If you’re female and starting out on your first job, you’ll be tempted to flip through Rachel C. Weingarten’s Career and Corporate Cool. If you’re female, are starting out on your first job and have a gene that makes you susceptible to self-help books, you won’t be able to restrain yourself from swiping your plastic for it at Crossword or Landmark.
Weingarten is a New York-based marketing guru, trend expert and author of msbizmanners.blogspot.com, a popular blog where she plays agony aunt to people with queries and crises about the workplace. Career and Corporate Cool is her second book, which instructs women on how to dress, accessorize and entertain in the workplace, how to pack and behave on business trips, network correctly and effectively. All in all, the way to be a Grade A professional. Which is fine, and judging from the lack of etiquette most professionals face in the workplace, it should be made compulsory reading.
Career and Corporate Cool:John Wiley and Sons,260 pages, $21.95 (about Rs900).
Weingarten introduces the concept of “corporate cool” that means just that—being cool in the corporate space, and tapping into your personal experiences to set you apart in a conformist environment. You’ll be assaulted by the word “cool” many times over in this book, so be prepared.
Also, if you’re above 18, the chirpy, sometimes borderline fluffy tone of the book is bound to hit a nerve. And we really can’t see anyone picking up a pen and filling in the quizzes and questions “to help you define your personal style”. As far as we’re concerned, we left those “Coolest thing that ever happened to you” and “Five coolest people I know” sort of questions back in high school.
Apart from that, this book is a good source of useful tips and cues. Weingarten has spoken to her vast network of friends, co-workers and clients while researching the book, and apart from her own views, she also offers their tricks for being successful. For example, socialite and CEO of Borghese Cosmetics, Georgette Mosbacher, welcomes clients who visit her at the office by personally hanging up their coats and making them a cup of coffee.
There’s a lot of emphasis on looking the part; after all, Weingarten is a style pro. The section on “Build your classic wardrobe” is a must-read and must-follow. It prepares women appearance-wise for any kind of work-related or social situation. Whether you’re working from home or travelling on business, Weingarten has your style problems covered.
She also walks the uninitiated through business emailing, leaving voice messages and other forms of correspondence. She can’t stress enough on the importance of following up and keeping in touch with potential clients and contacts after you’ve met. And yes, thank you notes or emails are of paramount importance too.
Read it if you’re a working woman; it doesn’t really matter if you’ve just entered the corporate world or are a veteran. You’ll probably learn something. There’s not much juice here for men, except a small section on style tips (an important one: De-pleat yourself, pleated pants are not flattering on anyone).