New year, new beginnings?

Donald Lickley reviews an "excellent" careers handbook for information and knowledge professionals.

<< back Page 2 of 2

However the book is not intended to be a prescriptive shopping list, or a cookie-cutter template for a perfect career. The authors place all the responsibility for success in the reader’s hands. Much of their style is discursive: rather than provide lists of dos and don’ts, they offer a series of questions for the reader to consider, and simple examples of good, general professional practice on which to reflect. A set of case studies towards the end follows this approach, by presenting career snapshots in a collection of interviews. The questions presented to each of the case study subjects would form a good basis of a self-counselling session for anyone considering their next career move. If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently? What would you do the same? If you were speaking at a graduation ceremony, what one piece of career advice would you give? Clearly laid out, and written in a straightforward and jargon-free style, this is a book that can be read cover-to-cover, or dipped into as and when the need arises.

Finally, the authors have enough perspective on their subject to inject a healthy layer of irony.  In the introduction they appear gleefully to risk the wrath of more traditional elements of the profession by inviting their readers to "please deface the pages with your own thoughts [and] festoon the pages with sticky notes" (p.2). More significantly, in the chapter on 'Making the leap to a managerial role'  they observe:

"The vast number of books dealing with management might suggest there are 'recipes' or 'recommended approaches' for working as a manager. Don’t be fooled - being a successful manager does not mean taking direction from books (as Ulla mistakenly, briefly, believed early in her career). Rather it requires sensitivity, openness, a willingness to admit mistakes and a knack for gaining the trust of staff members." (p.153)

As someone who has more than a mild intolerance for the management and self-help handbook genre, this almost made me laugh out loud. On a serious note however, you could substitute the phrase "planning a satisfying career" for "being a successful manager", and "peers and colleagues" for "staff members" and the rest of the paragraph would still hold true.

I am surprised to see that The Information and Knowledge Professionals Career Handbook has been on the Chandos catalogue since 2011 without being more widely reviewed in the UK.  In an interview with Dennie Heye of SLA Europe in 2011, Ulla de Stricker suggests that the book would be an ideal graduation present for a new information professional. Regardless of what stage you have reached in your career, if you are planning to make a new beginning in 2014, this excellent book will start you off in the right direction.

Donald was reviewing The Information and Knowledge Professional’s Career Handbook: define and create your success, Ulla de Stricker and Jill Hurst-Wahl, (Chandos, 2011).

Image courtesy of Courtney Dirks via Flickr.

<< back Page 2 of 2