Making work adventurous — and surviving in remorse

Many of the novels deal with business, but rarely bring to life the modern office work world, its intricate interpersonal relationships, its emphasis on impeccable emotional control, and much of its underlying output.

Millions of us spend the lion’s share of our waking life in this mysterious demanding environment. If you are such a person, take a day off and read Adventurer. I can’t think of a novel that focuses more on today’s workplace experience, which manages to broaden this unexpected setting even more brilliantly in the context of tragedy.

Of course, this is a tragedy of the workplace ঘটনা an event of managerial slander, interpersonal rivalry, and office romance. No one dies, at least not in the office, but everyone will eventually die, and so on Adventurer, Like all literature, pervaded by mortality. The protagonist’s highly sensitive antenna, consistent with the morale of his direct reporting, is responsible for the great tenderness of the book. Yet his antenna fails him when he needs it most – when the danger of a mixture of work and love comes.

Unlike most books covered in this column, Adventurer It’s not a seasoned classic, but the subtle awareness of the way we work now is why it deserves our attention. First published in 2016, the book is amazing by any means. Author J. Bradford Hips, an experienced computer programmer, apparently writes about what he knows in a novel whose plot is centered on software sales. Yet every page shines with humor and melancholy beauty. Who would have thought that the need to meet sales quotas could be so heroic and still the basis of such a heinous struggle?

Each page shines with intelligent humor and melancholy beauty. Who would have thought that the need to meet sales quotas could be so heroic and still the basis of such a heinous struggle?

Henry Hart is a 34-year-old head of cybersecurity engineering at American Internet Security Enterprise. Concerned neo-hippies and their global warming, i’ll tell ya. Their boss, Keith, a very talented manipulator, soon lets them know that their entire department will probably be dropped if they don’t notice their quarterly sales. “More than one hundred and ninety people,” he said in a statement. “Get out of work.”

Meanwhile, Henry fell in love with Jane, a married marketing colleague who rose to the position of department head when responsible (in Henry’s view “a man-eater”) suffered a recurrence of cancer. “He called me an hour ago – from the hospital, if you can believe it,” Keith told an assembled managing director, adding: “The only thing he wants from us is, well, a good quarter.”

Although the narrator and protagonist of the book is Henry, it is Keith, a brilliantly perceived king cobra, who attracts our attention whenever we see him. Great manager or a toxic executive? Maybe it depends on how cruel you are. “People need a warranty and an oven for their lives,” he skipped at one point, explaining how he “learned happily” at the beginning of his career. Relief, [employees] Take the boss’s instruction as the reason for their position on earth. “

Keith has no patience with “investigators” because he tells those who seek a greater purpose than business for themselves. He can also ridicule those who suffer for business ethics, because it is clear that he lied shamelessly and manipulated without any manipulation যদিও even if it was for corporate reasons. He takes Henry to dinner to find out the truth about Minneapolis from him (which he will use to dismiss Barry), and suggests taking a “ballet” at the end of the meal অর্থাৎ that is, hitting a strip joint. Henry allows himself to be dragged into this unpleasant place, where Keith, already doubting his subordinates’ affection for Jane, lets her know that if he chooses to sleep with a woman in the office, he will. “I’m a little scared,” Henry recalls. “There is a boss here who never needs to shout or threaten. His deception is enough. “

As the book moves indefinitely towards his catastrophic condemnation, we have time to appreciate Henry’s observations about the world of work. Facing 117 unread messages on Monday morning, he told us, “Most of my team are programmers, for whom direct communication is one thing that can always be avoided.” “That means some reckless and time-sensitive decisions – say, whether there’s a shaky place in the near future – are almost certainly slipping into my inbox.”

During a visit to the office of Tom Burgess, the handsome and genius division president of Cyber, Henry noticed that aging officers “become as romantic and philosophical as the old generals.” When Tom speaks, the hand “humbly pressed on the knot of his tie,” Henry could not make the words perfectly but still moved away. “She is OK! Only when I see Keith over his shoulder does the effect fade. The rest is just formal welfare under that vision. “

Henry acknowledges the problem of purpose in front, explaining why he does what he does: “What inspires me to work is the comfort of money, yes, and also a community of smart, mostly skilled people; The sense of place that gives a good office. “Elsewhere he mentions that” some of the most satisfying days I know have happened within these walls. “

Other than that, no big job has ever seemed persuasive; “Any great thing that presents itself is replaced by another.” Henry, moreover, cherishes a certain generality and the splendor found there. The novel begins with an epigraph: “Businessmen are our only metaphysicians.” Is taken from Moviegoer, Walker Percy’s classic novel about a young stockbroker named Binx Bolling whose main focus is a mysterious psychological quest that he conducts. Binx, like Henry, is overwhelmed by despair, goes to the movies, lives in the perimeter, and half-heartedly persuades his secretary.

Henrio prides himself on his mundane life, approving of business clich কারণs because “using them is a kind of modesty code, a sign that none of us have found it on our own.” He works in an office tower in an unnamed and probably faceless New South City. He feels no urge for heroism outside of the Dilbert diversity. “Acquiring a skill, connecting arms with others to solve problems, performing one’s duties kindly, all towards a commercial outcome, is its own kind of aristocracy. There is no pretense of nobility. “

Yet navigating the rolling personality, stimuli, and risks of this environment is extremely challenging, and Hips brings it to life through the interactions that are perceived by its central players. The staff meeting, a NASCAR event and a gentle but tortured encounter between Henry and Jane are all conducted in fine cinematic style. The book is rich with scenes that make it easy to write screenplays, such as coding hips. Minneapolis Sales Presentation – The pressure of finding a place, arriving late, getting someone’s name wrong, knowing full time that you have to seal the deal – it’s painful fun that it’s worth the admission fee itself. (You should not miss a fairly moderate reading of this section of the hips when visiting Google.)

But that was the undoing of the sales director, not Henry. Like all tragic heroes, his downfall is the result of an error in himself – an appetite for something bigger, something more truly heroic. When Keith’s new sales sidekick – which became a reality as soon as Barry was fired – suggests that Boss is involved with Jane, Henry plans a brutal revenge. But blinded by love and ideals, he points his lance at a windmill এবং and charges directly from a cliff. Above all else, cyber makes its number – a mirage enchanted by Keith himself. In the office, it seems, Don Quixote has no resemblance to Machiavelli. It has never been this way.

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