There are plenty of books on how to start a great career (hint: network) as well as how to succeed in life, but I find comedian Carol Leifer’s “How to succeed in business without really crying,” among the top. Not only does she offer solid, applicable advice, she also does it plenty funny. You bet I laughed while riding the subway to work.
Briefly about this funny woman if you’ve never heard of her. She is one of the few women working in comedy at a time when there were few in the industry, and has written for and/or performed on a number of TV comedies including Late Night with David Letterman, Saturday Night Life and Seinfeld.
Perhaps because she has chosen a career in the entertainment business, starting in stand-up comedy, she is no stranger to rejection. Chances are, no matter what profession you are in, the crowd booed once or twice.
Here are my favorites:
- “You lose your balls as you get older, reality sets in…” writes Leifer. She advises readers to “take advantage of being young and brash and stupid.“ You may make a lot of mistakes, but keep at it if it’s something you love or want. Of course it is also important to evaluate your abilities realistically. If you are tone-deaf, maybe you shouldn’t go down the famous singer path.
- Interviews are conversations. Even though you are showcasing why you are the perfect candidate for the job, you have to remember that there is another person in the conversation. I also made that mistake when I first started applying for jobs. I was so nervous I would just yak about myself. Keep in mind, interviews are dialogues, and not just monologues.
- Turn a disadvantage into an advantage. For Leifer, being a woman in a male-dominated business like comedy is actually “a tremendous advantage.” For one, when she first started doing standup comedy, she snatched more onstage time than her male counterparts simply because of her sex.
And lastly, a less offered advice in books of this type, is to keep fit. Exercise not only to keep the weight off, but also to keep your mind strong so you can tackle any task with gusto.