Book Reviews | April 2011 | Deb Burst

Dig job hunting with "Dig This Gig"

While we're led to believe any job is better than no job, young twenty-something Laura Dodd, a New Orleans native, had a different opinion. She sent an email to her contacts asking about their "career" experience. The message went viral and the emails began to mount with people confessing frustrations in their careers. Dodd decided to bring together what she called, "honest, candid, over-a-beer style conversations about what work is really like." And how to tackle finding a meaningful career in a lackluster job market. Her book is titled Dig This Gig. Find Your Dream Job--or Invent It. 

After graduation Dodd researched traditional "career" books for guidance in landing a job that matched her degree, but found they all missed the mark. With a steady stream of college graduates hitting the job-hunting scene this spring, Laura decided to help fill that niche and launched her book Dig This Gig on March 29 just in time for graduates and their families.

Laura Dodd - author photo.jpgIt profiles men and women in their 20s as they navigate careers across the board in business, service, government, health care, and the arts. She enlists advice from mentors, industry icons that reflect on the highs and lows of their early career. Testimonials from John Lewis, civil rights leader and Georgia congressman; Jeffery Sachs, economist and globe trotting do-gooder; and Christina Norman, CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Dodd visits all angles, the grad who is trying to make decisions, the employer assigned to managing the newbies, and the parent guiding their graduate to a successful career rather than a trip back home. The reader meets an energic generation determined to make a change with a new rhealm of careers born from a savvy techical market filled with shifting demographics.

"Dig This Gig shines a light on twenty-somethings who also struggled with their post-graduate direction before they hit their stride and found meaningful careers," she said. "The stories reveal in intimate terms how this generation thinks about jobs--a POV not often voiced around the family dinner table with loved ones desperately trying to figure out what he (she) [graduate] is thinking?" 

Like anyone facing a crisis situation, Dodd believes there's opportunity, you just need to be a bit more creative. For example she suggests digging deep looking at things you enjoy, people you admire and why, or places you would like to live. And the golden rule, once you set your sites on a goal, a real passion, don't let anything derail you. One of the chapters covers just that, stories on how people dealt with the dreaded "pink slip." The chapter's mentor, veteran broadcast news anchor Dan Rather, offers his advice in coping with getting sidelined.

Dodd reminds everyone that you're not "stuck" in any job and her book Dig This Gig repeatedly offers advice from mentors with successful careers.

Laura Dodd is a New Orleans native, Washington University in St. Louis graduate, and a Los Angeles film production insider. She is currently a student at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, she lives in New York City.

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