Book Review: Bitter is the New Black

Ok… let’s start off with a few disclaimers… you may enjoy Bitter is the New Black… IF:

  1. You are Female.
  2. You have a sense of humor.
  3. You are not easily offended.
  4. You do not take issue with someone treating others like pawns or minions.
  5. You’ve been laid off and finding another job has been stressful and takes A LOT longer than you ever expected especially if you had been successful in your past positions.
  6. You enjoy hearing someone speak their mind even if it is a little harsh and judgmental, yet true.


What I love about this book…. Where do I start?

I feel like Jen and I have lived parallel lives.  Sort of.  I mean… I don’t treat people like they are my minions, and I don’t live an extravagant lifestyle.  (Well….I mean…. I kinda have a princess-attitude and lifestyle, but not nearly on the scale of Jen’s.)  But I have been laid-off, and finding another “real” job has been on-going for what seems like forever. (I have an MBA for crying out loud… clearly that was not an investment I’ve utilized properly.) I have a husband who loves me, although I try his patience more than a couple times a month. And he has an amazing job, but after reading Jen’s book… I’m scared sh*tless of the “what if he got laid off too” scenarios.  And the interviews she goes on and the activities she does to keep active were oddly similar to me.  I often found myself nodding and then shaking my head like “Yup… I can totally relate.” And the fact that she started scaling back her expectations of a job and salary… again… very similar to mine.  And then she did some volunteer work… Hello, right there too!  And then she started a blog… Yup.. doing that.  (BTW… I did all those BEFORE reading this book.  That’s why I find this book so hauntingly familiar.)

I often laughed at situations Jen was in or what she said to other people. I would be … “You go girl”… and yet at the same time, “That’s not a good way to handle that.”  Although, the part where she goes to pick up her friend’s marathon packet is so awesome!  I loved that part.  It was like … Turn about is fair play.  She had been judging people and making people feel inadequate in her “prior” life, and then when people treat her that way she feels a bit insecure and doesn’t like it.  I think that was real turning point for her in the book.

I try not to judge people too much… but it happens. I make an effort to get along with everyone, and if I don’t like you… I simply ignore you and make sure I don’t have to deal with you all that much.  And if you are a co-worker or manager, I do what I can to again… minimize contact.  As much as I would like to tell them to “Shove It Where The Sun Don’t Shine”, I don’t say it out loud.  Does that mean I’m gutless?  Maybe, but it does mean that I know that sometimes diplomacy and not resorting to insults and rude behavior is the smoother path even if I am seething inside.  Hence, why I now go to Kickboxing classes. (That and I need to lose weight. *sigh*)  Anyways….

And how strange is it that I’ve been toying with Writing as my next career. (Toying being the operative word.) But I don’t know that I have the chops for it (insert self doubt).  My imagination does run wild (I daydream all the time), but it tends to run wild in all directions (daydream, remind myself of my To Do list, daydream, think about what’s for dinner, daydream, wonder how my friend is doing, daydream, remember I have to be someplace in 15 minutes so I jet upstairs to throw on clothes, think about cutting my hair, wonder if I’m too old to donate my eggs)… you get my drift?  So, staying focused on one topic to write on is not something that I think I’d have a strength for.  But maybe if I had someone coaching, prodding and setting deadlines… I’m good with deadlines.  I think I’d be a good situational / editorial writer.  I like variety.  For instance… I love writing about food and travel (I post to Yelp and TripAdvisor fairly frequently)….  I know… me and about a gazillion other people.  How to Differentiate?  Be Unique? What are the key take-a-ways? Why should people read this? UGH!  The marketer in me knows that I need to STAND OUT…. BUT WHAT & HOW??!!

Ok.. back to the book… This book has a lot of great lessons in it and some situations that I agree with and some that I disagree with.  What’s great is that Jen seems to get the Reality Check she so desperately needs while not having to change who she is fundamentally.  At the end, she’s still Jen, but more grounded in terms of understanding that life isn’t about having the latest and greatest material thing, that status is not important, and that money is a scarce resource that needs to be managed and saved.  And that your loved ones come first. To me, she went from a Diva to Human in the course of this book… someone who cares about her loved ones and will do whatever she needs to do to help them.  (Examples: helping Fletch with his depression and babysitting for her brother who lives far away.)  Kudos to you, Jen.  You get the Most Improved Person Award. (Not that you needed to hear this from me since you have a published book and clearly have a number of accolades… all of which I don’t have.)

Anyways… now I’m off to lunch with my mom.

#BeingLaidOffSucks #JenLancaster  #LifeChoices #LifeLessons #DontBeQuickToJudge