There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job, by Kikuko Tsumura. Pub 2015. Translation by Polly Barton. Pub 2020.
I don’t usually include fiction on this blog. When I first received this book (as part of a set of books won in a raffle earlier this year), I thought it was a non-fiction book, a guide to job hunting in the realities of a complicated world. It is not really that, but it is a good fable about the difficulties of finding work that is utterly easy, disconnected, or non-impactful.
On Confidence, by The School of Life. Pub 2017
Nothing’s impossible, I have found
For when my chin is on the ground
I pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.*
I first read On Confidence about a year ago, in the midst of an upheaval and change that rocked my world and my confidence. I saw this book in one of those "if you like X, you'll also like Y" section of a bookseller's website, and then a few days later saw it on display at a local coffee shop. All signs seemed to be saying, “read this now”. So, I did.
I chose this book, Big Feelings, by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy, based on the social media hype and discussion about it. Many will be familiar with the illustrations and comics by this pair of workplace and development consultants. This is their second book (the first was No Hard Feelings from 2019, which looks at effectively expressing and controlling emotions at work - still in my to-read pile). This latest book looks at seven difficult feelings that can emerge at work and in life, and is especially relevant in the time of COVID (when the dominant feeling was languishing). Published in early 2022 and subtitled, "How to be okay with things are not okay", the book promised to be immediately impactful. And to some extent it was, but ultimately fell short of my expectations.
This is a book that I’ve been meaning for years to read. I was inspired to pick it up and start (again) after completing an iteration of a webinar I do on leadership lessons based on Ernest Shackleton and his Endurance expedition. Like the Shackleton story, Island of the Lost did not disappoint on either the adventure or the leadership lessons.
The story is set in the South Atlantic, near New Zealand, specifically on the Auckland Island group. In 1864, not one but two groups were shipwrecked on the main island.
I think whenever someone starts a business – whether it’s to make and sell something, provide a service, or create an empire – there’s a blend of not knowing anything about what to do and wanting to learn about the tools and principles that might work, but also having some sense of what you DON’T want to do or be. For me, I want to know about the tools and principles, but chafe at the notion that there are things I’m “supposed to” do in order to do it correctly. Correctly for who? No one knows my business and what I want it to be better than me, so how could anyone already have the formula that is best for me and my business?
Who is Robyn?
My career as a research project manager is rewarding, dynamic, challenging, and fun. I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experience in communication, organization, and common sense approaches in research management and leadership, and to enabling others to learn and grow in this exciting career.