Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Book Review - The Subversive Job Search

Published by Career Press

First of all let me say that I liked the book. The Subversive Job Search is an autobiographical account of author Alan Corey’s quest to land a six figure job. It's a quick read, written in first person, and a nice switch-up from so many other (and drier) offerings in the job search and career field. 
The Subversive Job Search

But job searching, as a cut and dried category, is not the singular focus of the book. Rather it’s about how Alan goes about the process of searching and achieving his goal. He portrays himself as an entrepreneurial, outside-the-box, thinker-mover type. This seems to fit. Although there’s a fare amount of I, I, me, me that can make reading autobiographies such a chore, Alan’s approach feels genuine. Sprinkled throughout are numerous self effacing and humorous comments. Add to this an every-day casual tone and the result is a fun and realistic read. It works.

The first 45 pages are a romp. The narrative jumps and flies, frequently referencing Corey’s first book, A Million Bucks by 30. This second book begins during the time period between the two books, about having money, not having it, riding high, dropping low, therapy, push, drive, and being fired. There’s a lot of ground covered in these initial pages. I came away wanting to know more about this period in the author’s life. Perhaps in book three …

From there, job searching enters the picture. Alan gets down to business, tussling with the nitty-gritty of managing and adapting to the ebb and flow of the process.  Readers will find interesting and useful discussions on free certificate Vs formal education, working with recruiters, personal branding, and the merits of taking on a free agent mindset. Furthermore, Alan includes resources and links that complement his overall philosophy and approach.

This work will immediately appeal to career oriented, college educated, 22-45 year old job seekers, particularly those targeting positions in tech sales and support. This is the field of play for Alan’s challenge to himself. Anyone working their way up the ladder in these areas will enjoy the book and get something from it.

But there’s a job search back story here as well. It involves the how and why of Alan’s approach. I have not met Alan nor have I read his first book but I can imagine him to be the Type-A, goal oriented, hard charging achiever that he describes. As such he pretty much had to do and discover for himself; to find out for example, that resume bombing has a poor ROI or that jack-of-all-trades usually doesn't pay. With a little research these job search 101 lessons could have been avoided. But then they and other job search / career advancement situations would not have been included in the book. Individuals struggling with the same issues, as well as those of us interested in the how-to of job search, wouldn't have the benefit of Alan's unique perspective.

Outside-the-box thinkers have to go about things their own way. Alan made job search and advancement into a game. He constructed an approach that suited his goal oriented, self-directed, entrepreneurial style. Others going through life with similar personality default settings can learn a great deal from how he did it. For this group especially, The Subversive Job Search should be required reading.

Travel well.
John Jeffrey Lundell

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