A former bank vice president shares his corporate travails, his transition to self-employment, and general business advice in this debut memoir and self-help guide.
On a Monday in 1982, Kingston, a VP at an unnamed LA–based bank, was told that his current position had been eliminated. In this memoir, he details the crazy two years that followed: a “corporate hell” of temp assignments at the bank, during which, he says, a manager moved him into a supply closet and corrupt subsidiary execs warned him to turn a blind eye to their shenanigans. After he recovered from a heart attack, he went to the bank’s top officer and worked out an agreement to exit on his approaching 10-year anniversary, which vested him in the bank’s retirement plan. Kingston then went on to hold several other corporate positions, relocating to Atlanta, traveling internationally, and then returning to LA; he also taught college courses, published finance-related books, and earned CPA and tax certifications. It took him until 1995, at age 51, to fully launch his own financial practice (now based in San Diego) and live largely off its income. The author ends most chapters with summarized tips (such as “Be prepared for an ambush Monday”) and concludes with a final “Planning Your Escape” chapter and “Losing Your Job” appendix, which includes a list of signs of being a “corporate prisoner” (“Your job is your only option”). Kingston’s relatable, entertaining saga of being “caught in the middle of corporate politics, power struggles, management incompetence, and leadership deficiencies” will attract readers’ sympathy and interest. He offers several highly amusing, if sometimes wince-inducing, sequences, such as one in which he gets his performance review while sitting next to a diaper-changing mother on a plane (“If there ever was a good description of getting crapped on, that was it”). He doesn’t always overcome the challenges of combining advice and memoir, however; his end-of-chapter tips, for instance, occasionally undercut the momentum of the engaging narrative. Overall, though, Kingston’s insights are compelling and may be helpful to struggling workers everywhere.
Dramatic testimony and useful guidance about the art and anguish of career management.