Circling back on that last message: Adulthood is hard. There are endless work emails in your inbox, you need a raise and, oh yeah, there’s that situation with the office hunk.
Overwhelmed? Don’t fret. New York Times bestselling authors and cofounders of Betches Media return with their new tome, When’s Happy Hour: Work So Hard You Can Hardly Work, which lays out out the definitive guide to succeeding in the work place — and Us Weekly has the first look at the cover and an exclusive excerpt.
Relying on their signature snark and sharp wit, Aleen Kuperman, Samantha Fishbein, and Jordana Abraham (Nice is Just a Place in France and I Had a Nice Time And Other Lies) effortlessly explain how to find the perfect gig, craft an eye-catching resume, appropriately respond to annoying emails, climb the corporate ladder and much more. By the final page, you’ll be the boss — in and out of the office.
Scroll down to read an exclusive excerpt from When’s Happy Hour, hitting bookshelves October 23.
PLEASE ADVISE: WTF Should I Even Be Doing with My Life?
Careers are really weird. It’s like this thing that everyone does every day that defines who they are, whether that’s just on paper or in a very deep way. An office is somewhere that you spend forty-plus hours a week, and you don’t even get to choose the people you spend that time with. (Unless you’re us and you’re lucky as s–t.) It’s seriously a fact that you spend more time with your coworkers than with anyone else in your life. It’s literally your job to be locked in a room with them all day.
And yet, despite all this, most people join the workforce after college without any kind of real understanding of how important their career choices are, or even what they want or should be doing in the first place. Of course, some people can’t afford the luxury of career choice, but for the people who can, a really large number of us choose to go to a windowless white box where they mindlessly input data into an Excel spreadsheet that no one will ever look at.
So, what’s the point of working? If you’re committing eight to ten of your sixteen waking hours five days a week to doing s–t that doesn’t bring you any amount of happiness, why even do it?
To make money. F–king duh.
So why not figure out a way to make money while doing something that you sort of like? First, a few not-so-obvious facts that most people tend to forget:
• It’s very rare that a person makes a lot of money doing what they absolutely love.
• You can’t succeed in doing what you like or love without making any sacrifices—at least in the beginning—i.e., your salary, location, title, industry, etc.
• No one is ever doing what they love 100 percent of the time. Maybe a little more than half your time spent in a dream job is unavoidable hard work that f–king sucks and makes you wonder why you’re not inputting data into that Excel spreadsheet that no one’s reading.
• Once you start doing something you love as a job, you will probably stop loving it as much.
• Doing what you love doesn’t mean choosing your favorite hobby or pastime as your career. Just because you love movies doesn’t mean you should move to Hollywood tomorrow.
Normally we’re not cheesy people, but when the topic is, like, introspection, we have to be a little earnest. You’ve been warned.
To start, how about we change the phrase from “do what you love” to “love what you do.” Because that’s actually the goal. If we all did what we love, we would be watching Netflix for countless hours and ordering in lo mein takeout, which would result in us being literally homeless and three hundred pounds in less than a year. Sounds amazing, right? Kind of yes, kind of no.
To be completely honest, when we started Betches, our time was filled with a lot more indulgence than with work. It wasn’t until we started taking the business side of things seriously that we started doing more tasks we didn’t enjoy and— not coincidentally—also started finding true financial success (not to mention moving out of our parents’ houses). Here’s the secret: pure, endless indulgence brings neither success nor lasting happiness. In truth, human beings feel much more rewarded in the long term when we have a balance of pleasure (Netflix and lo mein) and pain (work), because we need to experience pain in contrast with pleasure in order for pleasure to actually be pleasurable. If everything was just amazing all the time, it wouldn’t feel good anymore, because we would get used to it. Now that we have the privilege of suffering through finance meetings and difficult conversations with our employees, our pleasure comes in the form of creating new projects for our company that we feel passionately about, reaching goals we set for ourselves, and, in our case, getting to laugh at one another while recording podcasts together.
