Books for back to work blues
Summer hols over? We're here to help with five new work-related self-help books
We all feel a bit ‘meh’ about work from time-to-time but returning after a relaxing summer break can be really tough… Maybe the time out of the rat-run even had you dreaming about changing careers completely? Whatever your job dilemma, we have a book for that.
Muddy’s professional book worm Kerry Potter rummaged through her giant box of new self-help tomes (there are an insane amount published each month) to pick five of the best that she’s found useful and encouraging. And if you are inspired to ditch the accountancy and become a lion tamer, do let me know (and send photos). Over to Kerry..
For creative types: The Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba
So busy with work you don’t have time to even read a darn book? I hear you. This one, by a former ad exec and founder of creative working women platform Women Who, is crammed with snack-size, dip-in advice and will fit on your handbag for your commute. There’s loads here for self-employed creative types who don’t see themselves as being especially business-minded (*raises hand*). I liked the chapter on personal branding – it’s a subject I find a bit ‘me me me’ cringe-y but Otegha made me see the value in it.
For waverers: How To Be Everything by Emilie Wapnick
This will be music to the ears of anyone who feels they’ve never really found their niche, who fantasizes about doing something, anything, other than the job they’ve got or who is trying to wheedle their way back in after a career break. Wapnick dispels the myth of having one true calling being everything, focusing instead on encouraging ‘multipotentialites’ – basically someone with many interests and passions. Career paths don’t have to be linear these days, she says, and that’s no bad thing.
For entrepreneurs: Girl Code by Cara Alwill Leyba
Being a small business owner or self-employed can be a lonely life but Cara is here to be your cheerleader. The NYC life coach is very American and ‘go girl!!’ but once I’d put my arched eyebrow Brit cynicism to one side I found some useful tips and words of encouragement here. She’s good on how to deal with professional envy (eg when industry rivals boast on social media – grrr) and recommends putting all the positive feedback you get from clients and customers into one folder and having a little read to cheer you up when you’re having one of those days.
For those who dread the daily grind: How To Have A Good Day by Caroline Webb
Unlike the others in this list that are all brand new, this one came out last year but my copy is dog-eared from excessive browsing. Using new findings from behavioural and neuroscience, Webb drills down into our work day routines and habits, making practical suggestions about how, literally, to have a better day. It’s worth buying for the appendices alone, which include advice on how to deal with two of our biggest office bugbears – endless meetings (ugh) and an email inbox of doom.
For when you’re too busy to breath: On Time by Catherine Blyth
This isn’t specifically career advice, instead it helps you ‘find your pace in a world addicted to fast’. And for those of us whizzing around like headless chickens, work is usually a huge part of that problem. Catherine deftly unpicks our obsession with time – or lack thereof – and offers excellent tips (the Life Edit chapter is especially good on scheduling and prioritizing). Brucey bonus: the writing is utterly beautiful and thoroughly engaging, with her references taking in everyone from Da Vinci to Jane Austen to Usain Bolt. A must-read for anyone who’s too busy – and let’s face it, who isn’t?
Words: Kerry Potter