A razor-sharp and deeply felt novel that illuminates the pivotal role of work in our lives--a riveting fusion of The Nest, Up in the Air, and Then We Came to the End that captures the emotional complexities of five HR colleagues trying to balance ambition, hope, and fear as their small company is buffeted by economic forces that threaten to upend them.Read more...
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A razor-sharp and deeply felt novel that illuminates the pivotal role of work in our lives--a riveting fusion of The Nest, Up in the Air, and Then We Came to the End that captures the emotional complexities of five HR colleagues trying to balance ambition, hope, and fear as their small company is buffeted by economic forces that threaten to upend them.
Rosa Guerrero beat the odds as she rose to the top of the corporate world. An attractive woman of a certain age, the longtime chief of human resources at Ellery Consumer Research is still a formidable presence, even if her most vital days are behind her. A leader who wields power with grace and discretion, she has earned the devotion and loyalty of her staff. No one admires Rosa more than her doting lieutenant Leo Smalls, a benefits vice president whose whole world is Ellery.
While Rosa is consumed with trying to address the needs of her staff within the ever-constricting limits of the company's bottom line, her associate director, Rob Hirsch, a middle-aged, happily married father of two, finds himself drawing closer to his "work wife," Lucy Bender, an enterprising single woman searching for something--a romance, a promotion--to fill the vacuum in her personal life. For Kenny Verville, a senior manager with an MBA, Ellery is a temporary stepping-stone to bigger and better places--that is, if his high-powered wife has her way.
Compelling, flawed, and heartbreakingly human, these men and women scheme, fall in and out of love, and nurture dreams big and small. As their individual circumstances shift, one thing remains constant--Rosa, the sun around whom they all orbit. When her world begins to crumble, the implications for everyone are profound, and Leo, Rob, Lucy, and Kenny find themselves changed in ways beyond their reckoning.
Jillian Medoff explores the inner workings of an American company in all its brilliant, insane, comforting, and terrifying glory. Authentic, razor-sharp, and achingly funny, This Could Hurt is a novel about work, loneliness, love, and loyalty; about sudden reversals and unexpected windfalls; a novel about life.
The daily grind
Corporate America: boring, soulless, fixated on profit. So how does This Could Hurt—based entirely around the daily happenings of a human resources team—yield such a delicious, satisfying book? Because Jillian Medoff delivers a story that is about so much more than run-of-the-mill office politics.
Rosa Guerrero, a widow and seasoned executive whose career has been her proudest accomplishment, heads up human resources at Ellery Consumer Research Group, a Manhattan company feeling the pain of the Great Recession. “If 2008 was a rollicking roller coaster of pink slip parties and ex-banker bacchanals,” Medoff writes, “then 2009 was the head-splitting hangover, the global economy splayed on the couch, wired, tired, too broken to move.”
While Rosa is fiercely protective of her employees, she also gets the sense that they’re not exactly living up to their full potential. There’s Peter, her trusted VP of operations, who gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Rob, her lead for recruiting and training, manages to defeat a few levels of Brick Breaker on his Blackberry every day, but not much else. Lucy, who oversees policy and communications, soldiers on through the recession, but loses a little bit of her drive every day. Kenny, a whip-smart Wharton grad in charge of compensation, knows he’s underemployed but doesn’t have a clue how to fix his life.
Only Leo, her trusted employee benefits manager, lives up to Rosa’s exacting standards. But he is miserable in his job and his life. When Rosa is stricken by a serious health issue a few months before retirement, her team comes together to protect her. But can they step up after so many years of inertia?
This Could Hurt is a worthy follow-up to Medoff’s bestseller I Couldn’t Love You More. Filled with heart and humor, it will ring true to anyone who’s experienced both the cruelty and the camaraderie that make up the modern American workplace.