Tag Archives: work

Catting Around

Frankie Works the Night Shift by Lisa Westberg Peters (Greenwillow Books, 32 pages, $16.99)

People sometimes wonder what it is we cats do all night long.   Well, this neat-o book by Lisa Westberg Peters (illustrated by Jennifer Taylor) shows that we keep the household going, doing lots of essential stuff while the lazy humans are asleep.   We chase mice, clean counters, empty trash cans, water the yard and call meetings of the Neighborhood Watch Patrol.

Yes, we work while you sleep and if not for cats like Frankie, who knows what a mess you’d wake up to in the morning!   This is just a great 32-page book that introduces the young kids to us felines and helps them to learn how to count.   OK, so the adults in the household may not appreciate the so-called “ruckus” they claim we make when it’s dark but – as my favorite band the Eagles sing – get over it!

The illustrations are beautiful and do justice to us handsome cats and even the stupid dogs.   The end of the story finds Frankie sleeping after taking care of business all night.   Let sleeping cats lie is what I say.   Oh, and give them plenty of Purina Party Mix Treats.   You’d better add this one to the family library.

Highly recommended.

This review was written by Munchy Arellano, the brown tabby cat.   A review copy was received from the publisher.   Munchy has received no compensation for his endorsement of Purina Party Mix Cat Treats.  

Frankie Works the Night Shift is recommended for children between the ages of 3 and 8.

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Big Girls Don’t Cry

The Male Factor by Shaunti Feldhaun

This book is a take on helping women in the business world to break through the so-called glass ceiling.   The key is to use a male-oriented approach in the workplace – it’s business, not personal.   Author Shaunti Feldhaun goes to great lengths to establish her credentials and the sampling methodology she and her team used to produce this book.   She also touts her wildly successful career as a consultant; a bit of overkill.   During this disclosure, Feldhaun emphasizes majority versus minority responses to her carefully crafted written survey that forms the basis for many of her conclusions.   At the outset, the reader is repeatedly offered allusions to the findings in later chapters.   These allusions are not the least bit tantalizing.

The world featured in this book is acknowledged as private sector; there was no exploration of the public sector – government.   This is a shortcoming, for government and its employees, albeit civil servants, factor mightily in the economy of the United States.   Many opportunities for female advancement exist in this sector.   Although civil service is dominated by testing and exam rankings, the interview and subsequent probation period following a hire determine whether women are upwardly mobile (just as is the case in the private sector).

The version of the book being reviewed here is the “Christian” one.   It contains many references to workplaces that are operated as Christian enterprises or Christian male employers and coworkers in secular businesses.   Feldhaun over generalizes and portrays Christians in a homogenous way that is presumptuous.   The “Christian” community is comprised of many permutations and is no more alike than an “Asian” or “Muslim” community.

The men who graciously agreed to being interviewed by Ms. Feldhaun (her own characterization) come off as strangely schizophrenic, following one set of norms at the office and another during their personal lives.   Apparently, because the workplace was established by men, the rules are not going to change.   Women, particularly those who she views as most in need of reading this book, are chastised for not perceiving the difference.

There are ample references to scientific studies that established the differences between male brain activity and female brain activity.   Males are described as 100% focused and not able to multi-task, while women are eager, willing and able to lay the groundwork, illustrate the concept and come to a conclusion while performing multiple activities.   No kidding!   Anyone can easily use this finding to justify why human males do not bear the babies or provide their nourishment for the first few months.

There are italicized comments placed at what the reader assumes are teachable moments in each section of the book; however, they are repetitive extracts from the immediately preceding text.   While these statements are obviously intended to be pearls of wisdom and learning points, they come off as slogans or watchwords to use on business trendy flashcards.

Sadly, a reader who would most benefit from the best parts of this book (yes, there are some) is not only fully committed to her view of the “good old boys’ network,” she is too emotional to wade through the dry narrative.   A lost opportunity but two stars for the attempt.

Review by Ruta Arellano.   This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, a division of Random House.

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Action Gets It Going

Over the Gap by Dave Patterson

There are situations in our lives when we must take action in times of the greatest possible stress.   For example, if a parent or loved one close to you dies, you may be asked to assist in making funeral arrangements.   This is precisely the time when you will feel the least capable of making some sound and rapid decisions, but you will nevertheless need to act.   Action in itself helps us to feel better and to regain our confidence – “Action gets it going!”

If you’re a person who has been recently displaced in your workplace cutbacks or downsized out of a job, Dave Patterson’s Over the Gap provides a roadmap of the steps you must take in order to secure another job in the least amount of time.   It may not be a pleasant subject (notice how much effort is taken to avoid the word “fired”) but Patterson’s 121-page guide will assist you in concentrating on the work you will need to do to find new work.

Patterson’s book focuses on what he calls the CORE Process – Circumstance, Opportunities, Resources, End Result – which is based on common sense and doing one’s necessary homework.   Patterson explains the values of networking and of being prepared; fully prepared, not just taking halfway measures.   As an example of the latter, he provides a very good listing of the most asked interview questions.   But having the questions is just half the battle, will you be prepared to answer them before (and not just during) a job interview?   (Hint:  You should not only be prepared to answer the questions, but to do so in two minutes or less.   Rambling responses show weakness, uncertainty and a definite lack of preparedness.   “When responding to interview questions, give answers that are directly to the point.”)

Patterson also offers spread sheets, graphs and other tools to help you get re-organized.   If you use the tools he provides in Over the Gap, you will be forcibly organized which is much better than the alternative.   This is a sober-minded guide that, for the price ($19.95) of less than a twenty dollar bill may help you to re-start your professional life sooner rather than later.   I did see that one reviewer mentioned that this guide is for “mid-level executives,” which is a point that I will respectfully disagree with.   I think that anyone who has suddenly lost their job will find this “advanced career change, planning and outplacement handbook” to be invaluable.

Recommended.

A review copy was provided by the author.

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Coming Up Next…

A review of Over the Gap by Dave Patterson.

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