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June 30 , 2008

The New American Dream



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The New American Dream is about the pursuit of interestingness, not happiness. A career filled with variety, rather than defined by conventional paths to power and prestige, is what gives us satisfaction in the long run.

This book is a blueprint for choosing a path of lifelong learning and total engagement, every step of the way. You will learn:

+ How to step off the corporate ladder and pursue opportunities that make your life more interesting

+ How just being yourself is the surest way to win the rewarding career you seek

+ Ways to reinvigorate your current work environment with new meaning

Despite what you may have been taught about "paying your dues" before you get to begin enjoying life, you can get up each day excited to do what you do. You can have a job and still have time for family and outside passions. You can have a career filled with intellectual challenge, physical challenge and emotional challenge - not later, but right now.


Penelope Trunk has founded three startups. Prior to that she worked in marketing roles in the Fortune 500 and played professional beach volleyball. Her career advice has appeared in more than 200 newspapers and publications, ranging from The Wall St. Journal and Business Week to Glamour and Marie Claire.

Trunk is a frequent commentator about workplace trends, and she has appeared on outlets such as 20/20, CNN, and NPR.


You, too, can be one of the people who is redefining success. You don't have to give up everything in your personal life to "get to the top." You can decide what is success for you.

Let's talk about what this means in practice.

You don't have to play the face-time game. We've known forever that it isn't necessary to be in the office from 9 to 5 every day to get work done, but many of us have missed family events only to sit at a desk all day getting pretty much nothing done because of the stress of missing a family event. And there didn't used to be any option; if you wanted a successful career, you made sure coworkers saw that you were putting in the hours. A good portion of the workforce has been requesting flextime for decades, but the requests have gone unheeded. We have Gen Y to thank for forcing the switch, because if Gen Yers can't leave the building whenever they want, they'll walk out the door and never come back. Face the truth: boomers weren't willing to go that far, but they sure are benefiting from it. Now they have more opportunities for flextime, too.

We all want to be judged by the work we do, not the hours we put in. And what could be more fair than this?

You don't have to do work that's meaningless. Gen Y kids grew up with parents scheduling every minute of their day. They were told TV is bad and reading is good, and are more educated than any generation in history. They just spent 18 years learning to be productive with their time, so they're not going to settle for any photocopying/coffee stirring job.

It's great for all of us that the biggest demographic at work today - Generation Y - is not willing to waste time at work. This means we can all put our foot down to work that doesn't matter. We all, intuitively, want meaningful work. We all want to be stimulated by our jobs, and we all want to understand how we're contributing to the world at large. Why should anyone have to wait until retirement age to start demanding that?

Like what you're reading? Buy this book!


+ Redefine Your Relationship to Work

+ Find the Right Job

+ Financial Freedom is a False Promise

+ Authenticity Will Get You What You Want

+ Lifelong Learning

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