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Markel, Ruth.

Markham (Ont.), Penguin Books, c1985. 283pp, paper, $6.95, ISBN 0-14-007065-6. CIP

Reviewed by Diane Ikonen

Volume 13 Number 5
1985 September

A thought provoking read for anyone earning, or wishing to earn, his/her daily bread is Room at the Top by Ruth Markel, a Canadian with degrees in social work and business, and entrepreneurial experience in fashion, consulting, and giving seminars.

She observes that “women. . . have not been trained to see their careers as long-term commitments and investments in themselves ... in marked contrast to men, who are encouraged to plan their future at work as a normal rite of passage" and declares that "this book is intended to remedy the situation." Markel then offers "a basic career plan for every working woman" which "you may not want to put into action right away" but she advises that "at some time in your career you will have to confront the issues covered."

As recent surveys and magazine articles point out, females are struggling with the game of life and how to play it. Market's stance is that "basically you are in charge of your own destiny. Women have been in the protecting, nurturing role for so long now that they should know that there is no one to look after them, no one who will descend from the sky with job promotion handouts, no one to push them to the top, but themselves."

And what if you do want to be at this top? You would be wise to ponder the concerns addressed by Markel: the lack of confidence women have that drives them to be overly-sensitive of criticism and perfectionistic; the fact that women do not know the importance of warming-up in business negotiations; the attitude many approach business socializing with, that it "is a chore. . . instead of being an enriching, pleasurable complement to your work" that can make your life easier and even save you time; Market's assessment that women need to improve their skills in making presentations, running effective meetings, handling interviews, and dealing successfully with conflict.

Room at the Top, written in easy-to-read print, is organized with an extensive table of contents, chapter divisions, and suggestions for further reading. The material and concepts pertain to adolescents, young adults, and older people. A shower of reality for women, this book would also be informative to men.

Diane Ikonen, Levack D.H.S., Sudbury, Ont.
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