Caitlin Moran on How to Build a Career

10 pieces of advice from the feminist hero and hilarious author of How to Build a Girl

Caitlin Moran

Beloved Brit writer Caitlin Moran’s hilarious new novel, How to Build a Girl (HarperAvenue, $23), tells a tale much like her own: a hapless teen from a cramped council house transforms herself into a swaggering superstar journalist (read an exclusive excerpt here!). Moran chatted with FLARE and shared her best tips for making it—best read in a sassy English accent.

Be kind.
“Cynicism is so easy, but no one ever got rejected from a job because someone went, ‘Know what? I found out she’s really pleasant.’”

But don’t be submissive.
“I used to be so polite at work and make sure everyone went, ‘Oh, you’re such a darling!’ People think this is an innately feminine thing, but I’ve learned it’s actually the thinking of the underdogs. You’re not betraying your sex by acting in a powerful way.”

Work your bollocks off.
“The most successful people I’ve met don’t party as much as their friends, they don’t have any hobbies—they just work obsessively.”

But don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
“So often you’re not just a woman at work, you’re a woman representing all the women on earth, and if you f-ck something up that means all the women on earth can’t do that thing. There’s no straight white guy cruising along at the office thinking, I, Steve in accounts, am representing 3.3 billion men.”

Think hard before you seek out fame.
“You’re a braver and stronger woman than I if you wouldn’t want to Google your name. It’s like being able to mind-read—suddenly you know what other people think about you. Do you want to gamble on your mental health?”

But do put yourself out there on social media.
“Every time you see ‘Anonymous’ in a book of quotes, you can presume that was a woman, so no one recorded her name. The Internet is amazing because now no one needs to know if you’re male or female, or what you look like—what makes you powerful is what you’re saying.”

Don’t overshare, though.
“It doesn’t matter what you’re comfortable saying, it matters how others perceive it.”

Fake it till you make it.
“We’re all pretending to be something, so if in your head a businesswoman wears a pink jacket with a pair of high heels, then do that!”

When all else fails, tell everyone you’ve got a 20-year plan.
“When they ask you what it is, look mysterious and go, ‘I can’t say.’ It makes you out to be a person of great destiny.”

And seriously, be kind.
“Never, ever bitch about someone at the toilets, because someone will always hear it.”

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