St. Thomas business professor publishes guide for mid-career success

St. Thomas business professor publishes guide for mid-career success

How’s that New Year’s resolution to find a better job working out?

For white-collar workers who are unhappy or nervous about the state of their careers, or simply want to start a new chapter in their working life, trying to land a more lucrative or enjoyable position can be daunting and confusing.

For guidance, you could try a Google search. The keywords “career management” will give you 219 million links. You could narrow it down by trying “career success,” which provides 72 million links, or even “mid-career,” which brings it down to just over one million links.

Another option would be to read a new book, The Mid-Career Success Guide: Planning for the Second Half of Your Working Life, by Dr. Sally Power, a longtime management professor at the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business.

“Most of us know that the employment deal has changed,” Power said. “Job security is a thing of the past and downsizing is routine. Meanwhile, job creation has slowed substantially, and the time it takes to find a new job has increased from an average of 12 weeks in the late '70s to 16 weeks today.

“What most don’t know is what they can do about it,” she said.

After years of teaching undergraduate and graduate-level courses in career management, management, business ethics and organizational behavior, Power saw the change in employment dynamics and what it would mean to people, particularly in mid-career.

She decided to write a book describing what white-collar individuals in mid-career, and mid-life, can do so they won’t become one of the negative statistics in the news.

“The book takes the position that these changes in the workplace … in effect the end of the traditional employment deal … signal a need for a new and more active phase of career management at this point in their lives, and it describes what is necessary for that approach,” she said.

“The strategies outlined in the book will help white-collar individuals maintain or increase their value as employees while also pursuing work that they find interesting and enjoyable. This opens up the possibilities for taking advantage of the silver linings in today’s workplace environment.”

The book, she said, will be especially useful to readers who are in mid-career and who want to take greater control of their careers, for whatever reason; nontraditional (older) college students who will re-enter the workforce as experienced workers; those planning to work, at least part time, well into their traditional retirement years; and all professionals and counselors who provide career services to white-collar workers.

The book uses real-life examples and interactive exercises that help readers define their mid-career objectives, anticipate employers’ needs, develop a portfolio of skills and balance work and life goals.

 The Mid-Career Success Guide includes an appendix with information-gathering tips that was developed by longtime reference librarian Janice Kragness, who also works at St. Thomas. Both Power and Kragness have been involved in the field of career management since the early 1990s.

The Mid-Career Success Guide was released late last year and is available through and