Fearless and Free: How Smart Women Pivot — and Relaunch Their Careers, proudly states that women should skip chasing career ladders and run their careers like a startup. The world of “follow the rules and you will move up the ladder” is dying out. Women, in particular, need to take charge of their careers before it’s too late. The book provides recommendations and inspiration drawn from the authentically raw stories of women who pivoted their career and personal brands, again and again, to thrive in a constantly changing and chaotic world of work.
What is Fearless and Free About?
Fearless and Free, concerns itself with the decisions that women have to make about their careers. Unlike other books, the focus is more on the “work” in “work-life balance“. Author Wendy Sachs argues that the future world of work presents some unique challenges unique to women. For women to thrive in that future world of work, these challenges must be confronted. The book’s message about confronting these challenge can be simplified into two messages: Women need to be fearless. Women should work in ways that provide the most freedom.
First it’s important to examine the “fearless” part here. In the current workplace, Sachs argues, there is an unwritten code about how women should act in the workplace. This unwritten code challenges women who assert themselves and their right to a better work-life balance. To break this code, Sachs urges, women should become comfortable with being more assertive and clear about what they want and need, leveraging their power as professionals.
Concerning the book’s second message (Women should work in ways that give them the most freedom), Sachs makes two points. The first point is that employers now have a freer relationship with employees. Instead of building long-term relationships with employees, many jobs are content to hire people on a short-term basis. This leaves employees on a much more unstable ground regarding job security. Because of this new “normal”, Sachs argues women should focus more on themselves and less on chasing a career ladder. By ditching the chase for a career ladder. workers are free to adapt their careers to whatever happens in a constantly changing world.
Sachs is living proof the career advice she provides for women in her book, Fearless and Free, actually works. Sachs has experience in TV production (winning an Emmy and working for companies such as Dateline, NBC, CNN and Fox), editing (serving as an Editor-in-Chief of Care.com and other sites), and as a speaker on issues related to work/life balance for women and living life proactively. She says she started the book after becoming frustrated with the limited options she had as a highly skilled professional in a fast-changing (and still) male-dominated world.
What Was Best About Fearless and Free?
The best parts of Fearless and Free are the authentically raw stories Sachs provides while discussing career pivoting. There are plenty of other books that discuss the need for career pivoting, but Fearless and Free goes deeper into what it takes to get out. The answer? Fearless and Free advocates a three-step process of continuous self-development and networking, establishing a personal brand to stay “top of mind”, and keeping an eye on opportunities to deliver on your personal brand. This gives the individual, rather than a business, ownership of the career path.
What Could Have Been Done Differently?
Fearless and Free provides a lot of helpful information and truly engaging stories delivered in an entertaining style. Sachs doesn’t just tell the stories of these women (including herself) who have pivoted their careers. She provides a little of their personality so readers can observe how these women were able to transform themselves while career pivoting. The burden of change in the book, however, falls squarely on individual women. What should businesses and the government be doing to positively reinforce a world of career-pivoting women?
Why Read Fearless and Free?
Fearless and Free serves as a great supplement to any book on work-life balance. It provides a deeper look into what working women will probably have to do several times in the evolving work world — pivot. Sachs uses her own example and that of many other women from various industries to demonstrate how women can do this. The approach builds on personal strengths and leverages the opportunities around them (from professional relationships to social media and beyond) to thrive in a world that is fast-changing, budget-cutting and still unbalanced in its approach to work and family. Using Sachs’ book, women can gather the recommendations and inspiration they need to transform any failure or change in circumstance into a higher level of success.