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Reviewed by Sarah McCubbin
At a basic level, most of us know the importance of first impressions. Meer seconds after meeting someone, they will have likely formed various assumptions based on those momentary interactions. In the work environment, the way we conduct ourselves is of even more importance. In her book, What They See, Jennifer Swanson addresses the topic of those valuable first moments on the job and the way you should conduct yourself in the weeks and months that follow.
Specifically targeting students, new college graduates or job seekers looking to enter a more professional career, Swanson examines the work environment and gives valuable tips to help you succeed in your new employment. With humor and stories, she covers things like attitude, dress code and communication as well as your work ethic and handling stress. Some of her suggestions seem like they should be obvious like, brushing your hair. But other things might be nuances one could overlook like paying attention to the images on your screen saver or not eating at your desk. Her thorough coverage assumes that a new graduate knows nothing about functioning in a professional environment. While some might find the ideas elementary, I liked that she makes no assumptions about anyone’s understanding of professional decorum, especially since many who read this will be coming out of a casual college environment.
As humans, we all have quirks. They can define us and make us stand out. They can also be misunderstood and convey unintentional messages. That is the reason this book is so valuable. It is an invitation to be deliberate about your conduct, speech, mannerisms and preferences in a work environment. It asks you to examine your own attitudes, behaviors and habits to see if anything needs to change. Beyond work though, many of the suggestions are excellent for any environment where one is interacting with people or even in a family. Learning to be intentional and aware are skills that will serve you well in any walk of life. Her target audience seems to be primarily young adults entering their first job, however, I plan to have my young teens read it, and I think that people in a wide age range would benefit from Swanson’s witty wisdom.
Sarah McCubbin is a homeschooling and foster mom in NE Ohio where she resides with her husband and 7 children. In addition to reading great books, she enjoys gardening, traveling and blogging at Living Unboxed.
Review and giveaway copies were provided by Influence Publishing Inc. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.