CONNECTING: A Handbook for Housewives Returning to Paid Work by Sally Ashley

CONNECTING: A Handbook for Housewives Returning to Paid Work

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A down-to-earth, thoroughly convincing guide to the middle-management job market for housewives who are about ready--in every way but emotionally--to take the career plunge. Ashley begins with her own story: a 1950s Cinderella who married Prince Charming (a lawyer) and bore four children in four-and-a-half years, she went back to college at age 34 and obtained not only a bachelor's degree but a master's--then became research manager at an executive recruitment firm. This made her savvy enough to understand companies' needs and the corporation man's biases (what do housewives do?). Her own patriarchal firm was not ready to tackle ""the women thing,"" so she started a counseling service for returning housewives--in the hope that enough would be successful for her to switch over, eventually, to recruiting. Ashley is good at wising up women on putting their experience--particularly volunteer work--into ""grey flannel vocabulary"" (market share, management by objective, etc.) and at explaining the advantages and disadvantages of line and staff positions (being a housewife seems to put a lot of women at ease with the support functions of staff work, but that's not where the money and excitement are). She's great at teaching the step-by-step methods of goals and skills assessment, or the way to package personality and personal-preference quirks. Much of her advice about rÉsumÉs, answering want ads, interviews, etc., runs contrary to the prevailing winds (e.g., never send a rÉsumÉ by mail, always hand it in personally to your prospect); but, as Ashley notes, she is writing for a specialized audience which requires a specialized approach to combat negative stereotypes. Her advice about using contacts (she despises the term ""networking"") to learn about industry differences, types of openings, etc., is right on target, and offers the timid a non-threatening place to begin. Altogether a superior effort in an area difficult to size up.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1982
Publisher: Avon