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Find Your Inner Ugly Betty: 25 Career Lessons for Young Professionals Inspired by TV Shows Hardcover – May 6, 2008
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Taking his lead from popular and successful television series, such as Ugly Betty (hence the title!) and Grey's Anatomy, Stransky outlines 25 career lessons needed to excel in any industry. The book consists of five sections that teach how to polish your image, build relationships, become irreplaceable, go beyond office hours and advance your career. Within each domain there are explanations, realistic pointers, advice from experts and anecdotes to further illustrate each chapter's message.
Being a young professional myself, this book has a lot of relevant and helpful advice that I will certainly put to good use. While some of the tips seemed obvious, the majority of them are contemporary, carefully considered and creative. I especially enjoyed the chapters on embracing your individual style and the importance of knowing the people who really make things happen (such as the office manager and receptionist). What I really like about Stransky's approach is how clearly each lesson is outlined and explained. Each chapter is very succinct and includes a quick list summarizing the key points at the end. Of course, the pop culture references included add an entertainment aspect to the book in addition to its educational value.
I definitely recommend this book for anyone entering the workforce or someone who is returning to work after an extended period of time and needs to educate themselves about the modern workplace. I have a hunch that even seasoned career veterans could learn a thing or two from this book as well!
It's a clever title, but the book really should be called, "25 Simple Tactics for Entry Level Somethings." Author Stransky does draw analogies to episodes from Ugly Betty, Mary Richards, and a few other shows. But the lessons come from the author's own experience.
As a career consultant, my experience has focused on mid-life professionals. When I read about entry level professionals, I look ahead to ask, "How will this advice impact their future, when they reach the mid-life career stage?"
Some of Stransky's advice will be important at any career stage. I like
* his warnings about socializing and getting too personal
* his advice on keeping a game face
* his emphasis on acting confident and "fake it till you make it"
When your boss asks you to do something, says Stransky, you don't say, "I don't know." You figure it out. In general, that's a good idea. But I suspect some bosses would rather you asked for direction so you wouldn't waste a lot of time.
And that's the main quibble I have with this book. Stransky delivers absolutes in situations that should be defined as "it depends." For instance, let's say you're asked to make 500 copies. Stransky says you're paying dues. I'd say investigate the culture. Do others at your level also pay dues? Do they get rewarded?
I'd be careful about asking for extra challenges or taking initiative. In some cultures, these efforts will backfire. In my own younger days as a certified corporate maverick, I was always hearing, "Maybe we don't need a strong achiever around here.Read more ›
However, given the TV savvy of Millennials, Tanner has picked an innovative way to point out common problems and how they can be overcome. Using fictional characters well known to his generation and situations that they have encountered is so clever. The reader can, in the privacy of his or her own mind, supply the comparisons between their own behavior and a hapless or victorious TV character. Few of us like to have our limitations boldly held up for others to see.
Nearly 40% of the Millennials I interviewed felt they made poor post high school choices based on too little information about the world of work. Perhaps Mr. Stransky's greatest contribution is allowing those with little experience in the business world a peek into real life on the job.
Finding Your Inner Ugly Betty would make an excellent book for a whole class discussion or as a choice for a career book club. Kudos to Tanner Stransky on his delightful and informative contribution to young adult career development.