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The Episodic Career: How to Thrive at Work in the Age of Disruption

February 03, 2016


Farai Chideya presents a practical guide to navigating today’s volatile, fast-changing job market.

“An unfettered view of how the world of careers has evolved today—and how to work it to your advantage. Chideya shares stories from across America that illustrate how we face real job challenges and create opportunities for ourselves and others. A must-read before you leave for work tomorrow.”
—Gail Evans, author of Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman

In The Episodic Career: How to Thrive at Work in the Age of Disruption, award-winning author, researcher, and analyst Farai Chideya presents a practical guide to navigating today’s volatile, fast-changing job market.

In this age of rapid disruption driven by technology and globalization, jobs and entire career tracks are created and destroyed in front of our eyes. Today’s careers are episodic—they don’t happen on a smooth path, but move through many phases. No job is perfect forever, and we have to be prepared to adapt and move on, perhaps multiple times, unlike our parents and grandparents who may have stayed in one company all their lives.

From the front lines of economic upheaval, Chideya provides incisive perceptions of the new workplace. Understanding the big picture of the future of jobs in America is a critical first step to finding your most rewarding place in the world of work.

Chideya provides advice on how to enhance growth in an existing career, rebound from being out of work or move from a job that is no longer rewarding. In addition to informative data and research, absorbing profiles of real people from all walks of life reveal the way others have shifted successfully through career changes, including recovering from rough spots and unemployment. Among them You’ll meet Justin Dangel, who started three companies before the age of 40; Betty Reid Soskin, still working fulltime in her nineties, who went from a clerk to an entrepreneur to doing community outreach; Kristine Danielle, who went from being a drug-addicted prostitute to a sober and skilled shipboard welder; and Adam Freed, who lost his job as a reporter and became a tech executive at Google. All have forged their own paths, even in times of hardship.

These real-life stories help to connect readers to the big picture on a gut-level. Emotional resilience is the key to transformation. Even billionaires experience setbacks on their way to ultimate success.

Chideya also provides an invaluable self-diagnostic tool to help figure out the perfect work/life “sweet spot.” Inspired by her own career history, she created a new system called the Work/Life Matrix, with sixteen archetypes for evaluating a potential career trajectory and charting the correct course, based on lifestyle, personality, attitudes, and goals.

As a young reporter at Newsweek, CNN, and ABC, Chideya realized that her working-class Baltimore childhood and factors like Ivy League education affected how people viewed her, and she takes a frank look at stereotypes, employment discrimination, and how to construct healthy workplaces.

"Careers that once promised stability and security are imploding. The concept of the lifelong employer is receding into legend. The reality is in the title of Farai Chideya’s excellent new book: Your career will be episodic and multi-faceted. Fortunately, Chideya offers guidelines and real-life examples to help you march across this new terrain. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking to navigate the new world of work." —Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human


Farai Chideya (fah RYE - chee DAY ah) has combined media, technology, and socio-political analysis during her 20-year career as an award-winning author, journalist, professor, and lecturer. She is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. Farai Chideya has given thousands of speeches and hosted hundreds of events. She frequently appears on public radio and cable television, speaking about race, politics, and culture. Chideya moderated a Democratic Presidential Debate in 2004 and comments for CNN, MTV, Fox, MSNBC, BET, Oxygen, CBS, ABC and other media. Chideya is the former host of National Public Radio's News & Notes. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Chideya graduated with a B.A. from Harvard University, magna cum laude. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.    

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