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Your Job Survival Guide: A Manual for Thriving in Change

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Selected by IBM Competitive Edge Book Club Selection.

"The beauty of this book on top of its life-saving timeliness is its capacity to give the reader concrete steps to live the good life and enjoy it. The book made me understand that work can be more fun than fun.”

–Warren Bennis, Ph.D., University Professor, University of Southern California, coauthor, Judgment: How Great Leaders Make Winning Calls and ...

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Your Job Survival Guide: A Manual for Thriving in Change

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Overview

Selected by IBM Competitive Edge Book Club Selection.

"The beauty of this book on top of its life-saving timeliness is its capacity to give the reader concrete steps to live the good life and enjoy it. The book made me understand that work can be more fun than fun.”

–Warren Bennis, Ph.D., University Professor, University of Southern California, coauthor, Judgment: How Great Leaders Make Winning Calls and Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor

Change. It’s your job. It just won’t stop. It’s relentless. It keeps coming at you like never-ending rapids in a permanent whitewater river. Change will burn you out if you don’t learn how to handle it. This book is not, however, about mere survival. It is about thriving amidst the challenges of your permanent whitewater world at work.

•Protect your career, improve your resilience, and seize the opportunities in turbulent times

•Take charge, learn to pace yourself, set your own course, and lead others in ad-hoc teams

•Ride the rapids and rediscover play and adventure in today’s demanding work environment

•Learn from research and the experiences of hundreds of professionals in industries from energy to telecommunications to financial services to health care

There’s nothing abstract or cute about the way this book talks about change: This is practical, grounded knowledge for managing your life in a business world that’s churning with change. Gregory Shea, Ph.D. and Robert Gunther show how to keep your working life on course instead of being pushed beyond your limits...find fun and fulfillment...regroup and rebound from failure...protect yourself from events you can’t predict...take charge of your life, an your future!

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Two kinds of readers will profit from this extremely timely… guide for working in the increased uncertainty… of our times: those who need to understand our challenging world better and know it, and those who need to … but don’t yet know it.

-Fritz Steele, Ph.D., author of The Open Organization; co-author Workplace by Design and The Feel of the Workplace

This book… about embracing and thriving in a world of high-octane change…gives…some great practical tips that you can apply back in your workplace.

-“Richard’s Book Review”, The Proteus Leadership Centres

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780137127023
  • Publisher: FT Press
  • Publication date: 8/29/2008
  • Pages: 241
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 10.86 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Gregory Shea, Ph.D., consults, researches, writes, and teaches in the areas of organizational and individual change, leadership, group effectiveness, and conflict resolution. He is president of the consulting firm Shea & Associates, a principal in The Coxe Group international consultancy; Senior Consultant at the Center for Applied Research, Adjunct Professor of Management at The Wharton School, where he has taught for more than 25 years, an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, and a Faculty Associate of the Wharton School’s Center for Leadership and Change. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard, Shea holds an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and an M.A., M. Phil., and Ph.D. in Administrative Science from Yale. He is a member of the Academy of Management and the American Psychological Association.

Robert Gunther is coauthor or collaborator on more than 20 books, including The Wealthy 100 and The Truth About Making Smart Decisions. He has appeared on CNBC’s “Power Lunch,” NPR’s “Morning Edition,” and numerous local and national radio and television programs, and his projects have been featured in The New York Times, Time, USA Today, and Fortune. His columns or articles also have been published in Harvard Business Review, American Heritage, Investor’s Business Daily, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. As founder of Gunther Communications, he has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, universities, and major nonprofits. He is a graduate of Princeton University.

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Read an Excerpt

Praise for Your Job Survival GuidePraise for Your Job Survival Guide

"Gregory Shea and Robert Gunther have written the book on how to navigate today's turbulent waters. Full of practical wisdom, research, insight, and humor, Your Job Survival Guide shows us how to navigate the whitewater of today's changing business environment while thoroughly enjoying the journey. A great read!"

—Annie McKee, Founder, the Teleos Leadership Institute and Coauthor of the best sellers Primal Leadership, Resonant Leadership, and most recently, a practical guide to developing and sustaining personal and professional effectiveness, Becoming a Resonant Leader

"If gentle currents carried careers in the past, whitewater is the medium today. For navigating the cauldrons of change, Gregory Shea and Robert Gunther draw upon wrenching work moments and rapid river kayaking to draw the map. Your Job Survival Guide is an indispensable companion for mastering the turbulence of our era."

—Michael Useem, Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Leadership at the Wharton School, author, The Go Point: When It's Time to Decide

"Your Job Survival Guide is a provocative book that goes beyond theory. This book is not about avoiding the potholes of organizational life, it's about learning how to step in them and take responsibility for yourself. Shea and Gunther force us to look in the mirror and, in a very practical way, challenge us to behave differently. Quite frankly, the lessons go beyond the perils of our work life; the lessons are useful for day to day living."

