By now you’re probably beginning to recognise my choice in literature tends to lean toward essays, advice and ‘self-help’ from women with the ‘been there, done that, got the t-shirt, here’s what I wish I knew’ type of narrative. Whilst I feel a degree of ease in reading these types of books – for their more casual and conversational writing style – I also enjoy this genre because I think no matter what storm is headed your way, there is a lesson somewhere between these pages that can help you rise up to your current challenge.
Particularly, Lisa Sugar’s ‘Power your happy’ lends itself to assisting with challenges everyone will face at some point in their professional lives; whether this be during that post-Graduate job search; building your network once in a role or deciding in the midst of your career that you’re unhappy and need a change. Instead of promoting self-care, and urging to have faith that everything will eventually fall into place, Sugar offers practical solutions with real life examples of how these worked for her. The structure of Sugar’s book is one split into chapters regarding areas of importance, rather than chronology – straying from the traditional autobiographical career guide approach. In opting to categorise the overarching lessons she learned in each of her roles, Sugar makes her powerful position of founder, seem no different to her job of folding Levi jeans as a teenager.
Sugar’s words aren’t just powerful in the face of career challenges, though, they are also powerful in navigating the day-to-day tasks, responsibilities and confrontations; if you’re not striving to establish your own company like Sugar was with Popsugar, there is still something of value for you to take away. I’ve always heard people speak of books they could read over and over again, though I’d never shared the same outlook, despite thoroughly enjoying each of the books I have read. This book, however, revolutionised my stance in regard to re-reading, because I can definitely see myself picking up and annotating Sugar’s book throughout my professional life. Why? Because I regard it as an honest, genuine and knowledgeable career companion. It is that tangible evidence you search for when you start a career conversation with friends and family who tell you to ‘hold tight’ in the face of challenges. While it is important to get things off your chest, it’s equally as important that you do not get mad at others when they’re unable to fully comprehend your situation, and provide you with a list of viable solutions.
While the career advice Sugar offers is helpful, the biggest reason I enjoyed reading this book was because I found Sugar’s words refreshing. Her ‘Work Hard, Play Nice’ motto which is too often overlooked by others who seek to give career advice, packs a punch in the face of those who claim being successful means being ruthless. Instead of replicating the ‘you can’t have it all’/ ‘nice girls don’t get the corner office’/ ‘it’s a dog eat dog world’ rhetoric we seem to be bombarded with, Sugar explains how a work-life balance is not only possible, but essential. Though this book was gifted to me, had I been browsing the professional development/ career advice section in my local book shop, amazon list or library I would see myself picking up Sugar’s book over others with this being one of the biggest reasons. From the blurb, to the opening timeline and every page afterward, you see that not only is Sugar aptly named, but well-founded in her sweet philosophy.