How to Get a Job and Keep a Job: The Fundamentals of Organizational Politics

Keith Calhoun-Senghor

Publisher: John and Courtney Publishing Pages: 304 Price: (hardcover) $34.95 ISBN: 9798987423707 Reviewed: March, 2024

In this lively book, Keith Calhoun-Senghor offers timely advice on how to acquire and manage a career. An international attorney with Stanford and Harvard degrees and broad experience in government, Calhoun-Senghor packs his book with prudential wisdom young readers will appreciate.

For Calhoun-Senghor, getting and keeping a job means mastering organizational politics. He avers that politics boils down to understanding people. He then presents 24 rules for a successful career. These include “be generous with your praise,” “do favors for no reason,” act as though “someone is always watching you,” and “constantly improve your weaknesses.” While some of these rules may appear platitudinous, Calhoun-Senghor’s discussions, examples, and unfailing humor make them a joy to explore. (For instance, he illustrates how small problems grow into bigger ones when ignored by hilariously recalling the unwanted boloney sandwich he stashed to the back of his desk in fifth grade.)

The author then addresses how to get hired, what to do if fired, and how to negotiate. He provides a few additional rules for those seeking public service careers, concluding with samples of a resume and cover letter and other helpful material.

While there are countless career development self-help books, Calhoun-Senghor’s goes further than most. Where some books advise job-seekers to be listeners more than talkers, for example, he tells prospects what to listen for; where other books discuss getting hired, he talks about getting fired—and how to turn the misfortune into the greatest possible advantage. The book also includes charming illustrations consistent with the author’s droll, personable tone.

Some of Calhoun-Senghor’s advice is context- and culture-specific. Much of it applies to larger organizations rather than start-ups. Certain pearls, like talking slowly and using more words than necessary when responding to questions, probably wouldn’t fly in New York City or Boston.

Still, this is a terrific book for students, recent graduates, and interns. Calhoun-Senghor’s insights should also prove useful for job-seekers or professionals at any stage of their careers.

Author's Current Residence
McLean, Virginia