Career Advice, In the News

Handle Career Crises Like ‘Cathy’

For 34 years, the “Cathy” comic strip has chronicled the ups, downs and hilarities of being a working woman. This October, the strip will come to an end, the Chicago Tribune reported last week. Cathy Guisewite, the creator of the strip, says she decided to quit so she could spend more time with her family, especially her teenage daughter.

Cathy was known for focusing on what she called “the four major guilt groups” in a woman’s life — mothers, food, love and career. Critics have called “Cathy” anti-feminist because of the comic strip’s occasional hang-up with shallow subjects like shopping for swimsuits. But Guisewite says “certain stereotypes about women are the most fun to write about,” the Tribune reports.

“The subjects like weight and style and look are these microcosms of all the extra expectations that are placed on women,” Guisewite says. “As women have become more powerful and stronger, it has become a lot more complicated for women to feel good about themselves. I like to think that ‘Cathy’ is the voice for women who can’t say, ‘I feel stupid about something silly, but it still really ruined my day.’”

When you’re having a tough day at work, channel Cathy and rely on some of the methods that have helped her survive the workforce for almost 35 years:

  • Slip into something comfortable. There’s just something about sliding your feet into fuzzy slippers after a long day that makes your troubles evaporate.
  • Snuggle up. Although Cathy eventually married longtime boyfriend Irving, for many years she simply snuggled on the couch with her affectionate dog. And her relationship with her furry friend seemed to take her mind off the grind.
  • Indulge in something delicious. Maybe it’s stereotypical, but chocolate has always been a big part of Cathy’s relaxation regimen. There are some days when a few bites of something yummy just helps release the tension of a tough day.
  • Let it all out. Every Cathy reader is familiar with the character’s favorite expression of frustration: “Ack!” As Cathy has long understood, sometimes you just need to close the door and let out a scream to make it all better.

If you want more “Cathy” after the comic strip ends in October, check out one of the “Cathy” books — Guisewite has published more than 30 over the years.