How to nurture creativity

How to nurture creativity

Creativity thrives on kindness and self care. According to career and success coach Tama Kieves, that’s one of the biggest things she personally had to learn after ditching her job as a lawyer. She was a Type A, ambitious, and driven linear thinker. When she first left law, she figured...
Mom on a mission

Mom on a mission

A mother puts her own spin on fitness. Lisa Druxman was a new mom when she had one of those aha! moments. All moms are looking to get back into shape after having a baby, she realized. And they were also looking to connect with other new moms. “I decided...
Set a big, hairy, audacious goal

Set a big, hairy, audacious goal

You may not have heard of Jack Canfield. But you have no doubt heard of his “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books. Forty-seven of his books have landed on The New York Times bestseller list, he says. Canfield has sold over half a billion books. Besides earnings from speaking engagements,...
When doors open

When doors open

“When the door cracks open, kick it in.” Whether you’re just starting out or pursuing your fifth, tenth, or fifteenth job, that’s a good rule of thumb. I heard that comment at a conference put on by the Association of Health Care Journalists this spring. At the session, which was...
Early signs of LBJ’s future in politics

Early signs of LBJ’s future in politics

Long before years of wheeling and dealing etched deep lines into his face, Lyndon Baines Johnson displayed a preternatural ability to cozy up to those in power. In college, his first job involved picking up trash, chopping weeds, and raking small rocks and lugging larger ones off campus, according to...
Sotomayor and the mind of a detective

Sotomayor and the mind of a detective

When it comes to choosing a career, some people begin to narrow down their options early. As a girl, Sonia Sotomayor wanted to be a detective, like her favorite fictional heroine, Nancy Drew. In her memoir, she reveals that she was convinced she would make a great detective, because her...
Introducing Project Otter

Introducing Project Otter

Whether you’re just starting out or looking for a second or third career, we’re here to help you find your way to work that feels like play. If you haven’t figured out what your ideal work would be, Starting Out will help you narrow down your options, by seeing how...
When Burt Bacharach branched out

When Burt Bacharach branched out

It’s a mistake to assume that people who are standouts in their field were destined to become the stars we know now. The route we take to the work we like best may involve twists and turns. A final destination may not be clear at the beginning of the journey....
Latest entries

Making it happen

I’m always on the lookout for stories about people who manage to write books, despite having day jobs. So this story piqued my interest. A movie called “Revenant” recently premiered. It’s about a frontier fur trapper and based on a novel that a DC lawyer wrote in “his spare time.” The author, Michael Punke, wrote...

Inspiration for creative types

Several blog posts ago, I mentioned how music can help energize you and totally change your mood. I would add that it can also inspire you to create something that did not exist before. I was recently lucky enough to see Hamilton, the new hiphop musical that’s all the rage on Broadway. One person, Lin-Manuel...

Quitting the pecking order

Some chickens produce more eggs than others. Super chickens produce the most eggs. In one study, super chickens distinguished themselves by pecking the others to death. It seems the individually successful chickens achieved their success by suppressing the productivity of the rest.  According to Margaret Heffernan, who describes this for Ted Radio Hour, people who...

It’s okay to be obsessed

On Quora.com, a reader wanted to know what goes into the making of a great entrepreneur like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, or Richard Branson. Justine Musk shed light on what it takes. As a former wife of one of the “extreme entrepreneurs” mentioned, she should know. “Be obsessed,” she wrote three times. “If...

Finding your place

Decades ago, I first realized that getting a job felt like becoming a contortionist. It was all about fitting into a pre-cut slot. Mushing yourself in. Compressing yourself to fit a company’s needs. The only way I fit into the world was by changing myself to fit holes in the work world. It wasn’t at...

Things take time

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books have been international best sellers, with millions sold. And thousands flock every year to historical sites where her family lived. For many, Laura’s books, more than those of any other author, offer the best insider’s look at life on the frontier. So it was surprising to learn about the ups and downs...

Work habits of the creative class

Rene Descartes, the French philosopher, slept 10 hours a night. He would wake mid-morning, linger in bed thinking and writing. By 11:00 a.m., he was usually done with work for the day. Unlike many other creatives, he believed idleness was important for good mental work. It’s a position I endorse. Apparently he made sure never...

From the life of an intellectual polygamist

Carl Djerassi (1923-2015) did not like being reduced to one label. He is best known for synthesizing a hormone that became the main ingredient in the contraceptive known as “the pill.” In fact, he was just one of several scientists who worked on creating the chemical roots of the pill. But Djerassi, a self-proclaimed intellectual...

Writing on the side

Never assume anything. I used to think anyone who did something well had to spend all his or her time doing it. Someone like Emily Dickinson comes to mind. All she did was sit around in a room and write. But not everyone has that luxury. Now I’ve begun to think that if I assume...

Should you ditch your job?

On a recent episode of “Real Biz with Rebecca Jarvis,” I heard Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-hour Work Week, spell out five things to consider if you’re wondering whether to quit your job. Create a dreamline. This is basically a timeline of your goals and dreams. What do you want to have, do, and...

The route to Car Talk

Tom Magliozzi, 77, was a co-host of one of my favorite public radio shows, “Car Talk.” He died this week. He was known for his infectious laugh and his ability to suss out the real issues—sometimes related to relationships or moral quandaries—that brought callers to his show. I think parts of his life story may...

On another person’s inner voices

I recently heard something that gave me pause. At a panel on freelancing at the Asian American Journalists Association meeting in Washington, DC, a writer who has a nonprofit job by day, but does travel writing on the side implied that she wasn’t a full-time travel writer, although she loved doing it, because it wouldn’t...