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Two New Books You Should Read

I’ve just gotten done reading a couple of new books. The first, Where to Go From Here, by Douglas Campbell III, is a primer on how to manage your business — and yourself. To Campbell, the personal is one with the professional.

A well-known business coach, Campbell bills himself as “The Success Coach.” He has worked with loads of business, mostly small to medium-sized, and acts as a one-man Board of Directors, helping them manage and grow. With an MBA from The Darden School of Business at UVa, he’s got thetechnical chops.

What I really like about this book is that it is filled with questionnaires, surveys and other “how-to-get-there-from-here” tools. They are introduced sequentially so that they each build on the ones that come before. There are also many examples taken from the author’s experiences that are very motivational and serve to let the reader know he/she is not alone.

Finally, at the end, after you’ve done the exercises, you should come out with a much better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses and, most importantly, whether you’re compatible with your chosen field and whether it makes you happy.

This is a very accessible read, logically laid out and itall makes sense.  And if you don’t own a business, don’t let that stop you. It’s a book anyone can use to help find lifelong work that fits who they are.

Still throwing your hands up in frustration working with the latest people to enter the workforce? Then Bruce Tulgan’s Not Everyone Gets A Trophy isfor you. Tulgan writes knowledgeably about Gen Y-ers and how the older generations can work together with them productively and, ultimately, happily. The big secret Tulgan shares is that they just didn’t learn the things you and I did and so we have to teach them and help them along the way. Hmmm, doesn’t sound so different from any new generation entering the workplace. Nonetheless, based on my own conversations with those who manage these young people, there does seem to be some extra angst that is included in the package.

Tulgan provides numerous stories from the front. I have to admit that several of them made my jaw drop. It’s not that I’m surprised about the cultural differences between generations, but that some of these younger people are so unbelievably clueless and rude! Of course, I probably shouldn’t be surprised because this is ageneration that grew up socializing on the Internet. They simply never had enough experience and practice reading the nonverbal cues that are only available face-to-face or, at least, by phone. But, didn’t their parents teach them anything? As a matter of fact, Tulgan insists that Gen Y’s managers engage in “in loco parentis.”

Unfortunately for Tulgan, the current state of the economy puts these Gen Y-ers in the one-down position. Although companies are still hiring, and entry level positions are the most plentiful, there still is a recession on, so employers can afford to be much choosier than 9 or 10 months ago when this book was likely still being written. And, of course, there will be a recovery and a newly robust hiring market. So once you get past the first couple ofchapters, there are some very useful takeaways. Among these are providing context, being direct, and letting these new, inexperienced workers have some power and authority (as appropriate).

As the clever title implies, the author knows whom he’s dealing with. One of the subchapter headings says it all: “When You Are At Work, Everyone But You is Your Customer.” It’s that basic.

Copyright 2009 Ruth Sherman. All Rights Reserved.

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