—Thomas Saporito, Ph.D., President, RHR International Company

"In today's world there is no such thing as steady state. Greg and Robert have put together a great owner's manual for thriving in a world where change is the constant."

—Michael Rechtiene, President Animas Corporation, a Johnson & Johnson Co.

"Today's world requires us to continuously reinvent our company by adapting it to the evolving world. At the core of that process lies one's ability to efficiently manage necessary changes. Gregory Shea and Robert Gunther beautifully describe this important challenge and offer simple and concrete solutions to meet them. As a company that lives its fundamentals—'people are our main asset'—I am recommending this book to all our executives and managers as a key tool to meet the future."

—Patrick Firmenich, CEO, Firmenich

"It is no secret that continual change dominates most business life today. Most thinkers and writers addressing managing, leading, or surviving change, however, tend to focus on examples of one change after another, often complex and multiyear strategic change, but still bounded by the one story. Shea and Gunther take head-on the reality that we actually need to manage and lead in an environment of continuous, ongoing, major change. They then address the role of the protagonist in many simultaneous and overlapping change processes, which is the reality today. They offer wonderfully accessible experiential and practical observations and advice for you, the actor is these many stories. This is sound, practical, and readily applied advice. And it's also in a form that allows you to 'dip into' the book in different sections and take a few valuable insights to put into practice immediately—a truly wonderful addition to the practitioner's literature on leading change."

—Thomas P. Gerrity, Joseph Aresty Professor of Management, and Dean Emeritus, the Wharton School

"Shea and Gunther's Your Job Survival Guide is an easy and important read, overflowing with pragmatic advice about your job in today's whitewater world. Using examples ranging from the routine to the spiritual, while sticking close to the metaphor of a memorable journey through turbulent waters, the authors engaged me from start to finish. This book is a great resource both for those individuals stuck in their daily routine as well as organizations who aspire to enhance their work groups."

—Elliot Sussman, MD, CEO, Lehigh Valley Health Network

"Your Job Survival Guide tackles head-on the realities of leadership in the 21st century through the playful lens of the whitewater navigator. The book provides both a comprehensive overview of the challenges that leaders face, but don't always acknowledge, and powerful solutions derived from real life experiences. Accessible and engaging!"

—Meg Jones, Executive VP & Chief Administrative Officer, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Preface: We Surely All Will Die xix

CHAPTER 1: AN ESKIMO ON THE TITANIC 1

Dangerous Waters 3

Sailors and Paddlers:Your Real Job Is Change 6

The Limits of Flat-Water Thinking 9

CHAPTER 2: WORKING THE EDDIES: Pace Yourself to Preserve Your Sanity 13

All Hands on Deck 17

We Are Drowning in Change 19

The Impact of Exhaustion 22

Strategies for Pacing 25

Create a “Not To Do” List 27

Build Breaks in the Action 30

Get Good Sleep 32

Take a Nap 33

Enforce Vacations 35

Avoid the Perils of the Crazy Brave and Phony Tough 38

Keep a Roll in Reserve 41

CHAPTER 3: MASTERING THE ROLL: Prepare to Fail Gracefully and Recover Quickly 45

Failure Is the Only Option 48

Strategies for Failing Quickly and Recovering Gracefully 52

Treat Your Career as a Series of Experiments 52

Minimize the Risk of Failure 54

Master the Emotions of Failure 56

Practice Failing 57

Prepare to Learn from Failure 59

Make Your Mistakes on the Move 60

Failing and Play 62

CHAPTER 4: THE POWER OF PLAY: Optimism and Resilience 65

The Play’s the Thing 66

The Power of Optimism 70

Strategies for Unsinkable Optimism 71

Create Optimism and Avoid Learned Helplessness 72

When All Else Fails, Paddle Like Hell 74

Choose Your Equipment for the Right Level of Fun 75

Patience: Keep Your Feet Up and Go With the Flow 77

Recharge by Paddling 79

Create Time and Space for Play 80

Cultivate Exuberance 81

CHAPTER 5: PERSONAL FLOTATION: You Are Responsible for Your Own Security 85

Sink or Swim 89

Strategies for Personal Flotation 91

Learn Self-Rescue by Developing Your “Brand You” 91

Build a Portfolio of Projects 92

Practice Your Offside Roll: Cultivate Diverse Skills to Increase Maneuverability 93

