Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Working Girl Reads "The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl"

Once upon a time, a blog named Working Girl met an author/blogger/artist named Working Girl. They quickly realized that they were very similar in that they both liked to talk about their real experiences in the Working Girl trenches.

Unlike WG1 and WG2, Karen Burns (aka Working Girl), has a teensy bit more experience than we do and she wrote a book about all 59 (yes! 59!) of the jobs that she has had in her lifetime. For the past few weeks, WG1 and WG2 have been reading Karen Burns' new book "The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use". And we love it! Not only does she dispense her great words of wisdom, but she uses her real-life stories to do it. By separating her book into sections entitled "Clueless", "Confident" and "Carefree", Burns is able to relate to all Working Girls in any stage of their career (cause we've all been one of those 3 things at one point!).

Below is an interview we conducted with Karen Burns - and we hope you check out her blog and buy her book! Trust us - it's worth every penny!

WG: How did you decide to write this book? And how is it different from other career advice books?

The book was a friend’s idea, when she found out how many jobs I’d had. She was in publishing so I took her seriously. What’s different about The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl is that the advice is based on stuff that happened to me in my 59 jobs (yes, really 59). Each chapter—there are 59 and they are short—relates a story from one of my jobs and then gives career/life advice based on what happened in the story. It’s fast and easy. You can pick it up, open it anywhere, and start reading. Oh, and it’s illustrated with cartoons of “Working Girl” (that’s me).

WG: Out of the 59 jobs you've had, which was your all-time favorite and which was your most hated?

I really hated my “envelope sorting” job. It was so-o-o boring and the conditions were awful, super noisy and absolutely soul-deadening. My favorite job was in Paris (I lived & worked in Paris for 3 years—it’s in the book!). I worked freelance, mostly writing marketing materials in English for French companies. One of my regular clients, a design firm, would occasionally ask me to come along when they pitched business to potential clients. They wanted to look like an international firm so I was there to be introduced as “the American.” I got paid just for being American. It was kind of cool.

WG: What is the one thing you want people to take away from your reading your book?

That you will probably have to search for fulfilling work, for a great job—it won’t just fall in your lap. Maybe it will, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t. And that making a mistake—in your career or in life—is not the end of the world. We are allowed to make mistakes. We need to make them! (I guess that’s two things.)

WG: We love the mission statement idea! Do you find that your mission statement stays or the same or changes often?

Your basic mission statement, in that it reflects your heart’s desire, will stay the same. However, the ways you devise to accomplish that heart’s desire may change.

WG: Of all your eternal truths, which is your favorite or the most important?

“It’s never too late to be the person you were meant to be.” It’s not original; I believe I read something like it in “Middlemarch.” But I think it’s very true.

WG: What advice would you give Working Girls during the current recession who are having a hard time finding a job?

Cast a wide net. Network like mad. Get creative. Stay positive. Don’t give up. Be a bright shining light. And remember that people have always survived hard times and you will, too.

WG: What advice can you give all the new (fresh out of college or HS) Working Girls out there?

Enjoy your life and your work. Especially, do a good job in whatever position you find yourself in, because all jobs are worth doing well and because doing a good job makes you a good person. And thus a happier person.

WG: How did you decide to jump ship and move abroad? What advice would you give WG's who want to take the same plunge?

It’s always good to line up a job before you go. If you can’t do this, and in any case, save up a lot of money first. Work at getting some contacts in your target country. Find out what the laws are for foreign workers in your target country. Think the whole project through; try to anticipate the “worst that could happen” and come up with a plan for what you would do if it did. Be prepared for things to not go exactly as planned, and brace yourself for some loneliness at first. It’s not easy to live in a foreign country, to be “a foreigner”—try not to be discouraged by this. Persist! Living abroad is tremendously fun and tremendously challenging. You grow. You get smarter. You become more…..sophisticated. I highly recommend it.

WG: Do you believed you have discovered your true path?

I always thought it was my “true path” to earn my living by writing and reading so, yes, I think so.

WG: We're stealing this one from our interview with Karen Burns on her blog! If you could not work a day more in your life, would you take the opportunity to do so?

No. I need something to do. I need a challenge, some project that absorbs me and feels worthwhile. Isn’t that why we’re alive?


carrie lea said...

Oh my gosh!! I just picked this book up from the library! It's such a cute book (from what I've read so far) Loads of helpful advice!

Jonnie said...

I really enjoyed your post. Can't wait to read more.

High-heel gal said...

Sounds like a great read! I'll be hitting up the library tomorrow :)

Jessie said...

definitely getting the book! thanks for the tip!

Izzy said...

Love it!

kokostiletto said...

wow I'm totaly going to get this !

positiveenergy said...

This author is a very good friend of mine (don't often get the chance to namedrop) but even if she wasn't, I'd be raving about this book. I've been giving it to graduates/goddaughters/nieces and friends and they unanimously love it.

T said...

glad i caught this post. just bought the book! haven't started reading yet but looking forward to it. thanks!

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