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The Play of Your Life    by Colleen A. Sabatino order for
Play of Your Life
by Colleen A. Sabatino
Order:  USA  Can
Rodale, 2004 (2004)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I found the approach of The Play of Your Life both encouraging and inspiring. Colleen A. Sabatino, a successful career counselor (and owner of Advanced Career Development Incorporated) takes the premise 'that the world is your stage and you are the star of your own life.' She quotes Hans Selye, 'If you do what you like, you never really work. Your work is your play' - advice I give my children often.

The book is in two main parts (Acts One and Two): 'Career Exploration - Finding Yourself Center Stage' and 'Career Search Implementation - Turning Your Work into Play'. Sabatino begins by advising us to identify our values in order to match them to an appropriate work environment, and provides tools to help. There are 'Values Assessment' and 'Preference Assessment' questionnaires (scoring on the latter was complex), as well as questionnaires to help come to terms with the type of leadership and work environment that we're likely to enjoy. A 'Talents Assessment' gives a perspective on the assets we bring to a career search. Next we're advised to identify a 'Plot' that will hold our interest over time, and 'Interests', 'Likes and Dislikes', and 'Fascinations Assessment' exercises help focus in on career options. Sabatino warns to look beyond books on occupations since 'today's career landscape is full of emerging opportunities.'

The second part of the book addresses how 'to build a presence for yourself in the marketplace', including synthesizing information about ourselves into a powerful resumé, and writing a cover letter that communicates our value, taking a 'future-focused orientation'. Sabatino explains the difference between a good resumé and a great resumé - in detail, with very specific suggestions, and another set of exercises, examples and a checklist. Similarly, for a cover letter, Sabatino tells us what questions one should answer, and sensibly emphasizes that the letter should 'focus on the employer's agenda, not yours.' She discusses the importance of follow-up, and explains how to get results through networking (for different personality types), including a 'Network Generator' exercise. Next comes handling the interview, with advice on offering insights and value, using 'Bridging Questions', adequate preparation, expressing confidence, finding commonalities, dealing with both positive and negative questions, and asking effective questions.

The Play of Your Life is an excellent and creative resource for anyone who wants to get into the position of spending their working days doing something that they enjoy. The author provides detailed guidance, tools and case studies, to help readers find the right career, and ends with the important reminder to 'Be true to yourself.'

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