If you've ever had the feeling that you might be in a dead-end situation in your job, Thomas Ellsworth's little 80-page book The Rat, the Race, and the Cage would probably be worth an hour or two of your time. Like many similarly formatted books (Jack's Notebook, The One-Minute Manager, etc.) this book is set up as a narrative about a fellow named Garrison who comes to Tom to seek career guidance. During three specific meetings at a coffee house, Tom helps Garrison reassess his goals, his future, and his assets.
The "rat" is the job function each person finds himself or herself in. It is your job description, yes, but even more importantly it is your feelings about how well you do the job, how much you are appreciated, how well you are compensated for your work, and what you belief your future potential is in that job. Tom makes Garrison fill out a checklist of rating his job on a 1 to 10 scale, and then they discuss how it could improve.
The "race" is the pace one's life takes on the job, at home, and in society. Are your customers putting unreal demands on you? Is your company tying you up in red tape? Are you spending enough time with your spouse and children? Is your health suffering from your workaholism?
The "cage" is the company for which you work. Does it have outdated ways of doing business that frustrate you? Does it under-use your capabilities? Is it involved in products or services that make you uneasy because of your Christian testimony?
In all three of these areas, the author makes the readers do the identical assessments that the fictitious Garrison works on. Ratings charts and "career compass worksheets" are added at the back of the book. Sprinkled at the end of each chapter are quotes from famous people related to work, and each chapter begins with a passage of Scripture. This in no way should be misconstrued to be a college textbook on business management, but it does succeed as a tool for career alignment, and it is based on Christian beliefs. – Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, Christian Book Previews.com
Are you tired of running the proverbial rat race? Do you feel caged in with your current position, trapped in an industry you’ve become comfortable with but bored? Are you ready to chuck your present job…but you’re not sure whether a change would be better or worse? Is there a way to ensure that a particular career path is the right one for you?
In easy-to-understand terms, The Rat, the Race, and the Cage offers a way to analyze your job situation and build a “personal career compass” with which to chart the best course for your future. It presents a simple model for understanding and organizing three components of your job: your function, the industry in which you work, and the company for whom you work. Analyzing these three areas will help you define your individual goals and thus point you toward a more enjoyable and fulfilling career.
The Rat, the Race, and the Cage is about finding direction, whether you’re a college grad or caught in a mid-career rut. What you do for a living can be more than just a way to pay the bills. You can find fulfillment and personal satisfaction in your work by following the method described in this book.