Your Job Survival Guide: A Manual for Thriving in Change by Gregory SheaYour Job Survival Guide: A Manual for Thriving in Change by Gregory Shea

Your Job Survival Guide: A Manual for Thriving in Change

byGregory Shea, Robert E. Gunther

Paperback | August 11, 2008

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"The beauty of this book on top of its life-saving timeliness is its capacity to give the reader concrete steps to live the good life and enjoy it.  The book made me understand that work can be more fun than fun.”

–Warren Bennis, Ph.D., University Professor, University of Southern California, coauthor, Judgment: How Great Leaders Make Winning Calls and Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor


Change. It’s your job. It just won’t stop. It’s relentless. It keeps coming at you like never-ending rapids in a permanent whitewater river. Change will burn you out if you don’t learn how to handle it. This book is not, however, about mere survival.  It is about thriving amidst the challenges of your permanent whitewater world at work. 


•Protect your career, improve your resilience, and seize the opportunities in turbulent times

•Take charge, learn to pace yourself, set your own course, and lead others in ad-hoc teams

•Ride the rapids and rediscover play and adventure in today’s demanding work environment 

•Learn from research and the experiences of hundreds of professionals in industries from energy to telecommunications to financial services to health care


There’s nothing abstract or cute about the way this book talks about change: This is practical, grounded knowledge for managing your life in a business world that’s churning with change. Gregory Shea, Ph.D. and Robert Gunther show how to keep your working life on course instead of being pushed beyond your limits...find fun and fulfillment...regroup and rebound from failure...protect yourself from events you can’t predict...take charge of your life, an your future!


Gregory Shea, Ph.D., consults, researches, writes, and teaches in the areas of organizational and individual change, leadership, group effectiveness, and conflict resolution. He is president of the consulting firm Shea & Associates, a principal in The Coxe Group international consultancy; Senior Consultant at the Center for Applied Re...
Title:Your Job Survival Guide: A Manual for Thriving in ChangeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8 × 5.3 × 1.1 inPublished:August 11, 2008Publisher:Pearson EducationLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0137127022

ISBN - 13:9780137127023

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Read from the Book

Praise for Your Job Survival Guide "Gregory Shea and Robert Gunther have written the book on how to navigate today's turbulent waters. Full of practical wisdom, research, insight, and humor, Your Job Survival Guide shows us how to navigate the whitewater of today's changing business environment while thoroughly enjoying the journey. A great read!" —Annie McKee, Founder, the Teleos Leadership Institute and Coauthor of the best sellers Primal Leadership, Resonant Leadership, and most recently, a practical guide to developing and sustaining personal and professional effectiveness, Becoming a Resonant Leader "If gentle currents carried careers in the past, whitewater is the medium today. For navigating the cauldrons of change, Gregory Shea and Robert Gunther draw upon wrenching work moments and rapid river kayaking to draw the map. Your Job Survival Guide is an indispensable companion for mastering the turbulence of our era." —Michael Useem, Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Leadership at the Wharton School, author, The Go Point: When It's Time to Decide "Your Job Survival Guide is a provocative book that goes beyond theory. This book is not about avoiding the potholes of organizational life, it's about learning how to step in them and take responsibility for yourself. Shea and Gunther force us to look in the mirror and, in a very practical way, challenge us to behave differently. Quite frankly, the lessons go beyond the perils of our work life; the lessons are useful for day to day living." —Thomas Saporito, Ph.D., President, RHR International Company "In today's world there is no such thing as steady state. Greg and Robert have put together a great owner's manual for thriving in a world where change is the constant." —Michael Rechtiene, President Animas Corporation, a Johnson & Johnson Co. "Today's world requires us to continuously reinvent our company by adapting it to the evolving world. At the core of that process lies one's ability to efficiently manage necessary changes. Gregory Shea and Robert Gunther beautifully describe this important challenge and offer simple and concrete solutions to meet them. As a company that lives its fundamentals—'people are our main asset'—I am recommending this book to all our executives and managers as a key tool to meet the future." —Patrick Firmenich, CEO, Firmenich "It is no secret that continual change dominates most business life today. Most thinkers and writers addressing managing, leading, or surviving change, however, tend to focus on examples of one change after another, often complex and multiyear strategic change, but still bounded by the one story. Shea and Gunther take head-on the reality that we actually need to manage and lead in an environment of continuous, ongoing, major change. They then address the role of the protagonist in many simultaneous and overlapping change processes, which is the reality today. They offer wonderfully accessible experiential and practical observations and advice for you, the actor is these many stories. This is sound, practical, and readily applied advice. And it's also in a form that allows you to 'dip into' the book in different sections and take a few valuable insights to put into practice immediately—a truly wonderful addition to the practitioner's literature on leading change." —Thomas P. Gerrity, Joseph Aresty Professor of Management, and Dean Emeritus, the Wharton School "Shea and Gunther's Your Job Survival Guide is an easy and important read, overflowing with pragmatic advice about your job in today's whitewater world. Using examples ranging from the routine to the spiritual, while sticking close to the metaphor of a memorable journey through turbulent waters, the authors engaged me from start to finish. This book is a great resource both for those individuals stuck in their daily routine as well as organizations who aspire to enhance their work groups." —Elliot Sussman, MD, CEO, Lehigh Valley Health Network "Your Job Survival Guide tackles head-on the realities of leadership in the 21st century through the playful lens of the whitewater navigator. The book provides both a comprehensive overview of the challenges that leaders face, but don't always acknowledge, and powerful solutions derived from real life experiences. Accessible and engaging!" —Meg Jones, Executive VP & Chief Administrative Officer, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia © Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Preface: We Surely All Will Die xix



