I met Susan Strayer shortly after JibberJobber was created, in 2006. Susan was working on a book called The Right Job, Right Now and felt that JibberJobber might be a perfect complement to her book. In fact, she started to talk about JibberJobber as she marketed her book, in fliers and presentations. It was pretty flattering that someone of her stature was talking about JibberJobber, and I was gratified that she felt it complemented her stuff (which was one of my original goals – to complement career offerings).
I got a copy of The Right Job, Right Now and have been thumbing through it for quite some time. I really like what she’s put together, but it has taken me longer than I expected to make progress with the book. I initially approached it as I have most other books, with the intention of reading it quickly, from beginning to start.
That was the problem… this can be a “beginning to start” book, but I find it’s more like a career management user’s manual than anything else. While it’s subtitled “The complete tool-kit for finding your perfect career,” it is more than that. Let me break it down to show why it’s more than just “finding your perfect career.”
Part I has five chapters, and is named “What Do You Really Want To Do? A Career Plan for the Rest of Your Life.” This is where she walks you through various exercises to help you come up with your “sweet spot,” helping you figure out exactly what you want to be when you grow up. I like her approach more than tests that I’ve seen where they say “you’d be a good mortician. Or software sales rep… either one would suit you fine!”
In these first few chapters Susan Strayer walks us through the “Kaleidoscope Career Model” where we actually figure out what our perfect job would be. What is my risk level? What kind of hours will make me happiest (and most productive)? How do I value benefits, salary, security, etc? During these chapters, and with the concept of the kaleidoscope, we can find that sweet spot, which she argues is where we really need to end up.
I can’t argue with that.
Part II is named “Career Action: Getting It In Gear.” This is where she breaks down the job search process, including networking, resumes, personal branding, etc. The last two chapters of Part II (which has seven chapters) are Closing the Deal (chapter 11) and Taking and Making the Job (chapter 12).
I think this is where most job search books end, right? After you find the job?
Susan Strayer put in a Part III, which is what you do after you land the job… very cool. There are six chapters in Part III: Managing Your Career: Staying Challenged, Sane, and Motivated. Here are three very cool chapters:
- Chapter 16: Making the Grade is about employee reviews/evaluations. Susan has significant HR experience, and learning about how to make the most of a review is pretty cool (most of my reviews where a joke).
- Chapter 17: Playing the Political Game is self explanatory… again, her HR (and recruiting) experience provides a great perspective on how to deal with office politics.
- Chapter 18: The Fond Farewell. Maybe I don’t read enough, but I can’t remember another book that talks about how to get out. Brilliant. In business, a purpose of contracts is to figure out how all parties can walk away from a deal. How come we don’t read more about how to walk away from an employer the right way, with regard to our career? What a cool ending to this career management manual.
This book is not a lite read… but it is a great insight into career management from someone who has experience as an HR professional, a recruiter, and of course a job seeker. Do yourself a favor and spend the $10 to $16 on Amazon… I bet you’ll find yourself referring back to this book over the years!