It's been awhile since I read a book that I wanted to recommend to career and business clients. This one makes the cut
Other authors have attempted to describe what Alboher calls "slash careers," with considerably less success. What makes this book work is the emphasis on realism. Alboher offers numerous examples. We learn about teachers who become real estate agents and fashion models, lawyers who become artists and writers, and at least one banker who does hip-hop.
Because so many stories can be overwhelming, I do not recommend attempting to read the book in a single sitting. Instead, read a little here and there and begin to take notes.
The second part of Alboher's book attempts to be a "how-to," but continues to use stories as examples. I believe Alboher's guidelines are unusually realistic and thoughtful. She covers points that might escape the new slash careerist, such as legal and ethical conflicts of interest, inviting specialists to supplement her knowledge. For example, she asked a workplace specialist to create 10 guidelines for balancing parenting and career. A flextime specialist explains the need to focus on economic reasons for flextime, not just good intentions. And a coach presents an excellent "ask your friends" exercise that would help almost anyone exploring a new field.
I particularly resonated to the section on boundaries between the two careers. In my own case, I still maintain a career consulting website. But I also offer copywriting and website marketing services, based on what I learned from this site. I find my clients don't have a problem, but marketing consultants often become critical and advise me to drop one or the other. Alboher answers the question, "How much to tell?" correctly: "It depends."
Finally, at the end of the book, Alboher presents some examples of resumes, bios and other promotional material. It's important to view these pages as possibilities, not models. Alboher carefully points out that some people have totally different resumes for their careers, while others offer creative combos. Apart from being slash examples, the resumes could be viewed as models of resume-writing. The "Billy Shakes" bio is not to be missed.
So what's not to like?
Well, I couldn't help noting that most (though not all) of Alboher's examplary slashers were on the young side -- rarely over 40, let alone 50 or 60. My clients tend to be mid-career professionals and they'll gain a lot from this book. But they may have trouble seeing themselves in many of the stories.
Second, nearly everyone in this book seemed to fall into a second career by accident and to achieve great success, apparently without effort. There's little sense of planning or decision-making. In contrast, Herminia Ibarra's Working Identity takes readers through struggles of ordinary career changers who conducted research and attempted to create a process. Alboher quotes briefly from Working Identity and I believe these books nicely complement one another.
Toward the end we do hear about a few conflicts, as when a teacher took too many absences to pursue his wrestling career. But surely some people set out to seek a slash, only to find they lack aptitude or interest as they explore further.
These quibbles do not represent fatal flaws. I plan to recommend this book to a few of my current clients as soon as I finish posting this review.