Customer Reviews: How'd You Score That Gig?: A Guide to the Coolest Jobs-and How to Get Them
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on May 29, 2008
This book was a fun read. I liked it in a superficial kind of way. It features 60 jobs that may be worth pursuing. The author has grouped the 60 jobs in seven of the book's 8 chapters as follows:

1. Self-assessment
2. The adventurer
>>Conservationalist >>Documentary photographer >>ESL teacher
>>Foreign Serviceofficer >>News correspondent >>Oceanographer
>>Outdoor adventure guide >>Travel journalist
3. The creator
>>Actor >>Book author >>Fashion designer
>>Interior designer >>landscape architect >>movie screenwriter
>>Performance musician >>Restaurant chef >>Video game designer
4. The datahead
>>Computational linguist >>Environmental engineer >>Financial advisor
>>Information security specialist >>Meteorologist >>Pharmaceutical scientist
>>Urban planner
5. The entrepreneur
>>Bed-&-breakfast innkeeper >>Blogger >>Boutique owner
>>Event planner >>Health club owner >>Internet-based business owner
>>Inventor >>Pet sitter >>Professional organizer
6. The investigator
>>Antiques dealer >>Art curator >>Classic car restorer
>>Criminologist >>Field archeologist >>Forensic scientist
>>Futurist >>Historian >>Psychology lab assistant
7. The networker
>>Book editor >>Congressional staffer >>Image consultant
>>Lobbyist >>Marketing executive >>Pro sports team manager
>>Speech writer >>Talent agent >>Television producer
>>Wine merchant
8. The nurturer
>>Doula >>Elementary school teacher >>Life coach
>>Nonprofit administrator >>Nutritionist >>Physical therapist
>>Social services caseworker >>zoologist

Chapters 2 though 8 cover occupations that are grouped by the personality type of the person suited for them. For example, someone who is creative (a creator) might want to be a book author or movie screenwriter. See Chapter 3. And the reader is expected to use Chapter 1 to determine which personality type they have. After reading Chapter 1 they can then turn to the chapter that applies to them and skip the rest of the book. In that case, the book can be a very short read.

The author says this book was written to help the reader embark on the journey toward career fulfillment. And the target audience is really smart, ambitious, goal-directed kids. I'm sorry, but the list of jobs featured in this tome for the most part do not seem to match the target audience. And they don't seem to be entry-level jobs that will help someone get on with a career full of fulfullment.

If you are looking for a book that will give you some insight into how to land a job featured in this book, then this book is for you. It is well-written and informative. However, if you are really smart, ambitious, and goal directed, then I suspect you have already planned your career moves long before graduating from college and you will get little from this book. Generally speaking, entry-level jobs are not fulfilling. And a book that provides career advice shouldn't really be advising on particular jobs for new recruits. Instead, it should be advising on CAREER TRACKS that will lead to a fulfilling occupation that can adequately support a worthy lifestyle financially. If the author had done this latter thing, then I would have really liked the book. 4 stars!
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on April 30, 2008
As a Psychologist, I have gone through my own struggles of finding a career path that is meaningful. I was lucky enough to find my passion early on. I have known lots of people who have just majored in something or taken a certain career path because they thought they were supposed to. This book is PERFECT for any college grad, anyone struggling to find a career that fits their personality and/or their passion, or just about anyone who is curious about a different career. This book is thoughtful, well-written, and interesting! The quiz at the beginning allows the reader to identify their personality type as it relates to career choices. The vast majority of selected careers are interesting, unique, and written about in the context of each personality profile. I HIGHLY recommend this book- it is so refreshing!
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on July 9, 2010
I really appreciated how this book's emphasis is on jobs that one can be passionate about, and matching your personality to those jobs. Generally, a great book -

Just a quibble or two:
1) Performance musician. I went to top music conservatories and have freelanced with orchestras (playing viola) for years. I think, in terms of playing with orchestras, that the author is off-base. For instance, looking up orchestral salaries on the national music educators' website? That's the LAST place you should look - music teachers don't play in big orchestras, they teach kids in primary and secondary school how to hold an instrument! I know for a fact that the top US symphonies have starting salaries in the low- to mid-six figures. However, getting one of those jobs is insanely difficult, based largely upon years and years of practicing many hours per day, even before auditioning, which itself is crazy hard. So, admittedly, getting an orchestra job is not a good topic for the book, which focuses upon re-inventing oneself post-college.

