Company by Max Barry. ISBN: 9781400079377.
When I first read Company, I was in the middle of doing time in a dead-end temp job. Barry’s caricatures and social commentary hit me in a way I couldn’t understand at the time. Even though the book is mostly ridiculous (and amazing) satire, I took some things away from it that changed the way I look at almost every job I’ve had since.
Maybe emulating or predicting The Office, a lot of Company’s early plot comes from the bickering and mixing of people in the machine of a company. I’ve never been one to get involved in office politics, especially where people get slighted about rank and experience. This isn’t to say that I don’t invest myself in the people I work with; I just don’t see the point of playing games. We have to live and work together, and like it or not, I am going to probably see you the next day and we will have to do this again. These are people I don’t necessarily choose to associate with, but it’s where I am and what I’m doing for right now. And I tend to believe (or at least, I try to remind myself even when it’s tough) that nearly everyone has something they’ve got to offer. Almost everyone has something they can teach me, one way or another.
So I avoid a lot of confrontation. It costs me in some ways, but I feel like I can connect more honestly with my coworkers when I’m open with them and we gain more as a group. We don’t even have to agree most of the time; I’ve worked with people whose personalities completely conflicted with mine and thrived as long as communication was open and honest. I’ve actually met some weirdly interesting people and made connections I never would have expected just by taking the time to discuss something, anything.
I’ve done my fair share of boring office work and will probably have tons more to do before I’m finished. I might not have a huge paycheck and I’m just doing a 9 to 5 much of the time, but I’m almost always going to come away a different (and possibly more complete) person.
Kyle B. is some guy you've never heard of, but he's okay with that. He's a writer and journalist (also both a lover and fighter) that graduated from Kent State University a few years ago, with some slight gainful employment since. He loves to read but pretty much puts a new book back on the shelf if a couple of the first words on the jacket are "murder mystery" or "romance."
*Post was originally written July 24, 2010 so the regular author could get caught up on her own reading and writing.