41 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Half of this advice is good...but which half?
Marketing texts like to quote some famous person (the name varies) as saying, "I know my advertising works...but I don't know which half."
That's the challenge of Brazen Careerist. I love the concept: experienced career coaches and consultants know the old party line doesn't work and never did. Many of Trunk's off-beat suggestions actually make a lot of sense...
Published on August 24, 2007 by Dr Cathy Goodwin
166 of 174 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beware advice on how to have a successful career...
From someone who doesn't have one, at least in the regular business world.
Yes, Gen Xers and Yers are moving into the workforce and redefining work, etc. etc. However, in most industries and companies, there are still baseline levels of comportment, behavior, etiquette, etc. that people are expected to maintain. I have worked for two Fortune 1000 companies and...
Published on February 14, 2008 by GadgetChick
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166 of 174 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beware advice on how to have a successful career...,
This review is from: Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success (Hardcover)From someone who doesn't have one, at least in the regular business world.
Yes, Gen Xers and Yers are moving into the workforce and redefining work, etc. etc. However, in most industries and companies, there are still baseline levels of comportment, behavior, etiquette, etc. that people are expected to maintain. I have worked for two Fortune 1000 companies and what I have found is that in many cases, the younger people moving in to replace Baby Boomers aren't rejecting their values and beliefs wholesale, as Trunk would have you believe, but adopting some and rejecting some others. Overall, I see more people buying into their own corporate culture and carrying on at least the major tenets than rejecting it completely.
Trunk admits on her blog she's been fired many times for a wide variety of offenses, including insubordination, inattention to her work, etc. One of my old bosses, who had an MBA from Stanford, said it best - always beware of people who make a career out of writing about having a career, rather than actually having one. I am not sure what credentials being a professional beach volleyball player gives you in the business world, but I don't necessarily think that being a professional blogger and getting one book published indicates someone is at the pinnacle of their profession, and therefore in a position to be dispensing advice to others. I don't claim to be at the pinnacle of my profession, but I can also say that I've never been fired for blowing off work assignments to work on freelance jobs. I've actually never been fired, period. My best piece of advice to any generation of worker is this: almost any company, big or small, is looking for people who make some attempt to fit themselves into the system, to some degree. While I don't believe that the whole system of paying your dues by working like crazy until you reach a particular job title is still relevant in all companies, I do think that most people are not going to be successful by going into a job and trying to get by on their looks and iconoclastic personality from day 1, which is basically what Trunk advises.
I recently read a fiction book where the author described a workplace where employees were divided into two categories: Golden Children, who could get away with almost anything without really putting their time into their work, and Work Horses, who picked up the Golden Children's slack. Most workplaces I have been part of fit that characterization pretty well. And I admit that as a Work Horse myself, being a Golden Child looks pretty good sometimes. But here's the thing. A career is a marathon, not a sprint. People do need to think strategically and make smart moves at the right time, but glossing through job after job after job expecting your looks and your chutzpah to carry the day isn't going to lead to the substantive success most people are seeking. Especially for women, relying on your looks to get you places isn't the safest bet. There are new, younger, hotter women coming into the workforce every day that you keep getting older. Somewhere along the line, you need to have some kind of skills and experience to deliver what you've sold people on. My suspicion is that Trunk was a Golden Child who couldn't deliver, time after time, and so therefore had to "create her own career" when she ended up basically unemployable after job-hopping/being fired too many times.
One more word about money - it's great if you can sponge off your parents while you find your place in the work world. It's great if you can live on $40,000 a year. Maybe for Trunk, money doesn't equal happiness, but in response to that idea, I will steal a line from one of my favorite movies and say: Look at the freakin' smile on my face - ear to ear, baby. I've worked in jobs I loved for no money and jobs I hated for a lot of money, and I can safely say that the best thing is to work a job you love that ALSO pays a lot of money. Which is totally possible, but I don't think Trunk's tips will get you there. It takes a mix of aggressive decision-making and hard work to really get to the point of true success, which is not purely defined by money, but to me, is defined by the ability to have some level of financial security (to the point where you don't have to go into debt to take a few weeks of maternity leave) and satisfaction with your work.
