Archive for the ‘Anne’s Book Reviews’ Category

Suggestion for a good read

November 17, 2014

In this premature onset of winter, don’t you long to hunker down under a quilt, hot chocolate in one hand and a good book in the other?

I can’t help you with finding the best hot drink, but I can suggest a book that I read through in one setting.  That was partly because I know the author, partly because the topic is near and dear to me.

The book is Going to Church: it’s not what you think by Susan Mann Flanders.  Susan is recently retired from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, where she served various functions in churches of all sizes: seminarian, associate rector, interim, and ultimately rector.

I grew up in a time when women clergy in the Episcopal Church were unheard of.  The question never came up.  Never in my experience.

Things changed drastically in the 1970s, and now the sight of a woman in a clerical collar looks downright normal to me.  But I don’t want to take it for granted, because I still rejoice in opportunities for people to use their gifts as they deem appropriate, unencumbered by stereotypes and rubrics of yesteryear.

Susan is such a person.  In this book, you can learn of her struggles and triumphs as her career has unfolded.  She has shared of her life and her emerging theology in honesty, which is a great model for those of us who would rather present ourselves to the world as people who have their act together.

If you know people who are “spiritual but not religious” or who have walked away from their Christian tradition because it doesn’t work any more, consider steering them toward this little book.  The appendix alone that contains a sermon on Abraham and Isaac is worth the read.

Resume Review – a reminder

September 29, 2014

As the fall job search season gets underway, I know you are re-thinking your interview outfit.  Switching from linen to wool, light colors to darker, is part of your challenge.

Another challenge is to make sure your resume is as current as can be.  If you have not seriously updated your new elements  document in a few years, this neglect will be obvious to all who read it.

What to do?  Get some help!  You really need such elements as hyperlinks and evidence of your involvement in social media (your choice which venue to use).

And please allow me to propose (humbly) that you check out my e-publication, Reflections on Resumes: Taking a Second Look. You can learn about little tips and tricks that will give you the confidence that you are as current as can be,  and that you are displaying your accomplishments to best advantage.  You can be reading this small guide on your computer, tablet, or e-reader within a minute or so.

I’m Career Counselor Anne Headley and I approve this message!

About that federal job …

August 4, 2014

I just discovered a wonderful resource for those of you who are seeking federal employment.  You already know it is a daunting task.  So you will welcome yet another source of information and inspiration.

Do you know Karol Taylor and her work?  Karol is one of the nation’s experts in this subject, having worked in career development from within a government agency for many years.  Now, in what we laughingly call retirement, she has published two books (Guide to America’s Federal Jobs and Find Your Federal Job Fit, both published by Jist) , teaches, coaches, and speaks on the topic.  She writes and tells it like it is.

She is also a blogger, sharing her subject in bite-sized chunks.  Job seekers, you should follow this:  You won’t be sorry.

Start by checking out the distinction between being eligible for the job and being qualified.  Who knew?

Career Advice from Animal Farm

November 27, 2013

My grandson just finished reading George Orwell’s Animal Farm in his English class.  We had some discussions about it, and we decided there are a few messages in it for a young person entering the world of work;

Don’t think that hard work and strength alone will pay off.  Boxer the horse longed for the glorious retirement all animals had been promised. His two mottos were “Comrade Napoleon is always right” and “I will work harder.”  Way too trusting, he ended up in a van headed for the glue factory despite all those promises.

Common sense alone is not enough.  Don’t be afraid to speak up when something seems wrong.  You will need allies.  Benjamin the donkey was the only one who remembered the original goals of the Revolution and the original 7 commandments, but he had no support among the other animals.

Look out for leaders who don’t lend a hand, like the pigs.  They were smart, but always seemed to be planning rather than working.

Beware of the visionaries who make promises that cannot possibly come true, such as Moses the Raven. He described a paradise with sugar for all, but only after death.

Wouldn’t you like to have known these things before you started work?

Build your Dreams: See the Movie, Buy the Book

July 29, 2013

To a frustrated young person reading this who is not happy about looking at the jobs that are available out there:

Hey, You, have I got a suggestion!

Do you like to watch movies?  This  book has a movie to go along.

The authors and filmmakers, Alexis Irvin and Chip Hiden,  are also young.  They actually got those entry-level jobs that made their college programs look good and their parents sigh with pride and relief.  But wait!  Does it matter that they were not happy?  Because they weren’t.

