Men should not marry women who have careers, according to an opinion piece at The statistics are clear:

“Marrying these women is asking for trouble. If they quit their jobs and stay home with the kids, they will be unhappy (Journal of Marriage and Family, 2003). They will be unhappy if they make more money than you do (Social Forces, 2006). You will be unhappy if they make more money than you do (Journal of Marriage and Family, 2001). You will be more likely to fall ill (American Journal of Sociology). Even your house will be dirtier (Institute for Social Research).”

There is a response from a woman, who, big surprise, has a big career. But to me, she just sounds like she’s whining. And she’s definitely missing the point.

The point is that marriage and family work best when one person is taking care of them full time. Duh. Everything in the world is best off when it is cared for very carefully. I wish everyone would stop trying to deny this. It’s barking up the wrong tree.

There is little evidence that the role of housewife is any more frustrating than the role of housewife and careerist rolled into one. (I have done both roles and both are very difficult and not totally satisfying.)

The conclusion, that marriages and families work better with a full-time housewife, is hard to swallow but hard to deny. It’s just that not every woman wants to take care of a family and marriage full time, and even fewer men do. And increasingly few people want to give up almost all child-rearing responsibilities in order to be a single breadwinner. So this is a piece of advice that’s useful to only the small percentage of households in the world. But still, the advice is good.

Many people will say they’d rather face the challenges of a dual-career marriage than the challenge of a stay-at-home-spousedom. Fine. Just know the statistics are not in your favor.

Before I get accused of throwing stones from a glass house, let me come clean with the fact that my husband and I are constantly restructuring our work life in response to these statistics. Also, I believe that the woman being the primary caretaker of both family and marriage is BS, but I don’t see many marriages working any other way, even with two, powerhouse careers.

Please, do not send me emails about your perfect marriage because I don’t believe it. In my marriage we have tried everything, and everything is hard in its own way.

Meanwhile, it’s good advice to men to pick a woman who will be a full-time housewife, but I have some advice for women who are shopping for husbands: To find a partner who will support your choices both financially and emotionally and who will be around enough to participate as an equal parent, marry someone with a very large trust fund.

I swore that I would not write about the Devil Wears Prada because the bad boss topic has gotten so much play lately.

But now respectable news outlets like CBS News and the Chicago Sun-Times have crossed the line for me: As an excuse to run a trailer for the Devil Wears Prada, they are going on about how women want male bosses.

News agencies are citing a poll released by Lifetime media in which 800 women were asked if they prefer a man or a woman boss. Among generation Y respondents, 31% preferred women 47% preferred men and 22% didn’t have a preference.

But the margin of error is 6%, which is so high for a poll like this that you may as well not do it. In this case, with the absurd margin of error, the results could actually be 37% of women prefer women 41% of women prefer men and 22% don’t care. Is this news? No.

But now random people on the street and on the Internet are spouting off about how to explain why women are more difficult to work for.

EVERYONE PLEASE SHUT UP!!! These are not statistics that show that women are any more difficult than men, so we don’t need to dig up reasons why that might be true.

That said, you might want to take a look at the poll results yourself. There are some interesting findings that do not relate to a movie and therefore have gone unreported. For example, women who are single like working for women and women with kids like working for men.

What I really want you to do, though, is take a look at the career pundit who talked about this poll on CBS. Her suit is totally out of control. The last time I had a top that fit like that I had to safety-pin the middle so that my breasts didn’t flop out. What is she thinking?

Everyone — even the 50% of you without breasts — when you have an important thing to do, like appear on a huge television show, have someone who is qualified give you some outfit advice.

There’s disconcerting news in CareerJournal today. They list the top ten professions, using generally the same criteria that used to come up with its list of the ten best professions. And the only professions that are (only sort of) on both lists are: “analyst” and “social worker/psychologist”.

Analyst is such a broad term that it is almost useless, but it is conveniently something that requires almost the complete opposite skills as social worker/psychologist. So at least most personality types have an opportunity here.

