Work: Making a Living and Making a Life

Joshua Halberstam, Author
Joshua Halberstam, Author Perigee Books $17 (224p) ISBN 978-0-399-52578-0
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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Uncomfortable with both the notion of a calling and the expectation that our passions will translate into jobs, Halberstam (Schmoozing)--who maintains a hybrid career as a teacher of moral philosophy and a corporate marketing consultant--argues for ""career entrepreneurship"" and a commitment to change. In a chatty monologue that often ventures into the second person, he opines that in order to realize our optimum potential, we must find jobs that are demanding but not impossible--something that may be easier in his formula than in reality. We desire money, but have some reservations about it--a healthy contradiction, he declares. But ""making it"" depends less on external rewards than on our effort and commitment to our career values, coupled with clear-eyed recognition of our limitations and some measure of optimism. Ambition is a choice, not a trait, in Halberstam's view, while ""non-malicious envy"" can be a useful motivator. Wisdom points to a balance of meaningful work and rewarding leisure, which to Halberstam does not signify rest, diversion or indulgence so much as ""internal creativity."" For regular rejuvenation, he recommends a ""Sabbath,"" though not necessarily a religious one. Halberstam's willingness to confront cliches and air contradictions should spark worthwhile discussion. (Apr.)
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