ten minutes, I am ready to go home. I tell myself I will memorize pieces of the exhibitor directory so that when I get back to my office, I will sound like I got a lot of work done. Thank goodness no one in my company has ever been to E3 so no one knows how absurd it was that I came here.

I am ready to leave but I cannot leave. I have come with a friend who wants to play video games, and we are not meeting up again for four hours. Cell phones do not work on the floor. I have four hours to kill. I notice a sign for a media relations room and I have an idea: I swap my software bus dev badge for an eCompany media badge, and I am a new woman. I am a reporter. The first thing I do as a reporter is go to the room filled with fast computers for filing stories and I check my email.

I decide I will be the reporter doing a story about women at E3. I look for women who look cool. The first woman I talk to is an admin at Activision. The next one is not sure what she is. “Talk to him,” she says, and points to the guy she's with. I tell her I'm doing a story on women. “I'm only talking to women,” I say. Turns out that she is the guy's secretary, but only for a couple of weeks until her vacation ends and she goes back to Amsterdam. The guy wants to talk to me about his company. I ask him if he's staying in the same hotel room as his secretary. The interview on the whole goes pretty poorly.

I talk to Lana who is actually very cool. I spot her playing an Infogrammes game where you drive a truck and do truck jumps. She drives off a ramp and does a double spin and lands on her wheels. I am impressed that she can figure out how to do the game on the first try, and I am impressed that she wants to. I ask Lana what she's doing at E3. She says she's looking for a job. She just got laid off from an Internet company. She is cool because she's wearing a dress at E3 — the cool kind that you wear with gym shoes — and she is cool because she seems to not notice that every guy at the Infogrammes booth is eyeing her.

I want to give her a job, but she is a bookkeeper, and I don't need a bookkeeper since I haven't made any deals that need keeping track of. Besides, she lives in Vancouver, BC, which would be a long commute to my office. But someone should hire her. So here's her email address: lanadthomas@hotmail.com.

Lana would probably be good to invite back to my hotel so we can hang out at the pool, but it's very embarrassing to be a reporter who is really a bus dev person who is really going to sit a the pool for the rest of the conference. So I thank her for talking to me and start writing the report I will send to my boss to show how much work I got done.