Guest Author - Dianne Walker
Laid Off & Loving it (How People Like You Conquered a Career Crisis) by Paul Madsen is another confusing title in the world of unemployment reference guides. When you reflect on the title of this book, you would expect the contents to be about how to enjoy life after being laid off. After all, that's what the title says, correct? I envisioned the book telling me about all of the things that I could do during an unemployment period on the topics of hobbies, volunteering or even starting my own business. Like so many other books I’ve encountered regarding unemployment, this book is another where the title of the book does not necessarily match the contents.
Laid Off & Loving is a series of thirty stories about individuals who have experienced some sort of career crisis during their life and how they overcame their problems. The stories are not necessarily about people who have been laid off, but people who may not have been happy in their current jobs and how they made a complete career change. Each story identifies a career value and then provides a catchy title for the individual highlighted in the chapter.
Chapter 26, for example, is entitled “Determine What You Want and Need”. The subtitle for the chapter is entitled “CIO Leonard Levels Out”. This is the story of Leonard who spent 20 years building up his career in information technology. The chapter goes into detail about how he started in low wage jobs after getting out of the military. After going through a succession of training and job changes, he found himself in a high paying job with a dot com company. Unfortunately when the dot com crashed so did his job.
After much job searching, Leonard took a job which he described as “bad career idea number two”. He took a job with a bank software company which also involved him taking a 35% pay cut. He quickly found out that the job was not what he expected and held no opportunity for advancement. After six “painful months”, Leonard was unemployed again.
Leonard ended up taking a job with a county government for which he was over qualified and under paid. What Leonard discovered, was that he loved the job. While his past jobs involved glamour and excitement, Leonard found that he was ready for the pace in his new county job. It became a lifestyle change which enabled him to enjoy his family by not working the long hours involved in his previous employment.
At the end of every chapter, Madsen includes a list of three to five websites that were useful to the person in the chapter. For Leonard, he included websites that would identify government jobs and career search sites. Hopefully the people reading the book will also find the websites helpful to their situation.
Not all of the book's chapters are applicable to everyone, so you may not want to sit down and fully read each chapter. The book would be most beneficial if the reader skimmed through each chapter and identified the ones most applicable to their current or past situation.
I found the book both enlightening and entertaining. I agree with the author that there are many readers who will benefit from reading the book inclusive of those changing careers, being laid off, or working as consultants. In my humble opinion “Laid Off & Loving It” can appropriately be more appropriately titled – “How To Start Doing What You Love”. The book is definitely worth a read.