Down and Out in Corporate America
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 Corporate flack Meyer (The Memphis Murders, not reviewed) tells his own story, from rags to riches to outplacement hell. It's the diary of an insulted man. In 38 years of nonstop employment the author progressed from soda jerk to newspaper reporter to VP in charge of public relations for McDonnell Douglas. Then, one day, he personally was downsized (read ``fired''). Pushing age 50, equipped with a financial departure package and a briefcase bulging with rÇsumÇs, Meyer scoured the land for suitable employment in an environment he had come to loathe. Put aside were the daydreamspiloting a tractor- trailer out West, fry cooking while wearing a paper hat, or simple armed robberythere was the family to consider. After fruitless peregrinations and hopeless quests, dispiriting networking and mendacious headhunters, he found a likely spot with a manufacturer. That soon proved a mistake. He was downsized again. And yet again after that. In the end you want Meyer to get permanent employment as much as he does. Emotions rage: anger, envy, fear, shame, self- pity, and above all, resentment. The mordant text picks at a wound slow to heal, and for those who never labored in a corporate gulag, it may seem to moan too much. But for the increasing numbers who have had to deal with ``human resource'' drones, outplacement geeks, and inane job interviews, this narrative of the precipitous decline and fall of a once self-assured pro will resonate. Meyer notes that ``something is shutting down permanently in America, coming to an end.'' Certainly the bond of loyalty between employer and employee is ended, as this book graphically demonstrates. A moral for employers: think again about firing an employee who has the talent to write about it and a penchant for sharp character sketches. Here's a funny, frank, and underlying it all, melancholy journal of a painful journey. (First serial to Harper's)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1-879957-22-1
Page count: 256pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1995


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