Maybe the only really actionable advice on this topic comes from what has become one of my favorite sources for career advice, New York Magazine. Here’s a quote from a funny and informed lecture on happiness by Ben Mathis-Lilley:

“Don’t go to law school. Lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to be depressed than members of other professions, and it’s not just because their jobs are more stressful. For most people, job stress has little effect on happiness unless it is accompanied by a lack of control (lawyers, of course, have clients to listen to) or involves taking something away from somebody else (a common feature of the legal system).”

That advice is not just for lawyers, it’s for everyone. Even if you can’t be an analyst or psychologist, at least get a job where you have control over your work.

What is control? For some people, it’ll mean working for yourself. But you can have control working for other people, too.

I asked David Blanchflower, professor at Dartmouth College who is known for slicing data to create happiness equations, “What does having control over one’s work really mean?”

He said that control goes beyond just workload and pace. “People don’t like to feel there’s a risk of being fired. They like control over what they wear, they want access to the heat control.”

Surprisingly, in study after study, women report more job satisfaction than men do. So maybe the biggest factor in whether or not you feel like you have control over your work is not whether you’re in a “best profession” but whether or not you’re a woman.

Here’s some career advice. Stop obsessing about how smart you are. Instead, get some exercise and you’ll perform better at work — athletes do better in the workplace than non-athletes. Even off the field. This advice is true in a wide range of scenarios — across age groups, job descriptions, and types of exercise.

Athletes make more money because their self-confidence and competitive nature makes them choose jobs that pay more money, says James Shulman, author of The Game of Life: College Sport and Educational Values. “This happens from every group of athletes from the liberal arts colleges to big-time sports. It is not affected or skewed by a few people winning million-dollar NFL contracts or anything like that.”

Another reason athletes make more money is that they fit in better in today’s workplace, which values emotional intelligence over academic intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the “soft skills” that enable smooth running interpersonal relationships at work — such as the ability to read peoples’ nonverbal cues and the ability to manage oneself within a team.

These skills are not taught in a classroom; however, someone with athletic experience is likely to have picked them up. “Sports teach workplace values like teamwork, shared commitment, decision-making under pressure, and leadership,” says Jennifer Crispen , a professor at Sweet Briar College who teaches a course in the history of culture of women’s sport.

Also, playing sports helps people succeed because it teaches skills such as, “time management, mental toughness, and focus,” says David Czesniuk, manager at the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.

This is especially true for women. Crispen told me, “Eighty-one percent of women executives played organized team sports growing up.” These women attribute their success, in a part, to the fact that they learned the values that playing these sports teaches.

Mariah Titlow, a biologist, has been involved in sports all her life. “Sports have given me better focus and discipline,” she says. “I’ve done gymnastics, swimming, dance, field hockey, track. Sports increased my confidence, made me a happier person, and taught me how to get through something tough.”

Elite colleges are aware of this connection, which explains why it is easier to get into the Ivy League if you are an athlete. And employers know that athletes have an advantage in the workplace, so hiring managers like to see candidates with athletic experience.

For athletes, this is great news. Non-athletes should stop complaining about the unfair advantage, and instead, take steps to confer some of the advantages of being an athlete on themselves. Here are some ideas for getting started:

If you’re in school, join a team and approach it with dedication, because that’s an integral part of your education. “Your body and your brain are connected,” says Titlow, “so the benefits of sports spill over into other parts of life.” The career benefits of being an athlete are not necessarily related to talent, they have to do with focus and commitment. So get some.

If you are out of school, there are still opportunities to join teams that cater to adult beginners. But if you can’t image doing that, at least go to the gym. It’s no coincidence two thirds of female business executives and 75 percent of all chief executives, exercise regularly, Crispen said. While you do not gain team-oriented benefits from individual exercise, you do cultivate business essentials such as self-discipline, goal setting, and self-confidence.

In fact exercise in the morning notably improves your workplace performance that very day, according to research from Leeds Metropolitan University.

Still feeling like a couch potato? That couch time is costing you money: The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that good-looking people make 14 percent more than ugly people. Part of this discrepancy is because, `’The perfect leader is someone who is able to control other peoples’ perceptions of him. Everyone has a secret — a weakness or a raw nerve they don’t want to be touched. For a person who is overweight, the secret is out.” says executive recruiter Mark Jaffe.

