The Book

Right Brain Help Wanted — Left Brains Need Not Apply

July 15th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

left-brain-right-brainMarco della Cava at USA Today wrote a great article about how to retrain your brain to succeed in the new economy. He makes the argument that right brain thinking (big picture, creative) is more valuable than left brain thinking (linear, logical) in new economy careers.

This is one of my areas of focus right now — helping job hunters and career changers become more entrepreneurial and creative (both of these qualities rely heavily on the right brain). Marco quoted me in the article, along with A Whole New Mind guru Daniel Pink and several career changers who recently made the leap from left-brain careers to right-brain careers. He also wrote an interesting  related article about how to train kids for a “right brain future.”

Obviously, no one is purely “right brain” or “left brain.” We all need both sides of that wrinkly grey organ in order to thrive. For entrepreneurs, that is particularly true. We rely on our right brain for vision, innovation, and big-picture synthesizing and strategy. At the same time, we must tap into that left brain for managing our employees, keeping our finances in order, and staying on top of our task lists. We have to be able to switch back and forth between our left-brain and right-brain personalities (or hire/partner with people who have the skills that we lack).

Right now, I’m working on developing seven new training programs for three different clients in three different but related topic areas (this is why my blog posts are kind of few and far-between these days). This has required frequent right brain/left brain switching — from researching to big-picture strategy to organizing to writing to PowerPoint formatting, etc.

The right-brain stuff always comes pretty naturally for me. I have had to train myself in the ways of left-brain thinking — and it can be learned. Twelve years in Corporate America certainly helped with my left-brain development. But ultimately, I had to escape from Corporate America because all left-brain and no right-brain made me a very dull (and unhappy) girl.

Some people say that you can’t learn right-brain thinking, but I strongly disagree. I have led many creativity workshops and watched left-brainers learn to tap into their inner creative genius. For those in career transition, I highly recommend starting a right-brain workout plan. It may very well help you find and/or qualify for a more rewarding career path in the new economy.

Escape Tips (and Me) in U.S. News and World Report

June 10th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

Read 5 Reasons to Start a Business in a Recession in U.S. News & World Report.

It’s one of the best articles on the subject that I’ve seen lately and not just because it quotes me. Reporter Kimberly Palmer also spoke with Tim Ferriss (I know many of you are 4-Hour Workweek fans) and Michelle Goodman (who gives great advice for freelancers).

I think the piece provides a nicely balanced picture of the pros and cons of starting a business right now.  Do you agree?

Raise a Toast with Pink Slip Lemonade

June 3rd, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings


Today marks the one-year anniversary of my book launch party for Escape from Corporate America.  I would have totally missed marking the occasion if the lovely Sherrill St. Germain hadn’t reminded me.

Sherrill was my go-to financial planning expert for Escape and she wrote a lovely post about the party and the book today on her great new blog, The Career Change Financial Planner.  She brought back some fond memories of a fabulous party (mojitos, Soho House, and lots of fun people) and an amazing year of media appearances, speaking gigs around the country, and lots of other cool new experiences. Thanks to everyone who has supported me during the ride. You’re all on the invite list for the next party.

Sherrill has also used her blog to designate June as Pink Slip Lemonade month. Check out her post about turning layoff lemons into pink slip lemonade. Sherrill sure has a way with words for a finance geek, doesn’t she? : )

Now I’m off to try to complete my monstrous to-do list before I jet off to Vegas for a week.  It’s a work-related trip that will hopefully include some time for fun too.  I promise to come back with lots of good stories. It will be my first vacation in a while (okay, it’s a working vacation, but still…) and I’m ready to kick back by the pool and maybe eat some faux French food at the faux Eiffel Tower.

Here’s to a year of celebrating Escape from Corporate America and more than five years of celebrating my actual escape from Corporate America (about a year before I wrote this post and started this blog)! Tonight, I’ll raise a toast of pink slip lemonade with Absolut Citron to celebrate.

Work Life Balance for Entrepreneurs — Tips from Tevis Trower

May 1st, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

tevisheadshotThis week, we welcomed work life balance expert Tevis Trower to join us on Corporate Escape Artist Radio. Tevis is a corporate escapee (she is a featured expert in my book) and the work life balance expert for Web MD. She is also the founder of Balance Integration, a company that provides yoga classes and training for corporations.

Tevis shared the story of her personal journey and offered lots of great tips on achieving greater work life balance (even though she prefers the term “happiness at work”).

She shared some special advice for entrepreneurs. Those of us who work for ourselves can’t blame “the man” for our burnout anymore — we have to take responsibility for maintaining our own work life balance.  That’s not often an easy task when you’re trying to build a business that you’re passionate about, especially in a challenging economy.