2) Under the boldface introductory quip for environmental engineering, an engineer describes explaining basic measurements - feet, inches - to a co-worker at the office, and how this is a satisfying aspect to his job. WHAT!? There are professional engineers out there who can't use a ruler?!?

3) Because of these minor flubs, I want to doubt the legitimacy of the research and information in the book. However, the writing is compelling, and I get the impression that the author did talk to a lot of people. Besides, the book's achievement is the excellent self-assessment at the beginning, the organization of jobs into personality types, and the overall thrust that you can start all over again.

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on April 21, 2008
I SO wish this book had come out years ago before I chose a career path! It's a thoughtfully written, unique & fun glimpse into some really cool jobs. The self-assessment quiz at the beginning makes it even more fun to read. No one tells you about opportunities like these in college. Image consultant? Life coach? Computational linguist? AWESOME. I actually think this book would be a great premise for an entire college course. Each featured career could have a guest lecturer. Maybe Ms. Levit should take this idea on the road! Anyhow, I bought 5 more copies of the book as college graduation gifts.
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on May 6, 2008
One of the things I loved the most about where I went to college was the freedom to form your own "major" -- you could piece together whatever classes you felt would help best educate you for the life path you wanted to pursue. That flexible curriculum planning still exists at the University of Rochester in New York and this book should be REQUIRED reading for all those who do it (and elsewhere). It's a hands-on, inspirational guide that shows you that your life's goals are only dreams with deadlines. I'll make it the defacto college graduation gift for anyone I know moving forward.
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on April 28, 2008
This book should be required reading for all "major undecided" college students... the personalization aspect of the book (via a guided self-assessment at the beginning) opens a world of career choices and helps individuals discover their passion and career calling. Levit's engaging style and exciting content combine to make "Gig" much less a reference and more a potential life-changer!
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on April 24, 2008
I think that this book provides strong value to those just entering the workforce and for those who are looking to switch careers. I'm a boomer, and I got some excellent ideas for career change out of it! I took the assessment and found it well thought out and on target. It's a gem of a book!
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One of the toughest times in life is getting to that stage where you're expected to go out on your own and make a living, but yet you don't have a clue as to what your dream job would be (or at least a *realistic* dream job). Alexandra Levit helps to cut through some of that confusion in her book How'd You Score That Gig?: A Guide to the Coolest Jobs-and How to Get Them. Using this book as a guide, you can start to move in a particular direction where your passion and personality meshes with your occupation.

The Adventurer: Conservationist; Documentary Photographer; ESL Teacher; Foreign Service Officer; News Correspondent; Oceanographer; Outdoor Adventure Guide; Travel Journalist
The Creator: Actor; Book Author; Fashion Designer; Interior Designer; Landscape Architect; Movie Screenwriter; Performance Musician; Restaurant Chef; Video Game Designer
The Data Head: Computational Linguist; Environmental Engineer; Financial Adviser; Information Security Specialist; Meteorologist; Pharmaceutical Scientist; Urban Planner
The Entrepreneur: Bed-and-Breakfast Innkeeper; Blogger; Boutique Owner; Event Planner; Health Club Owner; Internet-based Business Owner; Inventor; Pet Sitter; Professional Organizer
The Investigator: Antiques Dealer; Art Curator; Classic Car Restorer; Criminologist; Field Archaeologist; Forensic Scientist; Futurist; Historian; Psychology Lab Assistant
The Networker: Book Editor; Congressional Staffer; Image Consultant; Lobbyist; Marketing Executive; Pro Sports Team Manager; Speechwriter; Talent Agent; Television Producer; Wine Merchant
The Nurturer: Doula; Elementary School Teacher; Life Coach; Nonprofit Administrator; Nutritionist; Physical Therapist; Social Services Caseworker; Zoologist
Afterword; Acknowledgments; Bibliography

Levit starts out with a short self-assessment test. It's designed to root out your likes and dislikes, with the goal towards placing you in one (or more) of the main categories listed above. After you score the test and determine your type(s), there's a brief description of the personality attributes for those types, along with a list of jobs that they would quite often do well in. Once finished, you can start exploring the job write-ups in your particular area of interest.

