3 out of 4 stars
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Tony Pisanelli gets right to the point in his book, The Corporate Phoenix: Building a Career That Lasts, and I couldn’t agree more when he states on page 2 that, “Today’s world requires you to anticipate the future, know when to let go of the past and be prepared to undergo the necessary reinvention to create the capabilities that will secure your employment future”. It’s not a matter of if, but when you will be faced with a major shift in your career; however, it is up to you to determine whether you are moving toward it or it’s coming at you from behind, where you don’t see it and are not prepared for it.
I certainly related, and expect other readers will also relate, to Pisanelli’s advice to say ‘Yes!’ enthusiastically to opportunities to develop new skills, especially as we are faced with the seemingly continuous stream of organisational changes in today’s workplace. Pisanelli’s expression of the “simmering dissatisfaction” of corporate life as the impetus for taking charge of the future of your own career is something many readers will appreciate.
Pisanelli’s approach to setting your intentions with regard to the future of your career through developing a Strategic Career Plan is a method I have found useful myself. I would add, and Pisanelli acknowledges himself, that there is also the need to accept that a plan is merely an intention to set forward momentum through action but rarely reflects the actual path that unfolds. Being prepared for what unfolds, despite not knowing exactly what that will be, is the key to actually achieving your career goals.
Pisanelli uses the art of storytelling to convey his messages; a much more effective approach, in my mind, than relying solely on hard facts and long-winded action plans. The book is filled with anecdotal storylines that provide examples of career experiences readers will undoubtedly relate to and be able to extract pieces of to suit their own purposes.
The book provides encouragement to reassess your mindset by taking a more active role in your career trajectory; reasoning that “…proactive foresight was better than reactive hindsight”. Looking at your career as a business, is an analogy used to forewarn those who are a bit too blasé about planning for the potential scenarios they may face. A lack of focus on the future keeps you stuck in the present and never prepared for what may come. I would also add that even if you incorrectly predict what might happen in the future, at least you have developed a mindset that will allow you to navigate whatever comes toward you without becoming flustered.
As I read through the chapters, it was evident that picture being painted throughout the book was of our unhealthy attachments to what a corporate career can offer us and how we can turn this around in our favour by, instead, attaching our thoughts to where we can develop skills in line with our purpose or career goals.
I very much appreciated Pisanelli’s approach of making continuous small transitions within your control in preparation for big changes that are outside of your control. This approach has worked for me, personally, and I have used it with my own clients. It’s sound advice for anyone contemplating the direction of their career. As the Stoics would point out, we only really have control over our own beliefs, behaviours and actions in response to the occurrences around us.
The one area that I felt needed greater consideration was that the book seemed to be written from the perspective that if someone wanted to move to a different role to enhance their skills or take on particular projects that these opportunities would magically appear. More often than not, opportunities do not present themselves in the way or within the timeframes we thought they would, which is even more exacerbated within smaller organisations or communities and during economic downturns and periods of high unemployment rates.
The book is directed to the corporate professional looking to exit that existence in favour of pursuing their own business, a new career or enhancing their longevity within a company; however, there is plenty of opportunity for contemplation throughout the book for anyone grappling with job dissatisfaction, regardless of personal career choices. I thought this was a great book full of stories, personal accounts and anecdotes that most professionals will relate to and backed by some practical ways of working through the best ways to position yourself throughout your career. I gave this book 3 out of 4 stars.
The Corporate Phoenix: Building a Career That Lasts -
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