Create Strong Networks 98

Take Care of Your Health 100

Alone in a Tight Place 101

CHAPTER 6: SCOUTING AND PORTAGING: Set Your Own Course 103

Meaning Is Local 105

Get Out When You Hear the Roarof the Falls 109

Strategies for Scouting and Portaging 112

Listen to the River: Read the Water 112

Develop Your Intuition and Then Listen to It 115

Listen to Others: Learn from Reports of

Fellow Travelers 120

Know When To Portage 123

Recognize When You Are Drowning 126

Listen to Your Heart 131

When in Doubt, Scout 133

The Phoenix 134

CHAPTER 7: RISING ABOVE THE ROAR: Communicate Through Symbols 137

Strategies for Communicating Above the Roar 140

Actions Speak Louder Than Words 140

Maintain a Line of Sight 142

Never Risk a Lie–Even Unintentionally 144

Ensure Two-Way Communication 147Create Space to Grieve: Funerals, Irish Wakes, Slicing

Nursing Stations, and Other Symbolic Events 149

Make Sense of What Happened: Share Stories

Around the Fire 152

Use Myths to Create Meaning 153

Use Metaphors 156

Finding Meaning and Shaping a Legacy 157

CHAPTER 8: BUILDING FLOCKS: Teaming for Today’s Run 163

Murmurations of Starlings:Teams Have a Life of Their Own 165

Strategies for Teaming 167

Know What You Bring to the Team 168

Know Your Teammates 169

Become Skilled at Entering and Leaving Teams 171

Find Safety in Numbers 173

Understand What Game You Are Playing 175

Choose the Right Vessel 179

Understand the Working of Teams 181

The Power of the Team 183

CHAPTER 9: LEADING TRIPS: Guiding Through Permanent Whitewater 187

Leading in Permanent Whitewater 188

Understand Power and Influence on the River 189

Build Trust 193

Stepping Aside: Manage Shifting Roles 194Enabling Leaders and Following Followers:

Stepping Up to Leadership 196

Assembling the Right Team 199

Structuring the Team 200

Humility and the Art of Leading from Behind 201

Conclusion, What Conclusion? 205

Building the G-Rig 207

The Rivers Are Rising 208

No Place to Hide–But Why Would You Want To? 215

Endnotes 219

Index 231

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Preface

Praise for Your Job Survival Guide

"Gregory Shea and Robert Gunther have written the book on how to navigate today's turbulent waters. Full of practical wisdom, research, insight, and humor, Your Job Survival Guide shows us how to navigate the whitewater of today's changing business environment while thoroughly enjoying the journey. A great read!"

—Annie McKee, Founder, the Teleos Leadership Institute and Coauthor of the best sellers Primal Leadership, Resonant Leadership, and most recently, a practical guide to developing and sustaining personal and professional effectiveness, Becoming a Resonant Leader

"If gentle currents carried careers in the past, whitewater is the medium today. For navigating the cauldrons of change, Gregory Shea and Robert Gunther draw upon wrenching work moments and rapid river kayaking to draw the map. Your Job Survival Guide is an indispensable companion for mastering the turbulence of our era."

—Michael Useem, Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Leadership at the Wharton School, author, The Go Point: When It's Time to Decide

"Your Job Survival Guide is a provocative book that goes beyond theory. This book is not about avoiding the potholes of organizational life, it's about learning how to step in them and take responsibility for yourself. Shea and Gunther force us to look in the mirror and, in a very practical way, challenge us to behave differently. Quite frankly, the lessons go beyond the perils of our work life; the lessons are useful for day to day living."

—Thomas Saporito, Ph.D., President, RHR International Company

"In today's world there is no such thing as steady state. Greg and Robert have put together a great owner's manual for thriving in a world where change is the constant."

—Michael Rechtiene, President Animas Corporation, a Johnson & Johnson Co.

"Today's world requires us to continuously reinvent our company by adapting it to the evolving world. At the core of that process lies one's ability to efficiently manage necessary changes. Gregory Shea and Robert Gunther beautifully describe this important challenge and offer simple and concrete solutions to meet them. As a company that lives its fundamentals—'people are our main asset'—I am recommending this book to all our executives and managers as a key tool to meet the future."

—Patrick Firmenich, CEO, Firmenich

"It is no secret that continual change dominates most business life today. Most thinkers and writers addressing managing, leading, or surviving change, however, tend to focus on examples of one change after another, often complex and multiyear strategic change, but still bounded by the one story. Shea and Gunther take head-on the reality that we actually need to manage and lead in an environment of continuous, ongoing, major change. They then address the role of the protagonist in many simultaneous and overlapping change processes, which is the reality today. They offer wonderfully accessible experiential and practical observations and advice for you, the actor is these many stories. This is sound, practical, and readily applied advice. And it's also in a form that allows you to 'dip into' the book in different sections and take a few valuable insights to put into practice immediately—a truly wonderful addition to the practitioner's literature on leading change."