Each job write-up gives a realistic sense of what to expect. There are quotes from people who currently do that job, explaining what they like and don't like about it. She explains the general requirements of the job, the type of work to expect, resources to get more information, and most important (for many), how much one could expect in terms of pay. As you'll quickly learn, it may be that the money you want to be able to earn doesn't normally come to those in a particular occupation. Don't expect to be pulling down $100K a year as a social services caseworker, for example. But to some, the emotional and psychological pay-offs of the job offer far greater compensation than the actual paycheck. Figuring this out beforehand can save you some time and effort (and heartache) when picking a career path.

I would expect that most people reading this would be the 20-somethings who are trying to figure out their place in the world. But, if you're approaching retirement or looking to make a career switch, this book will also serve you well in terms of decision-making for the Career 2.0 phase of your life.
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As the author points out, a vanishingly small number of us grew up and went to college to work in a vast, impersonal cubicle farm doing work we have no passion for and that has no more than short term utilitarian importance. We didn't set out to be faceless and anonymous worker-bees. Yet, most of us end up in such jobs. There's nothing wrong with paying the bills and funding your life and life's passions outside work. In fact, many people actually enjoy this kind of work because of what it funds at home and at play.

What's wrong is living a life that makes you feel frustrated, trapped, and sinking deeper into a sense of uselessness. Alexandra Levit provides you with a bunch of alternative careers you can at least consider. A wise boss once said to me that we should enjoy 80% of our job and the other 20% is what we get paid for. That seems about right to me. So, if you hate roughly 80% of your job, maybe you well into the area for reconsidering how you spend your time putting bread on your table and a roof over your head.

The first chapter is a self-assessment to help you see what broad category might bring your more satisfaction than the situation that is leading you to seek out this book. After you take the assessment, you will be given advice about which of the seven broad categories may suit you best. The seven categories are The Adventurer, The Creator, The Data Head, The Entrepreneur, The Investigator, The Networker, and The Nurturer. You will notice that these aren't jobs. However, within each category she describes some possible jobs, what those careers are like, and how you go about getting them.

For example, in The Adventurer category you get to look at being a conservationist, documentary photographer, ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, foreign service officer, news correspondent, oceanographer, outdoor adventure guide, and travel journalist. Each of the categories are similarly broad. You will probably want to look through all of them regardless of what your assessment results are because each job is interesting to contemplate.

Remember, this is a book about getting ideas and leads for new jobs and is not about providing directives for your life. You will get ideas and you might become energized to go look at something completely different from your present path or from what is provided in this book. Even if you decide to stay where you are, reading through this book and considering other things may well help you see your job with new eyes and appreciation.

A good book for anyone of any age considering where to work for your first job, for a career change, or what to do after you have already had a career but aren't ready for the rocking chair or watching daytime soaps.

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI

You might want to also look at:

Delaying The Real World

Escape from Corporate America: A Practical Guide to Creating the Career of Your Dreams
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on May 2, 2008
Alexandra Levit's book was very helpful for me as a college grad. I took the in-depth quiz at the beginning of the book and discovered that I was "the networker." This isn't like other personality tests, where all you discover is your qualities, likes/dislikes, etc. It goes beyond that and offers where your strengths and differences lie (it was spot on for me!!) and provides you with several jobs that would fit your personality type. It was extremely accurate and very informative.

Based on research and interviews with current twenty- and thirty-somethings, it really gives anyone looking for their passion a glimpse into different "gigs" that they would enjoy. What better than to have young professionals give insider accounts about the jobs that are good for the reader, but also learn how to get them! This is a MUST-HAVE for any college grad- makes a great graduation gift!
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