*Starred Review* ”It can be difficult for recent college graduates and others searching for their first job to discover the right career. To make this process a little easier, Dodd created this compilation of profiles that help demystify job titles and provide candid insights into the jobs that young people do. . .Dodd targets her words directly to her generational peers, but this is also an excellent choice for high school and college students exploring their career options as well twentysomethings who are still trying to decide what they want to be when they grow up.” — Library Journal
“Could there possibly be a more timely book? The job market has never seemed so forbidding. But through beautifully rendered vignettes, Laura Dodd introduces us to an array of gutsy and determined young people diving into interesting and sometimes novel careers. We meet genetic counselors, adventure guides and food bloggers. We get a first-hand view of whole new fields that are starting to take off because of technological, demographic and cultural shifts. We hear poignant war stories from renowned leaders. This book is full of smart, practical career advice, much of it earned through hard experience, and all of it deeply relevant for any young person attempting to gain a toe hold in a daunting job market.” — David Barstow, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter for The New York Times
"Dig This Gig is better than going on twenty informational interviews. Maybe you have years to waste, trying out this job and that for a few months each. If not, read Dig This Gig and figure it out before you get started." — John Bowe, author, Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs
“Not everyone can have Jeffrey Sachs as a personal career mentor. But they can have him and other successful people in Dig This Gig, which is an honest and thorough look at what work truly means. As Laura Dodd interviews everyone from a genetic counselor to a TV reporter to a policy analyst, she gets to the root of how people find their calling as opposed to how they find their jobs. Dig This Gig is not going to give you the secrets to becoming rich, famous, and powerful. But it will tell how you how to find or create a job that makes your life meaningful, and that's even better.” —Lilit Marcus, author, Save the Assistants
About the Author
Everyone loves a Top 10 list, right? Here's mine, in no particular order, and with varying levels of importance.
Raised in New Orleans, LA and therefore a life-long Saints fan.
Played volleyball in high school and for two years in college.
Graduated from Washington University in St. Louis.
Favorite foods: Thanksgiving dinner-anything
I'm a pretty decent skier but do not like the trees.
Lived in Los Angeles after college working in television and film production
Addendum to #6 -- spent a lot of time "paying my dues" in the "assistant" track
I currently live in New York City
A year into the "real world," I bailed to spend four months working and backpacking in Australia with two of my best friends from high school.
Laura Dodd was raised in New Orleans, LA, graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, and currently lives in New York City. Her first book, Dig This Gig, is a collection of profiles of 20-somethings navigating career paths across a range of industries -- from "Green Gigs" to "Healthcare Gigs" to "Entertainment Gigs" to "Outdoor Gigs," among others.
I liked this book because I am doing this myself. I am trying to create my own gig. Let me put it this way: you can try to serve one boss who carefully directs you, or you can try to serve multiple bosses (clients) who may have varying goals for your services.
Unlike most of those featured in the book, I am older, trying to start my own business for the first time at age 50. It would be nice to be twentysomething, but could I afford to sacrifice the knowledge that I have gained?
I think not. The book takes an approach of reviewing four young people each in seven areas of employment, followed by an elder statesman who is an exemplar in that area.
The seven areas are:
Healthcare Entertainment Doing Good (Nonprofit, Teacher) Green (Environmental) News Government Unemployed
The book is well-written, and will provide inspiration to those looking to carve out a new niche in the current economy.
I must admit skepticism that a large number of people can "Dig this Gig." Most of the needs of mankind are similar, and unless you find a special point of unmet need, unusual gigs are hard to find. I view much of what is said here as trying to accomplish something difficult. Most people would be better off trying to do something conventional. After all, that is why it is conventional.
Who would benefit from this book:
If you have a friend out of work but who is energetic, this book could be valuable. Or someone competent and employed, but frustrated... this book could be valuable. But anyone who is not motivated to work hard -- sorry, this book will be of no help.
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The book has good profiles of people in their twenty-somethings. I learned a lot about what careers look like, but it wasn't very useful in terms of how to direct my own destiny. How can I go about finding mentors and making things happen? Many of the people profiled fell accidentally into their jobs, but still the author emphasizes the importance of directing one's own life. For me, that contradiction was not adequately resolved.
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Dig This Gig provides deep anthropological insights into how Generation Y thinks about career development. It is valuable not only for introspectively looking at your professional life, but also for understanding how to hire and motivate twenty-somethings.
In addition to the deeply useful Gen Y profiles, the book offers sage wisdom from seasoned mentors with diverse skills and backgrounds.
Finally, the book is a fast, compelling, and engaging read. In contrast to Studs Terkel's loosely structured interview transcripts, Ms. Dodd applies a consistent biographical style interspersed with useful quotations that develop character. Stated more directly, Ms. Dodd captures her generation as well as Terkel did his but she does so with much stronger narrative.
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