I judged this book by its cover. Given how many “change your life!” books I’m sent around New Year’s, can you blame me? I expected The 10 Laws of Career Reinvention by Pamela Mitchell to be one of those career books that use a lot of exclamation points and promise that no matter what you want to do, it’s possible if you reach! for! the! stars!

Instead, a found a sharp, smart, eye-opening book about what to do if you want to change your career. Mitchell is founder of the Reinvention Institute, and shows that she knows her stuff. Not only does she give sound and practical advice, but she uses real life examples to showcases those 10 laws of reinvention.

I felt like someone hit me on the head when I read The 10 Laws of Career Reinvention. It made me realize why I’ve felt so listless and lethargic lately.

I’m tired of being a freelance writer.

It sounds like a great job, doesn’t it? I interview fascination people and write about a host of topics, all from the comfort of my own home. It has been a great full time career for the last four years, but there’s a huge chunk of me that’s exhausted from the constant assignment chasing, contract negotiating, and late checks. The recession took more of a toll on me than I realized. My income dropped 25% this year, even though I worked my tail off. Plus, as my income shrank, costs have only gone up: food, travel, healthcare, taxes, everything. Freelancers haven’t gotten a raise since the 1970s. Could you imagine earning today what your counterpart earned 40 years ago? I’ve almost left freelancing before, but was always brought back in. Why? I realized it wasn’t always me, but people telling me not to “give up.” Were these other folks freelancers? No. But they openly admitted that they envied my lifestyle, usually shrugging off what I said were the downsides. Well, I’m not in this for them. I’m in this for me.

I didn’t do all the exercises in the back of the book, but when I was half way through, I realized what I’d like to do next with me life, and have taken the first steps to reach that goal. I haven’t felt so energized with work as when I took those steps to the new me. I’m not going to share what that is, but I’ll take all your good luck wishes 🙂 I can tell you this, though — it’s all about writing, like my current job, and has a lot of the same elements of freelance journalism that I enjoy. But it’s a different kind of writing.

If you’re feeling the same way about your job, or have been laid off, this book might be worth a read (she does pay a lot of attention to those who have been victims of the recession — it’s a very “now” book). I’m glad I did, and if you read this blog, you know I don’t say that often about these kinds of books.

Want to get an idea of what the book’s about before buying? Check out www.reinvention-institute.com.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.


  1. Anonymous on January 4, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    I agree with you about freelance writing. Completely.

    Good Luck in your new direction.

  2. Katherine on January 5, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Best wishes and great luck, Jen! I recently made a change in my life situation after figuring out it just wasn't working — for me it was going back to work after staying home with kids for a couple of years. You are absolutely right that you need to figure out what will work for you! I hope the transition is smooth.

  3. dkfwriting on January 7, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Good review, and interesting insight. I've been in that same position (freelance writer for four years, huge drop in income, tired of chasing assignments), and I've recently made a change, too, to focus my business in an area that I enjoy more and requires less assignment chasing. Best of luck to you in your new direction.

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