Career Book Review: The Anti 9-to-5 Guide

“I’m not gonna spend the rest of my life working my ass off and getting nowhere just because I followed rules that I had nothing to do with setting up.” – Tess McGill in Working Girl

Michelle Goodman is a rule breaker. She made the escape from the corporate cube 15 years ago to become a freelance writer and has never looked back. Throughout this time, she has contributed to everything from magazine submissions to book assignments to high-tech collateral that has included “wrangling text on pet accessories, video games, voice recognition software, marital aids, home colonics, and just about anything else that can be sold.”

Goodman has a way with words and she has carved out a way to make a living at it. How inspiring is that? So much so that she’s written a book about how to do it called, The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube.

The Library Journal tagged it as: "Saucy… both inspiring and grounded and has much to offer for its reasonable price."

As a money writer, I love when things are positioned with ROI in mind. So for $14.95 (and cheaper on Amazon), you get the guidebook for an alternative plan to cubicle life:

"Hip, whip-smart, and laugh-out-loud funny, this practical career guide shows women weary of the corporate hamster wheel a better way to make a buck. A former wage slave herself, author Michelle Goodman gives readers reassuring, proactive advice on transitioning out of that unfulfilling day job into the self-styled career of their dreams. Whether you want to work part time, at home, outside, or overseas, this fun, girlfriend-to-girlfriend guide provides the resources you need to get the job done — without going broke."

In a minute, I will get to why I liked the book, but first this is what others are saying about it. Tiffany Hamburger at Gimme Bliss writes:

Finding what you’re meant to do is one thing. Actually being able to afford it is another. Which is why I think focusing on the financial realities of pursuing your bliss is definitely worth thinking about… I’ve been mulling this over myself a great deal, especially as I begin to visualize the next steps of my life and decide whether to chuck the stable salary and jump full time into the world of freelancing and multiple income streams. A book I’ve found extremely useful in this endeavor is Michelle Goodman’s funny, helpful, inspiring book, The Anti 9-to-5 Guide. She talks a lot about figuring out what your budget is, figuring out what you can make, how much your business/service will cost you to set up, etc.

Megan M. at Virtual Magpie hasn’t actually bought the book, but reads Goodman’s blog:

I have a hunch that this is an excellent book for new entrepreneurs who are currently working regular jobs, with solid practical information about getting started. (If you buy this, can I borrow it?) Besides all of that, Michelle Goodman keeps a blog on the same subject, and that’s bound to come in handy.

Alicia Kennedy at Blogging about Everything:

Michelle Goodman’s book The Anti 9-to-5 Guide is what pushed me to really start freelancing. I wanted to do it but didn’t know how, and this book gave me the knowledge and encouragement...

I finally feel confident that I can make it without succumbing to the pressure all around me to sit in an office, wasting away for someone else’s sake. Next goal on the table is having a piece published. That should be cake, right?

If you’re looking to make a life for yourself that actually benefits you, both financially and mentally, I highly recommend The Anti 9-to-5 Guide.

And finally, Susan at The Urban Muse asks Goodman five questions. Here is one: “Your book includes some good tips on handling financial ups and downs. Could you share a few here?” Goodman’s answer:

If you’re thinking about making a career change or starting your own business, the first thing you need to do is get real with your financial situation—as in, figure out how much you’re spending each month and see if and where you can cut back. All those cab rides, $10 lunches, and impulse buys do add up, and you have to be willing to take a step back and say, “Is buying a new dress each month really necessary, and is it really more important than my goal of heading down a new career path?”

Don’t strike out on your own as a freelancer or small business owner without paying down your credit cards and saving up some money first, both startup expenses and as many months of living expenses as you can cobble together. Many women I interviewed for the book worked overtime or took freelance work or a second job to save the cash they needed to launch their businesses. Some moved to less expensive cities or learned to love the bus rather than driving everywhere.

Goodman is practical and methodical and appropriately positioned to be dishing out advice. That’s what I liked about her book. At the end of each chapter is an Action Plan with checklists and a place to timestamp things. After all, how many of us have read “How To” books, only to toss them aside at the end. Goodman’s book is an actionable guide. Don’t just borrow it from a friend (sorry Virtual Magpie!) or check it out from the library… but spend the money to buy it so you can mark it up. Use it as workbook so you’re not just thinking outside the cube, but escaping from it for good!

Here’s a bonus: For any of you contemplating making the break, Goodman has an upcoming four-week web class on freelancing called: Cultivating Your Client List. You can conveniently sign up online and take the class while sitting in your cube... a place you won’t be for long!

Nina writes about money at Queercents.


In order to comment on, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.