Why I love (and what we can learn) from Bitter is The New Black

I just finished reading Jen Lancaster’s first book, Bitter is The New Black, today.  I’m not sure WHY it took me so long to start reading this masterpiece, but the good news is that it didn’t take me more than a few days to finish it.  I very rarely read books that are not business related, so this book was a really fun brain vacation for me. 

Since I too am a sassy Chicago native, I found Jen’s jokes hilarious about the pan handlers, anorexic and constantly hungover young PR girls, expensive salons, over-spending on rent, maxing yourself out on Michigan Ave after a bad day, bringing her Prada bag to the unemployment office and feeling entitled to a lifestyle that is so unrealistic for most. 

The first half of the book made me want to just go out for a shopping spree and then for drinks in the Gold Coast with no shame.  This is what us Chicago business women live for, right?

But then fancy Jen gets laid off from her VP job that pays for her lifestyle (and sometimes enables her bad attitude to those who are “beneath” her).  After TWO YEARS of searching for a new job, losing her apartment, and losing all rights to shopping,  her blog jennsylvania.com was born which transitioned Jen into a writing career. 

What can we learn from Ms. Lancaster, ladies?

The bubble will probably burst.  Beware of living like a celebrity just becasue you feel you deserve designer shoes, bags, and clothes.  Endless nights at Le Passage and Crimson Lounge are not designed for everyone. Credit cards get maxed out, people lose their jobs, and being cute does not help with getting out of eviction notices.

 Do you really need that?  I am not saying this to be like your Mother, rather, I am saying it because this is the story of my life.  If I added up the money I spent on lattes, tans, highlights, impulse Forever 21 buys, and new books I’d probably be a lot farther ahead. 

 Don’t assume your company will take care of you forever.  It seems that Jen really believed she was an indespensable part of her company.  Rightfully so too, considering she was the top salesperson and won a huge commpetition within her company.  But obviously that was not enough.  Even after she left she assumed she would receive a huge severance package but didn’t.  In shaky economic times, get real about your job security.  This may mean picking up a part-time job, networking, or freelancing to give yourself extra security in case something unexpected happens.  Unfortunately we are living in an era where we should learn to prepare for the worst.

 Savings are good.  Once Jen and her husband started packing to move to their skeevy “West Side” place from their glamorous pad in Bucktown, Jen started packing and realized that if she had spent less on designer CRAP she would be able to afford health insurance, her car, rent and groceries.  Reading this made me quiver a little bit because I think we’ve all been guilty of overspending.

The good news is that Jen came out on top.  Her 4th book, Pretty in Plaid, went on sale yesterday!  GO JEN! And thanks for teaching us young, selfish, x-sorority girls what NOT to do before we end up in a bind.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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