Newsletter 30 August 2023: The next-job mindset; blurban outfitters; books that move

Week 7: Prepare to quit, blurb ethically, op-ed opportunity, three people to follow, three books to read, and plugging away.

Change your job? Maybe. Change your mind? Definitely.

The US unemployment rate is 3.5%. And it’s been that low for months. So it’s time for you to start looking.

If you love everything about your job, then by all means, stay put. But only 65% of workers say they’re happy with their job — so one-third of you could be doing better. And the rest of you could probably be doing better, too, if you put your mind to it.

Do you love your boss? The way you spend your time at work? Your colleagues? Your benefits? Your vacation plan? The tools you use? The amount you get paid? Your commute? Your ability to work at home?

What about your future. Is there really a path from the job you have to the next stage in your career?

I’m not telling you to quit (unless it’s gotten really intolerable). I am telling you to explore and try on different ideas of what work means for you, so that you are prepared to switch. In 2022, 15 million people got laid off. Almost half of all workers will get canned at some point. Better to be prepared than become a victim of an inevitable downturn. (In a 35-year career, I got laid off twice.)

What to do?

Thing a bit about what you’d love to do. What would it take to get there?

Contact old colleagues and chat about opportunities.

Take a course to expose yourself to new skills. Learn graphic design, C++, journey mapping, Agile development.

Reach out to people in other departments at your current workplace — see what it might be like to work with a different group of folks.

If you are toying with going freelance, take some jobs on the side and see if you like it — and if people will pay what you’re worth.

Toss around startup ideas with old friends.

It’s a change in mindset that you need. Once you start thinking about opportunities and connections, your perspective will change. None of these ideas require you to change jobs. But they open you up to the possibility — and that’s how to stay nimble enough to find the next opportunity when you’re ready.

News for authors and others who think

In The Atlantic, Helen Lewis reveals the ugly truth behind all those over-the-top book blurbs. Exhilarating! Heart-rending! Unimaginably delicious!

One great way to get your name in the paper: write an op-ed (or as the New York Times calls it, a “guest essay.”) On Jane Friedman’s site, Estelle Erasmus explains exactly how to do it.

Everyone loves books . . . until they have to move. Honest advice about packing, moving, and (horrors) parting ways with books from Gabe Bullard in the Washington Post (guest link). Of course you could always stay put and let your heirs deal with them.

Cut the crap. In Harvard Business Review, Jane Rosenzweig reveals tricks on how to write concisely. Best advice: combine repeated or related ideas in one spot.

Three people to follow

Stefan Falk, who will challenge everything you know about managing people and your time.

Amber Naslund, whose advice on greatness and imposter syndrome comes from a vulnerable, knowledgeable place of wisdom.

Diane Hessan, who did what you always thought you should: achieved startup success and then made herself an inexorable force for good in the world, one contact at a time.

Three books to read

The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson (Penguin/Portfolio, 2011). Still one of the best B2B sales books ever written.

First Pitch: Winning Money, Mentors, and More for Your Startup by Debi Kleiman (Babson College Publishing, 2020). An awesome, practical book for anyone raising money for a startup.

The Art of Libromancy: On Selling Books and Reading Books in the Twenty-first Century by Josh Cook (Biblioasis, 2023). Memos from the trenches on how books actually get bought and sold.

Plugging away

Want to ghostwrite a business book (or hire someone to ghostwrite one)? Listen in on this: Ghostwriting Business Books interview from Gotham Ghostwriters.

I spotted a ghost — and turned into one

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