The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube

by Michelle Goodman

The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube

If I were a less-than-diligent book reviewer, I would leave you with the following statement and call it a night:

If you are a 20-to-30-something female who dissatisfied with their job, go out and get this book NOW, NOW, NOW. Seriously. Stop looking at me like that. GO!

But since I’m a far more benevolent book reviewer than that, I shall elaborate.

Michelle Goodman has written a fantastically useful, friendly career advice specifically aimed at young women that does not involve “grrl power!” references or feature a luridly pink cover. And as a member of her age demographic, I must say: It’s about time. Once you’ve left college, the romanticized stories about the new grads who took decidedly unglamorous jobs and then magically get promoted and their life is happy and wonderful (a la The Devil Wears Prada) are a bit tired. We know it CAN happen, but what we want now is to know HOW to make it happen.

Going from entry-level jobs to ones that we find rewarding, or simply ones that allow us time for our hobbies and outside interests, is a big deal, and something all cubicle monkeys dream of at some point during their dreary sentence. Unfortunately, most of the books written about “assessing your skills” and “discovering your perfect career path” are aimed either at people with significant experience and at a higher level on the corporate ladder or are filled with vague exercises. There are only so many times I can list all the things I’d love to do with my free time before I want to scream. It’s great that I have all these other passions and interests, but how can I start DOING that stuff instead of just dreaming about it, when my day job leaves me drained more often than not?

Goodman splits her book into two parts: how to make your move, and then how to “flee the cube”. The first section covers figuring out what you REALLY want to do, how to break into the industry you’ve been drooling over, and how to find time to do all those things you’d do “if only you had the time”. The second section discusses your options once you’ve figured out the first section: how to get a flexible work schedule, working from home (and still being productive), being your own boss, helping others, finding work that lets you travel, and acquiring jobs that will never have you tethered to a desk again.

Starting with the hard truth that having your finances in line will make your cube escape possible, Goodman takes it from the top, sharing her own experiences in a realistic conversational manner. She references additional readings throughout, includes Anti 9-to-5 Tips, and each chapter ends with an Anti 9-to-5 Action Plan. The Action Plans break down the chapter into manageable steps, allowing you to plot your departure from the cube farm and see your progress. She also includes a comprehensive list of further resources at the end of the book, covering books and websites about money management, business strategy, and legal aid.

This book is well worth the 2 or 3 lattes you’d have to give up to buy it. Get a copy, sit down with a paper and pen, and start hatching your battle plan!

You can also get tips and keep up with Michelle’s cubicle-free existence on her blog, The Anti 9-to-5 Guide.

This review was originally written for BoDo: Business of Design Online.
Reprinting allowed with permission of author.