When I saw the title of this book in some promotional literature, I got extremely excited. The literature to help people find and get a job is just a bit lacking, in my opinion. The excitement level rose when the publisher sent me a copy for review. After reading this book, I was even more enthusiastic. It is a “must-have” for any reference library for folks with “social cognitive challenges.”
The Hidden Curriculum of Getting and Keeping a Job: Navigating the Social Landscape of Employment by Brenda Smith Myles, PhD., Judy Endow, MSW, and Malcolm Mayfield, BS Civil Eng., is a priceless addition to literature written for people with social cognitive challenges. As well as people with Attention Deficit Disorder, these challenges are faced by those on the Autism Spectrum. This short book, right at 100 pages, steps the reader through the minefield of getting a job and keeping it. The book is written in a logical and sequential fashion. It has vignettes to illustrate the principles. There is a useful summary for each chapter.
Chapter 1-What is the Hidden Curriculum-This chapter will feel familiar to readers of some other “hidden curriculum” books. Yet, the authors keep the material fresh and interesting. The hidden curriculum is those items that “everybody knows…” and nobody directly teaches them. For instance, a colleague might be greeted with an eager, “Whass up?” However, it is inappropriate to address your boss in this fashion. In the workplace, context and timing are both important. People with social cognitive challenges, like ADD or autism, often do not know these unstated rules. This chapter discusses the fundamentals of the hidden curriculum and the devastating effects that a lack of understanding can have on a person’s life.
Chapter 2-Finding a JobThis comprehensive chapter addresses professional mentoring relationships. Internet links to sites that provide sample mentoring agreements are listed. The authors let the reader know what they can expect from a good mentoring relationship. A mentee’s responsibilities are discussed. Also reviewed are employment agencies, vocational rehabilitation, networking, social media, using natural resources (strengths), and creating a resume. Links are listed for resume templates. The Hidden Curriculum items related to social media are important for everybody to understand. The authors don’t just tell us what these items are. They explain the consequences for not understanding and following them.
Chapter 3-Having an InterviewThis chapter thoroughly covers the interview process. The authors examine what to wear, how to behave, what to say, and how to say it. They also talk about the follow-up to the interview. That is a part of the interview that is often overlooked, but it can be the difference between being seen as a viable candidate or an excellent prospect.
Chapter 4- The Hidden Curriculum Beyond the Job Match How to find a good job match is explored in this chapter. Tables suggesting jobs are provided. Then, the elements for keeping a job are examined. Ideas many of us would not think about, like coming to work ready to start at the appointed time are broken down into their component parts. How to make a schedule that helps a person be prepared for the workday is delineated. Social interactions are an important part of working. Ways to start, maintain, and repair these social interactions are thoroughly discussed. This is a section that is not usually found in employment “how-to” books, but it is central to being successful in the workplace.
Chapter 5-Hidden Curriculum Items for the Workplace General workplace rules help the job seeker know what to do and not to do at work. Checklists let people mark the areas where they are already functioning well. There are suggested activities to help people learn and practice the basics of the skills that are presented. This chapter covers a wide range of activities that can trip somebody up in the workplace. The scenarios add to the usefulness of this chapter. From transportation to work to the company party, so much of what people need help with is in this chapter.
These authors believe that all people who want employment should be able to find a job where they can be productive. This book is a great resource for any job seeker. Filled with practical advice, The Hidden Curriculum of Getting and Keeping a Job: Navigating the Social Landscape of Employment by Brenda Smith Myles, PhD., Judy Endow, MSW, and Malcolm Mayfield, BS Civil Eng., explores every hidden facet of finding a job and keeping a job. Written with care and humor, skill and style, their book gets my highest recommendation for content, practicality, organization, and ease of use.
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This book is a practical gold mine of information about getting and keeping a job. It is suitable and highly recommended for all ages, from teens looking for that first job to older adults who want or need to regroup. Below is an Amazon link.
The Hidden Curriculum of Getting and Keeping a Job: Navigating the Social Landscape of Employment A Guide for Individuals With Autism Spectrum and Other Social-Cognitive Challenges