Friday, July 29, 2011

What it feels like

"What's it like to be unemployed?" I find out.
You’re expecting it, or you’re not expecting it. You thought it was coming, but you didn’t believe it. You closed on the house of your dreams, and this is what happens 10 days later.

You get called into the office, called on the phone, or someone sends you an email. You see it in your boss’s face, you listen to the voice on the other end of the line, you read the email three times to try and figure out if this means what you think it means or something else altogether.

Someone says, “I’m sorry,” or “In light of,” or “You are a wonderful employee,” but the fact of the matter is you’re being downsized, you’re being fired, you’re unemployed. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Old newspapers for sale on lawn, Chicago, Illinois.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


On Forbes, I wrote about "Why Women Shouldn't Go to Tech Conferences." This caused quite a kerfuffle.
I know I’m at the right place when I get off the train, and the guy in front of me is wearing khaki shorts with white socks pulled up to his mid-calves and carrying a laptop. I make my way into the conference. There are a lot of men. There are some women, but there are way more men then women. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Valley: a novel

I'm revising my novel in public. You can watch it happen here. Thank you to This Isn't Happiness for the image.
In the late 19th century, California Senator Charles Maclay stood not far from here and proclaimed: “This is the garden of Eden!” Once upon a time, cowboys had galloped across its wide-open ranges, cattle had grazed under its looming Oak trees, and its acres of orange orchards had bloomed. Now, all that had been replaced by suburban sprawl: ranch-style houses, backyard pools, and strip malls.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tomorrow, Saturday, July 23, at 11 AM, I'm a late add to a TechWeek panel in Chicago: "Blogging as a Career: Building an Audience and Making a Living."
Everyday millions of blogs are launched and everyday millions of blogs die. There are now blogs covering every sector, niche and idea. Blogging has changed the way that publishing works and thrown the traditional media world on its head. But can blogging be a career? Our panel features four entrepreneurial power-bloggers who have turned blogging into a career -- one reader at a time. This isn’t a conversation about SEO and spammy sites that fill the internet, but about creating a blog with quality content and building a solid readership that translates into a paycheck.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


How to not be it:
After he watched me for a while, he started calling me “Ox.” I don’t think this was meant as a compliment; or maybe it was. I think he was seeing somebody who was hellbent on pulling the plow through the field. Because that was what I was doing. I did that for a year and a half. Eventually, something else happened, and I quit that job. But when I had that job, I would drive home around 1 AM or so, and I would park my car, and I was so frustrated, and humiliated, and overwhelmed by what my life had become that I would just sit in the car and weep. After I got downsized, I remembered that time. I didn’t want to go back to that. I picked up the plow.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Wall, Lincoln Square, Chicago.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I'm looking for a sublet in Chicago. Know of something or know of someone who may? Email me.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Do girls try harder than boys?

I offered a young female journalist $100 to write a guest post on my Forbes blog. The women clamored. I offered a young male journalist $100 to write a guest post on my Forbes blog. The men yawned.
The results? Only 30 pitches came in from young male journalists. Out of those, 1/3 arrived within the last two hours before the deadline. The pitches? Less than stellar.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Young male journalist need apply

Are you an 18-to-25-year-old male journalist interested in earning $100? Do you know one? If so, read: "I'm Looking for a Young Male Journalist."
Last month, I offered a young female journalist $100 to write a guest post on this blog. I picked a winner. This is her story. Her happy ending? The exposure helped her score a journalism job.

Now, I’m giving a young male journalist a shot.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm on NPR

I was on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" today talking about President Obama's recent reversal of a condolence letters policy that until now has excluded those servicemen and servicewomen who kill themselves in combat zones.

You can listen to the story online here.

I wrote about the decision on my Forbes blog: "The Problem with Obama's Combat Zone Suicide Condolence Letters."

My interviews with combat veterans are at The War Project.

[Image by Zoriah]

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ashton Kutcher is your hero

Today on my Forbes blog, I get cozy with Ashton Kutcher, contemplate Dooce in Bangladesh, and tackle that "violent sex cured my PTSD" story: "If Bloggers Aren't Journalists, and Journalists Aren't Bloggers, Why Do Celebrities Tweet So Much?"
Precisely what McClelland, Armstrong, and Kutcher had done wrong was the subject upon which no one could agree. McClelland was charged with privileging her Caucasian experiences over those of Haitians, for asking a man to play-rape her, and for either writing or giving the nod to a boner-popping title that was sure to result in a plethora of horny clicks. Armstrong was criticized for being a white woman in a non-white land, for not clarifying how her trip was being financed, and for writing, upon her return to the U.S., dramatic insights like, “Right now I’m still trying to make sense of the luxury it is to be able to brush my teeth with tap water without fearing that I might catch a disease that could possibly kill me.” Kutcher was blasted for being a young, good-looking idiot with limited acting skills, for possibly exaggerating sex trafficking numbers, and for using Twitter to get companies to pull ads from a company that runs ads featuring of-age and underage sex workers.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A happy ending

What happened to that young female journalist who wrote a guest post on my Forbes blog?
Last week, I published Lauren’s story: “How to Be a Journalist in 2011.” The post was terrifically popular, but, as it turned out, what happened next was the best part of the story.

Today, I received an email from Lauren, which she gave me permission to publish here, about what happened after her story went live.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The invisible woman

Today on Forbes, I tell you how to get an invisible job. Tricky business, it is. It's "How to Get a Job That Doesn't Exist."
TIP #1: Have no idea what you want to do.

These days, everyone has an answer for you when it comes to looking for a job. Your resume should look like this. In interviews you should say this, but you shouldn’t say this. It’s OK if you email this person, but you must never email this person. Wear this. Do this. Don’t do that. You did that? You’re doing it wrong. If you pay me $250 an hour, I will help you do it right. I’m a life coach. I give career advice. I’m a professional blogger. Do it my way or fail. If that doesn’t work? You’re not doing it right.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My radical change

I moved to Chicago. I'm writing about it on Forbes: "How to Start Over Again (and Not Screw Up)." Join me while I change, won't you?
There are a lot of excuses that you can think of why you shouldn’t do anything. Why radical change isn’t right for you. Why radical change may be an interesting idea, but it’s not realistic, not for you, anyway. Because you have a mortgage, and a family, and a job in an office. Of course, Matt Scott had a lot of excuses, too. Like not having working legs. If you can discern between challenges and excuses, it’s easier to make radical changes than you think.

Because, really? Radical change is all in your mind.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Everything is from somewhere else.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I get email

"You reinvent yourself by letting go of who you wish you could be and figuring out who you really are."

Ms. Breslin, knowing who you are does absolutely nothing for changing a woman's lot in life, compared to the willingness to change in difficult ways. Women's blogs are *full* of the celebration of who women really are, all the while lamenting the gap between "who they are" and "how they wish the world would be." This is bad strategy: it fundamentally ignores change. To risk the tautology, you cannot change and remain the same, and the blogs you excoriate do precisely that by ignoring the fundamental questions of "what does success look like, and who do I need to be, i.e., what habits must I therefore cultivate (excellence being, after all, a habit), in order to achieve that success?"

-- One of those scary males.