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Young Professional's Survival Guide: From Cab Fares to Moral Snares

by C Gunsalus Harvard University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 224 pages
AU$49.99 NZ$51.30
Product Status: Not Our Publication - we no longer distribute
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Imagine yourself in your new job, doing your best to make a good impression—and your boss asks you to do something that doesn’t feel right, like fudge a sales report, or lie to a customer. You have no idea how to handle the situation, and your boss is hovering. When you’re caught off guard, under pressure from someone more powerful, it’s easy to make a mistake. And having made one, it’s easier to rationalize the next one.


The Young Professional’s Survival Guide shows how to avoid these traps in the first place, and how to work through them if you can’t avoid them. Many of the problems that arise in the workplace are predictable. C. K. Gunsalus, a nationally recognized expert on professional ethics, uses short, pungent real-world examples to help people new to the work world recognize the situations that can lead to career-damaging missteps—and prevent them. Gunsalus offers questions to ask yourself (and others) to help you recognize trouble and temptation, sample scripts to use to avoid being pressured into doing something you’ll regret, and guidance in handling disputes fairly and diplomatically. Most of all, she emphasizes, choose your mentors for their characters as well as their titles and talents.


You can’t control the people around you, but you can control what you do. Reliance on a few key habits and a professional persona, Gunsalus shows, can help you advance with class, even in what looks like a “casual” workplace.

Prologue: Survive What?
1. Start As You Mean to Go On
2. Develop a Professional Persona
3. Why Things Go Wrong
4. How Things Go Right
5. How to Have a Dispute Professionally
6. Stay on the High Road and End Up Where You Mean to Be
Practicing the And Stance
Personal Scripts Guidelines
The And Stance, with Possible Answers

Suggested Reading

“A useful guide to potential ethical issues faced by young people starting out in the workplace, and how to handle them.” - Publishers Weekly

“This book is a great overview of the ethical dilemmas that new professionals typically face. But what’s really important are the step-by-step instructions on what, exactly, to say when you’re confronted with a sticky situation. That advice alone makes the book a must-have for any working professional.” - Jennifer L. Bloom, University of South Carolina

“The Young Professional’s Survival Guide is so much more than a how-to. It’s a gracefully written series of reflections on real ethical dilemmas that never forgets the real person actually trying to get by. It’s humane, wise, and funny. I only wish I could have read it ten years earlier.” - Dean Dad, author of the Confessions of a Community College Dean blog at Inside Higher Ed

“For young professionals committed to doing the right thing, even in the face of pressures to cut ethical corners, this book is a must-read. The writing is crisp, the advice practical, and the insights so ‘right on’ that you will want to keep the book within easy reach.” - Mark Frankel, American Association for the Advancement of Science

“The most compelling and constructive guide ever written about how to become the kind of professional who will make your parents, friends, and colleagues proud. Gunsalus shows you how to think about and avoid the little decisions that come back to haunt you, and how to make the most of the little opportunities to do the right things in the right way. Great book.” - Robert I. Sutton, author of Good Boss, Bad Boss and The No Asshole Rule
C. K. Gunsalus is Director of the National Center for Professional and Research Ethics in the College of Engineering and Professor Emerita in the College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.