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The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use Hardcover – March 31, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Publishers Weekly Online
"Burns is encouraging and funny, but also a hard-nosed pragmatist who isn’t about to do the work for you."

The Seattle Times
“Working girls (and boys) will likely find something to relate to in Burns' part memoir, part self-help tome for career professionals…”

The Bookmonger
“The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl is a book that promotes spunk, common sense, courtesy, curiosity, and ethical behavior.”

Penelope Trunk, Brazen Careerist
“A funny, smart book that gives you permission to make mistakes and start over again.”

About the Author

Karen Burns has held 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities and 4 countries, including being a writer, editor, illustrator, and marketer. She has adopted the persona of “Working Girl”—a sassier, bossier version of herself—to impart work wisdom on her popular blog www.karenburnsworkinggirl.com while also running her own greeting card company that features her art (www.anotherworkinggirl.com). She has legions of fans for both of these venues, and lives in Seattle, Washington.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press (March 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762433485
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762433483
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,271,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl is one of the most useful little books you will ever find. Ms. Burns, in the guise of her character, Working Girl, offers up her experience as one who has had "59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities and 4 countries."

While keeping the reader amused with the (true) tales of her many jobs, she shares her simple sage advice for what seems like every situation a person might encounter in daily life on the job, any job.

I say "person" because this book, while directed to women, is just as valuable for men. My husband who is in his 60's and the veteran of more jobs than he can count, picked it up the other day. I had to pry it from his fingers, so I could write this review. Over and over kept muttering, "That is so true," "I have to remember this one, " and "Boy, I wish I had known this when I was younger." He also kept laughing out loud. Now he wants to buy copies for all his co-workers.

Anyway, woven into short, very funny and occasionally horrifying vignettes on her jobs ranging from house cleaner to model, envelope sorter to English teacher you'll find simple, spot-on advice for how to deal with criticism (this alone would be worth the price of the book), perverts, disappointments, office friendships, and more.

You'll learn when it's time to go and when you should hang in there. You'll understand that while you are always working for yourself, it pays to be the best employee you can be (and how to do that). You'll even learn what to wear.

All this is just a glimpse of the valuable information packed in this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wish I'd had this book when I graduated from college with an English degree! I might have pursued my passion, writing, sooner or at least learned how to cope with or maybe even enjoy my "day jobs" on the way to my dream career. I love that the advice in this book ranges from practical to daring because your life work, whatever it is, requires you to be both. I'm buying copies for three nieces graduating from college this year--so happy this book exists for them!
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Format: Hardcover
As a college student ready to graduate, but with no real path except to hopefully become a successful writer one day, Karen Burns' The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl really appealed to me. Amid all the questions coming my way--What are your plans after graduation, do you have a job lined up yet?, which unnerve me because I have no answer except for the evasive Get a job, I guess, or I'm still looking--Karen Burns' real life career advice made me much less anxious about my career prospects after college.

After reading about Working Girl's adventures working 59 jobs in 40 years, I no longer feel like I have to start at the bottom of some corporate ladder straight out of college. I don't have to be something specific yet. I have time to find my own path--and I don't feel bad that I will probably start out working in a field far from my fiction-writing focused education. I was reminded that it's more important that you love your job than anything else, not matter what it is.

Karen Burns breaks down the interview process into its essential parts, making it much less daunting in the process. She provides crucial job hunting tips--like the fact that you need a resume to get a job, even though the resume itself will not get you hired, and emphasizes the importance of networking and connecting with people at any job or function, which keeps your options open and can help you hook up with other opportunities down the line.

She also faces the challenge of gaining respect at the workplace and how to deal with less than pleasant co-workers and bosses, things that every person can relate to no matter the job.
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Format: Hardcover
Working girl is one of the best career advice books I've read in a long time. The author reviews all her 59 jobs, distilling a lesson from each one.

The lessons are right on. I would recommend this book to any career changers or anyone in corporate life. You'll even find a few good tips for freelancing.

Some of the best advice:

Talk the way the guys do. Don't become one of the guys, but organize your own conversation to be direct. Remember guys don't ask directions.

Criticism? Don't do anything. Wait. It may not even be about you.

Signs you need to quit your job (and how to do it with class).

You get ahead by managing your boss.

People get hired because the hiring manager likes them, not because they're the most skilled.

Persistence is the key to success.

Of course, you can talk back to some of the advice. For instance, Burns warns not to expect praise. True. But if you take the initiative to do something like paint the employees' breakroom (which she did), the problem isn't about not getting the praise you deserve. It's, "Why spend time on something that won't get appreciated, unless you get some personal or business benefit?"

So why four stars and not five? I was trying to imagine giving this book to someone. Because of the author's own jobs - the premise of the book - and most examples, the book seems targeted to readers in lower-tier jobs. Could I give this book to someone with an MBA, law degree or PhD? Would they feel insulted? Would they be willing to be seen reading a book called "Working Girl" in public?

Some examples actually would be more plausible in a higher-level setting.
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