A savvy corporate worker shares her secrets of success.
Debut author Jones fell into the corporate world by accident. After graduating from high school, she worked a variety of menial jobs in Denver. She moved to Chicago in 1984 at age 22 for what she thought would be a short-term stint; her aunt worked for an insurance company there that offered a $300 referral fee, and she convinced Jones to try out for a temporary file-clerk spot. The author didn’t want the gig, and did all she could to sabotage the interview, including wearing ripped clothing. To her surprise, however, she got the job; a manager said, “She’s here. We need someone today. It’s temporary. How bad could it be?” Thus began Jones’ corporate career in which she “clawed [her] way up” to various higher-level positions in the insurance industry, eventually also earning her bachelor’s degree. In this memoir, she offers a host of cynical yet practical navigation tips for other go-getters, using her own experiences to illustrate her points. She outlines how to leverage entry-level jobs (including when to read other people’s mail and what to do with that information), how to take down your competition (she once called a headhunter while pretending to be a colleague, leading to the latter’s exit) and how to spot the “weak gazelles”—less-threatening colleagues to bring with you in your ascent. However, her tales of helping such colleagues seem more benevolent than self-interested, and readers may suspect that she achieved what she did largely by being a smart, hard worker instead of a Machiavellian power player. Overall, the book seems more interested in money and power than it is in the insurance industry. However, the author’s energy and ambition is infectious, and her proclamation at the end of this book (“I have a little less than twenty years left in this industry, and I plan to make every day count”) may prove inspirational to striving workers everywhere.
A feisty, real-world guide to getting ahead in corporate America.