Friday, February 7, 2014

Body of Work

Another good book to recommend. I'm somewhat interested in books about finding your path or purpose and this book crossed my desk a few days ago and once again I went for it. The book is called, Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together by Pamela Slim. I found the book recommended on a blog that I follow, but I can't remember where.

The book is about finding a meaningful career and finding meaning in what you do. Again, a book relating to ones story which is a common theme on this blog.
How do you make sense of your career in a work environment that no longer has any predictable career paths? How do you create stability in a world that has no job security, uncertain markets, threats of terrorism, and a fiercely competitive global workforce? How do you balance making a living with making time for family, health, and recreation? How do you develop relationships with mentors when everyone is so busy? How do you keep your skills relevant in a world that moves so quickly that companies are launched, or destroyed, in a day? How do you plan for your financial future when you have no idea if your income stream will slow to a trickle, or even dry up completely if you get laid off...
No one is looking out for your career anymore. You must find meaning, locate opportunities, sell yourself, and plan for failure, calamity, and unexpected disasters. You must develop a set of skills that makes you able to earn an income in as many ways as possible. 
The idea that all you do across your lifetime is your body of work:
Your body of work is everything you create, contribute, affect, and impact. For individuals, it is the personal legacy you leave at the end of your life, including all the tangible and intangible things you have created. Individuals who structure their careers around autonomy, mastery, and purpose will have a powerful body of work.
One of the key themes of the book is that you are more than your job title. You are the sum of all the experiences and skills of your life:
We often describe ourselves primarily by the title of our profession or the name of our degree. “This is Mike. He is an operations manager.” “This is Farah. She has a PhD from Harvard.” “This is Lee. She is a stay-at-home mom.” These descriptions communicate one aspect of our lives at a particular point in time. But there are infinite other parts to each of us that add competence, distinction, emotional depth, strength, and meaning to the way we live each and every day. I call these other parts our ingredients. Our ingredients are the skills, strengths, experiences, identity, and knowledge that we have gained throughout the course of our lives. They are what make us uniquely capable and interesting. 
I applaud people who go back to graduate school, who switch jobs, who learn a new language, who completely change career directions, who start a blog, who move overseas, who take a chance.

Great book. Highly recommended for those looking to figure out their story.

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