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How to Get a Job and Keep a Job
The book is a no-nonsense job survival manual: a brief, practical, brutally honest guide for students, interns, and anyone starting or changing their careers and seeking to navigate the stormy seas of politics within their organizations. It describes, in plain English and in 24 "Calhoun-Senghor Rules,” the critical political skills you must master to succeed in jobs in the US, Europe, or virtually anywhere else in the world. This is the stuff they don’t teach you in school. It is based on the author’s more than 40 years of experience as a senior official in the US Government, an in-house attorney for major corporations, and Senior Counsel with major international law firms in the US and Europe.
The lessons start from the first page in this brisk, direct, and illuminating guide to achieving just what its title says inside companies, organizations, firms, and more. “Idealists don’t have to be incompetent at organizational politics.,” writes Calhoun-Senghor, a veteran of the Clinton White House, international law agencies, and more. Making the case that one need not be a cynic to gain success—and, yes, power—in any organization that has its own internal politics, Calhoun-Senghor lays out a set of clear-eyed rules for thriving in any position.

The advice offered here, updated for the remote-work era, is keyed to what it actually takes to find and secure one’s place and position within an org, from someone who understands that it takes power to make change—in fact, the first step, Calhoun-Senghor writes, is for individuals to decide what it is they want to accomplish with the power that they accumulate. “Otherwise,” he notes, gathering power is “just an ego trip.”

Keeping the job comes first, though, and the guidance on how to “play The Game successfully” blends the highly practical—work on writing and public speaking skills; master a foreign language; “turn your major weakness into your killer stroke”—with a shrewdness about social interactions. “The trick with cocktail conversation,” Calhoun-Senghor writes, “is to transform a brief encounter into a memorable event.” Chapters cover detailed strategies for dealing with colleagues who simply don’t like you, tips for when you must report bad news (among them: do so early and “believe your own story”), and why small problems should be pounced on before they get big. Later chapters dig into landing a job, with clarifying advice about what those with the power to hire actually look for. The guidance throughout emphasizes knowing one’s self, seizing opportunities to stand out and demonstrate one’s capabilities, and to anticipate and deftly manage challenges—in short, the skills that success within organizations truly demands.

Takeaway: Valuable guide to succeeding—and making a difference—within organizations.

Comparable Titles: Jay Sullivan’s Simply Said, Adam Tarnow and David Morrison’s The Edge.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A-
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A