BY ELSA KLENSCH :
CAREER CHANGES: Sometimes they are welcome, sometimes they are
not. But career changes are inevitable. Experts predict that young women today
will change careers four to five times during their working life.
Sounds tough, and it is. I know, I have done it at
least three times. But each change stimulated me, and each time I was glad I
have done it.
I started out as a reporter covering hard news, got into
fashion magazines, then TV and now I'm writing mysteries. My detective, Sonya
Iverson, is a TV producer, and a combination of many women I have worked with.
She is tough, honest, and intuitive. She is divorced, likes to date, but is
wary of serious involvement.
My first important change was leaving a reporting job
on Women's Wear Daily to go to Vogue. It was the first time I had
worked with an all-woman staff.
Women supporting women? Forget it. Gossip was rampant
and so was petty jealousy, but I learned to steer clear of office politics and
focus on the magazine and its content. I had taken the job for self-
development, not to be loved.
And those insecure fashion editors taught me a lot.
Each of them had a great sense of personal style. Watching them made it easier
for me to develop my own style. I owe them for that.
My second big career change was starting in television.
I had long believed that fashion shows belonged on television. So when I got a
call from CNN, it was a vision come true.
They asked me to do a show about "women's interests."
That was just the job for proving how TV could spread the fashion
Style with Elsa Klensch went on air the week
CNN began in June 1980. It was the first time a regularly scheduled program on
style was broadcast internationally.
At that time I knew little about TV production and many
of my suggestions were opposed. I was fighting tradition -- the way things had
always been done.
But even though I
realized I might be putting a glass ceiling over my own head, I fought
TV was so different from print. For one
thing, I learneded the value of having a strong team -- and also the importance
of my providing leadership.
The other lesson I learned from television was to show
off my assets. One asset was my voice. So I took lessons to use it well, and to
keep it distinct and recognizable. I also had my hair styled to frame my long
face, and I took off 10 pounds.
After 20 years at CNN I felt it was time to move
I had always read mysteries, and I decided
to try my hand at writing a mystery novel. I was lucky. I got a four-book
contract. Writing novels is great fun, but it takes more concentration than
anything I have ever done.
I decided to work at home in my study. I wanted the
room to be special, so I painted it a clear red and hung - floor-to-ceiling -
black-and-white prints and photos I collected over the years. The contrast of
the red with the black and white helps give me the stimulation I need after so
many years of working with people. I call it my sanctuary and I am content
Career changes are frightening, but
I have found it is not so
much a matter of where you go next. To make each change a positive experience
what really matters is to keep focused on the work -- and staying tough enough
to remain true to your own uniqueness.
To schedule an interview with
Patty Garcia, Senior Publicist
Tor & Forge Books Tf: (646) 307-5410
Live at 10:00, Dead
at 10:15 /
Shooting Script /
||Web site design, images and all written matierial are
Copyright Elsa Klensch, 2004 - 2007