This is a picture from when my oldest son was five years old. I have very few pictures of him at this age. Maybe twenty. Because I was never home. I worked almost 100% of my waking hours. And often I slept only four hours a night. Read more

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