Monday, September 05, 2005

Usually this blog deals with issues of grief, death and faith. I am working on another blog to discuss other issues at other -- but that isn't up and running yet and I wanted to post.

In the work world, there are a number of messages you can send and a number you are sent. Books that purport to tell you how to be successful at work are legion (with exactly what that means). They are of the following kinds (regardless of what they claim to be on their title):

1) Books that tell you how to send the message that you are a useful worker bee (the kind of people businesses need to run, after all).
2) Books that send you messages about how to be happy as a worker bee.
3) Books that peddle myths, for the purpose of getting your money, that are useless or dangerous.
4) Books that give you skills or elements to improve your knowledge base and that will help you make progress (books like Dress for Success or The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense at Work.

Crooked Timber and Cheese links to a discussion or two on the topic, especially New York Times Article and White Collar Invisibility (which has the useful warning All those career coaches and employment workshops are the white-collar equivalent of the predatory creditors in poor neighborhoods. The author's books are flawed, very flawed, but interestng too. Much of John Bruce's Journey is about a guy who is a worker bee but who gives off the wrong message over and over again.

Most people do not understand class. America is rife with class issues and getting a job involves:

a) communicating that you are a worker bee of the appropriate class for the job.
b) communicating that you are not a threat.

Employers want to hire you (well, they really, really want to hire someone to get work done that needs to be done). They really want to keep you in the job they hire you for too (sometimes blocking promotions because a manager is a manager while a good worker bee is hard to find in some areas -- though in others, good managers are essential).

Many times those who have lost children also lose their jobs. The incapacity of grief leads to other issues and that leads to job loss. Suddenly you are looking for a job, not at your best, but at your all time worst. Most of the books out there are useless to you or harmful.

But, there is a free library near you (with interlibrary loan, probably for free as well), and as long as you take it only a step or two at a time, you can work your way back from anything. The key is continuous, steady work going after reasonable incremental steps.

There is always a way forward. The Man Who Planted Trees (note: Giono ran into difficulties with the American editors who in 1953 asked him to write a few pages about an unforgettable character. Apparently the publishers required a story about an actual unforgettable character, while Giono chose to write some pages about that character which to him would be most unforgettable. The real story of a real man who created a forest is at true story, real forest)


Anonymous said...

I came across your blog today. I have a family friendly discussion forum and in the christian section there is a thread on the well, I have a topic in the debate section on feminism and would really enjoy hearing from Mormons if they would like to comment.
Registration is free. Forum Rules are posted at the top of the various sections throughout the forum.
Nice blog.

Stephen said...

BTW, well worth reading is:

Anonymous said...

Stephen--I was reading your archives and saw that you mentioned Richard Otieno. Could you e-mail me and tell me what you know about him when you get the chance?

Stephen said...

Just found:

Remember her and her children as well.

Stephen said...

Also, this was funny:

(ok, I like dark humor sometimes).

Stephen said...

I'm not really kidding. I mean, I don't know about the rest of you, but when I was eighteen, if my peer group had taken up swallowing razor blades I would have been happily killed myself trying to set a world record. And if they had thought school was for losers and the cool thing to do was to hang out all day listening to music and running dime bags for the local narcotics emporium, I would have been right there with them. Lucky for me, my peer group thought that the most important thing in the entire world was to get an ivy league diploma, so I went to Penn and ended up shilling for drug companies on my blog.


On things to do to be successful