Review Reviews by Sassy Brit

283. Alternative READ~ Institutionalized ~ Fred Smith & Joe Schmoe

Title: Institutionalized
Authors: Fred Smith and Joe Schmoe
Website of Publisher: http://bloodandtreasure.com
Genre: Fiction / Office Humour
Publication date: Dec 2005
ISBN: 1-905558-007
Length: 461 pages
Format: Paperback

Institutionalized ~ Fred Smith and Joe Schmoe ~Blood and Treasure ~ Fiction:Office Humour

Coming soon, at an office near YOU! Be very afraid…

I think Bill Ogé, CEO of Institutionalized Industries encapsulates this book perfectly when he said;

“In this world of business, we’re all like lemmings racing towards a cliff of despair!”

Bill Ogè is not a typical CEO…or is he? Personally, I find his extremely cheeky way of managing Institutionalized Industries both hysterical and damn right disturbing. As they say, ‘much truth is said in jest’ and this fictional character is sure to spied strutting his stuff in the real corporate world! His emails are wordy, misspelled and full of self-importance, and his voicemail VisionTalks are like no other pep talks seen. In real life this man would be a pain in the bum, but as a fictional character he is thoroughly entertaining, clueless and full of confusing analogies that would make most ‘real’ office staff roll their eyes and run for a dictionary! Bill is the source of each crisis, maybe a little bit screwy, but he’s a go-getter with a vision, — as long as he keeps taking his tablets and stays away from his soon-to-be ex-wife who has materialistic tendencies and is blackmailing him for all she can get!

During the story Bill constantly warns his staff how to avoid lawsuits, and comes up with no-brainer ideas such as using his staff for the clinical trials of a drug named Honesty; a drug which causes users to be utterly honest in social interactions. Assisting top scientists in analysing the ‘Meme Propagation Process’ with the premise of turning all office staff into guerrilla marketers, has never been easier in Bill’s eyes, as he hurtles towards achieving the complicated goals written in the ‘Sixth Sense Business Transformation’ programme.

Key player, Lance, is ‘the chosen one’ and the opposite to Bill. He’s a smart, (not his wardrobe) no-nonsense guy who has made a name for himself even though his background is plain dodgy and his ethics are far from those described in the SSBT programme. When he is offered a job of a lifetime as Senior Vice President, running sales for the whole country, his is in his element. But can he get Institutionalized Industries into the forefront of this competitive world, when no-one seems to know what their right hand is doing?

Harry Mucs is Lance’s new boss. He’s a short, fat, lazy pen chewing lunatic who fits the team well. He also envies the wonderful Lance to the point of distraction. Office principles have never been so unhealthy, and this is proved when a strain of Canadian summer flu (Lithuanian Swamp Fever) is cleverly wound into the plot, causing havoc, mayhem and all staff to wear protective headgear and suits to stop contamination!

Tom Krelc, the Executive Vice President of Human Resources, has a highly guarded secret concerning the ‘Sixth Sense’. In between bouncing emails to and fro, he sees the SS programme as the gateway to ultimate control. Its implementation will rocket the interest and importance for the HR Department making them an unbeatable squad. Pity for Tom the ball is never in his court!

Whilst all the staff are trying to outdo each other, running around like headless chickens are Fred Smith and his boss, Joe Schmoe who have Institutionalized Industries under surveillance, or would do once they sort out what’s for lunch.

Most of the characters’ behaviour is commonplace in every office throughout the world, although, exaggerated to produce a witty read. I also liked the way each chapter is comically grouped into weeks and days, instead of the usual format.

If you are familiar with the highs and lows of the concrete jungle, where fancy job titles, promotion, and ‘boring bored board members’ are blended with cross functional interdivisional team training courses, then you’ll love this book. If office life is but a dream, then Institutionalized may put you off. Either way, this is an unusual, well written storyline that successfully manages to amuse; right down to the StiffBucks cups! It conveys an embellished, toe-curling peek into the crazy, fast-paced heady heights of office politics and business bitching. Enter the realm of huge egos, fake smiles and killer instincts! It’s so ridiculous — it could be true! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Note from the authors:

Fred and Joe are what you’d call covert surveillance experts with more than twenty years experience in the undercover corporate surveillance business. We’s professionals and take our jobs very seriously … very seriously indeed.

See what I mean?
Sassy

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