Before you hem and haw about beauty being in the eye of the beholder, just go to the gym. You know good-looking when you see it, and you know ugly when you see it, and a body that’s been exposed to regular exercise at the gym is probably not ugly. You might not get that whole 14 percent of extra pay, but your career is going to benefit one way or another if you exercise regularly.

The Wall Street Journal gives terrible advice this week on “going from maternity leave to permanent resignation.”

Columnist Sue Shellenbarger writes, “Once a mother is absolutely sure she isn’t going to return to work after maternity leave, I believe she’s obligated to reveal her intentions to her employer.”

WHY? There is no description in the column about the genesis of this obligation. Is it a moral obligation to protect corporate America from having to support families?

Listen to me: Take that leave, and don’t feel guilty. The United States is the only country in the developed world that does not provide national, paid maternity leave. So the few women in the US who can actually take maternity leave have EARNED it. The law gives these women the RIGHT to take that maternity leave regardless of what happens afterwards.

Shellenbarger also warns that you will “burn your bridges” by taking maternity leave and then quitting. She writes this as if it’s a national trend to rehire women after they take extended leave for children. In fact, it’s just the opposite: Most companies do not take you back after leave. And companies that do are notable exceptions. (Anyway, I would not even want to go back to a boss if he were the bitter-about-maternity-leave type, so why bother appeasing him?)

Here’s the advice the Wall Street Journal should have given: Don’t tell anyone at work that you’re not coming back after the baby. Collect all your maternity leave money and do not feel guilty. Call at the end of leave and say you’re not coming back. Tell your boss you’re sorry to put him in a difficult position, but everything feels different once the baby is there. That is true. It is not lying.

Please, do not feel guilty. That women take maternity leave and then quit is a result of the system being totally flawed. It is absurd to presume that women know if they want to continue working before they know what it’s like to be home all day with a baby. And it is unreasonable that the workplace cannot provide a decent number of baby-friendly jobs so that women who want to continue working can without compromising their own health (exhaustion) or their baby’s (too much separation).

In fact, quitting right after maternity leave is not so uncommon, says Laura Shelton, who has done extensive research about Gen X women at the office. She suggests that advice like the Wall Street Journal’s is a result of a generation gap — boomers like Shellenbarger just don’t get it: Boomers fought to get women into he workplace but boomers ignored maternity benefits.

Maybe your boss will take some advice from Shellenbarger’s source, Don Sutaria, who gives companies some good advice: Hire a temporary worker who could stay on as permanent if the maternity leave turns into full leave.

And while you’re pregnant, train the temp well. This will make you feel better if you decide not to return to work, and it’ll even make you feel better if you do return because someone will have kept your work in order.

I am doing research about women in sports, and one of the most memorable statistics I have come across is that nearly four out of five women executives played sports growing up. So I called Jennifer Crispen, to talk about her work in this field. She said that there has been a lot of research to show how much women’s careers benefit from exposure to sports — “in terms of teamwork, shared commitment, and leadership.”

But Crispen told me that most current research focuses on how we talk about women. The media focus on women doing “skirt sports” like ice skating and gymnastics, because, “People still want to describe women doing sports as graceful and pretty,” says Crispen. “If you define men as aggressive and competitive it’s positive. But for women, these are negative attributes.”

The double standard for men and women is true at the playing field and the office. The Hay Group did a study (reported by Paula Burkes Erickson of the Daily Oklahoman), which concluded that successful women employ a mixture of male and female leadership styles. But when women use a strictly “command-and-control” style typical of successful men, the women get feedback like “‘bitch,’ ‘disempowering,’ ‘not clear what she wants from me’ and ‘we’re not working as a team.'”

So women need to keep their leadership style a little soft in order to keep everyone on board. But what about men? Authoritarian leadership may have worked in the past, but it absolutely won’t fly with Gen Y. They will quit rather than put up with it. So the most effective leadership style for everyone is a mixture of male and female leadership styles.

Overheard at synagogue: “I would like to grow up and become a rabbi like you, but my dad doesn’t think women should be rabbis.” From the head rabbi’s seven-year-old daughter to the assistant rabbi who is a woman.

