Blind Spots Is an Essential Career Book

by Frank Roche on October 9, 2011

in Books

I don’t review many books anymore. I read a lot, but most business books are a tiny idea puffed up into 240 pages. And most are poorly researched, if they’re researched at all.

Not so with Alexandra Levit’s Blind Spots: 10 Business Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe on Your New Path to Success. She pokes holes in 10 career myths with carefully considered and researched material. There are a lot of people out there dispensing career advice based on wisps of an idea — and most of them are dead wrong. Or stupid. (It drives me nuts to see what some people pass off as career advice.) Levit calls on the experts — and on her extensive knowledge of career development — to write a highly readable book. I’ve enjoyed her writing for years — and I think this is her best work yet.

If you’re wondering, “Why me?” Or have come into the workforce with the idea that being clever is good enough, read this book. If you think you’re getting ripped of and not paid what you’re worth, read the chapter on compensation. And if you think you can snap your fingers and magically be an entrepreneur, read up. (You don’t want to live on adrenaline 365 days a year. Trust me.)

Here are the 10 career myths that Alexandra Levit skewers in Blind Spots. Pick up a copy. And read it twice. It ain’t easy out there, kids. Forewarned is forearmed.

Myth #1: Overnight success is possible.
Reality: Most people persevere for a long time and experience several setbacks before achieving an objective definition of success. This chapter will explore how to move your dream forward a little bit at a time, and how to cope when things temporarily go south.

Myth #2: Controversy will propel your career.
Reality: Being controversial usually generates attention for a little while, but people will probably not trust you in the long-term. In this chapter, we’ll talk about how to incorporate the tried-and-true values of honesty and authenticity into your daily work life.

Myth #3: Employers want you to be yourself.
Reality: While employers value the unique set of skills and experiences you bring to the table, they expect you to toe the line with respect to company rules and conduct. Here, we’ll discuss what it means to be a professional and how to be diplomatic even if someone has wronged you.

Myth #4: Being good at your job trumps everything.
Reality: You can be the most talented employee your company has ever hired, but if your contributions aren’t visible and people don’t value what you do, it simply won’t matter. This chapter will address how to spend a little more time promoting your job and a little less time slaving over it.

Myth #5: It’s best to climb the ladder as fast as possible.
Reality: Getting promoted year after year requires a near-constant vigilance as well as a laser sharp focus on work – often to the detriment of everything else in your life. Here, we’ll talk about why it’s prudent to enjoy your time as a middle manager or individual contributor and how to make the most of this period in your life.

Myth #6: You’ll get more money because you earned it.
Reality: Not everyone rakes in a six figure salary because they played their cards right. This chapter will demonstrate how compensation is about business realities, HR mandates, and office politics – not performance – and will illustrate techniques to increase yours.

Myth #7: The problem isn’t you, it’s the organization.
Reality: People job jump constantly because of this one, but the truth is, the same situations crop up in the business world over and over. In this chapter, we’ll discuss why it makes the most sense to learn self-awareness and change your own thinking and behavior instead of waiting for the company to adapt to your needs.

Myth #8: You won’t get laid off, you’re too essential.
Reality: Everyone is replaceable, and employees who consistently add value are let go every day. Here, we’ll talk about what’s really behind the decision to lay people off, and learn how to identify the signs and take steps to protect your job now.

Myth #9: If only you could leave Corporate America, everything would be perfect.
Reality: Running a business is harder than it looks, and entrepreneurship is not for everyone. This chapter will address why many people are better off working for large companies, including the hidden perks that you don’t want to live without.

Myth #10: Do what you love, the money will follow.
Reality: Just because you have a passion for a particular area doesn’t mean you will automatically make money doing it. Here, we’ll talk about ways to do what you love without going broke, and how and when to take smart risks and make measured progress in pursuing meaningful work.

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