The 2022 awarded book for The Australian Career Book Award – hosted by RSA Oceania – is This Working Life by Lisa Leong and Monique Ross. ABC broadcaster Lisa Leong and journalist Monique Ross get personal, sharing hard-won learnings and insights from their own career journies. This review is by Warren Frehse – a Senior Advisor in careers and employability at The University of Melbourne, and an established career author himself.
Being an avid listener of ABC Radio National’s This Working Life, and co-written by its host Lisa Leong, this book had a lot to live up to.
And it certainly did not disappoint. Along with Monique Ross, both writers must have had an absolute ball putting this basket full of gems together.
They have since revealed that they worked on it all hours of the day and night using Google docs, so you can imagine the chaos and mayhem that co-writing a book that way may entail.
But careers are a lot like that too. The best career is often born out of chaos and change. You know, the lotus grows out of the mud.
This book has beautifully captured careers in our uncertain times. A nicely, almost logical structure emerges beginning with “Let’s Go Inside” – “We start by standing still,” opens the first part with a hint that reflection “sit spots” will help us ponder deeply what we have just read at the end of the chapter.
These are a unique feature right throughout the book giving us welcome breathing space.
This is followed by “Time to Tinker” where we are invited to ‘tweak, pivot and reinvent’ our jobs with lots of techniques, tips, and stories to whet our appetites to do the same.
“Let’s Play Outside” starts by inviting the reader to consider doing a breathing exercise to bring the head and heart into coherence, making the clear point that work and life are interconnected, perhaps making the work-life balance debate a little over-cooked.
The final crescendo “Liminal Space” invites us into a place where “anything is possible.” We are given glimpses of how empathy and design thinking play a role in a transformative sense to become something we are currently not.
Mentoring gets a reframe to highlight the importance of younger generations providing senior staff with insights and new skills, something that really resonates in many workplaces with intergenerational workforces.
This book is literally quite exhausting, in a very positive way. There is so much jam-packed in it, that it becomes a great resource to dive in and out as you see fit and where you are at with your own career journey.
Some aspects will be just what you are looking for. Some will leave you pondering for a dip in again on a future occasion.
But it is certainly a book for our times. Fast-paced with lots of things to think about and apply in your own life. Congratulations to the authors for this title being the awarded book for 2022.
Review by Warren Frehse, University of Melbourne