ASSOCIATES (vol. 10, no. 3, March 2004) -

*What Next?*
[cover subtitle: the complete guide to taking control of your working life]


Barbara Moses, Ph.D.
London ; New York : DK (Dorling Kindersley), 2003. 336 p.
ISBN 0-7894-9355-1 softcover

Book Review


Sylvia Skene
Library Technician
Advanced Education Media Acquisitions Centre
Langara College, Vancouver, BC, Canada

There are an infinite number of career and life quest books out there, most of them about as substantial as candyfloss and as original as lounge singing.

This one's different, folks. If you're ready and willing to roll up your sleeves and get to work on your career, this is one of the few books that will give you the tools and tips to bring about real improvements and find and focus your career direction, not just give you bromides and blather.

Written by Dr. Barbara Moses, president of BBM Human Resource Consultants and noted author, speaker, and columnist on career issues, the woman knows whereof she speaks.

The book is divided into five chapters: Know yourself; Find your perfect path; Find great work; Overcome career challenges; and, Boost your career intelligence. In each chapter you will find straightforward advice, lists of to-do's (and where necessary, not-to-do's), self-assessment tools, career questions, discovering your work vision(s), setting goals, finding and defining your skills and assets, and other guidance tools.

A number of career books have these tools, although not generally to the extent this book has. (The excellent career primer What color is your parachute?, by Richard Nelson Bolles, is an exception, of course.)

One interesting exercise early on asks you to identify your primary, secondary and tertiary core motivators. Moses describes eight types, such as "personal developers" and "stability seekers," each with strengths and trouble spots, and which kinds of work suit which types. These are crucial in knowing which of ten industry sectors you should look at or avoid. As well, you may discover that your motivators conflict with each other, e.g. sociability seekers who are also career builders may have problems being liked when they are also very ambitious.

Moses also looks at real-life issues: when to quit; when to stay, and how to enhance your career if you do; how to be career savvy; how to deal with boredom or burnout or difficult bosses; deciding whether you want and can do part-time, telecommuting, self-employment, contract, or "portfolio" (a combination of paid, unpaid, challenging, artistic, "cobbled-together," volunteer or activist) work; and, identifying risks and challenges, and finding and maintaining support when making changes.

Regarding the last point, in the "Find great work" chapter, Moses counsels the reader to identify and approach a variety of people to support and act as an informal advisory group. She also cautions that a spouse or partner, while acting as moral support, may not be your best career advisor, especially if you're searching for new work while unemployed, as he or she may be too anxious to look objectively at whether a work offer suits you and your goals.

In addition, Moses touches on less commonly discussed but important career territory: the value of finding (or being) a mentor; having a crisis of meaning or failure with work; career issues for older workers; identifying contrasting corporate cultures, and which you'd be more comfortable in, and so on.

Like many career guides this one has more examples and issues for the recent graduate or management-level, private-sector career changer, but Moses has obviously made efforts to include anyone who is considering a job or career change or enhancement in her guide.

The woman who originally recommended this book to me, as she had found it a great source of inspiration and encouragement, also mentioned that it happened to be her last day of work. She was already moving on to another…

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