An engineer and trainer discusses the maneuvering that really leads to job and business success in this debut how-to guide.
If a person wants to triumph at work, competence alone likely won’t cut it. That’s because, the author writes, “today, you climb up the ladder, not on your skills, but on the strength of your demeanor and a failure to make observable mistakes.” Thus, an employee must gain mastery in what Matlick terms “the banal arts…bsing, backstabbing and brownnosing.” In this guide, he takes readers through various scenarios and examples of this philosophy, including how to be a smooth talker, how to “cover your butt at all times,” and how to lie effectively. In 30 chapters, Matlick touches on a variety of topics, including the power of the dismissive put-down (he suggests responding “Oh well” to “whatever they say”), and how to snag a job “especially if you know zip” (one suggestion: place an ad to collect résumés, then interview and even steal the documents, references, etc. of respondents in your desired field). He outlines how to “add strength to your demeanor by building self-esteem,” which includes focusing on appearance (“dress one level up from your peers”) and looking purposeful (stand up/sit straight; look people in the eye), competent (always be calm and unhurried), analytical (“do more asking than telling”), decisive (“do not waste time”), and confident (“you know the art of small talk, and you aren’t tense with superiors, and you talk about challenges, not obstacles”). Matlick, an engineer as well as a “personal success and confidence trainer,” is certainly passionate about his world/work view, an emotion underscored by his putting many words and even complete sentences in all caps and boldface type. This formatting makes for a rather hectoring narrative, yet the book also contains plenty of sad-yet-real-world truths, including that flattering the boss may well be a key tool in advancing one’s career. But some of Matlick’s ideas compete and conflict with each other. He advises readers to consider backstabbing “your 2nd language,” but also urges them to cultivate a demeanor that “makes people want to be around us.”
A cynical manual that features valuable, if often depressing, insights.