When I announced I’m doing research about autism at Harvard, people said, Academia requires too much patience! You’ll lose your mind! Undaunted I came up with a new paper every week for the first year. The papers were awful, but as a writer I didn’t mind writing to learn. So it turned out that […]

That Gen-X time latchkey kids were encouraged to collect rodents

In the 70s my family’s knowledge of plastic exceeded our knowledge of gerbils, so we bought two girl gerbils  and a plastic Habitrail cage because it didn’t look like a cage at all. The two girls made babies, and started eating them. We thought that meant the cage was too small, so we bought more […]

Claudia Goldin won the Nobel Prize for the truth about women and work. Whooo hooo!

After 20 years of blogging, learning to do academic research was a steep learning curve. People told me to ask for help from professors at Harvard because they’d feel obligated to help me because I’m at Harvard as well. In fact most did not even feel obligated to reply to my email. But Claudia replied. […]

Lessons from the bottom rung of academia

I’m scared to talk about my job at Harvard because of imposter syndrome. But I know from experience that writing here and talking about myself incessantly is the way to beat it. If I post about things that make me nervous, then the people who are going to call me out will do it right […]

9/11: What’s still the same

I still have not seen a video of the towers falling. But I started reading commentary about it this past year. I have never stopped thinking about the people jumping from the towers. Maybe because after the second plane hit, my brain couldn’t comprehend anything really, it was all abstract and unreal. But when my […]

This guy said I charge too much for coaching, then he showed up to my door

There are some people I’ve been coaching since they were in high school. Usually their parents pay for the first few sessions and then I get overinvested in the kid. So I have to stop and ask myself: “Does this family have $30,000 for me to coach the kid for a year?” Sometimes the answer […]

The Barbie Movie crushes the Chief.com pyramid scheme

I was an early adopter of a bad attitude toward Chief — as soon as they announced they’re “a network of 2000 female executives on their way up.” I don’t think there are 2000 women in all of corporate America who want to climb up the ranks to be CEO.

Fangirl swoon: Agent 86 left a comment

Below is a comment from my last post about the Wikipedia editor who kept trolls from deleting my page. I know you have no reason to believe this, but I’m Agent 86. I haven’t followed your blog or been on Wikipedia in years. In fact, not trying to be rude, I had forgotten about you […]

Love letter to Wikipedia Editor Agent 86

Y is home from college for the rest of the summer and tells me he wants a job. So I tell him my server has 25 years of posts on it and I lost some, so I need him to go on the Wayback Machine and find them. “What did you lose?” “My hypertexts.” “What?” […]

Dooce was my secret coworker for 20+ years: grappling with the death of Heather Armstrong

John Gallagher wrote his dissertation about how people with a large following online relate to comments from their audience. Over many years he interviewed people who were top Redditors, top Amazon reviewers, and he interviewed Heather and me.

© 2023 Penelope Trunk