No industry can compete with advertising as a field for our cultural concerns about business. TV Crazy people Only the most recent entry in this crowded discourse, probably from Frederick Wakeman’s 1946 novel HawkstarsAbout a veteran of war who returns to a job in radio advertising, a line of work he will eventually find disgusting.
A movie version of it Hawkstars, Starring Clark Gable and Deborah Kerr, was published in 1947, followed by a puzzle of movies, TV shows, and novels that were somehow involved in the advertising business. After all, what could be a better context for the drama of the artist’s religious contempt for trade?
In terms of enough competition, it’s even more impressive that no novel about advertising can hold a candle. Then we finally came, The irresistibly funny and destructive debut of former admin Joshua Ferris since 2007. There are a hundred reasons why anyone in business would find this book compelling, at least in the absence of a freshness of morality, a keen understanding of what work means in today’s world, and a vivid portrayal of the dynamics of the workplace among creative professionals. Managers can always benefit from reading a great novel, but they can rarely choose one that is more directly applicable বা or enjoyable চেয়ে than Ferris.
Setting dot-com is a Chicago advertising agency after the boom. A collection of young creators to bottle (and frustration off) under the supervision of an influential partner named Lynn Mason. The story is told mysteriously by a God-like first-person-pluralist, speaking in a wise-up tone, a mixture of slander and insecurity that pervades the complex social structure of the modern workplace.
Aside from the strange joys and sorrows of office life for educated and imaginative people who can’t help but dream of a richer, more meaningful existence, there are two main issues that drive the story. The first is the post-bubble era where it is set. The work has dried up, the creatives are wasting time paying their remaining clients the bill for the deadline, and the pruning has begun. For those who die, it is a kind of death, a sudden blow, which immediately separates them from those who will remain in the next life. Survivors wonder at their fate, mourn for their lost colleagues (if they like them), and worry about who will be next. Everyone rallied for fear that Tom Mota, a manic emailer and fan of Gun Magazine, might return to set the score after losing his job.
The second problem that drives the story is that Lynn Mason, always fascinated and even a subject of respect by her minions, has had breast cancer, even though she didn’t mention it to anyone. It’s one of those things, like so many pieces of common sense that everyone in the place knows. The men and women who have been forced to cut him off will have some sort of afterlife, but that is not certain for him.
These events, arranged by their premature authors, provide a sufficiently descriptive drive for one of the best English language novels written about business. But the key to Ferris’s achievement is not a clever plot. Rather, it is the workplace context that he creates, and the lively cast of characters he manages to animate and differentiate between. Maintaining the arrogance that the story is told by an insider, the author reveals on every page the scarred life behind a business-like mask, sex and alcoholism and self-loathing, suppressed aggression and small status symbols that become the focus of effort and violence.
Ferris is a comic anthropologist, in other words, and he depicts the human dynamics of the workplace, albeit two decades from now, talking to us out loud about the problems that many workplace managers face today. Advertising, once a credible context for waving a righteous finger about the evils of business, is now a fitting metaphor for the nature of the work that most of us do.
Ferris is a comic anthropologist, and he depicts the human dynamics of the workplace, albeit two decades from now, talking to us out loud about the problems that many workplace managers face today.
The first and foremost of the subjects embodied in this novel is the challenge of managing the people hired to use their imagination. “Most days we were two-minded men and women,” Ferris wrote. They were insane about much of what happened at work, yet “no vaccine against friendship” was raised during a so-called “fire alarm”, when a strict deadline was set, and the entire staff worked day and night at the concert.
“We were fragmented and overpaid …,” the narrator admitted. “Our facilities were amazing in scope and quality of care.” It doesn’t stop people from wondering if it’s worth it: “We thought it might be better to go to India, or go back to nursing school. Doing something with the disabled or working with our hands. No one worked on these emotions despite their daily, sometimes hourly contractions. Instead, we met in the conference room to discuss the day. “
Ferris’s fictional workplace presents many other well-known real-world management challenges, including, of course, pain in all directions when cutbacks are needed. The personal may not be political, but it certainly filters in the office. Almost everyone seems to know someone else’s business, and it’s almost impossible to keep love, lust, friendship, violence, and all our troubled emotions out of the office. One of the many subplots involves a married employee who gets a co-worker pregnant.
Like much of the business literature, a theme throughout is: What should we expect from our lives at work? Could it be our primary source of money, property, identity, motivation and reward? This is for Lynn Mason, who battled cancer in her 40s and fully engaged herself and achieved all her professional goals. But like David Levinsky, the fictional garments industry tycoon rich in every conventional asset except love, he too finds it lonely at the top. It is also difficult to face life-threatening illness by yourself.
From the humor of the office hanging, the novel almost effortlessly moves into the filled reality of Lin’s personal life, a part that draws strength from its dynamic critique of what has come before. A successful lawyer named Martin seems to be the only person in Lin’s life outside the office, and he too seems to be alive for work, although there is a promising romance between the two when he learns about his diagnosis এবং and the fear of the hospital. Lynn will surprise us in many ways, but so will Martin, a seemingly persevering man whose creativity and decency will prove to be a double-edged sword in the face of Lynn’s cancer.
Then we finally came It is a book full of life, but it is also about the final thing, as its title implies. At work, it reminds us, death and dismissal stalk everyone. And, sooner or later, one or the other gets caught up with us.