Monday, February 20, 2012

There Is No Plan, Plus 5 More Career Secrets

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need

The 6 career secrets no one ever told you.

Meet Johnny Bunko. He's probably a lot like you. He did what everybody—parents, teachers, counselors—told him to do. But now, stuck at a dead-end job, he's begun to suspect that what he thought he knew is just plain wrong. One bizarre night, Johnny meets Diana, the unlikeliest career advisor he's ever seen. Part Cameron Diaz, part Barbara Eden, she reveals to Johnny the six essential lessons for thriving in the world of work.


The Adventures of Johnny Bunko is America's first business book in the Japanese comic format known as manga. Packed with smart, life-changing advice you won't find anywhere else, it's the last career guide you'll ever need.


My dad picked this up as he was perusing the bookshelves at Goodwill. I was pretty surprised when I saw it since he primarily reads only non-fiction, and definitely not picture books. But he said he'd heard good things about it, and had read the author before. So I shrugged and didn't think any more of it.

A week or two passes and he shows up with it again. Says I would really enjoy it and get some good advice out of it. I grabbed it, mostly for my sister who's a huge manga enthusiast, and again didn't think much of it.

Then there I was—trapped at the dentist's office with absolutely nothing to do while my sister was getting her mouth worked on. And there was her bag...with yarn and knitting supplies spilling out of it. If only I'd learned to knit!

But wait... What's that? That weird-looking career book was in there too! Oh, fine. After all, I had nothing better to do...

I ended up reading the whole thing twice through. Okay, yes it's short, but it's also really, really good.

Open the cover and BAM! you're in the story. No blank pages, no title page, just straight into Johnny's life. His humdrum, uninspired, boring life. He steps out of a late night of work to grab a quick something to eat (which he diligently brings back to his cubicle) and upon snapping open the chopsticks...a pointy-eared woman appears!

Okay, I know how it sounds, but really it's a seriously good book. It may sound (and look) really strange, and you're probably thinking, "What kind of serious advice can I get out of a fantasy comic book?" Well, the fantasy is more of a means for comedy rather than a major plot point. She (Diana) poofs in whenever Johnny is in a snag and disappears once her message is conveyed. Having her as a magic genie/fairy-godmother/demon/entity is more of a plot convenience or manga trope than an all out fantasy trope.

And if you don't believe me, check out her first piece of career advice:

1. There is no plan.

Deep stuff, huh?

What? That means nothing to you? Well then read the book!

Okay, okay, I won't leave you hanging like that. Think about it for a second. What have your parents and teachers been telling you since you were old enough for a job? Finish high school, go to college, get a degree, get an internship/minor job in a company where you can move up, work your way up...and you're set for life! That's the plan. But...ask anyone you know (even your teachers) who are happy with their job and I guarantee that's not the history they'll give. So...why do we perpetuate this myth of a plan? And what do we do now that we know there isn't one?

...Check out the book. Just trust me on this one.

Overall, I found Johnny Bunko an entertaining, insightful, and fast read. I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone working, schooling, entering, or even thinking of entering the job world. There is some minor language, so I'd say appropriate for high school and up. And while it might not be the last career guide I'll ever pick up, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko definitely should be the first one on your list.

Approximate Reading Time: 30-45 minutes