Thursday, May 3, 2012

Purple Squirrel Doesn't Stand Out

A few caveats here: I'm a Wally personality. You know Wally, from Scott Adams' Dilbert comic strip. He believes, among other things, that God created the world because he hates people and that coffee tastes better if you stir it with your finger. He prefers inertia to action. And thought I do a hell of a lot more work than Wally does because I actually enjoy what I do and want to keep on getting paid to do it, I've got to admit that when it comes to job-seeking and career advice, I'm more likely to turn to the likes of Wally, Dr. Peter Hull, and Stanley Bing than earnest go-getters like Michael Junge.

There will be many who like this book. That's fine. I'm not one of them.

I guess I'm more of a fatalist/realist who sees more truth in the works of Barbara Ehrenreich when it comes to finding jobs in modern America. I went through a stage of underemployment starting on April Fools Day 2005 (it lasted for just over a year) so I'm not just whistling Dixie when it comes to this review. Junge is very keen on helping you find a job with a Fortune 500 company and offers some sound career advice, but I've got to admit the advice he offers isn't all that extraordinary -- I've read similarly powerful stuff in ehow articles. So I'm glad I got this book for free.

The book lacks a certain professionality, which surprised me, considering how much Junge insists we put our best foot forward. There are myriad copy editing mistakes that a geek like me notices instantly. And there's a certain lack of humanity throughout the book. Junge doesn't even explain the title -- which despite its clear meaning in the recruiting world, tells the average reader nothing because we're not able to marvel at the jargon. A Purple Squirrel, for the uninitiated, is a job description written so narrowly it's difficult to find the right candidate to fit it. Junge never explains the term and only uses it once, in the conclusion. Where he could have use the term to add some personality to the book as a whole, he leaves it as an opportunity wasted.

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