Religious groups seem to be one of the last standouts — along with coal mining and construction — where people feel free to openly declare that women should not hold top jobs. Don’t get me wrong, people in other fields are thinking it. But they know to talk in low voices.

Yesterday, the AP reports, “Jefferts Schori, bishop of Nevada, was elected Sunday as the first female presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the US arm of the Anglican Communion.” She has an advantage over other women rising in religious organizations in that she has worked as a pilot and an oceanographer, other fields that are male dominated. Sharing ideas across industry lines is critical toward diversifying leadership in any given industry. In this sense, Schori is a one-woman meeting-of-the-minds.

But Schori is unique in that more than other fields of business I know, women in the pulpit have separated themselves from women who are breaking down gender barriers in other professions. While women in engineering, for example, align themselves with women in marketing and mentor each other, women in the pulpit are less likely to see themselves in the same boat as these other women.

But they are in the same boat: Religious organizations have office politics and salary issues; there are issues over who gets their own secretary and there are issues with sixty-year-old men who think they’re still working in an era where it was legal to specify gender in a help wanted ad.

The good news is that there are “more liberal attitudes toward women in leadership positions among those in younger generations,” and the gender divide is decreasing quickly among younger workers. Example: A female rabbi I know was interviewing for a job in a large synagogue. A male congregant stood up and asked, “How can you do such a demanding job as this one and take care of your kids?” A younger male congregant stood up and said, “That’s an illegal question. Don’t answer it.”

No matter what your business situation is, you should keep an ear to the ground about how people in other industries are changing the rules of management and success. There is a large and inclusive base of people who want a flexible and tolerant workplace. Align yourself with those people. You don’t have to do this alone, even as a priest or a rabbi.

When is comes to aspirational reading, the Title 9 catalogue is my favorite. I don’t know anyone at the company, but I curl up on the sofa and read the catalogue like it’s a letter from a good friend.

Great things about this catalogue:

  1. The women who model the clothes. No pro athletes here and no models. These are career girls. This month there is Kathy, who is a business owner and pole vaulter and mom. There is Brigid who is a sales rep who competes in the Ironman. These are women I want to be like.
  2. The lifestyle. All good catalogues sell one. The Title 9 lifestyle mixes work and play. For example, the stash and dash satchel (which I will be buying) is pictured next to this description: “Flat zippered outer pocket fits files and documents perfectly. Plus two outer stash straps for a yoga mat.”
  3. The name. For those of you who don’t know, Title IX is the law that required girls to receive equal access to sports that boys do. So (theoretically) no more spending thousands of dollars on high school football and basketball for boys and nothing for girls. This law is constantly under threat even though people like law professor Joanna Grossman write that, “Title IX is arguably the most successful civil rights statute in history.” Women who play sports do better at work, according to a study published in the magazine Sports File. Title 9 is a great company for making the law a household name.

Read this catalogue to get excited about your life and your work. Really. You can find it online, but call (800) 342-4448 to get one delivered for optimal sofa reading.

Forget the glass ceiling because it’s about to become irrelevant. Not because women are finally going to get to the top of Fortune 500 companies in forces of more than two companies at a time. That may happen, but no one’s holding their breath. The glass ceiling is going to become irrelevant because the women who are coming into the workforce now see what’s above that glass and they are uninterested.

Recently I got a peek into the world above the glass ceiling when I read a profile of Jeff Immelt, chief executive of GE. Immelt said that he has been working 100-hour weeks for the last twenty years. He also said that he married a co-worker and they have an eighteen year-old-daughter. It is unclear to me why anyone would aspire to this life. If I were his daughter I think I’d feel neglected. And if I were his wife, I think I’d feel like a single parent with great alimony. If this is life above the glass ceiling, I think it’s absurd.

By definition the glass ceiling only exists if someone is below it, longingly looking up. And soon, there won’t be anyone left looking up. There is a broad disenchantment with corporate life that is gaining force among young workers. A new definition of success, that includes taking part in the unglorified daily tasks of raising kids, does not accommodate dreams of crashing glass ceilings.

