Friday, December 8, 2017

Potent NonProfits and How to Convert a Volunteer Gig into a Paying Job

Many people volunteer, whether as a launchpad to paying work or simply to contribute to a non-profit cause. But what volunteer efforts are likely to make a real difference and where you’re not just one of zillions clamoring to volunteer, for example, for the environment, fight poverty, or dump Trump? And what are the best tactics for converting a volunteer gig into a paying job? I address all that in my article today.

A Self-Appraisal Leading to a New Year's Resolution

Year-end is a good time to inventory your life. So, my article today asks you to look at seven aspects of lifeto see if there's something you'd like to change.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Ugly: A Short-Short Story about Looks

There’s no honest way to get around it: Josh was an ugly child. He was born with deformed, asymmetrical forehead and cheekbones. My article today is a short-short story about him.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Marry? Is the Institution of Marriage Still Viable?

Few decisions have greater import than whether to marry.  

A previous article focuses on the decision of whether to marry a particular person.  This article addresses the institution of marriage itself amid today’s norms, which indeed are achangin'.

Indeed, in an interview, comedian Sarah Silverman,inot joking, called marriage “barbaric.. gross and f–king crazy,”  That’s something that not long ago couldn’t have been said even in jest.

So given today’s realities, how does the institution of marriage compare with a relationship that isn’t legally and perhaps religiously encumbered? I explore that in my article today.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Reducing Holiday Stress

In theory, the holiday season should be less stressful than the rest of the year. During work time, deadlines may be replaced by festivities. After work, get-togethers with family and friends, accompanied by comforting Christmas music, TV specials, and football games, should calm things further. 
 Alas, the words “holidays” and "stress" often adjoin.  Perhaps the tips I offer in my article today can take the edge off.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Stern: A short-short story about people's veneer

People often judge us merely on appearance. After all, after age 30 or certainly 40,  our face reflects our emotional lifetime. But so much resides beneath our veneer. My contribution today offers a short-short story on this.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


We've become inured to hype and it hurts us more than we may realize. I explore in my article today.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Seven Pleasures They've Wrested From Us

Life is not easy. More may be expected from us at work. In relationships, we may be expected to do it all, as the jingle went, “Bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan....”  We’re told we’re not saving the zillion dollars we’ll need for the ever more absurd cost of college, let alone for retirement.

We’re hamsters on an ever faster-spinning wheel, like when the faster Lucy boxed the chocolates, the faster the conveyer belt went until she just couldn't do it all.

Indeed that’s what’s happening. Many people are breaking. Some drop out and become homeless while others anesthetize with alcohol or drugs. I believe that’s part of the national impetus to legalize marijuana despite it being more dangerous, physically and mentally than the Big Tobacco-driven messaging would have us believe.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. suicide rate is at a 30-year high  And it’s epidemic among middle-aged white men: NBC News cites the Centers for Disease Control findings: “Victims of death by suicide are overwhelmingly white (7 out of 10), male, and between the ages of 45 and 65. “

At the same time, many of life’s soothers have been wrested from us. My article today offers seven examples. It argues that their loss is an underdiscussed cause of modern-day stress.

'I'd Rather Retire But.... Advice for Older Job Seekers

My article today offers advice to older job seekers. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Saving the Best for Last?

At some point, people’s awareness of their mortality grows, maybe even dominates one’s thoughts.

For the hedonistic, that triggers more desire to travel and otherwise have fun. Doable.

For the relational, it means wanting to spend more time with friends, grandkids, and other relatives. Doable.

For the work-centric, it’s more difficult. As we get older, we’re increasingly passed over for the opportunity to do significant work. It’s often believed that our experience is outweighed by lack of currency, our decreased physical vigor as proxy for decreased intellectual vigor.

My article today offers some relatively accessible ways for the work-centric to have a last hurrah or three.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


As my post today, I offer a poem that doesn't rhyme but attempts to distill best advice and radical honesty about responding to disappointment.

Monday, October 23, 2017


We speak of income inequality gaps too symptomatically: We may speak of an achievement gap, income gap,  and digital divide.

But there’s a more foundational gap that society must first address if it expects to close the others: the efficacy gap.

There's consensus that ever more repetitive jobs will be automated, and that ever more of the remaining decent-paying jobs will require technical chops, people skills, and emotional solidity strong enough to handle the accelerating pace of change, not to mention life's timeless slings and arrows. Alas, too many people cannot be expected to solidly possess that amalgam.

What to do? I offer an approach in my article today.

