Educated parents have their kids in an average of five hours of activities per week. That’s a lot of driving around to swimming lessons and dance classes, so I understand why people think it’s important to stick with this stuff. I’m like that, too. I drive 20 hours a week to my kids’ music lessons.

But I still say that if you want to raise a really successful child, you should let them quit things. Often. Read more

When I started writing about careers we were at the beginning of a huge revolution.

It makes sense, then, that I spent so much time trying to not write about careers. If you start at the beginning of a revolution you look like a crazy person. The revolution hasn’t started yet, which means that everyone is trying to hold on to what they know. Read more

I am at a hotel. I think I’m dying. I have a bruise from where the Farmer slammed me into our bed post.

I took the kids and went to a hotel so I could have time to think. I think I need to move into a hotel for a month.

The Farmer told me that he will not beat me up any more if I do not make him stay up late talking to me.

If you asked him why he is still being violent to me, he would tell you that I’m impossible to live with. That I never stop talking. That I never leave him alone. How he can’t get any peace and quiet in his own house. That’s what he’d tell you.

And he’d tell you that I should be medicated.

I’m trying to make sure this is a career blog, because, if nothing else, if I don’t have a career then it’s pretty hard to have the discussion of why I am not leaving.

I am having trouble writing, in case you haven’t noticed. I’m not great at faking things. I am trying to do business as usual because we all know that I should have left the last time there was violence.

Look. I can’t even write “the last time he beat me up.” I tried to, but then I thought: “No. It’s my fault. I deserve it. He’s right. I’m impossible to live with.” Read more

I’m frustrated that I have so much traffic coming to this blog (about 750,000 page views this month) and I have this post about domestic violence at the top spot in my blog. It’s the first thing everyone sees about me. I want the post to go away. I want to post about how to write a resume in five easy steps. People love lists.

If it weren’t that I’ve already blogged about sex abuse, my miscarriage and my divorce, I’d worry that my blog will never get past the topic of domestic violence, and I’ll face blogger doom. But I know from past experience that being genuine with other people helps one’s career get stronger.

Someone wrote in the comments section that there is no domestic violence, there is only violence. But that’s not true. Because domestic violence is the violence that’s hard to walk away from.

I’m not walking away from the Farmer right now. I want to say that I’ll leave if he does it again. I want to say that if he pushes me or shoves me or hits me, that all that stuff counts as abuse. It’s hard for me to believe that it counts; I didn’t believe my dad was abusing me even when the police were taking me away.

But I have hundreds of you telling me in the comments section and in your emails that this is not right.

And I know that even if I’m messed up, I don’t want my sons messed up. If it happens again I think I could hide it from everyone, you, my sons, my brothers–they called me to tell me to leave. I could refuse to tell anyone, and do this whole messed up relationship in private. I know people do that. But I know it would show, on me.

When I was practicing cello with my son a few nights ago, I said, “Don’t look at me. Look at your bow.”

And he said, “I’m looking to see if you’re smiling. You never smile.”

I know I am not hiding anything.

Read more

Cullen left. It’s unclear if he has dumped Melissa. I think he has. (If you missed earlier installments on this story, here’s where I find Cullen in Melissa’s bed.)

This photo is from when Cullen was excited to be in lots of photos on my blog.

It was the day that a TV writer emailed me about adapting my blog for the big screen. Or semi-big screen. Or whatever we are calling TV now, but I have to say, as an aside, that TV is the new hipster medium because episodes allow for more character development than a single movie. I heard this from the Farmer, and he’s not a guy who could make this stuff up. And we are watching Breaking Bad and I want to be absurd and funny like those writers.

This is what happened with Cullen. He agreed to redesign my blog in exchange for free room and board. And then he realized he didn’t have time to do that, because he has a full time job.

Meanwhile, we were having big Facebook drama on the farm because Melissa does not feel like she has a boyfriend unless the guy puts in on his Facebook status. So Cullen did that. Read more

Yesterday I was on the phone with Rachel Mendleson, from Canadian Business. She is writing an article about how to quit a job without burning bridges. She wants me to give people advice about not burning bridges.

I tell her I think the topic is stupid. I tell her everyone knows that advice already.

She says, “What about the blog post you wrote 9 Tips for Quitting a Job Gracefully?” Do you think that information is no longer right?”

“Oh. I forgot about that,” I say. “But it's old. It's a boring topic now.”

“What about your number-seven tip: about how you shouldn’t do an exit interview?”

“Yeah. People shouldn't do that. I'm sorry to be difficult. Why don't you just copy and paste what I wrote about exit interviews into your story? I used to do that when I was a columnist at the Boston Globe —just lift stuff and quote people. It's so much faster than real interviews.”

“I don't do that.”

“Oh. Okay. Sorry. Sorry. Okay. I'm going to try to be more helpful. Here's a quote for you: Quitting a job is a networking event. It's about making sure you bring your old co-workers into the fold of your network before you leave.”

“What are tips for doing that?” Read more

Recently, I covered my hallway in wallpaper I bought online (via Wallpaper Weekly). Everyone I showed the wallpaper to said the it would be too busy a pattern. But I loved it. So I bought it anyway.

There are a lot of problems with my hallway now — most notably, I used Elmer’s glue instead of wallpaper paste and I’m going to have to pull down the wallpaper and start over. But every time I walk through my hall, I think about how important it is to take risks with my house — because that’s what makes it mine. Which, of course, is very similar to a life. You can live someone eles’s tried-and-true template for a life, or you can make your life your own. Read more

You don’t need to be a basketball fan to know that LeBron James has been deciding if he should stay with his current team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, or move to another, more winning team. ESPN set aside an hour-long special episode for James to announce that he’s going to the Miami Heat.

