Here’s the deal with giving flowers. Women like receiving flowers. Men think flowers are stupid.

Men think: Flowers die, they don’t do anything when they are alive, they are expensive, and they are a cliche. Men know that women in general like flowers, but men also believe that women they know personally do not like flowers. The women they know are the exception to the rule.

I think it’€™s safe to say that mostly women are reading this post. Women are reading to figure out how to get the men in their lives to send flowers.

Here’€™s what it’€™s going to take: Bottom line impact. Yes, the guys want to get laid, but dinner seems better: it’s like money well spent to them — you still get the sex, but you also get good food. What do you get with flowers? This is how men think, for the most part.

So, here’€™s what you get: Read more

A lot of people ask me how I manage to keep a job when I have Asperger syndrome. So I’m doing a series this week on the topic, because it's true that most people with Asperger's are not doing well at work. The work place rewards social skills, and people with Asperger's have a social skill disorder.

I will never have great social skills, but I make them better by ensuring that I'm in my best social environment for work. For most people with Asperger's, inadequate social skills are exacerbated by sensory integration disorder, which is a tendency to be overwhelmed by outside stimuli. This frequently overwhelmed feeling makes one unable to concentrate on social skills.

Here are the ways I compensate for sensory integration disorder so that I can focus on having social skills that will make people want to work with me.

1. Establish routines to limit input.
Food is a problem for me. I hate variety. I hate that I don't know what is coming. My effort to control food got so extreme that I landed in a mental ward with an eating disorder. Today, I try to never go out for a meal. If I have to, I order salmon. Everywhere. And just looking for the salmon I get overwhelmed reading the menu. Too many details about food.

Given a choice, I eat a Power Bar for every meal and snack, (two= a meal, one= a snack,) and I hate if the store is out of both peanut butter and vanilla. I don't like variety, even in Power Bars. Read more

People often tell me that I should write career advice for people with Asperger Syndrome. This is because I am surrounded by people who have Asperger's, and I have it myself. Please, do not tell me I don't have it. First of all, it looks very different in men and women, and most of you have experience with men. Second, I'm way more weird in person than I am on the blog. And surely you thought it was the other way around.

So, anyway, the reason I'm good at giving career advice is because I had to learn things systematically, which helps me break it down for everyone else.

For example, I had to learn that a candy dish on someone's desk means “I like to talk with people.” Other people read this cue instinctively. It makes for a good blog post but an annoying co-worker if I don't teach myself stuff quickly.

I don't really do career coaching. I don't have patience. But often career coaches send people with Asperger's to me, because mostly, these people are extremely difficult to coach.

They are difficult to coach because the biggest problem is that non-verbal cues that are obvious to everyone else are totally lost on people with Asperger's. For example, you can tell when you are boring someone, but someone with Asperger's cannot—we just keep talking. Read more

There are some things about work that are difficult for even me to write about. These are the issues that I have not quite worked out for myself. I wonder if I am normal in these areas? Maybe no one is talking about them, but they are thinking still. And if no one else is thinking about this stuff, why do I think about it?

One thing I've learned on this blog, though, is that most of my personal qualities that feel weird to me are actually pretty common traits among thinking people who desire self-knowledge. So to those people, I hope this blog gives you a sense of fitting in.

And, here are three workplace issues that I wonder if you think about as much as I do.

1. Having a huge crush on your boss.

Seriously, I have never worked for a guy for more than three months without developing a huge crush. This is, in part, because I have been fired so often that any guy I did not last three months with probably fired me and probably had no synergy with me. Read more

It’s great fun to track trends to try to figure out what the future holds. The Generation after Gen Y is a mystery. Sort of. There are some things we know. And what we know, we know doesn’t change much. For example, people thought Gen Y’s sunny optimism would die down under the ardors of raising kids, but it didn’t. And people thought Gen X’s cynical, outsider approach would change when they became soccer moms, and it didn’t.

So it’s a safe bet that once you peg a trait in a generation, it likely won’t change much over time. But it could play out in interesting ways over time. Here are some ways that the traits of Generation Z might play out in the workforce of the future.

1. Generation Z will not be team players.
We know from Strauss and Howe that as generations cycle, the team generations (such as gen y) are usually followed by individualist generations. So it is not surprising to see trends that the same thing will happen over the next decade.
Gen Y are great team players. In fact, they are so team oriented that they often feel that nothing is getting accomplished at work unless there has been a team meeting about it.

But they are not likely to teach the value to their kids. In typical parent fashion, parents stress what they are lacking so that their kids don’t lack it. This is why, for example, first generation immigrants often do not teach their native tongue to their American kids. Read more

My company is running out of money again. Well, really, it already happened. But it's happened so many times that I am sort of used to it. It’s a routine. You may recall that part of the routine is not paying my electric bill. But there is more.

1. Focus on something you can control.
You might have noticed that my blog posts are very frequent right now. It's a way to cope with the funding drama. I have so much control over my blog. And if I obsess over the traffic statistics then I have that crack-head feeling of immediate feedback, and it feels good, and even if half the people are telling me how much they hate me: Traffic is traffic.

