Who did you write this book for and why? This book is meant to be a how-to guide for women just starting out in their careers, as well as a refresher course for women who are a rung higher, or have made it to the managerial level and are worried they are going to stall there. The funny thing is that, while I wrote Basic Black for women, there have been many men who’ve told me how helpful it was to them, whether it was insight on how to manage people or how to hold a really effective meeting.
Most of all, I wrote Basic Black because I wanted to share my experiences — my successes as well as the things that didn’t turn out as planned, in the hopes that readers could learn from them, as I did.
I also realized that asking myself the tough questions was the key to moving forward -- figuring out what my priorities were: how do I achieve a balanced life? How do I get maximum enjoyment from my career and my life outside of work? I have been pretty fortunate in that I have been able to build what I call a 360° life, and I wanted to share my advice and strategies in the hopes that other women would strive for the same fulfillment. How is your message tailored to today’s woman, especially in the current economic climate? Basic Black is a mentoring tool for women seeking guidance in their careers and lives. The concepts in the book are easy to embrace, and they apply to all industries. In today’s economic climate, employers want us all to work smarter and more efficiently. There is a lot of practical advice in this book; for example, never surprise your boss, and never say (or even think!) “We tried that already” when someone raises a new idea. Hopefully, Basic Black will be a reference book — something readers can consult again and again when they need advice, both professionally and personally. Think of it like a portable mentor that you can pop into a tote bag or on your bedside table.
What advice do you wish you could go back and give yourself in your early twenties? Everyone owes it to herself or himself to figure out what you really enjoy doing. If you’re doing something you like, you’ll be better at it. Whether you’re just starting out, gaining experience or contemplating a mid-career change, it makes sense to step back and examine what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Not everyone has a passion, but everyone has things they like doing.
Important tips I’ve learned along the way: •Be who you are in whatever you do. •Find something that excites you. •The only person who can hold you back is you, so believe in yourself. •Don’t take yourself too seriously. You are bound to make mistakes, but you’ll gain respect if you can laugh at yourself. •Take credit when it is yours, because you will get the blame when things fail. •Don’t personalize things that are not personal. •The worst case scenario is rarely as bad as you think. •Take calculated -- not crazy — risks. What book is on your nightstand now? Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl
The Ten Commandments for Business Failure by Donald R. Keough