We recently interviewed Mark Overmann, Director of College Communications at Georgetown and co-author (with Sherry Mueller) of a recently published book Working World: Careers in International Education, Exchange, and Development. Working World captures the intricacies of evolving careers, mainly in the field of international affairs. Mark has chosen to employ a blog as a way of facilitating discourse on the book’s contents in addition to topics that may serve to challenge some readers in their thinking on careers. The blog is geared towards both job-seekers and those who wish to enhance their careers in this field; it will provide resources, address questions, and discuss career development and evolution. We encourage you to visit the Working World blog at:
Here’s a transcript of our interview with Mark:
Why did you choose a blog for the promotion of your new book?
As my coauthor Sherry Mueller and I point out in our book, careers are not a one and done thing. They are a continuous journey, a process that doesn’t end once you’ve landed a particular job but rather continues to evolve in dynamic and often unexpected ways over time. We were looking for real-time, personal way to engage our readers, a space where our collective thinking about careers in international affairs could evolve over time. A blog is such a powerful tool for facilitating this kind of thinking and discussion.
Sherry and I also wanted a forum in which we could examine topics that we didn’t get a chance to touch on in the book. The blog will allow us to engage those issues in a fluid and vibrant way. While we have some things in mind that we want to cover, we really hope that reader needs and wants and feedback will drive both the topics we write on and, ultimately, how we think about those topics.
What kinds of feedback are you getting/do you hope to get by way of the blog?
As the blog establishes a presence, we hope to get reader feedback that will challenge us– challenge our assumptions, challenge the way we approach given topics, challenge the way we think about the fields and careers in them. /Working World /the book is, at its heart, very much an intergenerational discourse– Sherry has been working in international education and exchange for more than 25 years, while I am only just six years out of college. We found as we were writing the book that our viewpoints on various subjects frequently differed, and those differences often had to do with our generational perceptions.
But we found that these differences were not stumbling blocks but rather invigorating and enlivening catalysts.
In the same way, we hope that the feedback and comments on the Working World blog will continue to push our thinking in new and unexpected ways. I think the discussion will fully bloom when our readers engage us in interesting and thoughtful ways and push us to rethink how we view careers in these fields just as we are pushing them to do the same.
What kinds of information and blog entries do you hope to post on the blog?
The blog has as two-pronged focus. First, we want to explore questions, concepts, and resources important to the professional seeking a job and building a career in the fields of international education, exchange, and development. But seriously, there’re a lot of websites and blogs out there that examine careers in a general context, yet so very few (if any at all) that deal specifically with the details of careers in the international arena. We want to fill that gap.
Second, we’ll examine intergenerational issues as they relate to working in international affairs, as well as in a broader context. How does the approach and thinking of older professionals differ from that of younger professionals? How does that create conflict in international organizations? More importantly, how does that create opportunity for international organizations? These are incredibly important questions to answer as internationally-focused organizations (especially nonprofits) try to grow and evolve and remain ahead of the curve in an ever-quickening and ever-shrinking world.
In terms of what kinds of blog entries to expect, we’ll be following a similar format to the /Working World/ book in that the focus will be on a few different areas of content. There will be the “Sherry and Mark” section in which Sherry and I will each examine one topic from our differing perspectives– to see where our opinions intersect and where they diverge and hopefully present a well-rounded view in the process. We will also include posts known as “In the Field:” thoughts from and profiles of other professionals in the fields. And the “Career Resources” category will be just like what it sounds: posts of new career resources that we want to highlight, such as new websites, job boards, events, books, organizations, and other career help specifics that our readers might find useful in their job search and career development.