—Thomas P. Gerrity, Joseph Aresty Professor of Management, and Dean Emeritus, the Wharton School

"Shea and Gunther's Your Job Survival Guide is an easy and important read, overflowing with pragmatic advice about your job in today's whitewater world. Using examples ranging from the routine to the spiritual, while sticking close to the metaphor of a memorable journey through turbulent waters, the authors engaged me from start to finish. This book is a great resource both for those individuals stuck in their daily routine as well as organizations who aspire to enhance their work groups."

—Elliot Sussman, MD, CEO, Lehigh Valley Health Network

"Your Job Survival Guide tackles head-on the realities of leadership in the 21st century through the playful lens of the whitewater navigator. The book provides both a comprehensive overview of the challenges that leaders face, but don't always acknowledge, and powerful solutions derived from real life experiences. Accessible and engaging!"

—Meg Jones, Executive VP & Chief Administrative Officer, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 10, 2009

    Good advice for professionals in a changing world

    The book is based on the idea that the job and career realm is like whitewater rafting - always changing, always potentially dangerous, always moving forward. Thus, managing your career is much like managing a raft or raft team, requiring one to adapt, face danger, understand when to change, learn to fail and get going again, and organize almost spontaneously. The metaphor does occasionally get overused, but it's applied very well, and in a way that makes sense.<BR/><BR/>Taking this metaphor, each chapter of the book covers a particular issue, usually using the whitewater metaphor (and others) to illustrate the importance of the actions one must take to deal with a particular issue or related set of issues. This is done practically, with very readable and straightforward text, and a very welcome sense of humor. The book flows along lightly, each chapter has solid practical advice (made even easier with asides, quotes, and summaries).<BR/><BR/>To give an example, there's a chapter on play - which may seem odd considering the whitewater metaphor, except plenty of people face whitewater for fun. The chapter looks at how one can enjoy themselves at work (that is the point) in the midst of chaos, how sometimes the difference in fun and danger is the right equipment and attitude, and cultivating the attitudes to enjoy life. The chapter also contains a section on how, despite fun you have had or want to have, sometimes you just have to "paddle like hell." The book recommends optimism, but it doesn't sugar-coat bad situations or suggest positive thinking solves everything.<BR/><BR/>The advice itself is extremely solid - I measure a book by how much new information and ideas it imparts, and this book managed to help me see things different. In a few cases, I found the warnings about behaviors that were "bad for being in whitewater" seemed aimed squarely at me. The authors know what they're talking about, and know who they're talking to.<BR/><BR/>One flaw in the book is that the good advice often seems aimed at people in high-level careers: those who manage others, who are well along their career path, etc. The book in fact is good for anyone who has a career started and going, but they may be put off by some of the high-level people mentioned in the book, and some of the advice is aimed at those people. This however is not a reason to put off purchasing it, but it does affect what some people get out of it.<BR/><BR/>Of the career advice books I've seen, this is definitely one of the best. Its got a solid foundation, good advice, is easy to read, highly accessible, and very little fluff. You may not enjoy the heavy use of metaphor, and its is more useful (and aimed) at someone whose careers have been going for awhile, but these flaws are minor. It's worth the purchase for anyone who has a solid career or is solid career foundation.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2011

    Practical and easy to use tool for anyone dealing with workplace change

    This book provides a practical guide to navigating, and most importantly, coping with the fast changing business environment. I read this book two months ago, have easily integrated the techniques into my daily life and have been much more effectively dealing with the chaotic pace at my company. My stress level is lower, job satisfaction level is higher and my business results have increased. This is a powerful read, and if you want to thrive rather than feel thrown against the rocks, read this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    IBM Competitive Edge Book Club Selects Book in Q4 2009

    The IBM Competitive Edge Book Club, open to all sellers at IBM, voted and selected "The Job Survival Guide" as the Q4 2009 selection. Overall feedback from the members was very good. In the feedback from the members, we ask them the question - "What will you do differently in your job since your study of this book." Some of the replies directly from the members included:

    - "A job is all about how you mentally approach it with this book painting the picture that we need to be flexible vs. rigid; expect the unexpected vs. having it all under control."

    - "This is encouraging to me to continue my quest to remain balanced in my work and life. It is good to know that I am not alone in my struggles and that there are some practical helps."

    - "I'm going to force myself to take more time away and build in more breaks to my day, I thought the Author's discussion around sleep and separating yourself from the job to be able to make more effective decisions was very well articulated and meaningful. They made me take more notice and this was the right book for 4Q."

    - "It confirms that constantly refreshing your skills is important and that taking a real break (ie. vacation) from work is key."

    - "Learn to live in whitewater environments and look for portages as needed."

    BIG thank you to Dr. Gregory Shea for being apart of the IBM Competitive Edge Book Club experience and for writing a book that is well positioned to assist us all in our daily approach to work/ life.

    Best Regards,
    Brien Convery
    IBM Global Workforce Partner and Competitive Edge Book Club Leader

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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