A thorough compendium of straightforward, sensible advice for newbies finding their way around their first office jobs.
Deitz graduated with honors from Harvard Law School in 1975 and rose to some of the highest levels in law and government, including service as general counsel of the National Security Agency. So when this heavy hitter tells you to beware of casual dress on the job, you do it. It’s difficult to argue with any of the 80 or so items of workaday advice Deitz offers in this slim, well-written guidebook, which covers the essentials of successful on-the-job behavior, dress, etiquette and online activities. While Kim Beamon’s If Cubicles Could Talk (2001) focused on helping young women, Deitz’s advice is for everyone in the workplace, but unlike Steven Lyons’ similar Congratulations, Great Job! (2007), this book gets right to the point and stays tightly on message. It ranges from the obvious (“Don’t whine”) to the sublime (“Study your boss carefully”); from the questionable (“Do not exercise your rights”) to the wise (“Be a team player, but take ownership of your assignments”); and from the bureaucratic (“Beware of the press”) to the savvy (“Quick drafts: Hah!”). It’s the rare college graduate, new to an office job, who won’t benefit from Deitz’s writing counsel (“However the assignment is phrased, you are being asked to prepare a complete document, with proper headings…proper format, and fully developed arguments all wrapped in stylish prose that is spell-checked and grammatically unassailable.”), and Deitz follows it up by warning readers never to rely exclusively on spell-checkers. However, there remains room for improvement; most of the author’s advice is couched in terms of what not to do, giving the book a tone of all-encompassing commandment. Readers presumably “just got hired,” so there’s little reason for this book’s two pages of resume rules—but they’re there if readers want them. The author also repeats a couple of points, which might have been avoided by stronger editorial review. But these flaws are small compared to the value of the lessons the author shares so openly, based on his extensive, high-level office experience.
A fine book for a newly hired college graduate who wants to succeed.