How many times have you realized you’re not taking the risks you could? Do your days go by without you making some effort to push yourself further in life, whether it be in your career or personal life? Do you want to take more risks, but just don’t know how? If you’re a young woman about to enter the workforce and you struggle with asserting yourself in situations, The Gutsy Girl Handbook: Your Manifesto for Success is a great resource! Written by former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Kate White, this book gives great tips to young women for navigating their workplaces and making the most of their careers by challenging the instinct so many women have to simply be the passive workers, nicknamed “good girls” by White, that companies so often assume they will be.
White touches on topics such as taking risks in the office, how to handle coworkers who overstep their bounds, balancing your professional life with your personal life, and even how to be a great boss. She asks questions that make readers consider the way they approach situations at work and how they can change their passive nature so they can advance in their future career as much as possible. My personal favorite chapter discussed salary negotiation, and how to go about smartly asking for more money than what you’re first being offered. As a pretty timid woman, I’m definitely the type to accept whatever number a company offers me first. I’m not assertive enough to ask for more even if I think I deserve more and I’d just be happy to have a paying job period. White divulges in why accepting the first offer is a bad idea and how you can prepare to ask for more. She even offers possible alternatives to follow if, for whatever reason, you just cannot reach a number you’re happy with from a company.
Aside from advice on navigating the workplace as a minority woman, which I can forgive seeing as she wouldn’t have experience with that, White left no stone unturned when writing this guide. She even discusses ways to move ahead that never crossed my mind before, such as asking your boss for opportunities instead of just waiting for them to appear and then pounce on them because the opportunity may never present itself! I’ve always known that hopping on an opportunity is a good thing at work, but it never occurred to me to ask for an opportunity! Just another great example of the advice in this book!
My only true grievance about the manifesto is that it is definitely written to cater to women in corporate America, which makes sense considering White’s background as the editor of a major fashion magazine. As an aspiring Speech-Language Pathologist, though, corporate America is far from where I plan to be when I start working and reading a book that basically screamed “FOR BUSINESS WOMEN” did at times feel pointless, particularly when reading chapters about generating business ideas. BUT the book is still a great resource for women looking to be bolder in their careers, regardless of what field they’re in. Don’t let the fact that you don’t plan to work for a Fortune 500 company or a major publication turn you away from this book, the advice within its pages can be used in any field!
White answered just about every question one could have about being a go-getter at their jobs in quick, punchy lines that get straight to the point and are easy to remember. Her words stuck with me in a way that inspired me and made me eager to make myself stand out from my colleagues. When I finished the book I was ready to take my currently non-existent career by storm, and even though I’m not quite at that career-storming point in my life yet, I’m sure I will use the tips White gives in this handbook when the time finally comes for me to be salaried.
If you’re looking for some advice on how to assert yourself in the workplace and strengthen your backbone as a working woman, this is definitely the book for you. Read it, take notes on it, apply it in the office (or wherever you work) and watch your gutsiness pay off!