Archive for October, 2009

Gifts For Career Women

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Working Girl has long thought that her humble book (“The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use“) makes an excellent gift.

It’s unbreakable, easy to mail, and inexpensive.  It will never go out of style.  It’s the perfect pick-me-up for that woman you know who’s just starting a career, or who’s “between jobs,” who’s discouraged about the job she has, or who’s getting back into the job market after being away. 

So it was pretty darn nice to learn that Marie Claire magazine agrees!  “The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl” was just selected, along with 15 other products, as an ideal “gift for the working girl.”  Check out the article

Thanks, Marie Claire.  That was cool. 

P.S.  Plus, what other gift can you actually use yourself before giving to someone else?  Sure, go ahead, read it and gift it.  (Just don’t be eating Cheetos or chocolate while reading…..)

Chitchat Can Pay Off

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

US World and News ReportsA job offer is the end result of a very successful human interaction, wouldn’t you say?

Very successful human interactions depend, to a large degree, on chemistry.

Chemistry happens when people feel at ease in your presence.

How to make people feel at ease?  You can be at ease yourself (relax).  You can look pleasant (smile).  And you can indulge in that good old tried and true social lubricant:

small talk 

Some tips for how to be a small talk master over at today’s U.S. News & World Report post.

Contest Winners Announced

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Check out Melissa’s The Job Quest blog to find out if you won the book giveaway. 

Even if you didn’t win, it’s fun to read about other people’s weird jobs……

Your Weirdest Job

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

What was your most unusual job?  Tell us on this post over at The Job Quest and win a copy of the book.  It’s easy.  It’s fun!  You have two chances to win. 

Enter fast; contest ends tomorrow at 9 p.m. PST.  (You can also win just by retweeting the original post.  Ultra easy.  But then we won’t know about your weirdest job…..)

Thanks to Melissa for thinking to do this contest.  Much appreciated.

Volunteering & Your Job Hunt

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

US World and News ReportsLong time, no post.

Working Girl has been outta town–in the “other” Washington (the one with the big pointy monument and all those museums).  It was great, if you don’t count the frigid rain.  Brrr.

Anyway, still getting back in the swing of things but did manage to pen a post for good old U.S. News & World Report.  It’s about volunteering, and how it just might help you get a job.  Really.

Nice To Be Average?

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

What do opticians, jewelers, meter readers, loan clerks, and bookkeepers have in common?

They all earn, on average, $32,000.  And $32K is the “average” salary in the U.S.  Did you think the average would be more?  Less?

Here is the whole article, from Rachel Zupek at  Check out the link to the salary tool that shows what jobs pay what in your city.

Meanwhile, Working Girl will be outta town until Oct. 19th.  Vacation!  Which includes no blogging……so see you after the 19th.

A Link Here, A Link There

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Thought today would be a good day to get caught up on recent linkage.  Thanks to all who saw fit to quote Working Girl, or otherwise mention her in a laudatory light. 

It’s truly appreciated! 

Understanding How Women Network,” by Meghan Casserly over at

5 Ways to Stand Out in Your Interviews,” by Chris Perry at

15 Ways to Annoy Your Job Interviewer,” by Karen Burns (Working Girl herself) at Yahoo! News

The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use,” nice book review by Miriam Salpeter at Keppie Careers

The Secret to My Success… This Economy,” by Rachel Zupek MSN

How To Be Happier At Work

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

US World and News ReportsYou spend a lot of time at work.  Like, the majority of your waking hours.  So if you’re not happy there, that’s bad.  If you’re happy at work you are a better employee, making you harder to replace, leading to–tah dah!–greater job security.

Happiness is important for lots of other reasons, too.

Here are 9 concrete, doable tips for how to be happier at your job.  Try a couple.  Or all.  And then report back.

Working For Free

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Did you see this essay in the NYT yesterday: “Hard Work, No Pay“?  Today it’s one of the “most emailed.”

The writer, Jennifer Williams, is looking for a job.  No success so far and now she is taking on jobs for free.  A good idea?  Well, it is for Jennifer because:

  • It’s giving her real-world work experience, which she needs.
  • She’s learning some marketable skills (software, client management).
  • She can put the freebie projects on her resume (she doesn’t need to mention the free part).
  • She’s building her network (the bigger the better, people!).
  • She can afford this period of no-pay in the sense that’s she young, healthy, and isn’t supporting anyone else.
  • She’s learning a lot about translating “theory and personal version” (what her master’s of fine arts was all about) to the real world of doing work that people will give you money for.

Working Girl would just make these suggestions to Jennifer:

  • Try to get some payment for your work, even if it’s on a barter basis. 
  • Start putting together a portfolio of your projects (maybe you already have). 
  • When choosing the recipients of your free labor, choose companies and people you think might help you down the road in some way–in terms of networking, references, future paid work, etc.
  • Keep in mind that “qualifications” aren’t the only basis for hiring decisions.  You mentioned that you couldn’t land a job supervising naptime at a daycare center (because, you said, “apparently other applicants were more qualified”).  You didn’t get the job at the daycare center because you aren’t qualified to supervise naptime.  You didn’t get it because the hiring manager thought someone else, who was equally qualified, would fit in better.  That’s the #1 criteria for most workplaces.

Good luck, Jennifer!

Should I Quit My Job?

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Seems like an insane question, doesn’t it?  Nowadays most people are just trying to hold on to the jobs they’ve got. 

But say you have a really awful job.  You hate, despise, loathe it.  It pays like dirt, you have no chance of improving it, and it makes every single day of your life an unbearable hell.  Should you just quit?

Of course if you read the news about the soaring unemployment rate, the “jobless” recovery, the ever-multiplying deficit, and all the rest you will be too terrified to even buy groceries, much less consider resigning from a job.

But that leads to feelings of helplessness, and helplessness makes us even more miserable.  So, first, please remind yourself of this Eternal Truth: 

Your chances of leaving any given job are precisely 100%.
Nothing is forever.

Feeling better?  A little?  However, the matter still remains whether you should quit right now–without having another job lined up.  So here are few questions to ask yourself:

Am I in debt?  If your head is already under water, money-wise, Working Girl is going to go all old-fashioned on you and say, Do not quit said job until you have another one nailed down.  Sorry. 

How much money do I have in the bank?  If you have enough to live on for, say, six months then you might give yourself permission to consider quitting.  But not before reading the rest of this list!

Is anyone depending on me?  If your answer is no, then you are getting closer to saying those two little words, “I quit”.

Do I have someone to fall back on?  If your partner in life is employed and you could scrape by on what he/she makes, then you are getting even closer.

How easy will it be for me to find another job?  Ha, this is the tricky one.  Don’t base your answer on what you think your chances are, or what you wish they were.  Base it on actual information that you have gathered by actively going out and researching the job market.  This research should teach you a lot.  Like, the state of whatever industry you work in, the possibility of transferring your skills/experience to other industries, the areas where you could stand improvement, the areas where you are a star, and how your current (yucky) job compares to what else is out there. 

Knowing all this will help you give a much smarter, wiser, informed, and practical answer to the question: “Should I quit my job?”  Good luck.

(A Bonus Treat:  Working on the answers to all these questions will take a bite out of that helplessness issue, make you feel more empowered, and thus better able to face each day.)

P.S.  While doing all the above stuff, reread When You Hate Your Job.