Book Review: Telecommuting Flex Success Proposal Blueprint
From time-to-time, as we receive career-related and job-hunting books and other resources 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.
Telecommuting Flex Success Proposal Blueprint, by Pat Katepoo, 38 pages, WorkOptions.com, $29.95.
Reviewed by Katharine Hansen
Most telecommuting experts advise that those interested in telecommuting need to present a written proposal to their boss if they have any hope of converting their current job into a telecommuting arrangement.(See our article, Making Your Case for Telecommuting: How to Convince the Boss.) Pat Katepoo endeavors to make the proposal-writing process infinitely easier than it normally would be if workers labored over a proposal on their own. There’s no question that Katepoo’s publication is a huge time and labor saver with proven results; the question is — is the product worth $29.95 when other telecommuting proposal templates and samples are available on the Web for free?
Telecommuting Flex Success Proposal Blueprint, first developed in 1993, is essentially an e-book that consumers can download from Katepoo’s Website. The publication arrives in Portable Document Format (PDF), which can be opened and viewed with Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free download. Unlike most PDF publications, the Telecommuting Flex Success Proposal Blueprint can be copied and pasted into a word-processing document to save the user an enormous amount of keystroking. The material can be copied and pasted only one page at a time, and some reformatting of the word-processing document may be required. But it’s still a huge time-saver.
Katepoo emphasizes that Flex Success is designed only for those individuals who want to restructure their current job into a flexible work arrangement. She can’t help people who deluge her with resumes, ask how to get hired into a telecommuting job, or seek advice about starting a work-from-home business. The proposal template also isn’t for those who would like to start a telecommuting program in their workplace; it’s just for workers who wanted to pursue telecommuting on an individual basis.
She notes that she revises the publication every 12 to 18 months, updating the references section and fine-tuning the format based on user feedback. The 2003 update was scheduled for Aug. 2003.
Katepoo’s Website boasts numerous testimonials from those who say her proposal template was instrumental in their success in achieving a flexible work arrangement, as well as excerpts from books and other media citing the publication.
Beyond the proposal template itself, the publication provides a sample proposal and a list of “bottom-line benefits” of telecommuting, which can be plugged into the proposal and which play a critical role in convincing a boss to allow a telecommuting arrangement. The template provides plenty of opportunities for personalization and individual tailoring to one’s own situation.
The actual proposal template runs seven pages, and the user’s finished document would likely be somewhat longer after individual tailoring is inserted. It is nicely written in language that seems more accessible — less stiff and formal — than some of the freebie proposal templates on the Web.
In addition to a telecommuting proposal template, the publication offers proposal preparation steps, strategies for handling objections, tips on developing “Plan B” if the boss isn’t swayed by the proposal, and approaches for addressing equipment and dependent-care issues.
Katepoo clearly knows her stuff, and having produced the Telecommuting Flex Success Proposal Blueprint for 10 years now, she is well-versed in what works in persuading supervisors to approve such arrangements. She invites users to e-mail her to tell her whether the proposal succeeded or not.
Whether or not to spring for the $29.95 probably depends on how important telecommuting is to you. If I had a critical need for a telecommuting arrangement, I would want to be armed with quality, well-researched, proven ammunition and would likely consider the money a worthwhile investment.
In addition to Telecommuting Flex Success Proposal Blueprint, Katepoo produces three other versions: proposal blueprints for job sharing, compressed workweek, and part-time work, each for $29.95, with the full set of four selling for $49.95.
Check out all our book reviews in Quintessential Reading: Career and Job Book Reviews.