Down and Out in the New Economy: How People Find (or Don’t Find) Work Today

Ilana Gershon. Univ. of Chicago, $25 (304p) ISBN 9780226452142
Gershon (The Breakup 2.0), an associate anthropology professor at Indiana University, wants to help readers “see more clearly the challenges of job searching and... make more thoughtful employment decisions,” but readers expecting useful advice on landing that next new job should look elsewhere. This is fundamentally a book that observes—at a distance—how “everything about job searching has changed.” That change is the book’s foundation, as it focuses on how people have shifted from offering skills to the job marketplace to offering themselves as a “business of one.” Gershon did plenty of homework (conducting 165 interviews and attending 54 related workshops), more than enough to explain the concept of personal branding, being “unique in the right way,” and successfully communicating those qualities via various online outlets. As the author discusses some concepts—informational interviewing, for example—her points become a little muddy. After a discussion of LinkedIn, for instance, it’s anyone’s guess whether Gershon thinks it’s a good resource or not. Still, she introduces concepts that, while perhaps not directly helpful, may still assist readers in thinking differently about jobs and what they mean for one’s future rather than just the present. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/27/2017
Release date: 04/01/2017
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