Advice From 'The Real Housewives Of Atlanta': Follow Your Dream Job

real housewives dream jobBy Justin Thompson

Sunday night was the premiere of the fourth season of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" and it was a doozy. All drama aside, the ladies are tackling big changes and some are expanding their careers into new, non-traditional ventures including funeral parlors and adult toys.

The last time we saw Nene, Sheree, Kim, Kandi, Phaedra and Cynthia, they were all working through major life changes. Nene was in the process of divorcing her husband and starting up a new career in television as a reporter for a local news stations and subsequently appeared on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice." From the get-go, Nene is back on top and doing just fine. She's working her celebrity with hosting gigs and starting new business ventures (including a franchise of Famous Famiglia Pizzeria in the Sacramento Airport).

And it seems that Nene picked up many a career lesson from Donald Trump, espousing his belief that "Everything is negotiable." Every job seeker should remember that piece of wisdom.

Cynthia Bailey, who was basically on the verge of financial collapse last season after her husband closed their co-owned nightclub, is back with a vengeance. She is taking her experience in and knowledge of the modeling world and parlaying that into her own Atlanta-based talent agency as a means of diversifying her income. Her agency is going to focus on model scouting and placement, and in the episode gets advice and a visit from Miss J Alexander from "America's Next Top Model." His words of wisdom to Cynthia: Focus on quality over quality and get prime talent in her agency versus filling the books.

In that scene, Cynthia describes her intentions for the agency at its open call for models. At the call, she tells the crowd to follow their dreams, saying, "Don't take no for an answer. Really try and give it your all." Good advice, no matter what it is you are trying to do. You have to keep the faith in what you want and hustle to get it. Hard work, determination and focus are crucial to pursuing your career, outside of just acquiring hard skills.

But some of the ladies chose more non-traditional, off-the-beaten-path business ventures. Kandi Burruss, a Grammy award-winning musician, hosts a weekly Web sex-talk show, and during her show, she presented the idea of creating her own line of adult toys. One of Kandi's best qualities? She doesn't hide the fact that she's trying to supplement her income. "Being a single parent, you need to have multiple sources of income," she explains.

Speaking of more non-traditional jobs, we explored some of the weirdest jobs a while back on the blog, should you also want to supplement your income through such ventures as cricket-farming.

Kandi's new venture isn't even the most bizarre career change of them all. Phaedra Parks, a high-profile Atlanta attorney, catches the business bug and wants to open up a funeral parlor business after getting involved in the arrangements of her great aunt's memorial service. She even tells Kandi that one of her hobbies is to create the programs for funeral services.

I have no doubt that if she and her husband Apollo do get into the business, she will bring a lot of flair to the industry, even saying about her own aunt's memorial, "I gotta make this funeral POP."

We didn't get much of a career update on Kim Zolciak or Sheree Whitfield. Kim, who is pregnant and in love with her fiance, Kroy Biermann, is still trying to make it as a singer. Sheree still seems to be following her acting dream. This season will also feature her building her dream home, and we will probably continue to see fallout from her business arrangement gone bust with Nene. I wonder whatever happened to her fashion line, She by Sheree?

So what can we learn from the ladies of Atlanta? Here's what I've gleaned:

  • Follow your dreams. If you believe in it, then you can achieve it.

  • Hard work is the key to success. You have to be a hustler in today's job market. Focus on getting your name in front of employers and networking with people to make the connections that can lead you to the next step in your career.

  • Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Learn how to turn your interests and talents into various careers. Even if you have a full-time job, you can still do consulting or freelance work on the side as not only a creative outlet but as a business venture, too.

  • Have an "I will succeed" attitude. Basically, take Nene's attitude from the .gif above and apply it toward you career. Don't take no for an answer, and if you're running into walls, change direction and keep going. Don't let haters get you down and apply the other famous "Housewives" catchphrase to your life: "Let your haters be your motivators."

Sure, while we can chitchat all day about these women and how easy it is for them to explore more career opportunities, we don't all have the money or exposure from reality television to get us in the door. But that doesn't mean that we can't take the creativity, passion and drive and apply it to our own lives as we pursue our own dreams, whatever they may be. For more advice and tips on how to improve your career search, enhance your resume or cover letter, or to learn about other career opportunities, visit our advice & resources section on or search previous articles on the blog.

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