So advice seekers, beware this book. I imagine that if someone who is truly successful, who has truly managed to combine work and family life (like Meg Whitman of eBay) would take one look at Trunk's resume and think it was a joke. The advice in this book certainly is, and I hope there aren't a bunch of bright-eyed, bushy-tailed young career women out there taking it. What Trunk describes in this book is not true success. It's the truest version of success she's managed to talk herself into accepting, because she got handicapped by her own limitations.
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad advice for most people most of the time,
This review is from: Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success (Hardcover)This book was a disappointment to me, containing significantly more bad advice than good advice. I agree with the reviewer that said the book reads as the product of the experience of an upper middle class kid who never had to worry too much about the consequences of failure or unemployment (and unemployment is where you will probably find yourself if you follow her suggestions). Do yourself a favor and look somewhere else for career advice, because most of what Ms. Roston writes about in this book is not applicable to the working situations of the great majority of people. Follow her advice at your own peril.
In my opinion, you should not buy this book.
49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Should be titled "Bad Advice: What To Do If You Want To Collect Unemployment",
This review is from: Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success (Hardcover)Here's nothing more than a rehash of terrible advice that you can get for free by reading the author's on-line column. She seems to think that looks and appearance are what count, not skill or experience. Note that the author's career entails not working for corporate America; her thoughts on how to do little with the least could be helpful if Jim "The Cruise" Anchower needs another job to support his beer and weed habit. If you really think this could be interesting or useful (which it isn't) - be smart and just read the free on-line archive of the same.
85 of 100 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE ADVICE,
This review is from: Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success (Hardcover)This book is just a mish-mosh of Ms. Trunk's weekly column on yahoo, where she spews some of the most insane "advice" I have ever seen. For example, she recently advised her readers NOT to report sexual harrassment because it would look bad on the person being harrassed! In another column, she advised moving back home with the folks to save money. I don't think this is something most parents would welcome. She's also recently advised female workers that it's okay to "show some skin" at work; to not give priority to work projects that won't matter 5 years from now (hmmm...I don't think any boss would take well to an employee saying "Sorry boss, this won't matter in 5 years so I'm going to pass on it"), and other such dribble. Her message is always "appearance matters more than substance".
Ms. Trunk touts herself as a career "expert" but if you read her bio, there is nothing that gives her these qualifications. She worked for a handful of companies, all of which went bankrupt or otherwise folded (even the company she founded is out of business); she was a professional volley ball player (not sure how that enhances her as an "expert"); and for a while she modeled advertisements on her chest. And we're supposed to take her seriously????
I'm not even sure she has a college degree (nothing is mentioned in her bio, which leads me to believe she only has a high school education), and she certainly doesn't have any advanced degrees, nor has she published any serious studies on careers/career-related issues (everything is pretty much her opinion, rarely backed up by serious data). I don't even consider her 10 years as a marketing exec to be anything of substance. How can you possibly be an "expert" by remaining in one field for your entire worklife?
There are much better career-advice books out there than Ms. Trunk's. Look for those written by people who run exec search firms/job placement firms/employment agencies/HR depts/etc, and/or who hold advanced degrees in Organizational/Industrial Psychology and study these issues for a living. In other words, people who actually work on a daily basis with real companies and real employees and who understand the needs, requirements, limits, and expectations of both.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unrealistic advice from someone who's not living your life,
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This review is from: Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success (Hardcover)I think the book has some thought-provoking advice, but it's not applicable (or shouldn't be applied) by the majority of people out there. I was put off by the book from the very beginning, with the assumption that everyone can/should move back with their parents and sponge off of them for years before moving out on their own -- no mention of paying them some rent or anything, though she does say you should do your own laundry and not leave a sink full of dirty dishes. I think she's just coming from a place of upper-middle-class white entitlement that most people can't (and shouldn't) relate to -- it's clear that she always had her parents to fall back on if anything went seriously wrong, and she was also born naturally athletic and attractive, which landed her a gig playing beach volleyball and a ton of sponsorships to go with it. And I can't endorse her cavalier attitude about having a job that provides you with health benefits -- she basically endorses just hoping that in your 20s you won't need medical coverage. Packed in with some good, makes-you-think advice is a "don't worry, be happy" mentality that I think sets young people up for unrealistic expectations -- that if they do what they love and learn to be happy being poor, they'll be "successful" in the end (specifically defined as "being fulfilled" rather than the _old_ American dream of owning your own home, being financially successful, or having health or retirement benefits). This may be sound advice for people with rich parents and a great education who are naturally attractive and highly intelligent, but it's a snake oil sales pitch to the majority of twenty-year-olds out there who can only dream of having even some of her advantages -- or who aren't willing or able to sponge off of their parents indefinitely for housing, food, and other resources. I do admire the "have a dream" mentality, but it needs to be leavened with more "and here's how you live in the real world while you try to pursue that dream." I know she says she lived on $40,000 a year for a while in NYC, but doing that with a big cushion of parents and the resources from your years of earning $200,000 a year is a little different than the typical 20-something who's trying to get by on their own on $20-$30,000 a year with no cushion and a pile of student loans to pay off.