Monday, October 16, 2017

My Next Book is Coming: Careers for Dummies

I'm pleased to say that I just signed the contract to write the flagship book in the for Dummies career series. It's Careers for Dummies.
Aimed at people starting out, it's designed to offer fresh, best ideas for choosing a career, getting well-trained, and landing a good job or becoming successful self-employedIt also offers advice on how to succeed, even become beloved. 

Careers for Dummies' major elements:
  • The Careers Catalog: a much improved version of what was the most popular part of my previous for Dummies book, Cool Careers for Dummies.  It contains punchy but authoritative introductions to 340 popular and viable under-the-radar careers and self-employment ideas.
  • The DIY Under-the-Radar Career Finder
  • The DIY Under-the-Radar Business Idea Finder
  • Landing a good job, step-by-step. The world has changed. This will offer advice on what works now.
  • The Un-MBA: Why one- and few-person businesses should usually do the opposite of what's taught in business school. This will offer a collection of specific business ideas plus step-by-step advice on succeeding.
  • The Career Changer:  This will help in choosing your next career, including a collection of rewarding yet easier-to-transition-to options. Plus, it will help you choose your best-fit from among four approaches to changing careers. 
  • You U: Getting well trained for a career without a time-consuming, expensive degree. Plus, convincing an employer you're worthy of getting hired.
  • The Trends: Eleven major trends you should understand to thrive in our changing work world.
  •  What Matters to You? Questions to unearth your life's foundational principles.
Here's the Amazon link to pre-order.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Thoughts on Action vs Reflection

A relative of mine, now 50, has always struggled careerwise. He occasionally emails me a question. Yesterday, he asked me if spirituality and personal reflection are important parts of my worklife. 

I thought my readers might find my response of value so I posted it as my article today.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Foiling Dishonest Job Seekers

Whether you’re an honest job seeker or an employer, you’re hurt by dishonest job seekers. The honest job seekers ends up losing jobs to inferior liars. And employers get worse employees, which hurts coworkers, customers, and themselves.

Alas, having been a career counselor to thousands of job seekers and consultants to dozens of employers, I can tell you first-hand that there are a lot of dishonest job seekers who manage to bamboozle employers.

I consider writing my article today, Foiling Dishonest Job Seekers, a bit of penance for remaining silent, occasionally condoning, and even very occasionally, in moments of sympathy for that struggling job seeker sitting in front of me, abetting tactics I wouldn’t be proud to tell my daughter about.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Fresh Start Yet Again

Here's another of my short-short stories embedding a life lesson or two. This one's about a passive person.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sam's Saga: What a typical graduate's next 20 years is likely to be like

As my contribution today, I offer a short-short story that projects what a new graduate's life over the next 20 years might be like.

Friday, September 22, 2017

On the Difficulty Of Getting People to Change

My most well-received tip is the Traffic Light Rule: an antidote to long-windedness. Yet even when clients claim to want to use it, despite guided practice and homework, they rarely do. I explore why in my article today.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Kinder, Gentler Approach to Kim Jong Un

Today, C-SPAN broadcast the United Nations’ unanimous Security Council vote to increase sanctions against North Korea and its nuclear-threatening Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un. Speech after speech seem psychologically oblivious, merely returning threats of might with threats of greater might.

Of course, it’s possible that the sanctions will work. Some people understand nothing but pain and the threat of more pain. And it’s possible that Kim Jung Un is simply "crazy:” a psychopathic, megalomanical, sociopathic monster, as is often claimed.

But on the possibility that Kim Jong Un is not crazy but just a human being who for, some psychological and practical reasons, has felt backed into a corner and thus feels he must threaten and alienate the world with nuclear threats, assassinations, and human rights violations, even at the cost of great pain to his people, I thought it might be instructive to you if not to him to write a letter to him.

I can't imagine he'd actually read it, so its primary purpose is to offer my readers an approach to dealing with a hated person and to conflict in general that is more consonant with Psychology Today's and its reader's humanistic sensibilities. Perhaps the tactics I use in the letter may be useful as you address conflicts in your life. In that letter, which I post on, I embed those tactics in parentheses and italics.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Tips for Sub-Clinical Sadness, Worry, Anger, ADD/ADHD

Many people have “issues” that don’t rise to the level of a disorder requiring professional help. For example:
  • They’re sad by nature or because of external events but they’re not—as in clinical depression— numb or inert, let alone suicidal. They function, just not as happily as they’d like.
  • They tend to worry more than they'd like but rarely panic, nor does their anxiety greatly impede their quality of life.
  • They’re predisposed to anger but aren’t in an ongoing state of suppressed anger nor are subject to frequent outbursts let alone physical violence.
  • They have trouble staying focused but their distractibility doesn’t rise to the level of clinical attention-deficit disorder; neither the spacey version (ADD), or the hyperactive version (ADHD.)
My article today offers not-magic pills that have helped a number of my clients address their sub-clinical malaise. Of course, many of these tips are obvious, yet many of us can benefit from reminders to do even things we’ve successfully used before.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Where Will the Jobs Be?

