Dan Miller

Broadman & Holman, 2005, 224 pp.   ISBN 0-8054-3188-8

Miller runs several businesses but the primary one is life coaching.  Miller’s book is heavy on pep talk, excellent on how to apply for a job, and strong on examining your strengths, but overconfident on turning them into income.  From the perspective of someone who knows the work he loves and has been out of work for a couple of years, the pep talk may be needed, but it might also be a ‘turn off.’


“48 Days... outlines a new process of looking at what you are going to be when you grow up.  How has God uniquely gifted you in (1) skills and abilities, (2) personality traits, and (3) values, dreams, and passions?”  (4)


“To work is to carry out the duties of a job; to play is to do something enjoyable.  But what if you found something you truly enjoyed that also supplied your needed income?  Would work and play actually become one and the same?” (8)


Work and not idleness is the indispensable condition of happiness for every human being. (according to Tolstoy) (9)


“The power of confidence in career choice comes from looking inward for the alignment of personal characteristics, not from looking outward to where ‘opportunities’ lie.” (16)


There are questions at the end of each chapter.  For example:

5. What would be the key characteristics of an ideal job or career?

6. When you daydream, what do you see yourself doing?

7. What have been the happiest, most fulfilling moments in your life? (48)


Fifty percent of the jobs we will have in the next 6 years have not yet been created. (according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics) (20)


“Everyone lives on the edge of job obsolescence and the threshold of career opportunity.”  “The question is not will change reach you, but how will you respond?” (21)


“Security is your ability to produce.” (per Douglas MacArthur) “Your only ‘security’ is knowing what you do well.” (23)


“Broaden and strengthen your job search by including small, streamlined companies in your target list.” (30)


2. What statement describes your career path so far?

4. Have you experienced any ‘failure’ in your career?  If so, what did it lead to? (35)


Vocation incorporates calling, purpose, mission, and destiny.  This is the big picture.  It’s what you’re doing in life that makes a difference and builds meaning; it’s the impact you’re making on the world.  “A calling is something you have to listen for, attuning yourself to the message.” (38)


“A career is a line of work but not the only way to fulfill your calling.  You can have different careers at different points in your life.  Conversely, two or three different careers can all support your calling.” (39)  A job has to do with one’s activities that produce income.  (40)


“Remembering the happiest times in your life and the times when you felt most fulfilled are better indicators of your calling than just knowing what you can do.” (40)


“Stay committed to achieving success in multiple areas of your life.” (44)


“Going through job change provides a great opportunity to take a fresh look at your success in other areas.  Make additional deposits of success in your physical well-being.”  Generate ideas.  Read a good book.  Get together with your friends.  Stay connected spiritually.  “You’ll realize that in the scope of eternity, this event is probably a tiny spot on the time line.” (45)


“Your goal should be to plan your work around your life rather than planning your life around your work.” (46)


2. Have you ever had a sense of calling in your life?  How did you hear that calling?

5. Do you currently have a job, a career, or a vocation?

6. What does success mean for you this year? (48-49)


“Knowing God’s will is not some passive guessing game.   Rather it is taking what God has already revealed to us and developing a plan of action.  And God’s revelation to us comes through our bodies, minds, hearts, and spirits.” (52)


“Look at how God has uniquely gifted you in your skills and abilities, personality traits, and values, dreams, and passions.  It is in these that we find the authentic path designed for us for a purpose-driven life.” (53)


People are crippled in life because of a lack of clear focus and indecision.  (54)


“Success is the progressive realization of worthwhile goals.” (57)


“The books you read, the thoughts you think, the television you watch, the conversations you participate in, the people you associate with, and the music you listen to combine to create your future.” (57)


“Look for recurring themes in things that get your attention.” (59)


“Identify 5-year goals then work backward to what you need to do today to make deposits in where you ant to be 5 years from now.” (60)


Seven areas for achievement: financial, physical, personal development, family, spiritual, career. (61-64)


“Your career should be a reflection of the LIFE you want....” (64)


“Be very careful how you start your morning.  You are planting the seeds for what the day will hold.” (66)


“I never read the paper first thing in the morning, no matter how important it may seem to know the news.  The news is filled with rape, murder, pestilence, and heartache, and that is not the input I want in my brain.”  “I carefully protect that first hour of the day, making sure that all input is positive, creative, and inspirational.” (67)


