Ladyville Book Club: #GIRLBOSS

GIRLBOSS
I don’t read a lot of “career woman” books because most of them don’t apply to me. I haven’t read Lean In, so I can’t really comment on it (here I go anyway, I guess), but I don’t identify too much with its message. Which isn’t to say that books like Lean In aren’t useful for some people…it’s just that, personally, I don’t want to be a CEO. I don’t want to be a “leader” in the traditional sense of the word. I do a lot of reading and research regarding business careers for my day job, and most of the time I’m left thinking, “Wow, the people who go after these careers have completely different goals, personalities, and lifestyles than me.” I’m not saying I don’t care about money (I do!), but I think writers and businesspeople often just have different thought processes.

Even though #GIRLBOSS sounds like a typical career book but with a hashtag in the title, I decided to check it out after I read this profile of author Sophia Amoruso. As the founder of Nasty Gal clothing, her rise to millionaire CEO was totally untraditional. And she just sounded a lot more relatable than Sheryl Sandberg. My favorite lines from that profile: “The cover of Lean In shows Sandberg relaxed and radiant in a white sweater, chin resting on palm. #GIRLBOSS has Amoruso in a tight black dress and spiky necklace, fists balled against her hips. One of her eyebrows is arched, villainess style. She looks like a person with intimidating sexual preferences.”

So what’s my verdict after reading the book? I liked it! It is definitely funnier and more interesting than most career books I’ve read (although, like I said, I don’t read a ton of them). I’m totally impressed by Amoruso’s work ethic. Her success happened for a lot of reasons, but her very hard work was definitely the biggest one. She doesn’t seem to have much of an ego and is willing to do just about anything, which is an attitude I really respect. Also, I’m always interested in reading about someone’s hard work.

This may seem like an obvious point, but it’s just more fun to read about someone who started a vintage clothing company than it is to read about a “typical” CEO. I’m pretty sure Sheryl Sandberg never had a job at Subway or ate out of a dumpster. It’s not like Sophia Amoruso had connections or money–she doesn’t even have a business degree! There are different ways to reach success, and I like that #GIRLBOSS showed this one.

Will #GIRLBOSS change your life? I don’t know, maybe not, unless you’re currently eating bagels out of a dumpster and trying to find a better path. But it is really encouraging. Reading about Sophia Amoruso’s hard work, and her drive to keep going even when she wasn’t exactly sure what she was working towards, is super-inspiring. The book definitely seems to be geared towards younger women–perhaps those who are just starting their careers–but a great work ethic is important at any age.

What about you guys? Have you read #GIRLBOSS? What are your fave “career” books?

Blogiversary

dolly parton

Insert triumphant trumpet sounds here…I’m back! Not only has Welcome to Ladyville returned after a brief hiatus, much like a sitcom with low-but-not-terrible ratings, but it’s also the three year anniversary of my first post. Well, that’s not exactly true…the post was on May 31st, 2011, but close enough.

It’s really, really hard for me to believe it’s been three years since I started Welcome to Ladyville. I was a completely different person then. Not literally–this isn’t like a Quantum Leap situation where I’m just hoping my next leap will be the leap home (please…I’m not nearly as attractive as a young Scott Bakula and I don’t have a hologram friend played by Dean Stockwell). But in 2011, I was living in Bellville in a super weird wood paneled apartment. I was working at a job that, while by no means terrible, was definitely not for me. I had no writing jobs, paying or otherwise. I was incredibly miserable and lost on a daily basis, and while I knew I wanted to be a writer, I had absolutely no idea how I was going to make this happen.

Enter Welcome to Ladyville. I crafted myself a very complex (ha) four step plan. The first step? Start a blog. Easy. The second step, also weirdly easy, was to get a local writing gig. The third step (slightly harder) was to get a national gig. And the fourth step? Well, it proved to be a little harder and I’m still working on it, but things are looking good.

This blog was the start of a lot of things for me, and it’s a reminder of how far I’ve come. Three years ago I was very alone, much poorer, really lazy, and unhappy. Now I live in a city I love more than just about anything, I’m surrounded by most of my best friends, I’m married to the love of my life, I get paid to write every day, and I have several other writing gigs.

It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you aren’t happy. Believe me, I get it. But I just want to let you know, if you’re feeling down or depressed or like your goals are so far away…you can reach them. You really, really can. Hard work and determination trump just about everything. And even though phrases like “follow your dreams” and “believe in yourself” are such trite cliches that we hardly even stop to think about what they mean anymore, they’re true. Your dreams are absolutely worth pursuing, even if other people in your life don’t understand them, even if they seem unattainable. You will run into so many people who want to discourage you or who just don’t understand what you’re doing (like, whenever I run into someone who finds out I’m a writer and they say, “Oh, like J.K. Rowling!” I just smile, back away slowly, and then start running and don’t stop until I’ve crossed state lines). But it doesn’t matter if they don’t understand you or if they don’t believe in you. YOU have to believe in you.

There are a lot of writing goals I haven’t met yet, and sometimes, I’ll admit, they seem impossible. I have a lot of days where I wonder if what I’m doing is stupid or pointless or if everyone I know gathers weekly to discuss how pathetic I am. But whenever I feel like that, I try to remember how I felt three years ago, when all this seemed so crazy and unbelievable. I never would have though I’d be married, living in a wonderful city, walking to my writing day job and then spending my evenings and weekends doing more writing. I just have to trust that, three years from now, I’ll be looking back and realizing how far I’ve come.

If there’s one thing I want to accomplish with Welcome to Ladyville, it’s to let other girls and women know that their dreams are worth it. You’re worth it.

I’d be a total idiot if I didn’t take some time to thank those of you who read Welcome to Ladyville. Whether you’ve been here since the beginning or you just started reading this year, I’m so, so grateful for all of you. I feel like I really know the people who read WTLV; in fact, sometimes I start conversations with H. by saying, “One of my blog friends told me…”

I’ll be back to a semi-regular posting schedule now…I may be a little more relaxed than I was previously (so maybe not every single Monday through Thursday), but Welcome to Ladyville will be around. Always. Haunting you whether you want it to or not.

A Little Break

coach taylor tami taylor

Just as Tami Taylor sometimes needs to take a break and get a relaxing back massage from Coach Taylor, I occasionally need a break, too. It’ll be pretty quiet around Welcome to Ladyville for a couple of weeks, but I promise I’ll be back to posting regularly ASAP. If you want to chat in the meantime, feel free to email me at welcometoladyville@gmail.com! And, as you might be able to guess from the image above, I recently finished Friday Night Lights and I’m still overcome with emotion. Please leave any and all FNL thoughts in the comments, including your favorite characters (mine are Coach, Landry, and Tami Taylor).