10 December 2009

Grad Gift

Today's mitzvah is a book that I know I've written about before, but I am feeling too lazy to hunt for the links. Hardball for Women, by Pat Heim, Ph.D. I don't remember the circumstances surrounding the first time I read this book. It was a few years ago, in my 20's. I still worked for Ye Olde Evile Bank, and hmmmm. Searching. I think maybe I was looking to get a promotion and wondering why the powers that be there never thought of me as a leader, so I started reading all these business books. Or maybe it had something to do with the class I took in college where the textbook was The Time Bind by Arlie Russell Hochschild. Aaah, skit samma as we say in Swedish. It doesn't matter when or why I picked it up. What matters is that this book quite literally changed my life.

So over-dramatic, I know. But it is Truth. This book changed the way I thought about:

*interacting with men at work
*group projects at work
*working with other women.

Quite literally, it changed how I approached any job. It taught me how the boys think, something that had been a mystery up to that point. Not as in boys to date (I was, after all, not married at that time) but as in the boys you work with who spend 20 minutes talking about "last night's game," and you, as the casual eavesdropper, aren't even sure what sport they're talking about or why anyone would care.

After I read the book myself, I bought a case of the books from a very bemused Bookseller at Barnes & Noble. I handed that book out to almost every female friend who was a member of the workforce. I've recommended it to probably hundreds of people over the years.

Graduating from college is exhilarating, but also terrifying. You're going to have to get a job, J-O-B, real-world stuff. No matter what your degree might be, you're going to find a job (eventually, heh) and you're going to have to work with actual, real human beings, even if it is a minimum wage here-till-I-find-something-real job.

Someone close to me is about to get her degree, and I gave her a copy of the book as a grad present today. An excellent grad gift, if I do say so myself.

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