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Friday, January 23, 2009

Books about Career Development (and everything else)

Through my foray into social media about 2 years ago I've met a lot of interesting people with great ideas about career development, personal branding and other nu-age ideas that are relatively cutting edge. I can't believe how many influential business books I've found through recommendations and even directly from authors I've met through social media sites such as and Linkdin.

It is interesting to think about who these books are targeted towards and why. Books such as "The Dip" by Seth Godin or "Me 2.0" by Dan Schawbel don't seem to me like they are targeted towards high school seniors or individuals about to graduate from college. Actually, these books seem best geared towards people who are currently working jobs that they don't find particularly fulfilling and might need a self re-invention. Am I amongst those ranks? Sure am! I love both of these books and many others like them.

I guess you can't really target young people and tell them what's up with the real world. You sort of need to just encourage them to experiment and not be afraid to take chances while they're young and have less on the table to lose.

Developing a persona brand isn't easy for anyone of any age because even though we live in a society of "individuals" (especially Generation Y!), there is still a relative hesitancy to step out into the crowd and be critiqued for who you really are, rather than being associated with a larger group. This is why personal branding is so confusing; what identity should any given individual cling to? Do you make something up that benefits you, or do you explore yourself and cultivate an image that expressed who you really are? Are the two concepts mutually exclusive?

I'm glad that I'm playing to my strengths as so many people, both famous and locally influential, have told me. I think that's the key. Not sure what the full payoff is yet, but I'm already seeing dividends and that's a great motivation to keep going. The soul searching part is tough though.

It's almost like all of these great books are written for people who are too busy to read them. But we do find time to read them. We must!

Do any of you struggle with your personal branding? Have any of you given up on the idea? If so, what alternatives are there? Just letting the chips fall where they may?

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