Recently, I read the book "My Job Sucks and I Can't Take it Anymore! Help!" by John L. White. I decided to blog about it because I truly believe the JobSchmobbers could get a lot from reading it. I know I'm talking to friends (all the JobSchmobbers) when I write these blogs and if you were a friend of mine, sitting across from me at the lunch table, I would tell you to read this book.
The book is broken down into five sections:
1. The McJob Years 2. Blue Collar Blues 3. Life as a Cube Dweller 4. What to do When Your Job Disappears 5. Achieving Nirvana (Or How I Learned to Make My Job Not Suck So Much)
The best thing about this book is that it tells it exactly like it is. It doesn't paint any pretty pictures or sugar coat anything. And most importantly, it doesn't passive aggressively attack you and what you know is right in your gut like that god awful Who Moved My Cheese book. Instead, the author smartly says, "This is what it is. Now, here's how to survive". How freakin refreshing!
The book is exceptionally easy to read. The fonts are a decent size, the sections are short and the to-the-point lessons are delivered as short tips along the way. Overall, it's a fast and entertaining read. The sections are filled with stories about the author's working life from teenage, to blue collar to white-collar-cubicle-corporate. When reading the stories, you get the impression that the author is sitting with you in a relaxed environment telling you the stories as if he was telling them to a buddy. There is wit, humor and brutal honesty---I laughed out loud quite a few times. He admits his mistakes and tells you what he learns from them. He's not speaking down to you, he's sharing the "been there, made this mistake" sort of advice.
Moreover, he doesn't tell you how to get promoted (Amen!), he doesn't tell you how to dress if you want to be successful at work (Hallelujah!), and he doesn't tell you how to play the rat race game to move up the ladder (Praise the lord!). He doesn't even consider moving up the ladder as a goal in life. Which, those of you who read my blog will know, I think is an "about damn time" point of view.
I sincerely could have used this book at many points in my career. Especially when I was in my mid-twenties and thought that if I knew the company was doing something stupid I should tell them so every chance I got. And then again, in my late twenties, when I was losing sleep over the IT department purchasing a 2 million dollar product that I knew would never be used. Then again, around 2004, when my job was being moved to a new company. I am not exactly sure sure I would have 100% listened, but I know the information would have served me well and, at the very least, gave me a heaping helping of perspective.
The author sent me this book for free to review and, quite honestly, I felt like it was a homework assignment. I'm not getting a dime from it and I didn't feel like reading it. I thought it was going to be another book that "blah blah blah" told me how to succeed in my career. Quite the opposite! (I love it when I'm wrong, don't you?) I turned the last page realizing that I now had a much better idea of how to survive at work as a peon employee, how to makes things better for myself and most importantly, how to work in such a way that I am there ultimately in my own best interest---not the company's.
My favorite 2 tips from the book:
"Don't ever get into the mindset where you think you're trapped in your job. It becomes a license for the company to abuse you. In addition, subconsciously you may begin to tolerate things you shouldn't."
Side Note: To all my friends who stayed at my last place of employment and who have been incessantly complaining about the way their jobs treat them and then cry they are stuck. Read that tip again! Print it out and paste in on your monitor! YOU ARE NEVER STUCK. At least not permanently. Temporarily, yes possibly, but where there's a will, there's a way. Get a "way" already!
My second favorite tip is on page 80:
"If you're ever concerned about being 'loyal' to the company, think again. Accept and embrace the reality that you are just a resource to them, nothing less, nothing more. They don't owe you anything. The flip side is that you don't owe anything either. If you have trouble accepting that reality, never forget that if they need to get rid of you, you'll be gone the next day."
I'll close this post by mentioning the only thing (there had to be something, right?) that I disagree with in the book. And that is the author's advice not to use sick days because the company frowns upon them. I thought that was out of character for the author and the rest of the book. So if you're like me and think you should use your sick days, then just look past that part because the book really is worth the read.
twiz (07/10/2007) Thanks for the review... sounds like a good read!
SouthernProgrammer (07/11/2007) Interesting! I will have to check the book out. I like the part where the company sees you as a resource. That is SO true, I have seen people who were convinced they were invaluable to the company...only to get downsized. Folks, when it comes to business you are only valuable as long as you can do something for the company!
avid reader (07/11/2007) Yup. I am reluctant to admit this, but I was at one time one of the people that thought of myself as irreplaceable to the company. After awhile and some shake ups where they got rid of other people I thought were irreplaceable, it dawned on me that "um...yeah, that's you too, Avid. They don't really give a hoot what kind of skills you have." Admittedly, it still didn't sink all the way in and even now I get delusions of grandeur thinking "where would they be without me?" Thinking about it as I sit here now, I think the answer is "they'd be fine and probably pay someone a lot less to take my place". Scary thought.
is the boss dead yet (07/12/2007) I realized at the age of 24 that I was totally replaceable and have never forgot it. I am constantly reminded that I am a "dime a dozen" and so are my colleagues. We don't matter in any way, shape or form. And we teach your children.
Terry (07/24/2007) Who moved my cheese did suck!
Freedomringer (07/24/2007) I like being replaceable. It gives me a great amount of satisfaction that life will go on without me. American workers should adapt the policy of being loyal to themselves and their family. A job is just a way you print money, but it is not what defines me. I see my company as a resource for money, I harvest them for it. They are here for me to take advantage of them. Fools!
dontask 0 (07/24/2007) FreeRi, you worry me. Looks like you lost your humanity for the time being. I hope you find it again before you walk past a creature in dire need of help. It almost happened to me. After another awful day of mobbing at work, I crossed a small park to get to my bus. A man was on the ground turning blue and purple. Thank heaven somebody was already standing over him pressing his chest. I ran past him and heard the ambulance screeching rounding the corner. To this day I feel guilty not having stopped and helped to administer first aid, but I was like in another zone I could not get out of. I don't know if he survived.
My family still remembers other events where I was missing in action. I can't recall any of them.