working identity

05/29/2009

by anne lueneburger

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Herminia Ibarra is a Professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France and a frequent author of articles in renowned publications such as the Harvard Business School Press and the Harvard Business Review. This book was published in 2003 and continues to be highly relevant for all of us who are interested in successfully changing careers and in transitioning from a current working identity to one that rings true to who we are. Ibarra contrasts the traditional model of career transitions following a logical sequence of different steps and introduces a career change model that shows that a ‘circular’ way of thinking is often more effective: it involves exploring possible selves by asking “who might I become?”, trying on new identities, living the contradictions, to building the foundations to true change where we attain congruence between who we are and what we do. The secret is to take small steps and to “do” rather than to conceptualize. The numerous case studies throughout the book made this a very entertaining, lively read.

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