Summary of Great Work, Great Career

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Great Work, Great Career book summary

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What might sound like a series of clichés coming from a typical business writer could, out of reverence, be called “tapping into the zeitgeist” when it is presented by a bona fide guru. In a quick 156 pages (including a Frequently Asked Questions section), Stephen R. Covey and co-author Jennifer Colosimo work to overturn the ordinary ways people seek and acquire jobs. Like the authors of a diet book, Covey and Colosimo ask you to make healthy choices to shape your work’s waistline. Choose a meaningful career, not a job. Think of yourself as a “volunteer,” not an employee. Adapt to the “Knowledge Age” and leave behind the “Industrial Age.” Use a job interview as a “research opportunity,” and see a résumé cover letter as a chance to define yourself as the solution to an employer’s problem. Granted, if you don’t want to be told to change your paradigm, or to invent your own job if you can’t find one, you might want to invest your dimes elsewhere. Then again, if you’re tired of the patterns in your professional path, Covey and Colosimo’s new career-seeking terminology might be just the jolt you need. Old habits die hard – maybe it’s time for some new ones. getAbstract recommends this book to job seekers, bootstrappers, service industry personnel, Covey fanatics and all workers in a rut.

About the Authors

Stephen R. Covey has written several leadership books, including the perennial bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He is co-founder and vice chairman of FranklinCovey, where executive coach Jennifer Colosimo is chief learning officer.


A Great Career Requires a Different Mind-Set

A job that puts food on the family table is different from a career that leaves a legacy for your grandchildren to marvel at around that same table. Yes, you need to pay the bills now. But if you’re not working toward a great career, you’ll pay a larger, more existential price later. As the saying goes, you can get straight A’s in school and still flunk life. Likewise, you can have the right job, the right benefits and the right paycheck – and still flunk your career. A great vocation is not the sole domain of the rich and famous, the people you hear or read about, the people others envy. You can have a great career regardless of the number of zeroes in your bank account.

How? You have to rethink most of what you know about having a job, keeping a job, getting a job or inventing a job. A great career pivots on three personal characteristics that are far simpler and more elemental than power or influence: “contribution, loyalty” and “trust.” Your contribution, which is made up of your “talents, passion, conscience” and “need,” is unique. Trust and loyalty are “the fruit of your character and your conscience.”

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