My Favorite Self-Help Books for Career Shifters

Favorite self-help books for Career shifters

I am somewhat in the midst of a mental transition regarding my career. I love my employer and don’t want to leave, but I have outgrown my current position (whose only small advancement opportunity would be managing, which does not interest me). I am ready for more challenge, but I have been unsure what that means really.

As I am desperately trying to discover a new path on my own, self-help books have been my biggest source of really good advice. They are helping me think in new ways and get over some “dysfunctional” thought methods. I’ve been borrowing audio books from my local library and then buying a physical copy of anything I really love and want to read again.

Here are my favorites so far that have really resonated with me. I highly recommend them all.

How to Be Everything, by Emilie Wapnick

This is the one that has hit me hardest. Wapnick describes a certain type of person that is exactly me: “someone with many interests and creative pursuits,” “someone with intense curiosity about numerous unrelated subjects,” and “able to embody different identities and perform a variety of tasks gracefully.” Her book gives advice on how to craft a life/career that suits this type of person, whose downfalls might be boredom or lack of confidence.

Interesting quote: “Contrary to popular belief, multipotentialites don’t quit when something becomes too difficult; we usually quit because something has become too easy. Once we’re no longer challenged, we lose interest and we want to explore a new area.”

You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero

This is the first book that got me going on my desire for career change. It’s easy to think that people who have made it big are somehow different from the rest of us. But Sincero uses a delightfully crude writing style to remind you that you can do it too. All those successful people were normal at one point just like the rest of us. This book does a great job of telling you that anything is possible without it coming out really cheesy.

Interesting quote: “If you want to live a life you’ve never lived, you have to do things you’ve never done.”

Working Identity, by Herminia Ibarra

This one is more research-based. Ibarra talks about the actual process of how people switch careers. She gives tons of examples of real people and shows the commonalities between their experiences. It helps you to understand the realistic timeline you can expect and the steps you can take to ensure success.

Interesting quote: “A successful outcome hinges less on knowing one’s inner, true self at the start than on starting a multistep process of envisioning and testing possible futures.”

Designing Your Life, by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

These two Stanford men have taught a course on how to use “design thinking” to formulate your career plan. They tell us that designing is what you do when there is no one correct answer, but many possibilities, and they walk you through exercises to train yourself in the same ways of thinking so you can apply them to this part of your life. They also help you replace “dysfunctional” thoughts with more productive ones.

Interesting quote: “The research shows that, for most people, passion comes after they try something, discover they like it, and develop mastery – not before. To put it more succinctly: passion is the result of a good life design, not the cause.

The $100 Startup, by Chris Guillebeau

While a lot of these other books are about the big picture and finding your general path or passion, this book is the opposite. It doesn’t care what your idea is, but will tell you how to get your butt going on it and start making some cash. I started reading this one and quickly realized that it would be invaluable if I determined that entrepreneurship was right for me, but that I’m not quite ready for it yet. I bought it anyway so I can finish it later once I’m at a point to start exploring that possibility.

Interesting quote: “I can be very passionate about eating pizza, but no one is going to pay me to do it.”

The Zen of Social Media Marketing, by Shama Hyder

This is another one that I know I’ll be ready for soon. I started the audio book and quickly realized that the practical advice would be much better if I could highlight it so I could come back to it as needed. I didn’t go to school for business or marketing, so this info is all new to me and all super needed. While researching how to begin this blog, I found so much info on social media marketing that my brain couldn’t take it in. In book form, laid out in a usable chronology, it is so much easier to ingest.

Interesting quote: “Most marketers abuse social media platforms. They use them to push their message on people and try to dominate the market… Marketers who abuse social media usually do so because they are used to using traditional marketing methods like television… With social media, talking back is the whole point; it’s a conversation, not a monologue.”

I’ve found these books to be extremely helpful not just in the specific advice they give, but also for just boosting my confidence. They share stories of real people making big changes in their lives and proving that anyone can work hard and get somewhere amazing with their career. Let me know in the comments if there are other similar books you love to recommend! Now I’m going to close my computer and go curl up in my reading chair! Bye!

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