Review: Book Club Brunch: The Squiggly Career

Written by Tiffany Hardy.

AuthorHelen Tupper and Sarah Ellis
Reviewer: Tiffany Hardy

I love this book! I have found it so inspiring, thought provoking and motivational. It has even led me to get out of the lockdown rut and start my own company.Squiggly Career 245x172

I really think the old adage, ‘you only get out what you put in’ is so true for The Squiggly Career. I have never read a career development, or business book before, (I’m usually into thrillers or biographies on 90s grunge musicians!) but I really dived deep into this one. I was like a student studying for my final exam.

I had 12 days to read it before the book club meeting and I really wanted to have it finished so I could get the most out of the session and know what everyone was talking about. Plus I was just finding it so good. I had a two-highlighter system, (Yellow, for lines/quotes I liked and that I thought would be good to go back to and pink for any references to read, watch, go to, like TED talks etc). I also had little post-it tabs on important pages, made post-its of quotes and ideas I liked to stick on the walls and used a pencil to do the exercises, so I could come back and do them again, or at least rub out any mistakes.

I had two and a half days days where I didn’t get a chance to read any of the book. This put a bit of pressure on to get it done, but I hunkered down for the last two days, and especially the day before the book club, where I did nothing else but work my way through the book. I think I was only half way through on the last day when I tucked myself away, and finally, at 11.19pm, I reached my goal of finishing it.

If you don’t have a lot of time, or a tight deadline to finish the book, my advice would be to do it one chapter at a time, and do that chapter thoroughly, and if possible, finish the chapter in the same session, or within a day or two. I think this would work better than reading the whole book then going back and doing the exercises. But whatever works best for you.

This was my first time with the NZBWN Business Book Brunch, or any book club for that matter. So I had no idea what to expect, what was involved in the book club session (besides, the brunch) or how it all worked.

On top of that, it was the first Zoom bookclub, rather than being at Ozone enjoying Brunch. So we were all in our individual homes with our DIY coffee/tea/brunch! This was still a nice friendly, fun, vibe in these crazy times, with 15 of us coming together from our own little bubbles to form a vibrant grid.

Obviously I'm a fan of the book, I have even made several social media posts about it (I should start getting commission!), but it’s safe to say that I was not alone in my enjoyment and appreciation. It seemed that everyone in the book club was a fan, some were still working through it, or were going back to do the exercises, but everyone seemed to like it and get something out of it. There was praise for how much work and effort had obviously gone into making it, with all the referencing and extra resources to read, watch, use and follow, such as TED talks, other books, podcasts, different websites, instagram and twitter feeds and even 100 pieces of career advice from great business people that had inspired the authors along their careers. One of the members said it was really generous of the authors to share so much of their resources and knowledge and could have potentially been three separate books, instead of all rolled into one.

This book turns the notion of the career ladder on its head, or in a squiggle to be more precise. Times have changed and it's no longer all about jumping your way up in the same job, business, or industry, but moving or squiggling around in different roles, companies and even jumping ship and changing sectors altogether. The book helped me realise that my Squiggly Career has given me the chance to gain a varied and vast array of knowledge and experience, with a network to match. It makes me who I am, with an unparalleled offering.

Tupper and Ellis say it’s a “practical book jam packed full of exercises, tools and techniques… designed to help you take action today, next week and for the rest of your career.” It also has a helpful summary list at the end of each chapter (liked by book club members) and stories from the authors’ own careers, making it personal and relatable.

The book is mainly broken down into five main themes: Super Strengths, Values, Confidence, Networks and Future Possibilities. It talks you through what these are and guides you to figure out what they mean for you in particular. It focuses from the perspective of what makes you happy and things that are important to you, rather than just something you are good at, or have lots of experience in.

The Squiggly Career talks about keeping yourself and your radars open to and aware of future possibilities, and not planning everything out, as you never know who you might meet, what opportunities you might come across and how your career might twist and turn.

The authors suggest you go back and re-read the book and redo the exercises over time and as your career squiggles. I will also use my three-highlighter system to go back through the book! Yellow to re-read the parts that resonated with me (and there are many), Pink to dive deeper with suggested resources like TED Talks, podcasts, other books etc (I have already started to tick some of these off! :) ) and green to google, read about, or connect with people mentioned in the book.

This book has now become my bible and the basis of a lot of things for my new company. I can’t recommend it enough! I am excited to say that a friend I met when my career squiggled into the travel industry has now bought it after one of my social media posts! We live in completely different parts of the world (US & UK) and work in completely different industries (travel and media production), so it really is something for everyone.

Exciting times ahead! Who knows which way our careers and lives will squiggle!