BOOKS

MY RECOMMENDATIONS TO LEARN ABOUT CAREER STRATEGIES, BEST PRACTICE AND ROLE MODELS

Browsing someone’s bookshelves is a great way of getting to know this person. By browsing through this tiny selection of my books, you will get a first impression of the reading (and writing) that influences my work as a career coach and trainer. I also hope that some of these books will speak to you in a way that will make you want to read them too. They are all worth their time.

MONSTER ZÄHMEN

2015. I was about to finish my PhD. It was the end of an era and I had no idea in what professional direction I wanted to go. “What do all these humanities graduates do if they don’t want to stay in academia?” I did not want to believe that they all went into publishing/journalism , “the cultural sector” (whatever that was) or primary and secondary education. I also refused to be sucked up by the resignation and pessimism lingering amongst the (post)graduate community at university.

So I decided I would interview people with humanities degrees who were already well established in their jobs. I tried to represent as big a variety of jobs as possible. While doing that I also tried to find out what I wanted to do professionally myself. It turned out that conducting these interviews, reflecting and writing about them, undertaking my own experiments in different fields, was a very effective way to identify my own strengths, preferences and values.

THE BOOK HAS TWO OBJECTIVES:

  • To widen your horizon of possible career paths for humanities graduates. (Because, really, almost anything is possible.)
  • To offer reflection and recognition of the most common anxiety-inducing topics: decision-making, meaningfulness of work, motivation, money.

WORKING IDENTITY – UNCONVENTIONAL STRATEGIES FOR REINVENTING YOUR CAREER

Read this book!

To me, it was the scientific confirmation that my methodological approach to figuring out what you want to do professionally in your life is sound. Ibarra interweaves an easy-to-read rendering of psychological and sociological research with her accounts of a dozen individual stories of career transitions.

Ibarra is a professor for organizational psychology. The main driving question for this book was: How do people make deep career changes? 

Are there any phases and if so, what are they? What are success factors? Are there common strategies that work for all people? What are obstacles and how can they be overcome? What stops people from making the change they want?

So far, this book has not been translated into German. But I have written a blog series (in German) to sum up its most important content. You can start reading it here. 

 

NETWORKING FOR PEOPLE WHO HATE NETWORKING

Great title, isn’t it? Chances are, that if that title resonates with you, you are an introvert. Welcome to the club. 

If you, like so many of my workshop participants and coaching clients, feel uncomfortable at the thought of having to network, fear not. There are different ways of making networking opportunities not only bearable, but actually enjoyable. Devora Zack offers a structured guide by substituting conventional networking rules that work for extroverts with new rules that cater for the needs of introverts. 

1. PAUSE – (instead of pattering and prattling)

Pause and listen. Think before you answer a question. Ask questions. These are all qualities that come naturally to introverts. So let’s use them.

2. PROCESS – (instead of continuously promoting yourself)

Believing that you have to “sell yourself” may be the biggest turn-off at any bigger social event. Instead, process the information you hear carefully, document it, save it, make meaningful connections. 

3. PACE – (instead of partying)

With a clear time frame, networking gains a lot more clarity and becomes manageable. 

DESIGNING YOUR LIFE – HOW TO BUILD A WELL-LIVED, JOYFUL LIFE

Authored by seasoned design thinkers, this book gives you all you need to start taking ownership of your life. Burnett and Evans illustrate how everyone can create a life they enjoy by using the 5 innovation steps of the design thinking process:

1. EMPATHIZE: Develop a deep understanding of the challenge.

2. DEFINE: Clearly articulate the problem you want to solve.

3. IDEATE: Brainstorm potential solutions; select and develop your solution.

4. PROTOTYPE: Design a series of prototypes to test all or part of your solution.

5. TEST: Engage in a continuous short-cycle innovation process to continually improve your design.

 

BUSINESS MODEL YOU – A ONE-PAGE METHOD FOR REINVENTING YOUR CAREER

What I appreciate about this book is that it invites us to think about our life as if it were a company. It’s an approach that is extremely unusual for most people, unless they have at some point in their lives started their own business. And because it’s unusual, unfamiliar, it offers so many occasions for new insights, new perspectives and new questions. Unsurprisingly, all of these are helpful when we want our lives to be different. 

Thinking about our lives as constituted of 9 elements that are all interdependent and yet all individually adjustable gives at once a sense of oversight and agency. 

 

DIE GUERILLA BEWERBUNG – UNGEWÖHNLICHE STRATEGIEN ERFOLGREICHER JOBSUCHER

Svenja Hofert is a proliferous author on business trends, coaching and career-related topics in Germany. 

This book is a wonderful source of inspiration for strengthening your creativity and courage with respect to job-finding strategies. Hofert explains why applying to job ads yields a very slim chance of getting the job you want – and tells you what you can, and indeed, should do instead. Try one or several of  16 strategies for different types of people and situations. Adapt them to your needs. Play with them. 

As in all my other recommendations, the emphasis here lies again on agency, self-efficacy and the courage to do things differently. Because how can you expect things to be different if you always do things the same way?

KARRIERE NACH DER WISSENSCHAFT – ALTERNATIVE BERUFSWEGE FÜR PROMOVIERTE

If you are looking for more classical career paths for PhD holders with a humanities background, this may be the book for you. Miriam Müller portrays three individual careers for each of the four job families she has chosen to represent in her book:

1. Science Management

2. Politics and Administration

3. Culture, Media and Education

4. Industry and Consulting

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