BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

How ironic ...

It seems somewhat "bittersweet" to have just finished this book before the current round of interviews which look like they might be leading me back into a "real job" after 15 years of being in the entrepreneurial wastelands. (sigh) Needless to say, I'm torn on the subject (but will be very happy to have some money coming in for a change!).

Anyway, I found Ernie Zelinski's Real Success Without a Real Job: There Is No Life Like It! very interesting, if a bit frustrating. Interesting in that it's a great "coaching" book for those looking to escape from "the corporate world", but frustrating in that I've tried so many of the things he writes about, and have (evidently) failed every time, leading me to my current desperate search for a "real job".

Frankly, it's somewhat hard for me to write a meaningful "review" of this, as Zelinski is, in my case, "preaching to the choir", as I don't need much convincing about the allure of the "unreal job", it's just that I've not has the success that I would hope for in that pursuit. I am, however, still trying to find a way to make that eventually happen, and he does have some pointed bits on how to structure your time, etc. to make this a reality.

Of course, Zelinski's main "case study" is his own story, which involves having been a very unhappy engineer who got down-sized from a job he hated, and deciding to write (and self publish/promote) books. This reminded me a bit of that "careers for New Agers" book that I read a couple of months back ... whose author likewise specialized in cranking out books for a living. I, unfortunately, have always been of the Dorothy Parker mold when it comes to writing (her arch quote, which got stuck in my head via Truman Capote's frequent recitation of it, is "I enjoy having written", implying that the process of writing itself is less than pleasurable), and so require either some concrete goal or externally imposed discipline to attain to anything more expansive than these blog posts! Admittedly, to that end, Zelinski recommends his schedule of writing for 3 hours a day, and only expecting a result of 4 pages from that effort (to my credit, most of these reviews take less than an hour to write and are a full Word page at 10pt, a page and a half at 12pt, and two "book pages" generally, so the time-to-volume of text equation is not far off).

This is not to say that Real Success Without a Real Job is all about writing as a career. He also provides stories of situations like "the guy who sold the Brooklyn Bridge" (having bought the "junk wood" from when the surface was upgraded and sold it a few inches at a time via mail order to make a fortune), and provides a list of a hundred "unreal jobs" (which, frankly, are not that unusual, mainly being a list of jobs one can have on a freelance or consultant basis, although including some not-top-of-mind career paths such as "busker", "stuntman", and "mime"!). The book's strength, however, is in encouraging one to consider the "unreal" job while providing information on where to get specific additional information (such as a directory of "affiliate programs" for developing multiple income streams for one's web pages). Frankly, I ended up sticking in nearly a dozen bookmarks in this as I read it to allow me to go back and look up various of these resources!

Zelinski's book is fairly recent (so the data in it hasn't gotten "cold" yet!), and is no doubt available at your local brick-and-mortar book vendor. Amazon has it at about 1/3rd off, which (if you combine stuff to bring the total up to free shipping) is pretty much a wash with the lowest of the "new/used" guys' pricing (with shipping). If you have an itch to get out of a current work rut and do something on your own, this could be a very useful book. Its only weakness is that it won't take you by the hand and detail a "what" that you should be doing, and lead you through the "how" involved ... but it does provide leads to at least get you started on your own "legwork"!

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Tags: book review

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