Title: The Compass Solution: A Guide to Winning Your Career
Available in both paperback and Kindle formats
Author: Tim Cole
Reviewed for the NABBW by: Anne Holmes

Tim Cole, Founder and CEO of The Compass Alliance, says that his goal is writing this book is to help his readers by providing lessons that will help generate a sustainable and successful career. He points out early in the book that young adults setting out on a career path can expect to spend – at minimum – 100,000 hours building a career.

Career-building, then, represents the greatest financial investment of anyone’s life.

And yet, too many of us drift into careers – or merely take on a series of unrelated jobs – without giving our future success much thought.  Which leads too many of us to condemned to spending our entire working lives dissatisfied, frustrated, and – at best – enduring the time that not only makes up fully one-third of our lives, but also impacts our total life satisfaction.  No wonder the words “JOB” and “WORK” are often said through gritted teeth! The Compass Solution was written for those who want to win their career, not just endure it.

Cole says he sees this book as a definitive guide to successful career navigation. A practical resource that balances personal experience with proven theory. A guide for both the newcomer struggling to get started, and the veteran lost and essentially wandering.

He opens the book with his own story. Telling the reader that his career evolved — as so many of us Boomers could also attest if discussing our own careers — from trial and error. He reports that he would work hard, gain responsibility, and think his career was soaring – only to have the rules changed on him – resulting in his being dumped back to earth, somewhat like Icarus, the mythical Greek figure who dared to fly too close to the sun on wings built of feathers and wax.

Once this happened a few times, Cole figured out that his career course was terribly flawed. He would never be able to plot a path to success based on the unpredictability of his supervisor, his company or his industry. Instead, he realized, he needed a constant — a True North — using himself as the constant. He had to invest in himself.

And thus was born Cole’s Career Compass Concept: With his lodestar, or True North, being Personal Accountability. And the remaining compass points being People, Process and Perspective.

The rest of Part One: The Compass expands on Cole’s four cardinal points — the basic principles you can use to change your career trajectory — using practical terms and personal stories to bring the principles to life. Which is perfect, because we all learn better when stories are involved. Part Two, The Key Chain, expands on the compass points with the keys being Leadership, Communication and Learning.

Obviously, this is a perfect book to gift a favorite protege, offering a lifetime of experience in one book, sharing the secrets most never learn. But you may not immediately realize what the book can do for you — and others of us who have already spent decades in the workplace.

First of all, if you are still working in the trenches of corporate America, this book offers you a chance to start differentiating yourself – it’s not too late. And further, if challenges you to consider becoming a mentor, or Whisperer, for others.

Finally, once you invest the time to read this book, you may find that it helps you figure out what you will do with the rest of your life, once you retire.  What is YOUR True North? What inspires you and excites you? What do you find yourself doing outside of work?

Think hard about this. Because as Boomers, most of us are going to have decades of time ahead of us, once we reach the current official retirement age of 65. The Compass Solution just may help point you into your new direction — the starting block for your second — or even third — career.

Highly recommended.

Please note: At time of publishing this review, the Kindle version of The Compass Solution is available at no charge. What a great gift from the author. We have no idea how long this special pricing will continue.