Listen to Tevis on Corporate Escape Artist Radio. (Corporate Escape Artist Radio is the fourth segment, starting at 11:30, but there is plenty of good stuff in the other segments as well)

Learn more about SolutionzLive, the BlogTalkRadio network that hosts our show, and all of their other great programs.

Learn more about the lovely and insightful Tevis Trower.

Lessons from the Small Business Trenches

April 15th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

It has been a crazy week with no time for blogging! But I do want to share the link to the recording for this week’s Corporate Escape Artists radio show on BlogTalk Radio.

This week, my co-host Chicke Fitzgerald and I discussed entrepreneurial lessons learned, biggest mistakes, advice we wish we had received BEFORE we escaped, and much more.

Listen to this week’s Corporate Escape Artist radio show.

And check back soon for updates on all of the exciting new projects that have lured me away from my blog.

Dr. Barry Miller on Corporate Escape Artist Radio

April 7th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

Today on Corporate Escape Artist Radio, we welcomed career guru Barry Miller.  As the head of career programs for alumni at Pace University in New York City, Barry offers advice to students and graduates in transition on a daily basis.

This morning, he talked about his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, social media, and much more. Listen to Corporate Escape Artist Radio with Barry Miller  (Barry’s segment is the fourth one, starting at 11:30)

Now you can benefit from Dr. Miller’s expert advice without traipsing all the way to Lower Manhattan.

Focus on Finances on Corporate Escape Artist Radio

March 17th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

sherrillonbikeTune in at 11:30 AM EST today for our weekly Corporate Escape Artist Radio show on BlogTalk Radio. This week’s guest is Sherrill St. Germain, founder of New Means Financial Planning.

Sherrill left Corporate America to start her own business as a financial planner and now specializes in advising career changers.

Sherrill will talk about her own career transition and financial strategies for launching a business or making a career change in the current economic environment.

Listen live and call in with questions for Sherrill.

Boosting Small Businesses

March 16th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

This morning, President Obama announced more details of  his new initiative to boost credit available to small business owners. The new plan includes $730 million from the stimulus plan to reduce fees and increase government guarantees on small business loans, tax breaks for small business owners, and more pressure for banks that take government funds to increase small business lending.

Obama said that he has pressed his economic team to help owners of small businesses and that the announced initiatives are only a first step. See details of the small-business lending boost announced this morning.

Meanwhile, New York City recently received funding to expand the services and training offered to new business owners. NYC is running 6-day intensive FastTrac NewVenture boot camps and other training and business incubation programs for entrepreneurs. Learn more about FastTrac in New York City.

This is encouraging news for small business owners and for all Americans. It’s hard to argue with the fact that the country needs entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial spirit to lead us to financial recovery.

And as an article in the Friday New York Times documented, more and more discouraged job hunters are seizing control and starting their own businesses. Some of the greatest entrepreneurial ideas in history have emerged during recessions. Could yours be the next one? Read my passionate post on this topic from January.

Listen to Corporate Escape Artist Radio with Margot Tohn

March 4th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

For those who missed our first Corporate Escape Artist radio show with Margot Tohn yesterday, you can check out the recording (listen live or download to iTunes) here: Corporate Escape Artist Radio with Margot Tohn

Margot shares lots of great advice on entrepreneurship, product development, self-publishing and more. Thanks to Margot and my wonderful co-host Chicke Fitzgerald at Solutionz Live! for a great show.

Are you interested in joining us as a future Corporate Escape Artist radio show guest? Let me know.

Escape Artist Radio

March 3rd, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

looking-over-cubicleI am excited to announce that I will be co-hosting a new BlogTalkRadio show called Corporate Escape Artists. We will be interviewing lots of interesting people who have successfully left Corporate America to pursue their dream careers. The show will appear on the Solutionz Live! Network. My co-host, Chicke Fitzgerald, is also a corporate escape artist and the founder and CEO of the Solutionz Media Group.

Our first show will be broadcast live at 11:30 AM on Tuesday, March 3, 2009. You can listen live and even call in to join the conversation at 646-727-2840. I will also be posting a link to the recording of the show later today. Our goal is to provide lots of useful and inspiring information for corporate casualties and those going through career transition.

Our very first guest will be Margot Tohn, founder of the publishing company Park It! Guides. Margot’s parking guides and  products for drivers are available in Barnes & Noble and other retailers nationwide. If you have a great book idea and have thought about self-publishing, you have to listen in and hear how Margot built a company around her self-published book. She’ll also share great advice on making the transition from corporate executive to entrepreneur and tips on getting fantastic press for your new business.

You can also listen in to Solutionz Live! this morning to hear interviews with Barry Libert, author of Barack, Inc.,  and Steve Kaplan, author of Bag the Elephant.