Post Academic

Reading Gunn’s Golden Rules So You Don’t Have To: On Why You Should Listen to Tim Gunn

Posted in Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on December 6, 2010
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PhotobucketProject Runway mentor Tim Gunn is one of the few people on reality television who has some brains to back up the bluster. The man is clearly a fashion expert, but did you know that his wisdom extends to post academics?

Before becoming a reality-show mentor, Gunn was a chair at Parsons The New School for Design, so he knows plenty about moving from academia to another gig. While he isn’t a hamster proper, his new book, Gunn’s Golden Rules, could also be called Advisor-in-a-Box. Like many advisors, he’s rambling, and not everyone is into the fashion thing, but he has many brilliant career tips and even advice for current academics.

The tips will be spread out over the next few days, kind of like a reality-tv season, but the core of his advice is the same as what’s on the show: “Make it work!”

That seems kind of cheesy, especially if you are faced with something as difficult as changing careers or figuring out how to get a tenure-track position in a bad job market. But the mantra to “make it work” is all about working with constraints and obstacles. In fact, what Tim Gunn says is similar to what I’ve advocated in the post “The Benefits of Boundaries.”

Boundaries and constraints can be bad, but that’s not always the case. In fact, in his book, Gunn points out that boundaries can be beneficial: “With a certain amount of maturity, we can set up our own constraints. That’s a lot of what education is about–letting people set these assignments for us so that when we graduate we can start to set them for ourselves. Even now that I’m in my fifities, I still face certain situations where I have to admit that I need some rules to help me figure out what I should do.”

For the next post, Tim Gunn is going to take a few of his former fellow academics to school, in his own high-class way.

One Response to 'Reading Gunn’s Golden Rules So You Don’t Have To: On Why You Should Listen to Tim Gunn'

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  1. Tim Gunn rocks, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series!

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