HOW THE BOOK CAME TO BE WRITTEN AND CHAPTER HEADINGS
When I left the workforce in the fall of 2001, having completed my 35-year career at General Mills, I walked away fulfilled—feeling I had been successful. But when I saw the incongruities of what I’d concluded I was left with one thought: “Not CEO, yet successful. How does that work?” And the question led me to a career in writing.
Over the next six years I studied, learned, wrote—and finally focused on telling the story of my career. That effort resulted in my novel, The Dangled Illusion, a fictional memoir of discovery that captured my experiences and stated clearly that being successful isn’t a matter of what level you attain in your business, it’s more about what being successful means to you. You don’t have to become the CEO to have a successful career.
Not long after publication, Dr. Len Marquart at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Nutrition read the book and asked me to address his students. “They need to hear what you have to say.”
We sat down for lunch and I said, “A book talk about The Dangled Illusion?”
Marquart shook his head. “My students need to hear what you learned—the lessons. What do you say?”
Marquart’s invitation and the fresh look at my own writing opened my eyes to the possibilities in the message I shared that day. His 48 students startled me with their eagerness to hear the message, and their insightful questions encouraged me to look deeper into these lessons and perhaps to bring forth what I had to say in a new way. Two years later, I captured the lessons learned in that 35-year career in Crafting a Successful Career: 8 Principles for Winning in a Challenging World.
My target audience is 24-year-olds. But when people I’m close to who are in their early forties read the manuscript, they said, “This is for our group also. It may have been better to read it when we were right out of school, but who has time? Now, we’re in a position to listen to solid advice. It’s for us, too.” Why? Because forced career adjustment seems to come along about mid-career—the time people need for some things to get stabilized. At least that was my experience, and I’ve seen it in so many cases. And what happens? Bubbles burst. People get hurt. So the book is for them also.
I think this book applies to those aspiring to do well in the corporate world—businesses with many people—but I think the lessons apply in small businesses, academia, medicine, the non-profit world, and government as well.
Check it out. I think you’ll enjoy the book, and you’ll find yourself wanting to get copies for those around you as well.
Here is a Mentoring and Book Discussion Guide
Chapter One: Principle 1 – Define Success for You
Chapter Two: Principle 2 – Get a Job
Chapter Three: Principle 3 – Find a Mentor
Chapter Four: Principle 4 – Become the Best Technical Person You Can Be
Chapter Five: Principle 5 – Create Your Network
Chapter Six: Principle 6a – Sponsorship Part I – Understand What It Is
Chapter Seven: Principle 6b – Sponsorship Part II – Learn to Generate Influence
Chapter Eight: Principle 7 – Perform WELL!
Chapter Nine: Principle 8 – Put Together Your Plan B and Your Plan C
Chapter Ten: Develop Character Qualities and Attitudes
Chapter Eleven: Caution – Beware of Boredom, Freedom, and Your Lens
Chapter Twelve: What Is Guaranteed If You Do All These Things?
Chapter Thirteen: A Final Thought For The 01 Percent I Didn ’t Address
About the author