Something to consider …

As regular readers of this space will recall, I've gotten permission from time-to-time to bring you one of Jon Gordon's newsletter posts as a “guest” entry here, as he frequently has thoughts to share which impact the job search, and which I'd thought would be useful to The Job Stalker readers.

I was recently in contact with the folks at Wiley about another matter, and they asked if I'd be interested in getting review copies of several new books they had coming out, among which was Jon's new book, The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work. I'd seen this referenced in his e-mails, and figured that it would probably be “close enough” to something helpful to the job search that I said to send it along.

Frankly, and this is very likely a “it's just me” issue, The Seed really wasn't something that I connected with particularly well. As you know, I gave up reading fiction several years ago, and so the “story telling” modality is not my preferred way to get information, and this is “one of those books” that spins out a parable about some character from which one is supposed to extract inspirational and/or instructive material … which has really never worked for me, but I realize that I'm not in the majority in this. So, in the words of Dennis Miller's classic quip: your mileage may vary, and this might be exactly the sort of thing you'd benefit from.

Because of the format, I've not been able to focus in on any particular exemplary bit of text to give you a taste of what this is about. Needless to say, there's a more in-depth look at this over in my review, but the broad strokes are that the main character, after considering other paths, ended up in business a few years out of college, and was quite successful. Five years down the line, he's lost a lot of his enthusiasm for his job, and is ordered to take a 2-week vacation by his boss to try to decide if he wants to stay there. He and his dog (who has an odd role in the story) head off on a series of visits in which he encounters assorted characters who discuss with him a number of points that have something to do with “getting his head together” about his situation.

Obviously, this is somewhat vague, which is how these things always seem to me, but the general pattern of what the protagonist is going through is a series of considerations that anybody, and I'm obviously focusing on folks like us who are “in between jobs”, could well use to see what their options are. Needless to say, I'd prefer to have this material laid out without the fictional/symbolic matrix surrounding it here, but the process that the book suggests (in its round-about way) seemed like something that could help a lot of folks in these sorts of personally stressful situations.

Of course, if you're the sort of person who finds “teaching stories” appealing, you're likely to quite enjoy this book.

Speaking of books … there was another one that I recently finished that I had considered featuring here, but it really was “too far over the line” from any general job-search context. However, it was quite interesting, and if you're looking for a Marketing gig, it's a useful thing to stick in your mental data banks. It's Rex Briggs & Greg Stuart's What Sticks: Why Most Advertising Fails and How to Guarantee Yours Succeeds, which takes a look at why over a hundred billion dollars a year worth of advertising dollars are wasted, while suggesting procedures to make sure that doesn't happen. Again, if you're not in the Ad biz (or related fields), this probably wouldn't mean anything to you, but the concepts in it are very applicable to any message-delivery context (and would be handy points to bring up in an interview!) for those of us who are.

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