Book Review - Life After Layoff

Book Review - Life After Layoff
Go into your local bookstore and you will discover something very odd. Few bookstores actually carry books on the topic of unemployment. Of course, you'll find many books detailing career search activities, ways to improve yourself on the job, how to be an entrepreneur. What you will not find, however, are books dealing specifically and solely with the subject matter of unemployment. Upon the discovery from my local library that these books actually do exist, I went on a quest to build my own personal library by owning books specifically on the subject of unemployment. What I discovered is that all of the books that I have checked out of the local library, needed to be special ordered in the bookstore.

Armed with this knowledge, I searched through the library catalog and discovered a book called “Life After Layoff - Six Proven Courses of Action” by Richard J Van Ness & Edith M. Donohue, Ph.D. When you picture a book entitled “Life After Layoff”, you imagine that it’s going to discuss what happens in the time period between your lay off to the moment of gainful employment. This is not the case. Take a look at “About the Book” on the back cover. The cover says “Life After Layoff” provides you with the knowledge and strategies to manage your career during these turbulent times”.

If I were to define this book, I would say that it’s geared more toward employed professionals who are facing the possibility of a layoff while providing a small amount of information about what happens after you are actually laid off. It also deals mainly with self reassessment, financial strategizing and understanding your strengths and weaknesses. Fortunately all of these factors are important whether or not you're employed.

One of the sections that I like most about the book is the introduction. Like most books, “Life After Layoff” starts with a Table of Contents to guide you through the book’s contents. What I really like is that after the Table of Contents, the author provides an actual “Introduction” section. This section provides narrative, in paragraph form, regarding the learning points for each of the book’s seven chapters. The final chapter titled “Pull it all Together” enables you to take all of the objectives from the book and guides you to applying the lessons to your own situation.

What makes this book different from books I have reviewed so far are the numerous scenarios the book presents to illustrate each “course of action” that the book identifies. I found the scenarios to be very realistic. The discussion after each scenario provides additional information and resources for the reader to look into.

I found that the charts and graphs provided in the book were interesting and informative. Worksheets were also provided so that the reader could work through some of their own personal and financial situations. Even though the worksheets were self explanatory, the authors provided examples to guide the readers in filling them out.

“Life After Layoff” is not a book that you can just pick up and read through. It is a book that you will want to take the time to reflect on each lesson provided in the six courses of action. You may even find yourself revisiting each chapter as you ebb and flow through your career.

While I found that the title did not necessarily provide an accurate picture of the book’s contents, I found the contents of the book to be helpful, insightful and thought provoking. Would I have cataloged this book in the unemployment category of the book stores as the title implies? I probably would not. I would categorize this “Life After Layoff” as a self help book for people in the 21st century as they struggle with impending unemployment. Either way, I see “Life After Layoff” a definite great find.

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