What follows is an evolving list of resources to help you reach your "heyday" of life.
Navigating Transitions of All Types:
William Bridges, Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes
The go-to guide for anyone struggling to navigate the disorientation that accompanies the chosen and unchosen transitions we all face at some point--career changes, retirements, job loss, marriage, having a child, losing a loved one, getting divorced. Bridges' background as a lit professor stands him in good stead as he uses compelling stories from literature to illustrate the complex and protracted process of transition. He offers concrete strategies to help reader plot a course through their own transitions. Bridges’ book is a practical guide for anyone facing the bewildering terrain of life’s transitions.
How to Make Hard Choices, by Ruth Chang
In this TED Talk, philosopher Ruth Chang explains why hard choices are hard but also why they are precious opportunities to take control of our own lives.
A lovely, helpful reflection on how to navigate the seasons of life including thoughts on the need to grieve the ending of one season and the liminal space in between seasons.
The Mid-Life Unraveling, by Brene Brown
Living a Happier Life
Martin E.P. Seligman, Authentic Happiness
Seligman translate the latest research on happiness into layman's terms and offers a guide for cultivating happiness by focusing on your personal strengths to build a fulfilled life.
Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, Designing a Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life
Burnett and Evans are professors in Stanford's School of Design, and they apply the principles of design thinking to building a life. Start with where you are, then brainstorm, experiment, improvise, experiment some more and build your way forward to a life that works better for you. I use many of the exercises in this book with clients.
Great Harvard Business Review piece summarizes research about how self-reflection is necessary to our success in our careers and our lives.
Adam Grant and Reb Rebele, "Beating Generosity Burnout"
Psychologists Grant and Rebele provide convincing evidence that being that our selflessness can sometimes end up hurting those we want to help.
Jim Loehr, The Power of Story: Change Your Story, Change Your Destiny in Business and Life
Sometimes the stories we tell ourselves and those we tell others about ourselves have a way of limiting us and holding us back. We may tell stories that reinforce our sense of powerlessness instead of stories that are self-empowering, for example. The stories we tell ourselves can provide us with direction and structure. Loehr offers dozens of case studies and some concrete strategies for crafting stories that revitalize and empower us.
Gretchen Rubin, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Everyday Life
Habits are the key to making changes in our lives, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach to habit formation. Rubin offers advice on learning about how our own tendencies shape our approach to forming habits and how to harness our tendencies in order to make effective change.
Quick web site references:
Personal mission statement from Franklin Covey
Kevin Granville, "How To Manage Your Career"
A helpful "quick and dirty" guide to building a career.
Richard N. Bolles, What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career Changers
I first used this book in the late 1980s/early 1990s when I was mulling my first career change. It gets updated every year, and it's still the single best career and job hunting manual out there. It' full of practical advice and exercises to help you identify new career paths. This is your go-to guide for all things career and job-related.
Katharine Brooks, You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career
If you're finishing college or a new grad looking for that first or second job, particularly if you are a liberal arts major, this book is for you. Many liberal arts grads struggle to articulate how their academic preparation and their varied experiences translate into skills valuable to employers. Brooks' guide helps you connect the dots between your "wandering path" and learn how to sell yourself to employers. Although this book is written for new grads, there's a lot of advice here for people of any age.
Mika Brzezinski, Know Your Value: Women Money and Getting What You're Worth and Grow Your Value: Living and Working to Your Full Potential
The co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, Brzezinski's first book helps women assess their value—financial and otherwise—to their employers and provides them with a blueprint for gaining recognition of that value. Her second book focuses on helping women discern their own inner values and offers strategies for achieving professional success without shortchanging your personal life.
Why Women Volunteer for Tasks That Don’t Lead to Promotion, by Linda Babcock, Maria P. Recalde, and Lisa Versterlund
Tara Jaye Frank, "Ten Killer Leadership Skills"
Frank, a Hallmark executive, discusses ten traits that good leaders possess: empathy, vision, agility, the ability to tell a compelling story, strategy, inspiration, creative problem solving, presence, authenticity, and courage. Thought-provoking for anyone who aspires to be a leader.
How Managers Become Leaders, by Michael Watkins
Quick web site references:
Five Step Plan to a Successful Career Change After Age 50, by Wendy Braitman
Why a Body of Work Has Greater Long-Term Value Than a Resume, by Srinivas Ras
What Your Resume Should Look Like, by Kristen Bahler
How to Beat Applicant Tracking Systems, By James Hu--Great advice on how to get past the robots that many companies use to screen applicants.