To love what you do on the other hand implies that you are the one in control of how you feel about your career, both the good and the bad. Having a career, by nature, is going to involve a lot of shit you don’t want to do. The way to get a career that you “love” (sometimes) is to try to do something that you genuinely enjoy at least some piece of. That’s how you make the unpleasant aspects rewarding in the long run. So, do you love arguing with people about topics that almost always have an answer if you google them, but you argue about them anyway because you love being right? Maybe try to be a lawyer. Do you love kissing people’s asses in service of getting them to give you money? Get into sales. Sure, you’re going to have to deal with a lot of bullshit, but you get to savor that amazing feeling when you close a huge deal or reach your sales goal. Are you great at convincing people upon first impression that you’re a normal person when in actuality you’re just great at hiding your sociopathic tendencies? Maybe try acting, reality TV, or sales. Do you love fooling people into thinking that a caviar sheet mask will help them look like Gwyneth Paltrow? Get into marketing.*
Most people think, If only I did something I loved, then everything else would just fall into place and my life would be easy. Actually, no, the Excel-spreadsheet direction is the easiest. The less you care, the less effort you have to put in, and the less painful it will be when you fail. But that also means there will be less of a reward when you’re old as shit and looking back at your life’s accomplishments, like we’ve seen old people do in the movies.
(* It’s not exactly that simple, but you get the idea.)
DO YOU KNOW YOURSELF?
Of course, you can’t possibly know what you love to do without trying out a few different things first. Just like dating, it’s incredibly rare that a person just knows. Did you marry your high school sweetheart? Okay, if you said yes, then fine. Whatever. This example is clearly for everyone else who’s made out with more than one person in their whole life. The way we learn about who we want to be with long-term is by examining what went wrong in past relationships. And the way we learn how we should be making a living is a similar process of trial and error.
This means that you’re never going to get it right from the get-go. So take a Xanax and chill the f–k out. You don’t have to be a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher just because that’s what you drew on your first-grade “When I Grow Up” worksheet. No one tells you at five that the costs of being a firefighter involve more than having to wear a fugly red hat.
On the other hand, if you’re at your third company in three years and haven’t learned a thing about yourself, then you should actually give me back my Xanax. To use the dating analogy, if your first two boyfriends were terrible and the relationships ended badly, and you literally keep going for the same exact type of person, it’s time to see a therapist. Same with a job: if you worked at two or three companies where you’ve gotten fired or let go and you’ve made no effort to change what you’re doing or reflect on why jobs keep ending badly, it’s time to reevaluate. Either it’s all your bosses’ faults, even though they never met each other, or you need to seriously think about coming to work on time. Maybe you’re in the wrong field. Or you’re a crazy person. Either way, spend some time thinking about it.
We were once interviewing someone who wanted to make a change in her general career path, and we asked why. Her response was that she didn’t see herself in her boss’s job, which we thought was a really good barometer to know if you’re on the right path. If the thought of having your boss’s job doesn’t appeal to you, it’s probably a good idea to go in a different direction.
We’ll use a less intense, more realistic example. Say you weren’t fired, but you just quit a job you weren’t passionate about and took the next job you weren’t passionate about that paid a bit more. You were still performing the same exact duties, and your responsibilities were exactly the same, which is basically the career equivalent of continuously dating the wrong guy. Why keep making the same mistakes over and over for just a little more money and zero more happiness?
That’s not to say that every move in your career must be a vertical one (that’s where you move up in titles), but every new position you take should help you either weed out the kind of shit you definitely do not want to do, or, if you’re lucky, help you identify at least one aspect of the job that you definitely do want to do. Like, let’s say you got into sales because you thought you could make some quick money but totally sucked at it, but you happened to also realize that you just love making pitch decks. Maybe in your next job you take an equal type of job in terms of pay and position (a horizontal move) but the role isn’t in sales; it’s in marketing or design. Maybe take a design class to see if that’s what’s calling you, and to make yourself more marketable the next time you apply to a job. Then one day a happier, more-fulfilled you can be like: “And you get a pitch deck, and you get a pitch deck!”
Those are called carefully considered career moves. Consider that s–t carefully! You want to be a grandma and feel proud of what you’ve learned. Which includes both the multitude of things you hate and the few little things that you love. And like, hopefully you saved money for your retirement along the way so you’re living in the really chic old-people home instead of your resentful daughter’s guest bedroom.
The more you know about yourself, the bigger the shot you have at a really fulfilling career. It’s never going to be like,Eureka! I’ve solved my f–king career puzzle. Because guess what, you may change over time, industries will change, and you’ll hopefully gain some skills that give you the power to do new things you once weren’t able to do, or new jobs that didn’t previously exist. Long story short, you’re in for a long-ass, never-ending game of self-reflection, acceptance, and a lot of bitching. But at least you won’t be an Excel drone (unless that’s what you’re into, nerd).
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