Diary of a Job Search: One Man's Journey from Unemployment to a New Career
by Tim Johnston
Ever read an old manual? My dad owned a lot of old textbooks from the 1970s and 1980s, and as a kid, I'd flip through them whenever I was bored. One of the books was a guide on how to save money on your car, and the author spoke about driving beneath the speed limit, 55 mph. "Wow, cars were slow back then," the ten-year-old me would remark.
The technology of job hunting, while it is a constant phenomenon and necessity, is constantly changing, especially in the Internet Age. This book, like so many others, was a product of its time, and it reveals a lot of insight into the anxious mindset of the post-9/11 American job hunter.
Perhaps the economic chaos after 9/11 was the beginning of the end to the idea of one stable, lifelong career, the expectation that the same company will take care of its employees for life. The beginning of job hunting and company-hopping as employees realized that they were on their own in terms of securing their financial future. Along with new circumstances comes a new "game", new rules, and new tools to use in the job hunt. It's the reason Richard Bolle comes out with a new edition of What Color Is Your Parachute? every year (A thorough book of advice on the job hunting process. I recommend it).
Diary of a Job Search by Tim Johnston goes back to the pre-LinkedIn days of 2003. Tim the Job Hunter's journey is fun (and occasionally hilarious) to read.
I'd like to compare the experience of reading this to staring into a time capsule of what it was like to search for jobs around the time the Internet was starting to take off in popularity. Lots of references were made to the 9/11 attacks and their catastrophic effects on the job market. Tim regarded the use of the pre-LinkedIn Internet for job hunting with skepticism, and partly because job sites were already being spammed with resumes and sketchy sales opportunities.
Some lessons Tim learned along the way remain relevant in 2015: "feeding and watering" your network, interviews, negotiating one's salary, being likable/showing value in an interview, and being persistent in the job search despite the challenges of morale and unemployment.
I hope Tim is doing well today. He was a likable job hunting protagonist in this book, and even though our life circumstances are completely different, it was easy to identify with him and his concerns and aspirations.
My rating: 5/5 stars by 2003 standards
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