Jaclyn Johnson is the founder and CEO of Create & Cultivate, a digital platform and conference for millennial women in business.
Her new book, WorkParty, showcases a number of leading female entrepreneurs (including Christene Barberich, the cofounder of Refinery29; Alli Webb, the creator of Drybar, Morgan Debaun, the founder of Blavity; Jen Gotch, CCO of ban.do, and designer Rebecca Minkoff), and illustrates how up-and-coming generations of women can redefine work on their own terms.
Hard work paying off is the American Dream I was raised on.
I'm proposing the idea of the WorkParty as a new version of the American Dream. It's based on hard work, but it's driven by passion rather than necessity. When you’re work-partying, you don’t clock in and out, but tune in every minute because you are a part of something you love. In reality, that's an unbelievably hard feat.
My career has been through a million ups and downs. As a young professional in my 20s, I suffered two massive blows: I looked, leaped, moved across the country for a job, and then was abruptly let go. Attempting to turn that door into a window, I launched a promising company with a trusted business partner, but soon discovered that my business partner had made detrimental decisions for the company without my knowledge. I went through a brutal business breakup. I was 24, but it was worthwhile.
By time I was 32, I had sold a company, launched a buzzy new one, bought my first home, found the love of my life. How? By turning distrust into determination, frustration into fuel, and heartache into hard work.
I am not the Wolf of Wall Street. I am not a Tony Robbins figure, here to espouse my great theories on life. Rather, WorkParty is comprised of the lessons I learned and the advice I had wished I’d gotten when I was 21 and at my first major job. Or when I was 24, bright-eyed, and a bit naïve while launching my first company with a business partner. Or 28 and striking out on my own. Or even at 30, having created and cultivated a community of over 500,000 women.
Together, we’re all creating and cultivating the career of our dreams. We leaned in, and now we are standing up. We are redefining work for a new generation of women who want it all and more.
So consider this my official invitation to you, to start your own WorkParty where creative and entrepreneurial woman celebrate each other’s successes. Where you can celebrate your own achievements because you are doing it all yourself, unabashedly, at the best bash the workplace has ever known. Joy has been sucked out of our careers for far too long. Let's bring it back, because who said business had to be boring?
This is an edited excerpt from the book WorkParty by Jaclyn Johnson. It is published by Simon & Schuster and available at bookstores and online in August 21.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated details regarding Johnson's business breakup.