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Garbage,
This review is from: Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success (Hardcover)This must be rated by family and friends up until this point because this book is so bad it would be laughable if there weren't people being hurt by this advice. Penelope declares the "new workplace" as being here simply because she says so. There is nothing based in reality here and what she purports as a changing culture is simply the same old selfishness, laziness, and lack of work ethic that has always been around dressed up now by Penelope as being ok, and a changing of the guard. If you want to learn traits that will help you succeed in business, avoid this book, it is a farce.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars There's Nothing New Under the Sun,
This review is from: Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success (Hardcover)The rules for success are not 'new' just because this author says so. The truth is that success always has, and still does depend on hard work, talent/skill, connections, opportunity and a little luck. Of these, hard work will make up for a lot of what one lacks in the other areas.
Unfortunately, too many of the newest members of the work force haven't learned this yet and are looking for the easy way to success. They are playing right into Penelope's hands. She is making a living telling Gen X & Y what they want to hear rather than how things really are. I call it 'unscrupulous opportunism.' Sadly, she is not alone here. Some things never change.
67 of 82 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous, Irresponsible Advice, Salted With a Few Gems,
This review is from: Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success (Hardcover)Gen-Yers beware. This book may tell you what you want to hear, but it's not telling you what you need to know.
I'm not one of the Baby Boomers that Trunk so often chides in this book - I'm a Gen-Xer. And I will tell you that about half of what is in this book (long lunches, wearing headphones, vacation time faits accomplis) is stuff that I would fire you for doing twice.
I am not some doofus from a dying generation that doesn't comprehend changes in office culture. I'm from the generation that's employing your generation. There are a few tidbits of good advice here: don't worry about people stealing your ideas; learn to take criticism well and act on it; leave your ego out of things. But much of the other advice is a prescription for career suicide.
Perhaps Ms. Trunk is correct that office etiquette will change in 10 or 20 years. But unless you plan on not eating, wearing nice clothes or driving a new car in the years before those changes take hold, you're going to have to play the game as it's played *right now*. And outside of a few select hi-tech and software companies, that game is not the one Ms. Trunk describes. Not by a long stretch.
Think about this for a second: of all the "how-to book" authors out there, maybe one or two a year make serious money writing. If Ms. Trunk's theory of careerism worked, wouldn't she be out in the business world using it, instead of selling you books about it for an eighth of the money?
61 of 77 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars You have to be concerned . . .,
This review is from: Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success (Hardcover)After seeing Penelope Trunk's advice column on yahoo.com and finding out she has written a book, I came on Amazon.com to see some reviews about the book and was shocked to find out that the book was really that good (5 stars from everyone).
Looking further, I soon came to realize that 17 out of the 19 reviewers ONLY signed up with amazon.com to give a review on Mrs. Trunk book. They have not read anything else in the pass 30 years and had nothing to say on any other book BUT Mrs. Trunk. No wishlist, no other reviews but after reading the Brazen Careerist, the need compelled them so much that they had to turn on their computer, sign up with amazon.com, select a password and write a review FOR this book ONLY! C'mon the bible doesn't have 5 stars. Am I to believe that Mrs. Trunk's book is better than the bible?
I decided to remove this book out of my shopping cart until I get some REAL reviews and I suggest you do the same.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this for your friend or your children, a waste,
This review is from: Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success (Hardcover)What is passing for advice these days is beyond me. I didn't buy the book, one of my younger employees did, and she was so disgusted she left in on the conference table -- saying she felt guilty for not throwing it away.
Looks like drivel from someone's blog. Don't pay money for this. If you can get it for free you might be able to scrap a couple lines of useful information from it.
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Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success by Penelope Trunk (Hardcover - May 25, 2007)