During his junior year at the University of Oklahoma, back in the mid-'80s, Bradley Richardson realized that his grades weren't going to be enough to help him in the job market once he graduated. On top of that, his family, like many others, was affected by the recessionary economy. He decided to suck in his gut, stay in school, and work as much as possible. Sure, he waited tables, mowed lawns, and even did a stint as a telephone solicitor. "But I also took a look at five or six different industries that I was interested in," he remembers, "and found jobs that would give me experiences in those fields. That way when I graduated, even if my grades weren't that great, I'd have at least boosted my resume. Through that, I learned what I liked, what I didn't like. I thought I wanted to be a stockbroker. Worked for a stockbroker about three weeks and realized, 'No, thank you'. But I also learned what I was good at, and gained great experience. I'm not in any of those professions now, but the things I learned working those jobs helped me to get my job, and what the workplace is like, and how to get up to speed."
Bradley Richardson's current job involves speaking to his fellow twentysomethings about how to achieve success in their careers. He's taken the lessons he's learned from his experiences, and dozens of examples from other members of our generation, and put together Jobsmarts For Twentysomethings (Vintage, $13.00). This informative primer is full of practical advice concerning not only how to get a job, but also how to keep it once you get one.
"Career books tell you how to get a job. Great. You've done that," Richardson says. "Now what do you do? Your company will show you the day to day technical aspects, but they won't tell you about things like how to deal properly with clients. A lot of that is supposed to be intuitive, but it's not."
For Twentysomethings will help you navigate your way through
many of those situations. Written in an informal, almost
conversational, style, the book makes its points without a
lot of fuss. The economy has been slowly improving, but we
aren't out of the clear yet. To get ahead, you'll need every
advantage you can get, and taking in Bradley Richardson's
advice is one of the best ways to get started.