Things to do before you're 30, 40, 50...

7th March 2003 at 00:00
Your Future Looks Bright

By C J Walmsley, Preston Beach pound;9.99. pound;7 direct, see

That there's surely a gap 'twixt your dream job and harsh reality has served well as a comedy idea. Remember Peter Cook as the miner who could have been a judge if only he'd "had the Latin"? Or Dudley Moore as the one-legged man applying for the role of Tarzan?

They both would have been encouraged by C JWalmsley, whose message is that maybe you can do that job you always wanted. One of the things to ask yourself, she says, is "What did I say I'd do before I reached an age where I told myself I couldn't?" She goes on to point out that there are some very happy people around whose job satisfaction derives from the fact that they're now, at last, doing what they've always wanted to do.

This could be another self-help book that makes you feel restless. But don't be put off; the advice is good and practical. And because the author does know that we can't all change jobs, much of the book is given over to advice on how to deal with the hand you've been dealt: how to speak up for yourself, or deal with difficult people, or keep your integrity in a morally challenging environment. It's not specifically written for people in schools, but most of the issues are recognisable.

Walmsley's wide experience in business gives her a fund of illustrative anecdotes, most of which enliven the book and one of which you wish you hadn't been told. (It involves a very peculiar office worker and his female colleagues' handbags.) It's an entertaining read as well as a source of uncompromising advice.

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