James is extremely talented and has been called the next Michael Jordan. He is a free agent this year which is the genesis of the hoop-la surrounding his decision, and he has been madly courted by multiple teams.

Many sportswriters have said that the widespread obsession with James’ decision is totally over the top. The New York Times called the ESPN segment an ego-a-thon, which it may well be. But there’s more to our fascination with the decision than just our natural tendency to be drawn to celebrities. James encapsulates the issues each of us faces when we decide if we should relocate.

It’s friends and family vs. opportunity. James grew up in Akron, OH without a father. His basketball coaches played father figure roles to him. The Cavaliers picked him up when he was only 18, and he’s been there for the last seven years. This is his home, his support system, and his roots. Read more

This is a guest post from Jamie Varon. She’s 23 years old. Her blog is called intersected.

Not too long ago, I started a new job, in which I moved my self from point A (college town) to point B (Bay Area). This was supposed to be my career launch. It took me about two weeks to admit to myself that I was unhappy. So I quit.

I had the security of knowing I could go back to my parents’ house to live. (Which, by the way, is such a good idea that 65% of new grads do it.) Here are five reasons why I am sure it was a smart decision to quit my job after just two weeks:

1. Your job performance will be terrible if you hate your job.

If you hate your job from the beginning, then you will never fully dedicate yourself. In fact, you’ll resent both the company and yourself for staying at a job that you knew you didn’t like early on.

I get it: You have this desire to prove to yourself that you are capable of sticking it out. Or you’re worried that this makes you a complete failure and you have given up. So what? You learn from your failure. You learn from that mistake. You’ll end up quitting at some point soon, so why draw it out? Read more

It’s a myth that time away from the workforce will undermine your career. This myth is based on outdated ideas of the workplace. And it’s an important myth to bust, because in today’s post-feminist workplace, the majority of women say that given a choice, they would not choose full-time work when their kids are young.

Here are some reasons why it’s safe to interrupt your career to have children. And, in fact, most of this data is relevant to interrupting a career for any reason — not just kids.

1. Demographic trends make women ages 30-50 valuable at work.
We all know that as baby-boomers retire, Generation X is not big enough to replace them, and Generation Y does not have the experience to replace them. But demographic trends have created a much bigger labor shortage than anyone anticipated.

There is a labor shortage in Generation X that no one predicted, and it’s because of increased fertility, according to James Vere, author of the paper, “Having It All No Longer: Fertility, Female Labor Supply, and the New Life Choices of Generation X.” He says, “The women of Generation X are not only having more children than the baby boom generation, but also supply fewer hours to the labor market,” and this makes women who do go back to work more valuable than people could have anticipated.

The other contributing factor to the Gen X labor shortage is that Gen X men do not work the long hours that baby-boomer men worked. Instead, those aged 18 to 37 are more likely to view family as an equal or higher priority than work, according to the Families and Work Institute. And the majority of those men are willing to sacrifice pay to spend more time with their kids, according to the Radcliffe Public Policy Center.

So it is no surprise that McKinsey Consulting reports that, “Finding talented people is likely to be the single most important managerial preoccupation for the rest of this decade.” (via 2020resumes)

2. Women adapt to job changes better than men do.
Companies might be better off hiring a woman who has taken time off from the workplace than a man who is switching companies.

Why? Because high-performing women do better at leaving a company and finding a new one than high-performing men do–in general, women keep up their high performance and men don’t. This study is based on the finance industry but the findings (published in this month’s Harvard Business Review) apply to most knowledge workers.

And even though women typically have a more difficult time than men navigating in-house politics and finding mentors, these women respond by being better at cultivating relationships outside of the company. Which means that they are in a better position than men to make a switch to another company.

According to the study, women start a new job stronger because they are more strategic when planning their careers (due to lacking the boys-club connection). “Women took greater care and analyzed a wider range of factors than men before deciding to uproot themselves.”

So ironically, all the worrying that women do about how to reenter the workforce after having kids probably pays off.

3. Social networking makes on-ramping much easier.
Ten years ago, the work it took to maintain a network during extended maternity leave was prohibitive. Dealing with a three-month-old during the day, and showing up to conferences and events at night, for instance, is a route for only the most intrepid of new moms. But social networking tools have brought the moms out of hiding.

Generally, the people using social networking tools are outgoing, value-oriented, high performers who were well connected to begin with. The tools are easy to use from home and the strengths of the mommy-blogging network are testament to the popularity of social networking tools among women taking time off from the workforce.

In case you’re wondering about the power of blogging in one’s career, take a look at Carol Wapshere. She took time off to care for family members and then relocated to Switzerland for her husband’s career. She started a blog in order to raise her profile in her industry before going back, and it worked and landed her a consulting job , and then a speaking gig at Microsoft’s TechDays conference.

This is not an isolated case. I get emails from women like Carol all the time.

4. The new idea of career means retrieving yours is not all that hard.
Most of the literature written about the duress of the on-ramp is by baby boomers who can’t stop obsessing about the glass ceiling. Most of the women taking time off to have kids today have no ambitions of breaking that glass ceiling because what’s above it is so absurd. That makes taking time off to have kids not as big a risk to them.

Look, if you want to shoot straight up the corporate ladder to the CEO position, don’t have kids. Corporate life is not changing as fast as corporate press releases would like you to believe. CEOs do not take care of their kids. Someone else does. And the difference between a father’s ability to get to the top versus a mother’s is night and day. Men are more likely than women to cope with extreme delegating of parenting. This is not a judgment; it’s a fact that is sitting right in front of us.

But most potential parents today are much less consumed with money and prestige, and more concerned with personal growth and flexibility. So taking a position below the last one is not as upsetting as it used to be. People do not think of a career as a straight shoot up the corporate ladder. It’s a winding path, and there’s lots of room for children.