The University of California Berkeley has invited me to give a lecture open to the public. I’m calling it, The Future of Work. In my article today, I present its key content.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

An "Intelligence Pill: One of humankind's most important goals

Psychology professor Jordan Peterson interviewed University of California School of Medicine emeritus Richard Haier, a leading expert on the neuroscience of intelligence. Haier believes that, with a concerted societal effort, an "intelligence pill1" could be developed.

Thousands of genes may affect intelligence but identifying even a small proportion of them could be of inordinate benefit. A May 25, 2017 article in Nature came to a similar conclusion.

My article today offers some implications.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Pressing the Button: A short-short story about a deathbed review of one's life.

A deathbed patient reviews her life. 

That's the topic of my latest short-short story. They're composites of real-life events with psychological or practical implications.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Making This Your Child's Best School Year Yet

True, your child can probably survive a bad school year. Indeed, genes, parenting, and peers matter more, at least in terms of long-term outcomes.

But think back to your own schooling. Weren’t there years in which you were much happier or less so. Helping your child have a whole year of more happiness—That’s worth your effort.

And much is in your control. My article today offers potent things you can do. No, you needn't volunteer in your child’s class. That’s just not realistic for so many of today’s parents.

Raising a Challenging Child

The Case for Eclecticism

Many psychotherapists, counselors, and coaches feel comforted by having a theoretical framework from which to operate. It’s a scaffolding onto which they can then hang their own ideas as applicable to the client. 

That’s understandable but too limiting.  I make the case for eclecticism in my article today.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Ridiculousness of Unconditional Love

How wonderful to be loved for just who you are. Conversely, how comforting to feel so close to someone that you unconditionally love him or her.

But how realistic is that? Is it even desirable? My essay in today argues no on both counts.

Career Issues I've Changed My Mind About

Somehow, we’ve come to prize people who stick to their guns. But as Longfellow wrote, “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Not wanting too little a mind, I have tried to remain opening to changing my views. In hopes of encouraging you to do that, my PsychologyToday. com article today describes 11 things on which I’ve changed my mind.

While I’ve changed my mind on many issues, in that article, I describe only items related to my profession: career counseling. Not only have I done the most thinking about that, offering my current thoughts on career may be helpful to yours.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

An Ode to the Worker Bee on Labor Day

Labor Day honors workers. And for good reason, indeed for more reasons than we might realize. I describe them in my article today.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Fighting Your Weaknesses

Conventional wisdom says, “Build on your strengths.” And I agree, but some common weaknesses usually must at least be mitigated or you may not get a chance to use your strengths.

Of course, most weaknesses don’t succumb to quick tips but my current thinking on behavior change is that quick tips end up yielding more net good than do protracted prescriptions. 

Quick tips  are particularly likely to yield more net good per-minute of reader time. There are plenty of long articles and books on each of the following but perhaps the quick tips I offer in my article today add something to the corpus.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Becoming a Successful Employee

The advice on how to be a successful employee can reduce to: work well, fit in, yet retain your personhood. 

But in case you’d like a little flesh on that skeleton, I offer that in my article today.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Gaining Your Instructors' Respect

Whether in high school, college, or graduate school, gaining the instructor’s respect is key not only to getting a good grade but, at the risk of sounding like the fuddy-duddy I am, learning more, including acquiring attributes more important than the course content: responsibility, communication skills, and perhaps even—and the data on its teachability is equivocal—thinking ability.

In my article today, I offer ways to gain your instructors' respect.

What if You Lose Your Job?

Losing your job is one of most life’s more stressful events. After all, our identify may be heavily defined by how well we do at work. Indeed, compare the worthiness of a life centered about sex, drugs, and NetFlix with even an ostensibly unimportant worker bee—say a receptionist—who ends up making life easier for countless people.

But losing one’s job can happen to the best of us. What to do? I tackle that question in my article today.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

How the Media Influences Us...Perhaps Without Our Awareness

To a greater extent than we may realize, the media, even entertainment media attempts to get us to believe as they do.

My essay  explores how that’s done, using an example: The play, The Book of Mormon.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Terry's Tale: A career saga

As the latest in my series of short-short stories embedding life lessons, I today describe the saga of a 20-something person's career saga. .

