Book Review: The Anti 9 to 5 Guide

I typically don’t bother with a book review for career/small business books but I had to make an except for The Anti 9 to 5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube by Michelle Goodman.  First off, yes the book is directed at women, but 95% of the advice can apply to anyone who ever thought “There has to be more to life than just this job.”  Also Michelle makes the book funny, but still manages to pack the book full practical advise about dropping down to part time, starting a sideline business or planning a full blown career change. Beyond that she also give some good advice on working in the non-profit sector and how to swing travel and work.

Michelle’s story is a good example of what not to do.  She started freelance writing with no plan, no contacts and no savings.  With a lot of mistakes she has eventually made it work, yet to spare us the same pain she offers lots of practical advice on what do do when you want a life outside of the standard cubical job.  Given that I’m running a side business now and just got a more flexible work arrangement I’ve found lots of useful tips to help make things run smoother like batch your admin tasks (filing and inputting expenses) weekly to avoid having them build up. Or updating your resume frequently if you do a lot of writing work.

Yet perhaps the most useful section I found in the book was: how do you figure out what you love to do?  Here she offers some advise on feeling out new career options without leaving your job.  Her suggestions include doing information interviews with people in the field, take classes on the field, do some research with books or even volunteer in it.  Explore you options to find out what going to actually make you excited about work.

Michelle also provides some solid advice to anyone on writing or any self employment: there will be crappy days.  Like it or not it happens in all jobs, so suck it up and keep moving forward.  Just because you are the boss doesn’t mean you get to slack off all the time, so set up some regular working time and get it done.

So if you find this one at your library and you are thinking about shifting jobs, going part-time or even looking at a side business you will want to give this book a read.  You will very likely laugh out loud a few times and learn a thing or two while reading it.