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Carney, Tom.

Toronto, Methuen, c1984. 261pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0-458-96770-4. CIP

Reviewed by Diane Ikonen

Volume 13 Number 4
1985 July

Take two people with the same level of technical expertise who both start on their first career jobs at the same time. They both proceed to work equally hard. Yet, five years later, one has only got slightly ahead, while the other has zoomed ahead. The difference? Job smarts, contacts, and self-promotional skills on top of the basics in technical expertise.

This book is about how to manage and develop a career. It is primarily for persons in, or about to enter, their first career jobs.

This is Tom Carney's target group; yet it would be informative for all employees, especially those evaluating their careers and contemplating positive change. The underpinning point of view is that there are politics and structures in place that the wise employee needs to be aware of when planning, in order to avoid pitfalls and overcome hurdles. Carney disagrees with the notions that in organizations the cream will rise to the top or that hard work will be rewarded with advancement.

The author holds a PhD from the University of London and a doctorate in literature and philosophy from the University of South Africa. He has been a guest lecturer at Cambridge, Harvard, Princeton, London, and other universities, and has taught in five Commonwealth countries and the United States. Since 1977, he has been a professor of communications at the University of Windsor, Ontario, where his innovative and popular course on organizational communications received the Award of Program Distinction from the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education. Carney, however, bases his book not only on academe, but also on business, consulting, and government sources.

The table of contents outlines the scope of this book: "Job Smarts: What They Are and Why You Need Them," "Finding Out What's What is Getting a Job," "Through the Hiring Maze via the 'Hidden Job' Door," "Managing Your Boss," "Developing Your Job," "Sending the Right Signals," and "New Starts." Illustrations, diagrams, and charts abound, and an extensive bibliography is provided for each chapter. However an index is not provided.

Special features that are a substantial part of this book's helpfulness are Carney's appendices or twelve stratagems for assessing yourself or understanding critical factors in careers. These include "Scoring System for Assessing Your Skills at Office Politics," "The Art of Filling in Application Forms," "Scoring System for the Job Growth Potential Scale," and "Scoring System for Reading the Signs."

Job Smarts has broad appeal. It is scholarly and technical, yet also suited to the layperson. Many theories are discussed, and much technical material on various topics is provided. However, it is not overwhelming, but rather serves to reinforce the author's theses. The layperson can skim, or study carefully at will.

I would suggest this book as a purchase for every individual seeking to enter the marketplace; the novice could not receive a more useful gift. Mid to oldtimers might even devour it as eagerly as I did. This is likely a book you will lend, but get back, as you will want to refer to it again and again.

Diane Ikonen, Levack District H.S., Levack, Ont.
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