Career Comeback: Eight steps to getting back on your feet when you're fired, laid off, or your business ventures has failed--and finding more job satisfaction than ever before Paperback – Jan 6 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Richardson, currently manager of the recruitment Web site of the Wall Street Journal and author of other career guides (Jobsmarts for Twentysomethings), was looking for work himself in 2000 after his company failed. The practical advice given here is based on his expertise in career guidance as well as on his personal experience finding employment. In addition to providing detailed suggestions for sharpening skills-such as rsum writing, interviewing, working with recruiters and networking-he addresses the psychological and emotional problems that often accompany the loss of a job. The author recommends keeping communication with family members open and discussing the positive steps that will be taken to remedy the situation. As soon as you lose your job or suspect it may happen in the near future, Richardson stresses the importance of establishing whatever financial safety net is available, for example, a severance package (that can be negotiated), savings, unemployment insurance or possibilities for temporary income. Although getting support from others who have lost their own jobs can be useful, it is heartening, as well, to spend time with friends who enjoy your company outside of work. Upbeat and clearly written, Richardson's comeback program will be welcomed by many during this continuing period of economic downturn.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Richardson, who wrote a sharp job-hunting guide for college grads called JobSmarts for TwentySomethings (1995), went on to form a career-counseling business and consulted extensively in the field for eight years. But after an entrepreneurial venture failed, he suffered his own career setback and was forced to become a job seeker himself. Despite his expertise, he found himself experiencing the same fears and frustrations as anyone who is out of work. He ultimately did make a comeback and now works for the Wall Street Journal. This guide is unique in that it focuses on how to deal with both the emotional and practical elements of piecing your life together after a major career setback or disappointment. Richardson gives direct advice about recognizing the warning signs of a possible layoff, preparing for an imminent one, breaking the news to family and friends, finding a support system, and turning things around. With unemployment on the rise, this book should easily find its audience. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
A must read for anyone who has been downsized or is looking to make a change in their career.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
One preliminary note: The cover refers to failed business ventures, but this topic does not appear to be covered. Publishers, not authors, usually write cover copy, so we can't fault Richardson. I believe you'd have to make major adaptations to these 8 steps if your business goes south.
The most valuable information comes in the first half of the book: dealing with being fired. I agree with just about everything Richardson says. He's one of the few authors to recommend sitting down with a financial planner right after you talk to your family. His advice on dealing with an employer after being fired is very sound. And many will find the exercises useful: Review what went wrong -- in and out of your control.
So mostly I like Steps 1-4 of Richardson's 8-step program.
Step 5 ("Find out what matters to you") is a good start, but I think Richardson underestimates the degree to which we identify with our professions. "You're still the same person" strikes me as one of those irritating, useless bromides. Many of us will be branded as an "ex" for a long time and will have difficulty losing that identity, no matter how hard we try. And the experience of losing a career we love can change us in deep ways.
"One role is temporarily diminished while another moves into its place..." won't help those who identify strongly with a profession. And your other roles will be affected by job loss. Friends view you differently. You may not be able to afford the activities you enjoyed with your friends and family. Some arts organizations actually encourage high-level volunteers to resign when they no longer hold jobs.
Steps 6 and 7 - "Find your next move" and "Find your next job" -- are necessarily oversimplified because they're single chapters on topics deserving a whole book. "Go back to an old job" is possible but not likely, and you'll be in a one-down position. And downshifting to a smaller company probably won't hurt your career - but it might.
I disagree most strongly with the author's sections on testing. If you're unemployed and money is tight, skip the tests. Some of my clients have paid hundreds of dollars for tests that proved useless. At mid-career, they'll almost always show you're best qualified for the job you have. And most career tests are so unreliable they shouldn't be used for guidance. Read Annie Paul's book, The Cult of Personality, before taking out your checkbook.
The section on hiring coaches and counselors needs to be expanded. Counselors typically are trained in counseling processes and tests, not careers. Many "career coaches" have little experience with careers, except their own. Some offer expertise; others have "training" in asking questions and helping you "find the answers within you." And you have to decide if you agree with value systems like "law of attraction."
The fee range quoted for coaches and counselors is low. I think you should expect to pay a minimum of $125 - $250 for a single session, which often includes follow-ups. I do know of some coaches and counselors who offer lower fees and frankly, you get what you pay for. Packages cost less and (as the author correctly says) are more helpful.
And to choose a consultant, I would not follow Richardson's suggestion to rely on credentials. Instead, I recommend reviewing websites, brochures and other writing. Invest a few bucks in an e-book before signing up. Coaching organizations do not "verify skills" or enforce any quality control. I once tried to report an "accredited" coach's blatant unethical conduct. Both the coaching school and the ICF refused to get involved, let alone take the coach's name off their "recommended" lists.
Step 8, "back on track," is quite good, especially sections on buyer's remorse and admitting you made a mistake. I would add that a return to work, following a long break or layoff, could be the perfect time to start working with a career coach. Learn from experience and make a good first start.
Finally, I don't think we ever make a "complete comeback." We simply make progress. And, as I noted earlier, we're different. And we should always keep a safety net ready.
Despite these quibbles, I'd recommend this book to clients and website visitors who need to go from Setback to Comeback. You could do a lot worse.
Whatever your situation, Bradley Richardson has written a book that absolutely deserves your consideration. "Career Comeback: Eight Steps to Getting Back On Your Feet When You're Fired, Laid Off, Or Your Business Venture Has Failed--and Finding More Job Satisfaction Than Ever Before" was really the end result of the author going through just such a crisis himself. I have read a few of these books over the years and let me assure you this is clearly the best of the bunch. This book is a cornucopia of ideas and useful advice. He points out many of the useful resources all around you (family, friends, church, agencies etc.) and encourages you to make use of them. I was particularly pleased with the dozens of websites that Richardson recommends that are sure to aid the diligent job seeker in his/her search for that elusive "ideal" situation. Whether you are looking for work in the manufacturing or retail sector or are a seasoned executive who was a victim of "downsizing" this book will prove invaluable in your job search. I will be integrating much of what I have learned here into my own job search. Highly recommended.
Most insightful for me however, were passages detailing the extent to which friends and family members are affected by the psychological fall out common to all job transitions. If you're facing a period of career transition, you owe it them (and yourself) to read this book.