Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book Review: 48 Days to the Work You Love

In our continuing search to make our lives happier and better, Nicole and I have been checking out from the library a number of books about improving your work life. 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller is one such recently-read endeavor.

Miller is a Christian and the book has a Christian theme and lots of Bible quotes. Non-Christians may find this off-putting but, it's worth getting over that because anyone could profit from reading the book. First, the Christian stuff is easy enough to skip. But more importantly, the Christian perspective to work life is probably one that a great number of non-Christians would appreciate anyway, belief in God not required. What I mean is that Miller's perspective is (a) money doesn't buy happiness, even at work; (b) we all have a calling or vocation, (whether it comes from God or not you can decide); and (c) we will only be truly successful doing work we love in accord with our calling. Consequently, if we are doing what we love (what God made us for if you will) we will find ourselves joyously serving others rather than counting out the days to retirement.

Of course, lots of books say this kind of thing, but Miller also gives practical advice on resumes, interviewing, and job hunting. My favorite piece of advice was about resumes. Miller recommends constantly updating your resume even if you love your job. The resume becomes an exercise in taking stock of where you are in your career and what skills you have developed. This focus on skills is also important. If you're stuck not just in a job, but in a career you don't like, how can a resume that lays out your experience and progress in that particular field help you land any other kind of job? Miller suggests rewriting your resume to focus on skills rather than on chronology. (I like this idea and the book has helpful samples to view, but a skills-based resume is pretty uncommon I think. I wonder if employers feel like you're hiding something with an unconventional resume?)

The worst that could be said about this book is that Miller has synthesized a lot of traditional career information you could get elsewhere and then "Christianized" it to sell to a target audience. But his synthesis is a good one, as is his perspective, so there's no reason not to check this book out.

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