Penelope Trunk Interview: SOTB 2009
Penelope Trunk, founder of Brazen Careerist and prolific blogger at blog.penelopetrunk.com, is never one to pull a punch. Check out her take on blogging it like it is (or isn't), entrepreneurship, and how Gen X and Gen Y view the web and social networking quite differently from one another.
Your blog, Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist, is well known for being a bracing mixture of career advice, workplace trends, and your own personal and professional adventures in running a start up. How’d you come up with this recipe?
Things would get boring fast if I stuck to strictly career advice – like, how to dress for work. So I try to think of another angle. Like, for most of my life I have worked very long hours, so I only had time to meet men at work. So I realized that you should dress for work like you are going to pick someone up at work. Because if you don't do it at work, you'll never get a date. (Sidenote: Men like working with women who dress more feminine. They judge more feminine women as more competent. Really.)
Also, I try to base the advice in my own life – stuff that's happening to me right now. Then, sometimes, some workplace thing will come up and I think people are misguided, so I have to say something. Like, people should not report sexual harassment at work, and I realized they needed to hear that from someone.
Yours is anything but a typical “corporate blog.” What’s your take on running a business and a blog at the same time?
My blog is definitely a full-time job. And so is running my company, BrazenCareerist.com. So, when I was CEO and we were raising money and I was traveling all the time, it was very hard to blog regularly. It was actually hard to do anything – the amount of work was incredible to me. Now that someone else is CEO and I can focus more on my blog, I have a better balance between the blog and the company (and sleeping!).
What’s the most interesting workplace trend you’re tracking this year?
People are realizing that a job hunt is all about building a network. This is due to years of effective messaging from LinkedIn. But this year I see people starting to recognize that you can't actually *build* a network on LinkedIn. You can only *display* your network. You need to be having actual conversations (online or offline) in order to build a network. Continued on the next page