“Careeranista” advises women for post-grad success

By: AMANDA DEE-Staff Writer

“My personal life is hanging by a thread,” Andrea Sachs sighed.

Bald, cardigan-clad (and always acerbic) Nigel imparted this wisdom: “That’s what happens when you start doing well at work. Let me know when your whole life goes up in smoke; that means it’s time for a promotion.”

Postgrad Andy Sachs moved to New York to pursue a career in journalism in “The Devil Wears Prada” – the movie that author Chaz Pitts-Kyser considers an accurate portrayal of postgrad reality.

Andy, as her co-worker Emily said, “Sold [her] soul to the devil when [she] put on [her] first pair of Jimmy Choos.” She had to enter a world of designer labels, a world she despised. She had to choose between her boyfriend and her boss Miranda Priestly, her ticket to career success.

“She had to work hard…she had to balance her business life with her love life,” Pitts-Kyser said. “She was not afraid to take risks.”

On Feb. 1, Pitts-Kyser released her second book “Careeranista: The Woman’s Guide to Success After College.” The guide shares her personal stories and wisdom about topics ranging from job searching in a tough market to what Pitts-Kyser called the “nitty-gritty”: racism, sexism and negotiating pay.

“In college, you get obvious book smarts, but you don’t get professional smarts,” Pitts-Kyser said.

University of Dayton’s “Campus to Career,” a program for junior and senior female students sponsored by the Women’s Center and the GE Women’s Network, is one day on campus dedicated to teaching “professional smarts.” But one day doesn’t ease all postgrad anxieties.

“It seems like since the start of college I’ve been hearing that college grads can’t get jobs and end up moving back in with their parents, bumming around in their basement,” senior English and education major Claire Shaw said. “I have all these questions I try to avoid thinking about like, ‘How do I make friends?’ What if no one thinks I’m funny?’
‘What if I’m terrible at my job?’ ‘What if I find out I actually hate this job?’”

“Leaving college also creates a huge amount of anxiety around the question, ‘What are you going to do?’ because it implies that you are figuring out a plan for the rest of your life,” senior English and education major Megan Abbate said.

“[‘Careeranista’] is meant to empower women, not scare women,” Pitts-Kyser said. “I wrote in a specific tone where you feel like you’re talking to an older sister, aunt or mentor.”

Most postgrad career guides focus on both men and women. The book advises readers how to build a positive professional image and avoid negative images like “Ms. Carrie Bradshaw.”

“This woman comes to work for the sole purpose of working her outfit,” Pitts-Kyser explains in chapter 15. The book advises readers how to achieve balance with work and their personal lives.

Growing up watching crime shows, Pitts-Kyser wanted to study criminal justice and become a CIA agent until college. “But, I thought about it, and I thought I would enjoy writing more than dodging bullets,” Pitts-Kyser said.

According to her website, she worked more than 12 jobs, lost four of them, moved across the U.S. and back, got engaged, broke her engagement, filled her bank account, emptied her bank account and lost herself, not knowing what she wanted to do with her life, before finally landing the career she loves.

Her mantra: “Be productive in everything you do, be it in your personal or professional life, because no one is going to create the life you want for you.”

To quote “The Devil Wears Prada’s” Miranda Priestly, “People think success just happens to you. It doesn’t. Want this life? The decision’s yours.”

To buy the guide, visit thebook.careeranista.com. For more articles and features for career advice, visit careeranista.com.

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