Wednesday, February 23, 2011

No Sneakers at the Office [Book Tour and Giveaway]

There is no shortage of business books out there, but where does a young professional start? Here's a good option: No Sneakers at the Office. Written by businessman and filmmaker Adam Scholl, this book is written specifically for college seniors, recent grads, and 20-something professionals seeking to make it in the corporate world. Topics include everything from appearance to office politics. Released last fall, the book has already been touted by fellow business pros Penelope Trunk, Shama Kabani, and Robert Tuchman. Read an excerpt from his chapter on career growth and mentorship here.

Scholl was kind enough to answer some questions I posed recently about his experience and his book. I also have a copy of the book to give away to one lucky reader! Keep reading for details.

The New Professional: Please briefly tell us what your book is about.
Adam Scholl: No Sneakers at the Office is a step-by-step guide for college seniors, fresh-outs, and Gen Y professionals seeking to enter, survive and thrive in corporate America. The book covers corporate communication, time management, professional appearance, business travel, workplace etiquette, office politics, and career growth.

Tell us about your own career and how it influenced your book. 
My professional life began when I enlisted in the Florida Army National Guard in 1993. The military provided an excellent foundation for a successful profession later on because I was exposed to an outstanding group of leaders during my service. I continued to progress in my career by obtaining a BS in Management Information Systems from Florida State University in August of 2000 at which time I took a position at Publix Super Markets, Inc. as a programmer. Starting my business career at Publix provided me the opportunity to mature as a professional--it was an organization filled with innovative leaders. During my six year tenure at Publix, I obtained an MBA and then produced and directed the successful documentary, Agent Orange: The Last Battle.

After advancing within Publix and accomplishing many of my personal goals, I enrolled at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. Over the next three years at law school, I worked at an established financial institution as a business system analyst. This experience convinced me to enter the business community upon graduating law school in 2009 at which time I accepted an engaging opportunity at Winn-Dixie Super Markets.

While writing No Sneakers at the Office I was able to draw upon the many tools I had collected and placed into my professional tool kit. All of these tools influenced the development of and concepts in my book. Equally important, I incorporated what I’d learned from the many mentors in my life to create this book.

What inspired you to write this book? 
After observing so many young professionals struggle to adapt to corporate environments I wanted to share my experience and knowledge.

What was your first office job and what did you learn from that initial experience? 
I was a customer service representative for a small company while attending Florida State University. This job made me realize the importance of taking care of customers. In customer service, you feel the pulse of your company, which is its customers. Note that there is a difference between a career and a job, a point that I discuss in detail in No Sneakers at the Office.

What is your most memorable professional faux pas? What did you learn from it? 
In No Sneakers at the Office I tell personal business stories for the purpose of providing humor along with real life. I describe how I worried during my vacation that I would be fired upon returning to work. And upon returning from my vacation I learned that while a problem did occur while I was gone because of something I did, I worried for nothing. My coworkers decided to make the incident a teaching experience, which showed their professionalism.

I understand that you give fresh-outs and young professionals some principles of professionalism. What are they? 
The principles of professionalism that I provide in the book range from the importance of dressing for the business world to not being late. The principles create the foundation of who you are as a business professional. This foundation affects your reputation which determines your career path.

What do you think is the biggest mistake young professionals make these days, and how can it be avoided? 
I believe that young professionals do not realize the importance of having a positive reputation because, among other reasons, the business community is smaller than one realizes. Your reputation affects your ability to obtain employment both within your own organization and at others. By taking control of your career at the onset, your reputation will help instead of hinder you.

Want to win a copy of No Sneakers at the Office?
Just leave a comment below by March 2 answering the question "What is one thing you wish you'd known before you got a job?" and your email address and you're in the drawing! One lucky winner will receive a paperback galley or PDF e-book (winner's choice).

About the author: Adam T. Scholl is a business leader, manager, software analyst, and filmmaker. He drew upon both his corporate experience and artistic creativity to produce & direct the documentary, “Agent Orange: The Last Battle”. Adam is currently collaborating with attorney Evan Peterson on a business law book.  Visit the author at and join the book’s following on Facebook.

In case you're wondering--I was not compensated in any way to feature or give away this book on my blog. I am, however, dedicated to providing useful professional resources that I feel my readers will be interested and will benefit from.


  1. oh man - this book sounds awesome! There really are far too few resources for 20-somethings - there's plenty of information out there about getting a job, and about making advances once you've been in the workplace for years, but none for when you are starting out!

