If you’re looking for a gift for a mid-life changer (maybe yourself), I recommend Ahead of the Curve, a new book by Philip Delves Broughton.
Broughton left a successful career and what many would consider a dream job – Paris bureau chief for the London Daily Telegraph – to attend Harvard Business School. He performed well at the school while remaining detached and cynical about the process and about business. Yet he was unable to reach his goal: finding a job in financial management.
Many career consultants will cringe as they follow the author’s job hunt He wasn’t seriously interested and he clearly wasn’t a viable candidate for the corporate jobs he applied for. I can’t help wondering why Harvard doesn’t offer better career coaching, especially for their 0ver-30 students…or if he just didn’t pay attention.
But I’m even more amazed (and appalled) to learn that Harvard requires students to take the notoriously unscientific Myer-Briggs test. I’ve written about the flaws of testing in general, and this test in particular, in an article you can read here.
Apparently, Harvard also puts students through an exercise familiar (in various guises) to career and life coaches: “My Best Self.” It’s not the worst exercise in the world. But if you undertake a process like that, you need to de-brief with an experienced professional.
So why do I recommend the book? 3 reasons.
First, it’s extremely well-written so you can have the pleasure of a good read while feeling virtuous about reading a business book.
Second, even if you’re not going to Harvard, you’ll get a sense of the kind of subjects people study in MBA programs.
And finally, you’ll get ample food for thought about mid-career challenges and the importance of planning and self-awareness during any career change.
My own Special Report on returning to school for a mid-life mid-career challenge can be found here.