Because it is still a dog eat dog world out there, deciding a career path remains difficult and staying on that path continues to offer challenges, especially for women.
A new book, Career GPS Strategies for Women Navigating the New Corporate Landscape (Amistad, 2010, ISBN 978-0-06-171438-2) by Dr. Ella J. Edmondson Bell, Ph.D. offers guidelines to women for forging their professional paths successfully even in an uncertain business world.
The New Corporate Woman
Bell starts out by telling readers that the second and third generations of working women are:
- Well educated
- Well traveled
- Quick thinkers
- Technically astute
In addition to their own individual talents, today’s corporate women have parents with a broad range of business experience they can draw from.
Career Development Tips
Bell covers all of the bases for career development, starting with knowing one’s self and always acting and behaving in a way that is true to one’s character.
The book covers all of the facets of finding the right job, reaching new heights of success, and finding happiness. Bell breaks her strategy into workable components and dedicates individual chapters on:
- Choosing the right career path
- Job searching in the 21st century
- Building relationships
- Job performance
- Advancing up the corporate ladder
- Becoming a global professional
- Combining work, life, and health
Getting a New Job
One of the most interesting chapters discusses the first ninety days of a new job. Bell recommends that when getting a new job, making a good impression and a big difference in the first ninety days of a job is critical to long-term success.
Bell wrote, “Make your mark right away-in the first ninety days. It’s okay to make mistakes once they get to know a manager, but at the outset, in the first ninety days, there’s no room for error. So do everything as close to target as possible.”
The chapter on developing and maintaining professional relationships is enlightening even to those who have been working in corporate America for many years. Bell defines the multiple levels of working relationships as:
- Mentors – offers information and advice
- Sponsors – uses their own capital to help advance someone else’s career
- Allies – collection of people who help each other
- The network – made up of all levels of work associates
Author’s Humble Beginnings
While the author does a good job of advising readers on how to navigate the corporate waters, the best parts of the book are those where Bell discusses her own background. Currently, she is a professor at Tuck School of Business in Dartmouth.
She tells readers that her work life is a far throw from where she began. Bell was adopted by a working-class family in South Bronx. While her mother and father never made it into high school, Bell’s teachers recognized her good grades and she ended up attending a private college, got her Ph.D. and quickly became “short-listed for a job at Yale’s business school.”
She decided to write the book because so many of her female students, even with all of today’s privileges, gifts, and opportunities, are still not prepared to enter the corporate life.
Using a GPS to Guide a Successful Career
It is so easy to make a wrong turn anytime in one’s life but it is especially easy to make a wrong decision when making career choices. The invention of the GPS for automobiles has served travelers well over the past few years. This book can provide the same type of direction for those women entering the corporate world to prevent them from turning down dead-end streets.