Make My Dreams Come True: The Ignorant Optimism of Self-Help Books

by robinhardwick

100-dollar-start-upI’ve always avoided self-help books in general, because I have felt they were all common sense.  When I talk about my work woes, and how I am not in the career that really drives me, often the unfortunate listener of my complaining will recommend a book or a business guru. Fine, great! I really am grateful, I appreciate anyone who recommends reading.  Listen, I am open to a book or someone’s knowledge if it will help me. So I checked some out.

Here is my general takeaways from these books.

1. Don’t be afraid to go for what you want!

2. If you are afraid, just stop being afraid.

3. Don’t give up. Failure is good. It only makes you stronger!

4. Be smart. Find smart people to work with.

5. Leave your steady, yet unsatisfying job to start your own company.

6. Start your own company. Succeed at company. Live a happy life!

Okay, good advice, I guess? But it’s kind of like telling a person with clinical depression to “just have a positive outlook!”. It’s not like people who hate their jobs are not fucking aware of these tactics. And believe me, if I could pack it in and invent the next big thing, I would. But here’s the thing:

I am a single lady. I am fine with that. However, that means I support myself entirely. I also am so goddamn medicated (god bless America!) that I also need to have comprehensive health insurance. So yea. It’s not like LEAVING MY AWFUL JOB is something I haven’t thought of, but I also need to pay my fucking mortgage every month and have a doctor and get meds and birth control and prescriptions and therapy because I was cursed with being born with this goddamn uterus.  So excuse me if it is not viable to make my dreams come true by just picking up and doing my own thing.

comaford_rulesSome of these books aren’t about starting your own company, it’s about succeeding at your own job, which is also filled with obvious advice, like, show off your skills! Make yourself an asset! Network with people! Do an extra project! So, until that author wants to come down to my job, take care of all the minutiae and bureaucracy, deal with constantly fixing the mistakes of my incompetent coworkers, maybe then I’ll have time to do the things that, oh, I don’t know, are totally obvious. Listen, at the end of the day, shit still needs to get done and I can’t a la carte my job.

I invite you to prove me wrong, and suggest any career, business, or creativity books that you think are worthwhile. However,if you mention Tim Ferriss, I will cut you.