Book Review: Excuse Me, Your Job is Waiting!
A few weeks ago, I won a copy of Excuse Me, Your Job Is Waiting: Attract the Work You Want from Consumerism Commentary (thanks, Flexo!). If the sign above describes your job, then this book is for you!
Actually, I'm not currently looking for employment, but I was interested to know what Laura George had to say about it from a "Law of Attraction" point of view.
Before I read this book, I knew very little about the Law of Attraction, other than the fact that I'd seen it several places on the 'net and that it had something to do with that Oprah book, The Secret. I didn't know if George would expand on it in this book since the focus is on finding employment, but I figured it was worth reading to see what I could see.
As it turned out, George had a lot to say about the Law of Attraction. Basically formulated, it states that like attracts like. She applies it specifically to the realm of feelings, saying that if we feel positively about the world and our place in it, we will attract good things. On the other hand, if we feel negatively or mediocre, we will attract negative or mediocre things. What we are sending out and attracting is, according to George, energy. She explains how to use this to "flip" the negative things we tell ourselves (that cause us to send out negative energy) into positive things (so we will send out, and attract, positive energy), how to build up positive energy when we are in the middle of something draining and difficult like a job search.
In the middle section of her book, George discusses practical ways to go about an actual job search. As someone who has worked in human resources for years, she has a ton of good insights and ideas for thinking about and producing resumes, cover letters, follow-up letters, interviews and, eventually, job offers. I especially liked her list of common articles of clothing and their connotations (sexuality, power, or approachability) and which connotations you might want to be producing in interviews. She is articulate and funny, and if I ever find myself wanting to really go after a particular job, I'll come back to this part of the book for sure.
The last section of the book covers some sundries that didn't seem to fit anywhere else. She talks about rejection, and how to formulate positive thoughts when you don't get a job you thought you wanted and really fit in to. She discusses going solo, starting your own company or freelancing, and is honest about the pros and cons of that. While this part of the book isn't as structured as the rest, it addressed some questions I'd had as I was reading the rest and I was excited to read her answers.
Evaluation: Job Searching
I'm breaking my evaluation of the book into two sections, because I have two very different responses to the book on two different levels.
George's insights into job searching are spot-on. After reading the section on resumes, I feel like I know more about resume-writing than I ever have before (things like, be sure to include keywords from an ad or a posting in the resume, because sometimes they're scanned and evaluated initially by computers). For the first time, I can see how a follow-up letter could be not annoying, but professional and appropriate, and I feel like I could write one.
I also have a much better grasp of what goes on behind the scenes in most companies when they're hiring. Having been there for years, George knows this intimately and explains it with a candor that surprised me. Those sorts of details have always been hush-hush, at least in the companies I've worked for. To know what has to happen internally before anyone can be hired gives me patience and understanding for the people I've been so frustrated with in the past! Her understanding and explanation of some of the labor laws helps me see why some of the hoops that I have felt so stupid jumping through are necessary and appropriate.
Overall, this is one of the best "practical advice for getting a job" books that I've ever read.
Evaluation: Law of Attraction/Energy Theory
This part of the book didn't make a lot of sense to me. It felt like George was taking observations she'd had and was trying to find a theory that made sense of them. While I like her observations, I'm not so sure about the theory.
It's true that positive people tend to sell themselves better and get jobs they want, while negative people tend to have long job searches and struggle to find any job, let alone one that helps them thrive. However, the Law of Attraction doesn't make sense as a cause of this phenomenon.
When George first talks about "energy," she seems to indicate that the energy she's referring to is physical energy, from the human body. What I don't understand is how my emotions change that, and how other events have charges. When I'm happy, am I actually emitting positively charged particles? When I'm angry and frustrated, am I emitting negative ones? If the energy is truly physical, then this has to be true. I've only done a little digging on this, but I've found nothing to indicate that the energy in a physical human being changes at all, let alone based on his emotional state.
In addition to this question, I wonder how events get charges. Does "car accident" necessarily come with negatively charged particles, which are attracted to my negatively charged particles when I'm upset? Does "super fantabulous job that will let me work part-time from home" somehow carry a positive charge?
I have a feeling that people are going to tell me that I'm just a little slow and skeptical, and that it's really an emotional thing where "energy" is the best word to describe it. In response, I would like to note that George is the one who emphasizes the physical. I don't think that offering a physical explanation when the energy is actually something else is fair, even if the purpose of the book is not to explain the Law of Attraction but to help people use it to get jobs. If anyone has a coherent explanation of this energy, where it comes from and how events get it, please feel free to leave a comment. As it stands, I don't understand.
As someone who has a little psychological training, it seems like there are other explanations for the phenomena George is trying to explain. I agree that people who are positive, upbeat, and who believe they are the perfect candidate for the jobs they apply tend to get the jobs they want, and they tend to be happier in their jobs than people who are negative, low-energy, or don't believe in themselves. But this does not have to happen because of some mechanical/natural process. As human beings, we are complex creatures who respond to each other in complex ways. While I can't go into all the details here, it seems sufficient to say that those doing the hiring respond positively to people who are positive because of human interaction or relationship, not because their energies are somehow meeting and complimenting each other.
I could go into a lot more detail and write a book of my own, but my point is not that my explanation is true, but that there are other, legitimate explanations to the phenomena George explains through the Law of Attraction. Since that "Law" has some logical problems, it seems like the best bet is to examine these other explanations.
George has written a book about getting a job that will make you feel like you can go out and conquer the world. I felt that way after I read it, and I'm not even looking for different employment! She also has tips and insights that will seriously help the process along. The focus on the Law of Attraction makes some of that difficult to read, but I found that her job advice was good even though I couldn't buy in to the Law of Attraction. If you're looking for a job, or might be some day and don't know much about what you'll be throwing yourself into, give this book a look. You have to do some weeding to get around the Law of Attraction stuff, but the rest is quality.
In the spirit of continuing to give, I'm going to pass my copy of the book on to another reader. Leave a comment telling me why I should send it to you (as opposed to anyone else) by next Tuesday at noon, Pacific Time. I'll pick the one I like the best (I know, I'm SO subjective) and send it along. If you want to actually be able to get the book, please make sure we can contact you by email.