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The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use

Product Description

A useful and fun book for any woman who has ever wanted, needed, lost, quit, hated, or loved a job. “Working Girl” (a.k.a. Karen Burns) has held a total of 59 jobs (so far), including housekeeper, cigarette girl, paper “boy”, model, ditch-digger, bank teller, editor, brochure writer, artist, and corporate drone. She made mistakes along the way, but extracted one important lesson from each job she has held. Working Girl now shares her hard-earned wisdom for the modern working woman with this series of 59 humorous yet practical vignettes, including guidance on:

• Risk-taking and why it’s good
• How to build self-confidence
• Tips for managing your boss
• When you’re not appreciated
• Causes and cures for burnout
• Balancing baby and boss
• When it’s time to say adieu
and 52 more!

Whimsically illustrated with Working Girl cartoons, this is a fun, accessible advice book that deals with the real issues that are on the minds of working women (and not just those who are striving for the corner office!). No matter where a girl finds herself on the job ladder (from the bottom to the top), she’ll find that The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl will give her both perspective and a plan for success.

The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use

5 Responses to “The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use”

  1. 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. There are fun charts like the Stress-o-Meter, to help you gauge your stress–the lowest level is “you have to fake enthusiasm” to the explosive ” you feel your work is actually harming your town, country, the environment, human society, the cosmos.” There are Eternal Truths sprinkled throughout, like “Just because you can do a job, doesn’t mean you want to do–or should do–that job.”

    You’ll also find Job Survival Tips from a variety of successful working women, tips and commandments, pro and con lists, and plenty of down to earth practical advice.

    I don’t think there’s anyone who is working, has worked, or will someday work that wouldn’t benefit from reading this book. It’s everything you wish you knew and everything you’d like to tell your teenagers. I’d like to see it in every high school and college library

    Oh, did I mention Working Girl is charmingly illustrated throughout with Karen Burns’ own wonderful cartoon drawings? Just another cool touch in a fabulous, funny, and smart book.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. Mary Casey says:

    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!
    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. 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.

    One of the things that really appealed to me about this book was that the advice is for anyone–it could be used by a corporate ladder climber, a job-hopping teen, or anyone in between. It hands out universal advice that not everyone is aware of.

    All in all, this book took me from clueless to confident to carefree about my job-searching abilities and prospects after college. I no longer feel terrified at the thought of looking for the job–because the job I find after college doesn’t have to be the only job I have for the rest of my life. I know a job doesn’t have to last forever–it doesn’t even have to last a month. The important things are that you succeed and enjoy the job while you do it.

    Rating: 4 / 5

  4. Jill Walser says:

    As a former corporate recruiter now running an interview and job search coaching business, I found that there was not a single piece of information in this book that did not ring true. Karen is self-effacing yet wise, sensible yet creative, and a talented artist. You will root for her while learning (or relearning) very important job-related tips and strategies. After reading this book, I feel very proud of Karen for job #60 – Published Author!

    Get this book for bite-sized bits of very practical information to navigate through the most challenging work situations. Get this book for the young workers in your life and tell them, “This is what I wished I knew when I was your age.” Get this book for an amusing, slightly uncomfortable view into one woman’s work journey. Get this book!
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. 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. For instance, Burns gave an example of a server who’s asked to re-purpose the dinner rolls for a new diner. That’s against the law. But I can’t imagine a restaurant owner responding to her suggestions for tactful comments: “You are asking me to serve these rolls again…”

    From what I know of the restaurant business, servers can be considered interchangeable and disposable in many settings. Regardless, if you are asked to do something illegal, you need to get legal advice or get out. I’ve heard horror stories of people who were held responsible for “just doing what they were told.”

    Generally, though, this book makes a great guidebook for both men and women facing all sorts of contemporary career challenge. Unfortunately, like many current career books, this one is targeted explicitly to women, beginning with the cover color scheme. Hopefully others won’t be turned off by the fluffy packaging and get to the solid core inside.
    Rating: 4 / 5