Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Corporate Confidential

I heard about this book by reading some of the comments on the Mini Microsoft blog. I went to look for it at a local Barnes & Noble, but they didn't have it in stock, so I ordered a copy from Amazon.

It arrived, and I started reading... and couldn't put it down. The reviews on Mini Microsoft's site and the comments on Amazon are all true, at least to me. The author, Cynthia Shapiro, has written an outstanding and revealing look at corporate politics and personnel policies. She was a former human resources executive, and logically and methodically explains the reasons for various unwritten rules, how they affect you, and how to work around them. I wonder if after reading this, I'll become a total cynic and say that HR exists solely to gather documentation to defend against lawsuits.

I'm only 50 pages into it, and it has been page after page of absolutely fascinating insight on how the HR departments at real corporations work, and what they do. I have to be careful about reading it tonight or I'll be up way too late again!

She explains that due to the legal climate, companies are very risk adverse and have to carefully sidestep issues and potential problems, and this is what blocks career advancement for the majority of people. She gives advice on what to do and what to avoid doing, and to always think of how the corporation would view things. I'm looking forward to absorbing the rest of the information.

I don't have any friends who are human resource specialists, or I'd ask them what they think of Corporate Confidential.

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