The New Penelope Trunk Book You MUST Read – And Why You’re NOT A Loser

 In Career Tips, Job Search Strategy


Penelope Trunk

Penelope Trunk | Next Generation Consulting

“We should have more trust in our own resilience and less confidence in our predictions about how we’ll feel. We should be a bit more humble and a bit more brave.” – Penelope Trunk


OK, I admit it. I am a Penelope Trunk groupie. I read everything this woman writes, follow her blog, and compulsively “Like” her every time I read her work (she’s published everywhere). Ms. Trunk is also the co-founder of the most popular career site in the universe, Brazen Careerist.

In theory, Penelope Trunk’s work is not appropriate for my age group. She writes for “next generation” careerists, Gen Y, while I am solidly planted amongst the Boomers. And yet I find myself strongly identifying with the angst-ridden career trials and tribulations about which she so colorfully writes.

Of course, when the opportunity arose to pre-order a signed and numbered copy of her new book I jumped at the chance.  I’d like to tell you the name of this book, but it doesn’t have a name – just a picture of a looking glass on the front cover (mmm…). I’d also like to tell you how to buy it, but you can’t buy it because it’s already sold out.  It took nearly 4 months to arrive from the time I ordered it, but I’m not disappointed; it’s a real gem. The best thing I can advise you to do is start asking around and see who was smart enough to order a copy early. It’s worth it.

I know a lot of us are struggling right now with unemployment in a rapidly changing career landscape. Undoubtedly many of you reading this post have been laid off from jobs you thought you’d hold until retirement. Perhaps you even spend a lot of your time trying to replace that job with yet another job you think you’ll hold until retirement.

I think you ought to stop it. We all held visions of how we thought our lives would go.  We all planned our retirement and our careers. But these jobs are gone and they aren’t coming back. Is it your fault? Hell no.  Are you a loser because you can’t find a job that doesn’t exist? What do you think? As the Apple slogan from the 90s said, we’ve got to “Think Different.

Here’s what Penelope Trunk says about losers:

“Do you know what a loser is today? A loser is someone who doesn’t take the time to know herself. A loser is someone who saw his parents earn a lot of money and not get happiness from it and still deludes himself that money will make him happy. A loser is someone who looks for fame or prestige. A loser is someone who lets someone else tell them what success looks like.”

And I would add to that that a loser is someone who is constantly comparing his level of success (job, money, fame) to others.

“Personal growth looks a lot like being lost,” says Trunk…”People grow more when they are lost then when they are on a straight path with a clear view of where they are going.”

OK – I know that most of you are not twenty-something anymore. You have mortgages and kids and private school to pay for. But are all these personal responsibilities really going to change the realities of today’s job market? I have to agree with researcher Richard Florida, who finds that “Your level of optimism and quality of relationships impact your level of happiness more than your job does.” And, according to Trunk, “What this means is that asking a job to solve our unhappiness problems is asking too much of a job.”

If you’re out of a job right now, get out.  Take a temporary job, volunteer through a terrific organization like the  Taproot Foundation – but whatever you do, don’t spend your time looking back at what was. That will kill you, and now might just be the perfect time to re-discover happiness.


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