Book Review: The 9-to-5 Cure: Work on Your Own Terms and Reinvent Your Life
From time-to-time, as we receive career-related and job-hunting books from publishers, the staff of Quintessential Careers will review them to help you make better decisions about the best books to use in your career and job search.
The 9-to-5 Cure: Work on Your Own Terms and Reinvent Your Life, by Kristin Cardinale, Ph.D. Paperback, 248 pp. ISBN: 1593578075. Publisher: JIST Works. Pub. Date: January 2011.
Reviewed by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
It’s both refreshing and exciting to see more books published focused on the idea of creating one’s own future career. Numerous factors are leading the way to what could become a major paradigm shift in career planning, working, and even how we live our lives. Some of these factors include a weakened job market, the disloyalty of employers to employees, and a desire among some workers to control their own fate.
In the past, when someone made the leap from Corporate America, it was typically to some type of entrepreneurial adventure — either with a start-up company or opening a franchise. Today, though, the options have broadened tremendously, starting with the concept of portfolio careers (which has been popular in Europe for years).
Dr. Kristin Cardinale reintroduces this concept to the North American audience using the term Patchwork Careers in her inspiring new book, The 9-to-5 Cure. The subtitle tells it all: work on your own terms and reinvent your life. The book provides all the information, tools, and motivation you need to go from working for someone else to working for yourself.
Cardinale states: “… my career lifestyle is one that I chose deliberately because it brings happiness to my life… it is filled with an abundance of employment opportunities… I live life on my own terms, by choice. I own my time. I call the shots… it is a career lifestyle that is none like I have ever heard of or known before. I love it, truly.”
Here are the 10 Things Readers Will Take Away From the Book
1. The basic concept comes down to being a slave to your job and career versus earning a good living while having the freedom to live your life. So many of us work such long hours — 40+ hours weekly — plus commuting time — for an average of 30 years (7,200 days). Add electronic communications during so-called off hours, and our work can seem to totally engulf us. And vacations? How many workers actually use their full allotment of vacation days (assuming they actually get vacation days)? Cardinale says the average worker voluntarily relinquishes 4 of the (typical) 16 days of paid leave each year because of pressure from having too much work to complete.
2. Job security and the concept of employer loyalty is mostly a thing of the past. A generation or two ago it was not uncommon for someone to work for the same company his or her entire life, but in the last few decades, most companies have been quick to downsize and lay off workers at any sign of a downturn. Workers who stay blindly loyal to an employer can be in for a big — and sad — surprise.
4. Utilizing the concept of Lifestyle Design, which “is about living your life on your own terms by clearly defining what it is that really matters to you” … pursuing your dreams and making life a priority over work. It’s about breaking down the mentality that we must all work long hours at jobs that don’t fulfill us. This concept is critical for taking you to the next step in working and living on your terms.
5. The importance of finding and using your passion — and applying it to your career. Instead of waking up mornings and hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock and wishing it was not a work day, Cardinale says, “imagine if you could design a career that had you so excited that you found yourself thinking about it even on your ‘off hours,’ not because you had to but because you enjoyed it!”
6. Changes in the employment practices have led to a growing new subset of the workforce that does not have permanent jobs — currently almost one-third of all U.S. workers. These workers go by several different names, including “contingent workers, giggers, temps, consultants, independent contractors, and freelancers.”
7. The Patchwork Principle, a freelance career strategy, is “a proven strategy for finding work that you love in abundance… based on the simple idea that working for a number of employers simultaneously presents unique business opportunities and insulates you from sudden and total job loss.” A patchwork career is one in which you run your own small business — whose mission is to identify gaps in organizations that you can fill with your expertise.
8. The five Patchwork position roles one can fill for an organization: The Stand-In (where you return to a former employer as a freelancer), The Walk-On (a full- or part-time position an employer creates on trial basis to test it), The Plug (fills a short-term hole within organization), The Quick Fix (typically project-based work to fill a specific need), and The Star (opportunity for long-term relationship for which you charge a premium for your services/expertise). Each of these positions have pros and cons, which Cardinale discusses in detail.
9. How to take inventory of your skills and expertise and develop a brand that you can communicate to prospective clients. The overall goal of branding yourself, Cardinale says, is “to clearly define yourself and your product or service and to reinforce the credibility of both.” Part of pitching your brand, once you develop it, is leading with a good story that is engaging and memorable — while showcasing your (brand) expertise. A good story, Cardinale says, “can separate you from the pack.”
10. Key tips for planning and establishing your business. Cardinale provides useful information — from a checklist for setting up shop to choosing a legal structure, developing pricing strategies (and managing the negotiation process), and taking steps to safeguard yourself from the risks associated with running your own business.
If you have the personality, skill set, and drive to make it happen, the ability to make the shift from worker to entrepreneur — from employee to Patchworker — will make positive changes in all aspects of your life… you’ll go from living for Fridays and dreading Monday mornings to focusing on the more important aspects of life.
And if you are ready to at least consider such a major change in your life, then Dr. Kristin Cardinale’s The 9-to-5 Cure could be the perfect roadmap to driving your future success… providing you with concrete steps for taking your concept from fruition to reality.
Read an excerpt from The 9-to-5 Cure, Do You Have What It Takes to be a Patchworker?
Check out all our book reviews in Quintessential Reading: Career and Job Book Reviews.