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Light Reading for Job Seekers and Career Changers


When the food gets heavy, light, fun books call to me, and I don't think I'm alone in this.  Read on for highlights in funny, amusing, and entertaining career-related materials at NYPL.

Have you ever watched that scene from Office Space where three nerds try to figure out what money laundering actually means and thought, "Yep.  That's me"?  It's hard to find definitive guides to the dark side of the economy even though we all know it's there.  While I'm not recommending that you review this book in search of your dream career, it does provide enough information to satisfy those of us with the macabre combination of morbid curiosity and a love of dark humor.  Some of my favorite profiles:  Rodeo Clown, Stuntperson, Geisha, Dominatrix, and Executioner (their one pick from Civil Service.)
Unlike Nice Job! this book features some careers that you might actually want to consider.  My favorites: author, toy designer/inventer, and wardrobe stylist.
This little book (and yes, it is short and smaller than standard size) seems more like art than a standard book, but if you're feeling stuck in your job search, career, or just feel you're suffering from general ennui, it might be just what you need to feel perky again.  Who can resist chapter headings like: "Reject Mediocrity" and "Lead from Within"?
Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
Oh, David Sedaris, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways!  One one thousand!  Two one thousand!  Three... Oh, sorry.  I get so carried away around this special time of year when I have an excuse to read "The SantaLand Diaries" over and over and over again without my husband saying I'm nuts.  I know he still thinks it, but really, for anyone who has ever had a demeaning job ever, you must read at least that one story in this book.  You can also hear David Sedaris read from the SantaLand Diaries on NPR here.  Just don't use this as an excuse to say you want to work somewhere because you like the uniforms or write an essay bashing a former employer.  It's much better to have freelance writing as a source of supplemental income than to make it your career by default because you've alienated all potential employers.
When I first picked-up this book and noticed that a condom tester was profiled (complete with a picture of her at work!) I had to add it to my personal collection of career books.  This book has it all, from the armpit sniffer featured on the cover to funeral parlor cosmetologist (Evelyn Waugh fans rejoice).
Unlike the other books on this list, this one is a bit more serious.  Po Bronson interviewed people about the times they felt they were at a crossroads in their career decision-making process and what they did to resolve the tension between the life they were living and the one they wanted to live.



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