Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Fearless Fish Out of Water by Robin Fisher Roffer

I have not been keeping up with the 2009 Mini-Challenges, so I thought I would use this book for one of them. There are twelve mini-challenges, and while it would make sense to do one a month, I obviously haven't done that. So I'll do a couple a month to catch up. This book is for challenge # 3 - read a non-fiction book.
The Fearless Fish Out of Water: How to Succeed When You're the Only One Like You is a book about using your uniqueness to do well in your career. The idea of the book is that many of us feel like fish out of water when it comes to corporate settings, or maybe just in particular situations. Roffer suggests that we use that outsider feeling to our advantage. There are seven chapters, each one with an overarching theme, like "Go Fishing For the Real You" or "Swim in Their Ocean Your Way". Obviously she keeps up the fish theme throughout the book.
This would be a really good book for anyone who fears losing their individuality in a corporate setting. Roffer advocates being true to yourself, while still maintaining good business relationships. She does not want her readers to stand out just for the sake of standing out however. She makes it clear that you should always be true to yourself, and not try to force or emphasize difference just to make a statement. And she counsels conformity up to a point, in cases where it shows respect.
As someone who would definitely be a fish out of water in a corporate world, this book made a lot of sense to me. However, I think I would rather eat my shoes than go back to a job in an office, so I won't be trying this advice out in that realm. It does apply to other types of jobs as well though - this advice could be useful in many fields. In the library field, at least where I work, uniqueness is a strength, and it is encouraged. Roffer's suggestions would still work well even in a field that embraces the fish out of water.

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