Smart Career Moves for Smart Women: How to Succeed in Career Transitions by Dr. Susan Doering

Published by: Routledge

Publication Date: 2023

The author of this book, Dr. Susan Doering, is a truly admirable woman. Now working as an international career coach and executive leadership mentor, this book was born with the intention of coaching women through career journeys and supporting them through these transitions. It had to be aimed at women as highlighted early on, ‘women regularly still face more challenges in career progression and often react to the prospect of change more cautiously than men.’ This was an interesting fact but not wholly unsurprising. Dr. Doering also foregrounds other potential obstacles that women face such as taking time out of work to have children, the ‘confidence knock when they return to work and find the readjustment of juggling the demands of life and career challenging’. Not all women leave work to have children, there are of course many exceptions to this, however the gender pay gap is something that is well documented and very real.

The book itself feels more like a handbook that needs to be returned to many times over the course of not just a few days or weeks but as a constant point of reference throughout any career transition. Not from the point of interview but further back to the point of conceiving what the change you want is and documenting the values and dreams that you hold. Indeed, the writer prompts readers to start a journal asking you to document your values and strengths, what you hold to be important and what you do not. Having a go at completing this myself, I found it a really hard task. My imposter syndrome, which I suspect is experienced by many females, was proving to be a real hurdle. In fact, this is a stage I still haven’t completed fully and will have to return to. Thinking reflectively, positively and honestly is something that Dr. Doering believes is the essential groundwork needed for ‘understanding yourself better and considering what it is you really want in terms of your next career move.’

The chapters of the book are also structured to ensure support and agency are given to the individual reader ensuring productivity and proactiveness are instilled from the very beginning of the journey. A central premise of the book is that learning is a lifelong activity, something that really resonated with me. Even if we feel the dream job is out of reach, we can begin by learning and imagining the steps we need to take to get there incrementally. This is not an overnight endeavour but something that is worthy of time and effort, just as the individual themselves are. The chapters themselves, range from ‘transforming ideas and wishes into concrete opportunities’ through to ‘understanding other people’s behaviour with emotional intelligence’ and ‘building a network.’ After each, the reflection prompts ensure you consider and digest what you have read taking time to process its application and relevance to you. In addition, there are also case studies throughout the text that have tangible examples of women who have worked through or experienced the same situations which offers reassurance and a sense of possibility. Holistically, the book works as a mentor guiding you through from start to finish. Providing insight, knowledge and understanding at the situations often unique to women in the workplace, Dr. Susan Doering has provided a resource that many will find absolutely invaluable and which will be utilised time and time again.

Thank you to @LiterallyPR for my copy of the book

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