THE BRAZEN CAREERIST- Spitzer's gal: Keep two careers in synch with synergy
In the train wreck of Eliot Spitzer's political career, there are many workplace lessons. And lots of people are talking about Spitzer's downfall. But what about the call girl?
Ashley Dupre, who was "Kristen" in bed, was no slouch in the career management department. Sure, her breasts are plastered all over the Internet, but don't be so ignorant as to think you can't learn from her. Here are three lessons.
1. Invest money in your career.
Even when you don't have disposable income, you still need to spend money on your career. I've paid for career coaching with my last dollar. I've bought clothes on credit to look like I belonged in the position I was interviewing for. All good investments.
But when I wrote about how I got my teeth whitened for TV even though I was unemployed, many money mavens complained that was irresponsible spending. People constantly undervalue the return on investment you get from taking risks to invest in your own career.
So, Ashley goes to New York with basically no money, and what does she do with the first big money she makes? Breast implants! How smart! The implants cost about $3,000, but after that, she can make $4,000 an hour from guys like Spitzer. She made back her investment in an hour; everything else is profit.
2. Know what you are really selling.
You know why most people have terrible resumes? They can't figure out what they really bring to the table. If you don't know what you're selling, most of your resume is not going to be relevant. But people get mixed up about what they're selling. And they start just selling what they think they should be selling that second instead of analyzing the situation.
Ashley figured out that she was having sex with the Governor of New York. In fact, a few women in her prostitution ring knew. They could have sold their story to the New York Post, but you know what? Their earning potential was greater as call girls. It's not uncommon for a call girl to bring in $200,000 a year. The hours are short, and the perks are great– trips to Paris with billionaires, for example.
Once a call girl tells on a client, her career is over. Because, as blogger Melissa Gira Grant points out, call girls aren't selling only sex; they're selling discretion.
Of course a guy like Spitzer could have gotten a mistress, no problem. He's not great looking, but being the Governor made up for that. But the mistress is dangerous– she could talk. With a call girl, you buy discretion.
3. If you have two careers, make sure they have synergy.
A lot of people have two careers. It's a way to earn money and do what you love and a way to hedge your bets. It's just that you need two careers that somehow make sense together. If you want to be a lawyer, side work as a hooker is not a good idea.
Dupre, however, wants to be a singer. And it's expensive to live in New York to build a singing career. So the hooker/singer combination is a decent idea just on that alone.
But look at the synergy after the Spitzer fallout: everyone goes to her MySpace page to see what she looks like, and then they notice she has music. More than four million people have heard her singing. And at this point, she's earned $200,000 in a month from downloads of her music.
So look, it's not great that Dupre is stuck in court right now– although she has immunity from prosecution. But she did a lot of things right when it came to her career, and her dreams of a singing career will probably be fine. If she had any talent to begin with.