So watch the movie first.  It’s called The Dream Share Project.  Coming to a college campus near you, or you can get information at

Ahem, I’m in it.  One of the talking heads, which was nerve-wracking for me.  I think they put in us career counselor types for a bit of gravitas after the flip flop guy and the comedian.

Are you persuaded?  Now it is time to get the book.  Build Your Dreams: How to Make A Living Doing What You Love is available for your kindle or in paperback.  Alexis and Chip do not promise you an easy path, but they do dangle the prospect of joy at the end.  And maybe even joy along the way.

Hindsight + Memoir = Career Insight

March 7, 2013

A friend recently published a collection of stories of her youth, and I spent a wonderful afternoon getting to know the author in new ways.  Amid these funny and not-so-funny anecdotes, I gleaned some insight into how one’s youth continues to haunt and/or inspire as we get older.

That’s why career counselors devote much of a client’s first meeting to that person’s background, often over their objections.  (But I came for help with my resume!)

I’d rather hear you tell me about yourself.  When I’ve heard several stories about your past, I will understand that resume so much better, and will be much more able to help with it and with your job search.

Don’t believe me?  Check out Down to ‘Derry; Coming of Age in Vermont by Jeanne Heffron Slawson.  Here you will meet a bright, adventurous, artistic child who observed and remembered – a lot.  She writes of teachers and their attitudes in the village schools.  She reveals the parent who minimized her own daughter’s equestrian accomplishments in order to boost those of an older brother.  And most of all, she reminds us of the philosophy of dying and death that left the kids totally alone to cope.

After you read this collection, you won’t be terribly surprised that this woman went on to become a caring and professional career specialist, an artist, and a mom extraordinaire.

Is this why they say that there’s a book inside each of us?

What color is the NEW Parachute?

September 9, 2012

Following up on a suggestion by Richard Nelson Bolles on LinkedIn, I got hold of the 2013 version of What Color is your Parachute? the other day. First time on my Kindle.  He claims that this is a thorough re-write, not merely an update, and I was a bit skeptical.

Well, the man ought to know.  There are several major shifts along with the beloved basic material we’ve all used for the past 40 or so years.

The biggest surprise to me popped up early in the book.

We are no longer being urged to identify, develop and pursue our vocational dream, but rather DREAMS (plural).

Dr. Bolles has incorporated the well-accepted fact that we will all have at least three to five major career changes in a lifetime into a new way of career search.  He urges flexibility, and here is how I interpret his point:

  • Do you have several interests?  If so, get more information on all of them.
  • Is it possible for your resume to reflect several interests at once?  Hmm, I think you may need an equal number of resumes
  • Do you have separate networks for each of your interests?  You’re going to be busy developing these relationships in order to find out about opportunities.
  • Are you currently looking for a job?  Well, here’s the good news; you’ll come across more opportunities, and you’ll find them sooner.

Yes, this is seriously different from what career counseling has advocated.  But I’m excited to explore multiple options in the name of flexibility.

Next:  what else is new in Parachute?

Lessons from another birthday lady

April 27, 2012

Miss Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926.  And yes, you know her as the author of To Kill a Mockingbird.  On high school reading lists or a beloved movie with Gregory Peck, her characters of Atticus Finch, Scout, Boo Radley and others of the small southern town live on.  So does her portrayal of Jim Crow justice.

Thank you, Miss Lee, for telling it like you saw it.  You still raise sensibilities today.  I believe you have changed the world.

Dorothea Lange: we’re still seeing her story

April 25, 2012

Do you ever look at a prized photograph from your vacation and say this really tells the story?  If so, you’ll admire the works of Dorothea Lange, born April 26, 1895.

She was a photographer, who supported herself during the Great Depression with money from the WPA, documenting the life of migrant farmers.  Her iconic photo of a mother and her two children became the face of poverty and softened the hearts of landowners.

Yes, your photos tell a story.  But check out Lange’s.  Her story is told in the recent book, Dorothea Lange: a Life Beyond Limits. Author Linda Gordon provides a detailed chronicle of Lange’s career.  You will recognize those classic photographs of ordinary people standing in bread lines.

You can also learn more at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.

Happy 117th, Ms. Lange.  Your works still speak to us.

Happy Birthday, Charles, and thanks…

February 7, 2012

Today is the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens.

When I think of what he contributed to the world, I am so grateful.  He identified the dreadful conditions of child labor that were considered acceptable in his time, and he did so authentically, since he himself had gone to work at age 12.

This is an occasion on which to be grateful to all artists who use their lives to enlighten the rest of us.

Happy birthday, Charles Dickens.  The world is a better place because of you.