“Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.” – James Matthew Barrie
After reading my review copy of Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success, I immediately gave it to Jeanine and purchased two more for her brother and her best friend. The book from career columnist, Penelope Trunk is unconventional in its tone and advice and just what lost souls of Gen X & Y need to read to thrive in their work life.
For our generation, Trunk writes, “Work is not just a means of support, but a lifestyle choice that must challenge, entertain, and encourage personal growth. But the current workplace is not set up to offer this sort of work to young people, so you will have to maneuver strategically within a baby-boomer dominated workplace to attain goals that are unique to a new generation.”
Key word here is “maneuver” as in manipulate, move, navigate, negotiate, pilot, ply, steer, swing, and wield… get the picture. It’s up to us to manage our careers and Trunk offers helpful direction that I’ll highlight for the next few Mondays. Can’t wait for my list of take-a-ways? Then head on over to Brazen Careerist and buy the book right now! Consider it an investment in your career and earnings… plus a book is cheaper than a therapy session.
Which leads me to the first lesson and it has to do with money. Trunk writes, “You only need $40,000 a year to be happy.” Perhaps you disagree with the dollar amount but the point she makes rings true: “Happiness is dependent on being able to meet basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing. After meeting those needs you have to turn to something other than consumerism, because additional money has negligible impact on how happy you are. Your level of happiness is instead largely dependent on your outlook.”
Outlook has more to do with how you are spending your day than the amount of your paycheck. Trunk concludes, “There is a new American dream that is still about ‘doing better than your parents’ but not necessarily in a financial sense. This dream is about fulfillment.” She continues on by quoting that adorable Anya Kamenetz, author of Generation Debt. Fulfillment often time requires risk taking and as she says, “It’s about shaping one’s own destiny: mobility, flexibility to do your own work, and the ability to have a career as an expression of who you are as a person.”
For Kamentetz’ generation, the media loves to paint a picture of self entitlement. The root cause of their predicament is consumerism and being forever subsidized by their boomer-parents. But that’s like saying all the Gen X-ers of my generation are slackers. Gen X & Y just want to be happy with their work. But we have to take charge of our happiness.
Trunk writes, “A great career doesn’t fall on you. You have to seek it out by moving in a direction toward which your heart pushes. If you know yourself and you take passion seriously, your work will provide structure and support for a happy life.”
In a nutshell, it boils down to passion and not money. Curt Rosengren, at Passion Catalyst says, “Passion is the energy that comes from bringing more of YOU into what you do.” He offers this handy Career Change quiz that scores the passion factor in your work. If your score is not off the chart, then maybe it’s time to buy Trunk’s book and bullet out a tactical plan to achieve happiness.
To be continued… next Monday. Now get back to work!