Book Review: Excuse Me, Your Job is Waiting!

By Sarah Winfrey on 14 June 2007 (Updated 18 August 2007) 6 comments
Photo: Brian U

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.

Summary

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Nan A

As someone whose job is helping the generally unemployable get jobs and assist them in keeping them, I am delighted to hear of this book. I would like to respond to Sarah's difficulty in grasping George's concept of the physical. Since I have not read the book, I can only respond in general terms. Long ago I realized that the phrase "say it and you create it," really means something. How that happens is the mystery. Then I was urged to see the film, "What the Bleep Do We Know." I highly recommend it; it helped give meaning to creating with "intention." I did not read "The Secret", but saw the film (over hyped, but again I understand the message). Through this process of living life and observing same as I go along and watching people succeed or fail, live life well or marginally, based not on their smarts, looks or character but by what they "attract," I am "getting it." If we expect something, that something will surely materialize. I think this may be the "physical" George is referring to--acting on the little "particles" (referring back to the physics of "What the Bleep do we Know") that can create reality. The sad part for all of us, is that we have far more power (I am not crazy about the term but cannot think of another that makes more sense to me) than we can begin to fathom. Because we have not learned to make use of that power, our lives are far less than what they could be. I have begun to live my life as if I already have what I need and what I want. It may not be in my life yet, but it is there and will be in or part of my life at some point. It is still an experiment, but I have lived life long enough to see in retrospect that all those things I did or might have worried about, meant nothing. All that we need is out there for us, all that we want (whether it is good for us or not) will come our way. That is why intention is so important. The old chestnut, "be careful what you ask for, you might get it," applies here. The remarkable thing I have found as a vocational counselor is that a person can come to me with certain beliefs about themselves (90% of the time negative to some degree) and through my positive belief about them, they begin to do things they did not think they could do, and in the process change their belief about themselves. It's not enough for me to believe they can be "successful." I believe they already are--they are just not living it yet. It is more than positive thinking; it is positive living.

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jos

sounds like a very interesting book... funny also... i may have to check it out

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Sean

A couple disclaimers:
I have not read "Excuse Me, Your Job is Waiting"
I have not read or seen "The Secret"

My girlfriend (an Oprah fan) was telling me about the Law of Attraction and a couple things bug me about it. First the most obvious one. In nature, like does not attract like. Like repels like and attracts things dislike itself (think magnets).

The other big problem I have with the LOA is that it almost seems to have a "Blame the Victim" bent to it. Good things happen because you expect them and "draw them towards you", but the flip side is true as well. The bad things that happen are because you "attracted" them, including disease and what not. Now are you really gonna tell me that my neighbors 4 month old baby got cancer because she was drawing it to herself? Or that the people in Sudan are suffering like they are because of the "bad vibes" they are putting out? It kind of make me angry to blame the innocent like the LOA implicitly does (or seems to from my understanding).

That being said, I do believe that posative thinking is a good think that can help you fell better and do better, but not because of some psuedo-scientic "particles"...

Sorry for the rant.

Sean

Andrea Karim's picture

I have to concur with Shawn. I've read some great dissections of The Secret, mostly from skeptics like me.

Anyway, I don't like the idea that you can just sit around thinking that you want something, and you'll get it.

Check out this if you get a chance. Killed myself laughing (some profanity).

Andrea Karim's picture

I should add that while I don't agree with the atomic discussion (like begets like on an atomic level), I agree that people who are upbeat and confident will inspire that emotion in others, and Debbie Downers drag everyone else into the abyss. And I DO think that there is a physical explanation, but I think it's more high-level and chemical - probably the result of pheromones, or something similar that are used to communicate on a subconsious level.

Sarah Winfrey's picture

...is there a difference between positive thinking/living and the Law of Attraction?  I would say "Yes!"