A number of readers of this blog have privately emailed me, wanting to know more about who am I. They ask such questions as, "Are you a Republican?" or "Are you telling the truth: How can you blog so much if you're supposedly this busy career counselor, editor at U.S. News & World Report, columnist for Kiplinger, and host of two radio shows?"
Politically, I think I can best be described as a cross between a blue dog Democrat and a Libertarian:
I think lightly regulated capitalism is the best economic system but believe that big government is doomed to waste huge amounts of our money, growing ever larger and more invasive, making many policies that are popular and even yielding short-term benefit yet ultimately unwise: for example, bailouts, Cash for Clunkers, spending big on an attempt to cool the planet, and most redistributive "justice" social programs.
The latter I believe are not only ineffective (e.g., the vaunted Head Start and welfare-to-work job training programs,) they ultimately devastate a society, as in the case of affirmative action, which, in practice, often turns out to be reverse discrimination. I feel similarly about multiculturality: it does balkanize us. I believe we need less pluribus and more unum. I believe we should think of ourselves not as hyphenated Americans, not as Americans, but as world citizens, making our decisions about what would be best overall, not just for our gender, racial or ethnic group, or for America.
The latter, of course, reveals the liberal side of me. I hold other liberal values. I am strongly pro-choice and pro-gay marriage, and in favor of allowing people the right to assisted suicide. I am in favor of a single-payer health care system with two tiers: basic health care for all and a significantly higher level of care for people who fully pay into the system. I believe Americans are too materialistic and that giving money to cost-effective charity is a far better use of money than spending it on fancy houses, cars, clothes, vacations, jewelry, day spas--or on taxes. (I lament the amount of tax I pay, not to mention the large amount of time it takes to prepare my income tax returns.)
I believe we are utterly dishonest about race, much to the world's detriment. That's why I've spent so much time lately on this blog encouraging a full-dimensioned discussion about the racial achievement gap.
And now on to what I do to be maximally productive. Core to it all, I value productivity over all else--I believe I am worthy to the extent I am productive. That makes it easy for me to be motivated to work. Secondary to that but also important, I try to do work that comes easily to me--writing, for example. Also, I always have a little voice on my shoulder asking myself, "Is this task worth doing" and "Is this the most time-effective way to get the task done?" For example, my meals, while healthy, take almost no time to prepare: typically, oatmeal for breakfast, tuna sandwich and fruit for lunch, a big salad for dinner. I exercise by doing professional reading while on the exercise bike in my basement. Also key to my productivity, I avoid time sucks: I watch almost no TV, don't play golf, and avoid unnecessary travel. I do allow myself time to act in and direct plays and to attend community theatre productions, which I believe may be America's most underrated entertainment. I spend little time with my friends--mainly talking with them when I'm in the car driving to my radio shows or to see my wife.
Speaking of my wife, Dr. Barbara Nemko and I will have been together for 37 years this October. She (along with my dog, Einstein) is the love of my life. For 25 years, we lived together in Oakland, California but when she was elected Napa County Superintendent of Schools, she was required to live there. Because many of my career counseling clients live near Oakland and because I work a zillion hours a week anyway, we decided to live apart during the week and get together one night a week and on weekends. It's unconventional but, for us, it works well, frankly better than if we were together 24/7.
That may be more than you want to know but if you want to know even more, I'm pleased to answer your questions. I'm grateful that so many people read this blog and am happy to let you know more about me.
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