Thursday, May 01, 2008

New Girl on the Job

Over the past six months, I've begun reading career advice books. I used to think self-help books of any stripe were ridiculous, but I've really gotten to like some of the books I've picked up with tips and tricks for career management.

I'm currently working on New Girl on the Job by Hannah Seligson, and wishing that this had been available to me when I first got out of college. It's an excellent introduction to the working world, and unlike other books I've read, such as the Girl's Guide to Kicking Your Career Into Gear, it's specifically aimed at younger women--women my age. I picked it up after reading about it at Eve Tahminioglu's Career Diva.

Perhaps the most important intangible advice that I've read so far is the "Don't Take It Personally" segment. This is something that I'm still working on. I know I can be overly emotional, and sometimes, I won't be able to just take criticism at face value and move on. For example, someone alerted me several weeks ago to a website that exists to take snarky potshots at bloggers like myself, and there was a whole discussion about Defending Pandora. I was most inclined to ignore it, but with visions of Kathy Sierra dancing in my head, I decided to have a quick look.

Some of it was easy to dismiss. Comments about how Nate and I have been together for so long and how we've only ever dated each other--that's stupid. Who cares? And the remarks about my fibromyalgia being fake, well, those were stupid too. I know I hurt all the time, and there are plenty of people who already don't believe me. But then there was a person purporting to be a college writing instructor who was disparaging my writing. That hurt. Writing is my greatest strength; and aside from my academic success in writing, I meet people all the time who like what I write. And there was a post saying that I was writing in a style that this person was teaching students to "unlearn." It's hard not to take that personally.

When you look at it closely, sites like that one are really just outlets for cyberbullying. And even though it's done behind my back by people I don't even know, it's still hard to just ignore it. I should have listened to my gut and not looked. But I'm going to use this as an object lesson, not to take it personally, not when there are plenty of people who think my writing is great, like my mentor, the Brazen Careerist network, and the women in my professional network. They are the ones that matter.

Cross-posted at Damsels in Success.

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