So it is no surprise that five years after earning an MBA, 40% of women are working from home. Often the press writes about this statistic like it’s a travesty, but I think it’s great. It’s an achievement that these women have decided they can find success on their own terms instead of having to fit themselves through paths that were established for men, decades ago.

The disenchantment with corporate life is not limited to women: eighty percent of men aged 20 to 39 said that a flexible job to accommodate kids takes a higher priority than doing challenging work or earning a high salary. And this trend is growing: Study after study shows that one of the defining traits of generation Y is that they are determined to not give up their personal life in order to get ahead at work.

Instead of aligning yourself with people who are giving up everything in their personal life to “get to the top,” be one of the people who is redefining success. You can decide what is success for you. Don’t be sucked into the idea of success as defined by the men who constructed the glass ceiling. After all, their lives included little room for passionate interests outside of work, only ceremonious parenting, and a wife who managed everything about that man’s personal life.

That vision of success sounds quaint and outdated, but look, Jeff Immelt is still living that life. And so are the majority of his peers (although it’s hard to believe many others are living it to the extreme that he is).

Maybe, in ten years, there will be no one left to march up the stairs to the glass ceiling. Maybe it will be like the tree falling in the forest: No one will see it, so it will be as good as non-existent.

People used to think that the revolution would happen above the glass ceiling, as more women pushed their way to the top. In fact, though, the revolution is happening below the glass ceiling, where people are reestablishing their priorities. Kids and ambition can co-exist beneath the glass ceiling. Plenty of ambitious people have grand, remarkable achievements without giving up a vibrant personal life. Why would anyone aim for anything else?

Hey all you women! Looking for a way to look good at a party? Forget bragging rights to house with a picket fence. Forget a plastic-surgeried body that defies gravity. Here are the status symbols for a new generation:

1. A flexible job. This is practically a pre-requisite for being able to successfully balance work and personal life. Ironically, most of these jobs come from years of conniving and strategizing under the guise of being a power-mongering ladder climber. After all, most companies do not capitulate to flexibility until they have fallen in love with you for your performance and ambition.

2. An awesome nanny. Everyone brags about their nanny because if you don't think your nanny is great then how can you leave her with your kids?

But most nannies are not that great. Here is what a status-symbol nanny looks like: She never calls in sick, she can plan and execute a dinner without your input, she doesn't berate you when your kid has a cut from falling off the bed under your care. And longevity counts — if you can keep a nanny for more than two years, the implication is that you are a great manager.

3. A competent husband. Household competence, that is. Delegate everything you can to your assistant. But there are some things that would be heartless to delegate, like choosing a birthday present for your nine-year-old son. This is where a husband comes in. What if your husband knows so much about your kids that he remembers the birthday and decides what to buy, but also makes time to forage for it in the stores? That is real competence.

When it comes to a status symbol husband, you do not delegate to him so much as confer, and you make a similar amount of time in your lives for taking care of your home life. If you find this kind of husband, women will drool over him as if he were the captain of the high school football team.

4. A caffeine-free life. Sure, a lot of women do this during pregnancy, but as soon as the baby pops out, the caffeine ramps up. I don't know any non-pregnant woman who works in business and has kids and abstains from caffeine. Except for Sallie Krawheck, chief financial officer of Citigroup. I don't know how she does it, but she seems so stable and organized to live without caffeine.

I tell this to myself every night at 9pm, which is when I have to get ready for bed in order to get eight hours of sleep and wake up with my son at 5:30 am. But there's always one more very important thing that I haven't done. Sallie must do her very important things first thing every day. Which is what we all should do.

5. A reputation for helping. The standards for women have changed. The status symbols have changed. But all that talk of women “playing like men” is nonsense to me. Women have been helping each other forever, and now is no exception. The women we look up to are those who have a track record for figuring out how to leverage their power and resources to help other women. Give advice freely, mentor someone, share your experience at the glass ceiling so another woman can go higher. A fulfilling career requires that you give as well as receive.

There's a good reason that women brag about the stuff on this list: It's the stuff that really does impact one's happiness. This is a list of things that will improve your life more than a raise or a top-tier vacation. These are things that will pave the way for you to have fun during the day and rest well at night.