Awhile back, I took off my earrings, smeared vaseline under my eyes and challenged my smart blogging counterpart Penelope Truck to a virtual smackdown over a blog post. I got interesting responses from my readers, and she was very civilized in her reply, much to her character and credit.
I promised to write a review of her book Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success which I have been enjoying in short bursts over the last month and a half or so (I catch up on my reading late at night in the bathtub … which means it takes awhile to get through a whole book, especially if I fall asleep while reading it, getting it wet, then having to dry the pages).
This book is written as the antidote to tired, old-school career “experts” like me who keep hammering the same advice over and over to the new generation of 20 and 30-something workers. As Penelope says, “the rules to success have changed.”
I think it is the aim of each new generation to provoke and challenge the next. I catch my breath when I find myself saying things like “When I was their age, I had already been working for 6 years!” or “You really need to pay your dues before you ask for so many perks.” As much as we try to act “sick,” “phat” and “tight” to prevent ourselves from appearing old and boring, we will have different opinions on work and life than the generations that proceed us.
Penelope organized her book in two parts: Part 1 “Relish the Path from Starter Job to Dream Job” and Part 2 “How to Get What You Want from the People You Work With.” Within each section are a number of new “rules” that guide and shape new workplace behavior.
There are many rules which I clearly embrace and endorse, like:
- #3: Grad school will not save you
- #18 If you are a mess at home, it shows at work
- #21 When you are mudslinging, you are losing ground
There are others which give me pause, and some which I outright disagree with:
- #28 Use harassment to boost your career
- #33 There are no bad bosses, only whiny employees
- #36 Differentiate yourself by staring at the wall (undecided on this one, really)
I got the greatest chuckle from Rule #35, “How to Manage a Boomer Boss.” Excerpts:
“Managing up will not be easy. You’re dealing with someone so different from you that he sits through PowerPoint presentations about emoticons.”
“When a baby boomer says ‘Do you realize how many years of experience I have?’ the baby boomer means, ‘Do you realize how long I have paid my dues? Why do you think you are entitled to challenging, interesting work immediately?'”
If you see nothing wrong with the last statement, it would benefit you to pick up and read this book. The more we understand each generation’s perspective on work, the more likely we will all have a better work experience.
Feel free to virulently disagree, as do many Yahoo Finance readers who pick apart Penelope’s posts on a regular basis. I find it a fascinating example of generational differences at war. And you know who always loses? The generation who fails to adapt.
Great reviews of the book have been written by Bob Sutton, Guy Kawasaki (with a follow up post, based on popular demand) and Ramit Sethi (who writes for a 20-something crowd, so check out his 71 comments on the post, and compare them to Guy’s).
As a slight aside, for those of you interested in parlaying a blog to a book as Penelope did should check out her post on the topic: “How to get a six figure book deal from your blog.” It has really great insight, which I scribbled furiously in my notes since I am attempting a similar thing.
It is great to watch Penelope develop and grow her platform, both through her very informative blog, and now recent syndication on Huffington Post. If you measure the “new rules of success” by results, clearly Penelope knows what she is talking about.