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Marty Nemko Gives a Public Lecture at U.C. Berkeley: The Future of Work

I'll be giving a public lecture, The Future of Work, at the University of California Berkeley on Sep. 12 at 6:30 PM at the Golden Bear Center. It is sponsored by the University so it is free to all.

Hands-On Careers

Career contentment depends less on a career’s coolness than on whether it matches your core ability: words, people, data, or hands-on.

To that end, here is the fourth in a four-part series. In this installment, I offer brief introductions to some hands-on careers. The previous installments were on careers for word people, for people people, and for data-oriented people.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Career contentment depends less on a career’s "coolness" than on whether it matches your core ability: words, people, data, or hands-on.

To that end, I'm writing a four-part series. In this installment, I offer a brief introduction to some data-centric careers. The previous installments were on careers for word people and on careers for people people. I hope to publish the final one tomorrow. It will be on hands-on careers.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Careers for People People

Career contentment depends less on a career’s “coolness’ than on whether it matches your core ability: words, people, data, or hands-on.

To that end, I am writing a four-part series in In the first one, I described 11 word-centric careers.

In today's installment, I describe some careers for people people. 

The final two installments will be on careers for data-centric people and hands-on careers.

Monday, August 14, 2017

11 Careers for Word People

Career contentment depends less on a career’s “coolness’ than on whether it matches your core ability: words, people, data, or hands-on.

To that end, I am writing a four-part series in In the first one, I describe 11 word-centric careers.

The other installments will be people careers, data careers, and hands-on careers.

Is Higher Education America's Most Overrated Product?

I was interviewed today to discuss the question, "Is Higher Education America's Most Overrated Product?" Here is the link:

Smart Onboarding

As they say, you never get a second chance to make a good impression, so getting off to a good start on a job is obviously important.

Of course, in an ideal world, your employer’s onboarding program would fully address that but that’s not always the case. My article today offers some things you can do.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Letter to New Grads: Three Questions to Ask Yourself

Should you strive more for excellence or for work-life balance? It's hard to have both.

Should you strive for big bucks or might there be a wiser career choice for you?

How relationship-centered should you be?

These hard questions are important for all of us to ponder but especially so for people just starting out. I briefly explore them in my article today.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Making Your Education Career-Ready

Identical twins can attend the same college or graduate school, even take the same classes, and one can have much better career prospects. 

In my article today, I offer tips for how to make your or your loved one's higher education career-ready.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

7 Tips for College and Graduate Students

Whether you’re off to college for the first time or a veteran of the final exam crams, seven reminders, which stray little from common sense, may be worth the quick read I offer in my article today.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Case for Not Giving Grades

A University of Georgia professor is being ridiculed for offering a class in which students can give themselves any grade they want.

Predictably, that’s pointed to as the latest example of colleges’ dumbing-down so a college degree attests to little more than having paid all that money.

And certainly, legitimate arguments can be made in favor of grades. After all, few of us would go to work every day if we didn’t get paid. Grades are students’ pay. Indeed, most students do work harder and thus learn more if the course is graded.

But underdiscussed, a case can be made not only for allowing students to grade themselves but for eliminating grades except for on a comprehensive exam given before a bachelor's degree is awarded. I make the case in my article today.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

13 Societal Trends

In understanding and negotiating our fast-changing world, it may be helpful to recognize its major trends: My article today offers 13.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Starting Out: You've graduated (or dropped out.) Now what?

You’ve graduated or dropped out. Either way, it’s your first September without the structure of school.  There’s no MWF 9-11 class to show up at (or cut.)

Now you’re supposed to be a grown-up. Now what? I offer a bit of advice in my article today.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

"Set for Life"

The newest of my short-short stories that embed life lessons tells of a farmworker who won the lottery.  It's my contribution today.

The Future of Work

U.C. Berkeley has invited me back to give my second  lecture there that is open to the public.  This one is called, The Future of Work." The university is sponsoring it so it is free. It's at 6:30 PM on Sep 12. Click HERE for details.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Who Gets Our Stamp of Approval?

Whom should we admire? I take an unusual approach to this question in my article. I look at some little-known people who were eminent enough to have their picture on a U.S. postage stamp.

7 Keys to Coping With a Loved One's Serious Illness

Michael Edelstein is a psychotherapist and my friend. I have been amazed at how well he’s coping with his wife having serious cancer and cardiovascular disease. In hopes there might be lessons for us all, I asked him how he does it. He described seven keys. I post them as my article today.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Failure to Listen: A short-short story about suppression and commitment bias

My article today is the latest of my short-short stories that embed life lessons. This one is about a person whose commitment bias prevented him from considering important advice.