500 Reasons Why I Hate the Office

Author: Malcolm Burgess
Price: £9.99
Publisher: Icon Books
Pages: 224
ISBN: 101840467797

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Anyone who has worked in an office – and that must encompass 99.9% of HR people – will have a wry grin, a grimace, and even occasionally laugh out loud at some of the inspired observations in this book.

It covers just about every possible situation that most of us have encountered or will face at some point in our working office lives. It takes us from ‘Arts-Based Training’ (example: being forced to role-play To Be or Not to Be in an effort to clarify your employer’s mission statement) to ‘Zzzz’, otherwise known as falling asleep in meetings.

It is structured so that the reader can easily dip into any office-related topic or activity and discover five reasons to hate it. Hot desking, awaydays, office politics, teleconferencing and many others are covered.

The book is highly entertaining and, with a light touch, amusingly articulates the cynicism and frustration that its readers will have felt at certain moments in the office.

A particularly enjoyable section is ‘The Corporate Bullshit Detector’, described as the A to Z of jarring jargon, which does a very good job of deriding the often pretentious gobbledygook thrown at employees. It lampoons phrases such as ‘pushing the envelope’, but doesn’t give any real definitions, so can’t be taken seriously by readers who haven’t encountered these terms – most of which originated in the US.

A word of warning… don’t try to lighten your next transatlantic teleconference by repeating any of these definitions to your US colleagues.

Useful? Three out of five stars
Well-written? Five out of five stars
Practical? Three out of five stars
Inspirational? Three out of five stars
Value for money? Five out of five stars
Overall? Four out of five stars

Reviewed by Alyson Burn, talent management consultant

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