Screw it. I want to something different. You ponder it for a number of reasons: Job frustration, the sense that you’ve been in one place or one industry too long or you’d just like a new challenge.
I was there three years ago, believing that after 15 years at EE Times (five of which I spent laying off editors), that I should expand and challenge my content- and community-building skills elsewhere. That turned out to be more of a challenge than I realized, and the publishing business proved more resilient than anyone thought.
I learned a lot in those three years, and that's why I really appreciated reading Ruth Glover’s book “More Than a Paycheck: Inspiration and Tools for Career Change.” ($24.95; Smoking Dog Publishing, 245 pages).
Glover, a longtime recruiter and staffing professional in the semiconductor industry, decided a few years ago to put down in print many of the stories she hears every day and many of the lessons she’s imparted learned from her clients and imparted along the way.
The 20 people profiled in this easy read are divided into three main sections:
Most of you reading this have at one point or more in your career considered a change.
- Mentors and Incidents
- Power-Believing in a higher power
- Persistence-Believing yourself
- A fourth, smaller, section offers a few tools and tips to manage career change, but, as Glover, ever the realist, writes, “Many, many books with much more detail are available in your local bookstores and libraries. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest bookstore or library for more information, if you need it.”
You may see yourself or people you know in some of the folks profile.
Take “Evolving Ed.”
Ed was deeply influenced by key teachers in school, one of whom took the class on a field trip where they visited a huge room filled with computers. That became his passion, and after college, he became a technical guru at a telecommunications company.
His love of helping other people, which he picked up from his father, eventually found him managing huge projects. He picked up an MBA along the way, and after 10 years, shifted to another engineering company where he took a sales-operations post. Later he partnered with a friend to help build that man’s business.
He was flexible and curious through good economies and bad. Still,
“Much to Ed’s surprise, he found people in transition who were much more bewildered than he. He found people from his old telecom industry who could not, or would not, move out of their comfort zones and into new and exciting ventures. … And he found a passion to try to help these folks.”
Never preachy, Glover pauses in each profile to pull in the reader with an engaging question or two based on the first few hundred words of the profile. At the end of each is another series of questions presented in work-sheet form for the reader to address and write notes.
The real pleasure in Glover’s style is how she deftly builds characters with a certain remoteness from the reader. They are not too simply characterized that we don’t believe the stories; nor are they overly described to the point where are own biases about a particular character would interfere with the points the author is bringing out through each.
This is a quick read you can tackle on a plane (as I did, not coincidentally returning from appearing on a recruitment panel
with Glover in Texas).
I’d recommend keeping it on your desk to share with colleagues confronting career questions and to crack it open yourself from time to time for motivation, inspiration or just affirmation.