Fire Your Boss

Stephen M. Pollan, Author, Mark Levine, Author
Stephen M. Pollan, Author, Mark Levine, Author HarperResource $23.95 (273p) ISBN 978-0-06-058393-4
Reviewed on: 05/01/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
This stimulating, iconoclastic career-development primer is a rare example of the self-help/motivational genre with a difference. Life coach Pollan and his collaborator Levine, authors of the contrarian retirement planning guide Die Broke, don't mean the title literally; it's just a metaphor for taking control of your work life, one that rejects all the high-minded shibboleths of traditional business motivation. They argue that companies are""amoral legal constructs"" that care nothing for their workers. Bosses are dictators rather than mentors or servant-leaders. Jobs can't provide psychological or spiritual fulfillment; people should get those things from their lives away from work--where they should spend as little time as possible. The authors elaborate these insights into a refreshingly cynical take on workplace issues. Success doesn't depend on doing a good job, they say, but on soothing and flattering the boss. Workers shouldn't wallow in unrequited loyalty to the company, but ought to be constantly""fishing"" for better jobs. Other rules: rely on personal ties, because landing a job is a matter of""who you know, not what you know""; don't personalize your cubicle, because that might encourage you to spend more time at work; above all, don't try to follow your heart or make a difference in your career:""the job of your dreams is the one that pays the most money."" The authors provide lots of shrewd tips on job hunting, negotiating, manipulation and brown-nosing, but their book transcends the merely pragmatic. Their call to""end this destructive pursuit of meaningful work"" mounts a subversive challenge to the idea of the calling, and thus to the Protestant work ethic at the very core of the motivational worldview.
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