What Your Linked In Profile Should Look Like, by Kristen Bahler
How to Acknowledge Weaknesses in a Job Interview, by Adam Grant
Networking and Informational Interviewing, by Alexandra Sastre
How to Get the Most Out of An Informational Interview, by Rebecca Knight
How to network and conduct an informational interview, by Daniel Hallak
How to ask friends in your network for help with your job search, by Adrian Granzella Larssen
How to write a cold email to a big kahuna, from Alex Banayan via Daniel Pink.
How to nurture your career network, by Joseph Barber
How to write a cover letter, University of Wisconsin Writing Center
The 7 biggest mistakes applicants make in cover letters, by Robin Schwartz
How to Follow Up After An Interview: A Four-Step Strategy, The Career Experts
How to Write a Narrative for Your Atypical Career, byJaclyn Schiff
Salary Negotiation Success Stories, by Stacey Lastoe
You Need a Raise; How to Get It, by Kristin Wong
What is Your Current Salary? How to Answer, by Marc Miller
Especially for Ph.D.s
Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius, "So What Are You Going to Do with That?" Finding Careers Outside Academia
Maybe you're a graduate student, and you're thinking that the traditional academic career path is not for you. Or maybe you're a professor feeling like it's time to make a change. Basalla and Debelius offer a helpful guide to exploring careers outside academia. They offer practical exercises to figure out what skills you bring to the workforce, how those skills can apply to a wide range of jobs outside academia, and how to enter the non-academic job market. Whether it's converting your curriculum vita to a resume or figuring out how to put your best foot forward in a non-academic interview, you'll find great advice in this book.
“Succeeding Outside the Academy: Career Paths Beyond the Humanities, Social Sciences, and STEM, edited by Joseph Fruscione and Kelly J. Baker
A collection of essays from people who have created a successful careers beyond the traditional faculty path. Part inspiration and part how-to, this is an essential resource for Ph.D.s or grad students who are exploring various career options.
Check out career coach (and Ph.D. historian) Jennifer Polk's resource-packed page. Jen specializes in helping graduate students and PhDs achieve their career and life goals, espeically when it comes to launching meaningful-to-them careers. She is particularly adept at guiding people seeking alternatives outside the traditional academic path. Pay special attention to her terrific series of interviews, called Transitions Q and As, conversations with dozens of PhDs who have transitioned to careers outside the academy.
Professional development resources from the Southern Association for Women Historians.
Excellent advice from historians to historians and other Ph.D.s and grad students on careers for historians inside and outside the academy. A lot of this advice is broadly applicable to many academic disciplines.
Quick web site references:
How to Save Yourself from Overpreparing for Class, by Christine Tulley
Why I Said No to a Tenure Track Offer, by Chantari Patel, Inside Higher Ed
What an Adjunct Learned from Taking a Year Off from the Academy, by Darcy Patel, Inside Higher Ed
How To Thrive Beyond the Ph.D., by Laura Schram
A Road Map for Successful Career Exploration, by Jennie Dorman and Bill Lindstaedt
Using LinkedIn for Your Alt-Academic Job Search, by Jennifer Polk and L. Maren Wood
Preparing for a Non-Faculty Job, by Jennifer Polk and L. Maren Wood
Why I Collapsed on the Job, by Katerina Bodovski
Re-entering the workforce after a break
How to get back to work after a career break, a TED talk by Carol Fisher Cohen, founder of iRelaunch.
The Challenges of Caregiving
Free Resources for South Carolina Caregivers (many of these extend beyond South Carolina). Note: this site is maintained by Caring.com, a for-profit family resource center for elder care. The site does accept advertising, but I’ve examined these free resources, and they are reputable ones.
Resources on balancing work and caregiving from AARP.
Coping with Stress and Achieving a Life of Balance
Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.
Sometimes we stress ourselves out by expecting to reach an unrealistic standard of perfection. Brown offers up ten guideposts to help us let go of our perfectionism and cultivate what she calls a more "wholehearted way of living."
Brigid Schulte, Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time
Schulte explores the reasons so many of us feel overwhelmed with demands on our time, and she offers strategies for carving out time for the things we value most.
Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy, "Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time."
Great Harvard Business Review story on how managing your energy can increase your productivity and allow you to work less.
Quick Web Site References:
Coping with stress at work, tips from the American Psychological Association
Reinvention at Any Age:
Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way and It's Never Too Late to Begin Again
Writer and director Julia Cameron has pioneered the development of strategies to unlock your creative self. These books are great handbooks to rediscovering and reactivating the creative side that you were born with.
Tips for Seasoned Professionals Who Want to Re-Invent Themselves, by Dorie Clark