    I wish I would have known that making mistakes are okay, and almost expected - I felt very pressured to do everything perfectly when I got my job - and was crushed when I made my first mistake. It was perfectly fine, though, and I was stressed over nothing!

  2. This book sounds great--business related books are the one genre missing from my library!

    I wish I had know how different the timeline for a project is in the business world vs. college. I was so used to having to finish everything in a week or less that I ended up overwhelming my supervisor with paperwork he didn't expect to receive for a few weeks! I've now learned that it's ok to take my time, but it was a hard transition on both me and my boss.

  3. I'm in Human Resources, and I wish I had known to be wary of "allies". When I was a rookie in the workplace, I was excited about the new workplace friends I was making. It didn't take long before my naivety really got the best of me. Many people have ulterior motives, and sometimes the people you think you can trust end up burning you. Be wary of new friends at first, especially if you are in a position requiring a lot of confidentiality. Professionalism comes before office friendships.

  4. I hope the career centers at universities catch onto this book. It would've been super helpful when I was first looking for jobs. I wish I had known how to better discuss my concerns with my boss. I have met some less than stellar managers in my career and having known how to talk to them about workplace issues would have been so much easier at the beginning of my career.

  5. This book sounds very interesting. As a college senior (three months away from graduation!), I am trying to surround myself with as much knowledge and advice as I can before becoming a full-time professional.

  6. Even though I'm not working in a conventional business place, I'm sure these tips would be great regardless! Very interesting read, thanks for suggesting it :)

    xoxo Maria

  7. Sounds like a great thing I wish I'd known was how to ask for help prioritizing without looking utterly incompetent! So much of my job is a supporting role for my boss, and at first I had trouble lining up my work to best fit that!

  8. The books sounds very interesting..great interview:)

    Stop by and say Hello:)
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  9. I wish I'd known not to engage in watercooler chat--office politics are for real!

    Can't wait to see who wins :)

  10. this sounds so great. i am just starting out in my career and believe i still have a lot to learn about the workforce. something i wish i'd known before starting my current job (and that i'm still working on) is how to say "no." i've found that a lot of tasks and projects are dropped in my lap that might not necessarily be a good use of my time, but i accomplish them anyway because i can do so quickly & efficiently.

  11. I am definitely interested in this book! One thing I wish I would have known is where the line is between tasks that you can say no to that are not a good use of your time and the things that you have to suck it up and do to pay your dues.

  12. Love these comments! These are all great tidbits of advice!

  13. The one thing I wished I would have known, was what I really wanted to do.

  14. I wish I had known that a poor boss is not a reflection of you or your work.

  15. Wish I'd known how to distinguish the job they were selling to me vs. the job i actually got stuck with.

  16. I wish I would have known to seek out meaningful feedback and how to do it. After almost a year of being told, "Oh, you're doing a great job," I started noticing people talking behind my back or making terse remarks about my performance. It turned out people were grossly unsatisfied with me, but no one thought to tell me until it was too late and little, fixable things had been blown far out of proportion. Had someone had a serious discussion or two with me, the entire situation could have been avoided.

  17. I agree with Heidi: one thing I wished I'd known before I got a full-time job is it's okay to say no sometimes and establish some boundaries. I've said yes way too often at my job and while it's made me a good team player, I also feel like some of my co-workers take advantage of my willingness to help out.


  18. I'm only a few months into my first professional job, but looking at some of the jobs my friends got right out of school compared to mine: I've learned that it's worth waiting for that job that you really want instead of taking the first thing that comes your way.

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  20. Great giveaway, Angeline! I love these types of books.

    When I started my first "real" job (aka the first job related to what I went to my degree), I wish I had realized that being a go-getter & being able to do things efficiently can end up meaning people think it's ok to dump tasks on you that are a waste of your time (and not at all related to your job description). After doing "extra" work for a while, it's really hard to break the cycle.

  21. I think I would have liked to know how to handle coworkers, confrontation in the workplace, etc. And how to handle stress. :)

  22. Wonderful! Keep them coming, folks! I'll be posting your wish-you-knews when I announce the winner next week. :)

  23. I wish I would have known that sometimes you have to let yourself take a break!!! I was constantly working, staying late, coming up with ideas before going to bed, doing research while eating dinner. I now know that I have to give myself a breather and not forget about the rest of my life!

  24. i wish i would have known not to wear sneakers at the office. seriously. i guess my red low top chuck taylors weren't even appropriate for casual friday. who knew?

    tgbtsblog@gmail dot com

  25. Angeline-

    Thanks again for participating in the No Sneakers blog tour. The book was just announced as a ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist!


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