1. Are you a goal setter?

3. What hobbies do you have?  What other skills and interest do you have?

4. How are you involved in your community? (68)


“Identifying our inner gifts and talents and using them effectively in our work are critical components of our spiritual well-being.” (70)


Learn to pay attention to what God has already revealed to you—people, events, and activities that evoke the strongest response in you.  (71)


“What is it that you find naturally enjoyable?  If money were not important, what would you spend your time doing?  When do you find the time just flying by?” (73)


“Success doesn’t sneak up on us.  It starts as a dream that we combine with a clear plan of action.” (74)


Rule of thumb:

·        Work where you are the strongest 80 percent of the time.

·        Work where you are learning 15 percent of the time.

·        Work where you are weak 5 percent of the time. (77)


4. Are you better working with people, things, or ideas?

5. Are you more analytical, detailed, and logical, or are you one to see the big picture and respond with emotion and enthusiasm?

8. What strengths have others noticed in you? (82)


You must have a resume.  You need the process of creating your resume.  Present clearly your strongest areas of competence.  (83)


Also have an “elevator speech.”  In the time it takes to go between floors describe what is unique about you and what you are looking for.  (83)


Your resume must present you as an outstanding candidate for what you want to do.  The purpose of a resume is to help you get an interview.  It is the interview that is important, critical.  Everything else is preliminary.  Your resume is your sales tool.  It’s not just a chronological history.  That will pigeonhole you.  Identify areas of competence.   (84-6)


Most hiring decisions are made in the first 5 minutes of the interview.  The remainder is just verification of the initial decision! (86)


85% of success comes from attitude, enthusiasm, self-discipline, desire, and ambition.  Only 15% comes from skill and knowledge.  (90)


Most resumes get a 30-second look.  You must communicate clearly your competence in 30 seconds! (91)


You must always take the initiative.  Don’t expect them to call you.  Tell them when you will call back.  Always follow up by phone.  (92-3)


Be bold in your resume.  Be specific.  Show unique areas of competence. (95)


1. Do you understand your areas of competence?

3. Do you recognize how easily your abilities may transfer to a new industry or profession? (100)


“The opportunities for older workers are growing daily.”  Resource sites for older workers: (102)  www.aoa.gov , www.aarp.org , www.secondhalf.net , www.elderlifeplanning.com , www.finishers.org (dlm addition)


“The most effective job-hunting method is this: know your skills, research the potential companies that use those skills, arrange to see the person who has the power to hire you, and request the interview.” 9103)


Fewer than 1 percent of job seekers actually get a position from responding to an Internet ad.   The passive system of sending out resumes by email or fax doesn’t work. (105-6)


Just walking in the door, unannounced, works almost half the time.  Asking friends for leads works 34% of the time.  Asking relatives for job leads gets a job about 27%.  The placement office at college succeeds 21%. (106)


Miller lays out a 30-day burst of focused activity spending 35 hours per week. Everything but the interviews can be done outside normal working hours.  It’s a short burst of intensive energy. (107-8) 


Three steps:

1.     Send a letter of introduction to each company (no more than 15 at a time so you can follow up).

2.     Send your cover letter and resume 1 week after your introduction letter.

3.     Call to follow up.  (109-110)


Preparation is the single most important factor in successful interviews.  Know yourself and know the company. (118) Expect certain questions. See 119 ff.


“Ten seconds after you’ve walked into the room, ...you may have won or lost the job.”  The employer has already asked, ‘Do I like this person? Do I trust this person? Is this person fun to be around?’  (122-23)


“The first thing interviewers look for in a candidate is vitality and enthusiasm.”  “The easiest way to convey energy and enthusiasm is to smile.”  “Body language is 55 percent of the communication process.”  (127) 


“It is very important that you initiate your own follow-up with the interviewer.  Your persistence and initiative may be the one small difference in making you the candidate of choice.” (136)


“Do whatever you can to avoid talking about salary until you get the job offer.  Anything prior to that will work against you.” (147)


“You really can love your work, but that may mean taking an active part in creating the work you love, rather than just looking around to see what jobs are available.” (177)


“We are in the age of the knowledge worker where new learning is essential.  Keep learning.” (190)


Additional Reading:

·        Why You Can’t Be Anything You Want to Be, Arthur F. Miller, Jr.

  • Now Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton