When Reality Hits

The Power of Slow is about mindful living; When Reality Hits: What Employers Want Recent College Graduates to Know takes a good look at what it means to engage in mindful working.

The book is organized into twelve chapters that cover the gamut of corporate culture: from table manners to a firm handshake to my favorite topic, cell phone etiquette. In concise language motivational speaker and author Nancy Barry offers clear guidelines on the do’s and don’ts of work life for recent college grads.

Even for a veteran PR professional such as myself, I found her tips to be refreshing, sometimes even humorous and always respectful of the person she’s trying to help. Although some of it was repetitive (we know smiling in most cultures is an ice breaker, which she mentions a lot), what I appreciated the most was the can-do spirit she imparts to young workers.

She also offers helpful advice on how to deal with constructive criticism. She sees in everything an opportunity to learn.  “[I]f someone is trying to give you feedback, resist the urge to immediately defend yourself. Listen to what they’re saying.” And we all know that saying “I take complete responsibility” is an effective way to stop your boss’s tirade and move on.

Her largest power of slow message can be found on page 13: “Pace yourself…Work hard, but be careful about the potential stress if you work all the time…Technology has changed the way we work. Thanks to cell phones, BlackBerries and e-mail, there’s an expectation we should be available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Once you start working all the time, your colleagues and clients will come to expect it.” Later in the book she seems to offer contradictory advice by saying to ‘do what it takes to get the job done,’ but remember there is power in saying ‘no,’ which she also admits. Sometimes proper expectation management is the fastest road to success.

Be sure to take this book along for the ride. Whether a younger or more experienced worker, we can all benefit from Nancy’s message to remember to play while we work and that sometimes all it takes is a good homemade double chocolate chip cookie and a hand-written note to make all the difference in how our work lives unfold.


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