Another part of the out-of-funding routine is fighting with Ryan. When I am totally focused on running the company, and I'm not worried about payroll, then things go smoothly and Ryan and I have great conversations about the future of social media and the future of resumes and where we fit.

When we run out of money, Ryan and I focus on our cycle of miscommunication: I say something rude that I don't know is rude. Ryan gets defensive because he isn't able to say, “That's rude. Please don't talk like that.” I have no idea why he is defensive, he just sounds like he's up in arms about nothing to me, because if I knew I had been rude in the first place, I would not have been, so of course I don't know. And when he is up in arms, I yell back. And then he says that I am impossible to deal with because I'm rude and I yell. Read more

Pick who you work with very carefully. Because you are likely to become like them. So the first thing is to know what's important to you about you — what you want to become. What you like about yourself. And then, surround yourself with people who match your aspirations for yourself.

Here are some ideas:

Choose people who are good-looking, but not better looking than you.
You become like the people you hang out with, according to Nicholas Christakis, a physician and sociologist at Harvard. He found, for example, that if the people around you are overweight, you are likely to join them. And the more overweight you are, the more trouble you have at work, for a lot of reasons, but a new reason I just found is that in stressful work situations, fat people do not think as clearly as thin people. Yep. That's right. Stonybrook University School of Medicine found that the more body fat you have, the higher your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that hampers cognitive abilities. (Hat tip: Self magazine.)

But if the people around you are models, you will look ugly. Dan Ariely, professor of behavioral economics at MIT, says that if you're going to a bar, you have the best chances of getting picked up if you go with people who are almost as good-looking as you are. It makes sense that you will feel best if you do this at work as well.

Choose women who are happy, but they shouldn’t smile too easily.
This is hard for men to do. Because men are hard-wired to be drawn to women who laugh at their jokes. Men want to be funny. But women who are slower to smile do better at work, according to communications consultant Leil Lowndes. So you should date women who smile a lot, but work with women who don't. (Hat tip: Derek Scruggs.) Read more

What you know the most about is what you can offer the most insight about. And you probably know that telling stories is always more compelling than talking in generalities. But if you tell stories, you need people to be in the stories. So if you want to write insightfully, then using stories about people close to you makes sense.

Writing about a co-worker is similar to writing about a sex partner: you know a lot about the person, both good and bad. So you could ruin your relationship by writing about them. So you have to get good at writing about co-workers without pissing them off.

As someone who writes about co-workers, boyfriends and family members all the time, I have a few tips for doing it in a way that keeps your writing interesting without getting you into trouble.

Negotiate before you write
Readers always complain that I'm ruining my relationships by blogging about them. (The record-breaker number of these complaints is on this post about my ex-husband.) But I know a bit about this terrain: I sold a novel in my 20s that included all my sex partners. And in graduate school for creative writing, I wrote my master's thesis on my sex life, in real time. (Stop Googling: It's under a pen name. Remember? I’m the queen of pen names.)

Anyway, from that experience, and from writing a column about my workplace for three years in the 90s, I have a lot of practice negotiating with people before I write about them. Read more

It's time to admit that Take Your Child to Work Day is an outdated relic of 1970s feminism, and we can put the whole thing to rest.

Do you remember that the day started as Take Our Daughters to Work? It was the 70s, and women wanted their daughters to know that they could do anything. Here's what came of that era: Latchkey kids who never saw their parents after school except on Take Our Daughters to Work Day. And, then later, those same little girls grew up to feel intense pressure to put work before kids which ushered in the biggest fertility train wreck in history, with Gen X thinking it would be fine to wait until after 30 to have kids.

So I have a bad taste in my mouth from the era of Take Our Daughters to Work. But then we had the era of boys underperforming. That's right: Boys are doing so much worse than girls in school that it's officially easier to get into college if you're a boy (scores are lower and so are GPAs) and once these kids enter the workforce, girls make more than boys do.

So some probably-drumming, angry, white male decided that it shouldn't just be daughters. It should be sons, too. So now we have Take Your Child to Work. Read more

The house manager comes in my front door at 8am. I tell her, “The exterminator is in the kitchen but I forgot to get the cats and bunny out of the house, and the cleaning woman is in the dining room, but she cannot clean while the exterminator is here, and I forgot to send the violin to school for first-grade show-and-tell day.”

The house manager watches me run upstairs to change and yell behind myself that I have a big meeting at work and I can't reschedule the exterminator because my son already thinks we have too many ants in the kitchen and I don't want him to think we live in a nut house where we can't even deal with an ant problem. Then I yell downstairs: “Does anyone know where my black top is?”

The house manager comes upstairs. She says, “First of all, you have twenty black tops and second of all you sound like you're losing your mind.”

I look at her.

She says: “You need a drink.”

“A drink? Are you kidding? I have to go to work. It's 8am.”

“You need to take the edge off yourself. You sound like a nut.”

I decide that this is an interesting idea. “But,” I say, “We don't have a drink here. I mean. What would I drink?”

She points out that I still have the wine my editor at Yahoo sent when he fired me.

I think about how Alex Morris wrote in New York Magazine that women who are in control of their lives drink because drinking is more fun: I want fun. I want control. So I say, “Okay. Fine. I'll try it.” Read more