Six Nuggets of Career Inspiration From the Late Helen Gurley Brown

Need a little jolt in your job today? Look no further.

Earlier in the week we paused with great respect when the death of Helen Gurley Brown was announced. After all, she’s the ultimate “Cosmo girl” — the former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, author of Sex and the Single Girl, and quintessential media maven.

While perusing her obituary in The New York Times, one can’t help but extrapolate interesting tidbits that can add a spring to your step!

  1. Live the dream. For starters, this year she donated $30 million to Columbia and Stanford! Talk about living the American dream; she had previously described the early years of her life as “hillbilly and poor.”
  2. Stick with it and keep dreaming bigger. She held a string of jobs ranging from a brief stint as an escort to holding down the fort with 17 secretarial jobs (yes, 17!). So, if you think you’re a job hopper, never fear. There’s paramount success ready to burst in all of us.
  3. Act as if; learn as you go. She worked as a copywriter and then, when she was hired as editor of Cosmopolitan in 1965 (a post she held until 1997, thank you very much), she did NOT have editorial experience. So, if you’re shaky and fearful about leaping from one zone in your career to the uncomfortable one, connect the dots with your skills and remember, she became the face of Cosmo and grew into the role.
  4. Be ready to shake things up a little. Okay, a lot!
  5. And be open to getting help from everywhere, even your spouse. The obit points out:  “What Cosmopolitan’s previous cover lines had lacked in pith and punch (“Diabetes: Will Your Children Inherit It?”), Ms. Brown’s more than made up for. “World’s Greatest Lover — What it was like to be wooed by him!” her inaugural cover proclaimed. Ms. Brown was not shy about disclosing the fact that in her 32 years with the magazine, her husband wrote all the cover lines.”
  6. Stay young and vibrant! The first graph of the obit reminds us that age is only a number: “She was 90, though parts of her were considerably younger.”

May she rest in peace.