When I heard about Celebrity Inc by Jo Piazza, I was doubly excited. First of all, I love business books, and I couldn’t wait to peek behind the curtain at various aspects of the entertainment industry. Secondly, I was looking forward to some escapism from the celebrity examples. As a career coach, my whole focus is on career stories, but celebrities have that aura of unattainability, of being different from you and me. However, after reading the book, I realized that, while the stories have an extreme, outlandish quality you’d expect from celebrities, the career lessons still apply to everyday folks like you and me:
Compensation is situation-specific (Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt). The opening chapter of the book focuses on the run-up of prices in celebrity baby pictures, with a focus on the Jolie-Pitt pictures. The bidding war peaks and then bursts, and the prices paid for photos don't always follow an obvious rhyme or reason. Even celebrities aren’t immune to compensation market trends. Do not compare what you make to other people, in other circumstances, during different time periods.
Know your allies and supporters (Tim McGraw). When Tim McGraw entered the fragrance business, he selected his production partner and his sales outlets based on his existing and target customers. He did not just select the high-end stores. When you make a decision about your next employer or even your next project, do this in the context of the relationships you want to build. It’s not just about picking the brand name or highest profile opportunity.
Being fired or laid off is not the end of the world (Taylor Hicks). American Idol winner, Taylor Hicks, was dropped by his label after his first album, so he went on tour with the musical theatre production of Grease and sold his own albums at each stop, making several million dollars in the process. If your high-flying career hits an obstacle, you can turn it around with creativity, persistence, and continuing to put yourself out there.
Read 7 more tips in my latest post for Work In Progress at Forbes.com:
Caroline Ceniza-Levine helps people build fulfilling and financially-rewarding careers, as the co-founder of SixFigureStart®. She is the co-author of “Six Steps To Job-Search Success” 2011, Flat World Knowledge and “How the Fierce Handle Fear: Secrets to Succeeding in Challenging Times” 2010, Two Harbors Press. She is also a stand-up comic with Comic Diversity.