There are times when we can’t handle our career management on our own anymore, when career coaching and an outside perspective from a coach are what we need to move ourselves and our career forward to have that extra push and help with accountability.
If you’re not there yet or not ready to pull the trigger on coaching, below are some resources to help move your professional development along on your own. The advice from these resources is enough to tide you over as you work on yourself, and the lessons you’ll learn are sure to impress your boss too. If you get through this list, we have another one here.
5 Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
Lencioni’s leadership fable takes us through the development of a fictional struggling team at a start-up. His story takes us through the ups and downs of team building allowing us to learn from their successes and failures. The issues that this team deals with are ones that anyone who works with people will recognize. Lencioni doesn’t just outline the potential pitfalls of teambuilding, but he also gives us the tools to solve our problems and work together.
Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson
One of the Happy Spectacular rules about work is that almost everyone’s primary motivation is to not look bad (instead of a more productive motivation, like doing a good job). This book explains some of the human motivations behind why we have such difficulty taking responsibility and making mistakes at work.
The New York Times: Smarter Living
The “Smarter Living” column and newsletter cover all kinds of things, but particularly the articles on work and work-life balance offer actionable advice in small doses which for most of us, means we’re more likely to implement them. There is a lot of content to sift through, but these are some recent features I loved:

What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers by Richard N. Bolles
We’d be remiss if we didn’t recommend what many consider to be the career changer’s bible. It’s absolutely worth a read if you are in transition.
Dear Founder: Letters of Advice for Anyone Who Leads, Manages, or Wants to Start a Business by Maynard Webb
It’s always helpful to hear from people who’ve been there before. Leadership classes and management training are helpful tools, but those lessons combined with hearing from someone who’s been there before is invaluable because they know what it’s really like.
Do Over: Make Today the First Day of Your New Career by Jon Acuff
This book is an easy read about a tough subject. All you really need to know is in the synopsis: “When you don’t like your job, Sunday isn’t really a weekend day. It’s just pre-Monday. But what if you could call a Do Over and actually look forward to Monday?”
And don’t forget, if you get through some of these and you’re still struggling, it might be time to reach out and chat with a career coach.

Nora Philbin

Nora is a co-founder of Happy Spectacular, which she still can't really believe, and she's on a lifelong quest for the world's best cheeseburger (applicants accepted).