… by Vijay Nair
When I heard the title of this book and the introductory blurb, it all sounded like a self help book with detailed steps and mantras for improvement. But the snazzy cover art threw me off. It made me very curious to find out what this book was really about. As it turned out, “The Boss is Not your Friend” was an enjoyable read. It is basically a satirical, mostly pessimistic look on the corporate organizational structure in India.
Vijay Nair has a way of convincingly proving a seemingly outrageous hypothesis. He shows that the entire corporate pyramid is a flawed structure. A money-grubbing, greedy and self-involved one. He spares nobody in the book. The boss, the HR, the team members, the system, the process, everything in an organisation is “evil”. Yes, thats right. “All organisations are evil”. This is the premise he comprehensively proves in the whole book.
The book starts with the Boss, a despicable thing, whose criticism is the main agenda of the book. We look at a modest questionnaire whose result classifies the boss into six categories. These categories are later explained with associated case studies. Next, he gives in-depth instructions to counter each kind of Boss and to emerge victorious in the battle. After this we move on to the CEO. The CEO is apparently a no-good fellow and I wouldn’t be spoiling the book if I revealed that he has to always be fed on flattery to keep him amiable. Next he attacks the HR managers, who are ultimately slimy and two-faced in their dealings with the employees. Further on, there are tirades against third-party consultants, the rules of the organisation and more such instructions to fight them in the corporate setting.
All in all I found this book outrageous and enormously hilarious! The author treads no sort of middle ground in the book. He is focused on the mission at hand and very carefully avoids even a single good remark about the organisation. He urges the reader not put herself in any of the characters described but to only visualize the other members of the organisation in those roles. I enjoyed the case studies immensely and some points could even relate to them through personal and second-hand experience. It is true that when it comes to money-saving, nobody is indispensible to the organisation. The encouragement of countering office politics with even more under hand methods appeared, in some places, to be practical even!
But still, the book is what it is. It is an offshoot of the recent scams uncovered and the recession cost cutting that was rampant. It appears to be a comical take on these events and I just felt that actually following this advice would get me into a lot of trouble at my workplace! The exaggerated effects leave you in no doubt about the intentions of the book, however.
Everyone may not appreciate the author’s intellect, but for a corporate employee it is an enjoyable read and an assurance that he is not the only sufferer!