    Dangerous Waters 3

    Sailors and Paddlers:Your Real Job Is Change 6

    The Limits of Flat-Water Thinking 9


CHAPTER 2: WORKING THE EDDIES: Pace Yourself to Preserve Your Sanity 13

    All Hands on Deck 17

    We Are Drowning in Change 19

        The Impact of Exhaustion 22

    Strategies for Pacing 25

        Create a “Not To Do” List 27

        Build Breaks in the Action 30

        Get Good Sleep 32

        Take a Nap 33

        Enforce Vacations 35

        Avoid the Perils of the Crazy Brave and Phony Tough 38

    Keep a Roll in Reserve 41


CHAPTER 3: MASTERING THE ROLL: Prepare to Fail Gracefully and Recover Quickly 45

    Failure Is the Only Option 48

    Strategies for Failing Quickly and Recovering Gracefully 52

        Treat Your Career as a Series of Experiments 52

        Minimize the Risk of Failure 54

        Master the Emotions of Failure 56

        Practice Failing 57

        Prepare to Learn from Failure 59

        Make Your Mistakes on the Move 60

    Failing and Play 62


CHAPTER 4: THE POWER OF PLAY: Optimism and Resilience 65

    The Play’s the Thing 66

    The Power of Optimism 70

    Strategies for Unsinkable Optimism 71

        Create Optimism and Avoid Learned Helplessness 72

        When All Else Fails, Paddle Like Hell 74

    Choose Your Equipment for the Right Level of Fun 75

        Patience: Keep Your Feet Up and Go With the Flow 77

        Recharge by Paddling 79

        Create Time and Space for Play 80

    Cultivate Exuberance 81


CHAPTER 5: PERSONAL FLOTATION: You Are Responsible for Your Own Security 85

    Sink or Swim 89

    Strategies for Personal Flotation 91

        Learn Self-Rescue by Developing Your “Brand You” 91

        Build a Portfolio of Projects 92

        Practice Your Offside Roll: Cultivate Diverse Skills to Increase Maneuverability 93

        Create Strong Networks 98

        Take Care of Your Health 100

    Alone in a Tight Place 101



    Meaning Is Local 105

    Get Out When You Hear the Roarof the Falls 109

    Strategies for Scouting and Portaging 112

        Listen to the River: Read the Water 112

        Develop Your Intuition and Then Listen to It 115

        Listen to Others: Learn from Reports of

        Fellow Travelers 120

        Know When To Portage 123

        Recognize When You Are Drowning 126

        Listen to Your Heart 131

        When in Doubt, Scout 133

    The Phoenix 134


CHAPTER 7: RISING ABOVE THE ROAR: Communicate Through Symbols 137

    Strategies for Communicating Above the Roar 140

        Actions Speak Louder Than Words 140

        Maintain a Line of Sight 142

        Never Risk a Lie–Even Unintentionally 144

        Ensure Two-Way Communication 147Create Space to Grieve: Funerals, Irish Wakes, Slicing

        Nursing Stations, and Other Symbolic Events 149

        Make Sense of What Happened: Share Stories

        Around the Fire 152

        Use Myths to Create Meaning 153

        Use Metaphors 156

    Finding Meaning and Shaping a Legacy 157


CHAPTER 8: BUILDING FLOCKS: Teaming for Today’s Run 163

    Murmurations of Starlings:Teams Have a Life of Their Own 165

    Strategies for Teaming 167

        Know What You Bring to the Team 168

        Know Your Teammates 169

        Become Skilled at Entering and Leaving Teams 171

        Find Safety in Numbers 173

        Understand What Game You Are Playing 175

        Choose the Right Vessel 179

        Understand the Working of Teams 181

    The Power of the Team 183


CHAPTER 9: LEADING TRIPS: Guiding Through Permanent Whitewater 187

    Leading in Permanent Whitewater 188

        Understand Power and Influence on the River 189

        Build Trust 193

        Stepping Aside: Manage Shifting Roles 194Enabling Leaders and Following Followers:

        Stepping Up to Leadership 196

        Assembling the Right Team 199

        Structuring the Team 200

    Humility and the Art of Leading from Behind 201


Conclusion, What Conclusion? 205

    Building the G-Rig 207

    The Rivers Are Rising 208

    No Place to Hide–But Why Would You Want To? 215


Endnotes 219


Index 231

Editorial Reviews

Two kinds of readers will profit from this extremely timely… guide for working in the increased uncertainty… of our times: those who need to understand our challenging world better and know it, and those who need to … but don’t yet know it.                         -Fritz Steele, Ph.D., author of The Open Organization; co-author Workplace by Design and The Feel of the Workplace   This book… about embracing and thriving in a world of high-octane change…gives…some great practical tips that you can apply back in your workplace.                        -“Richard’s Book Review”, The Proteus Leadership Centres