3 out of 4 stars
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American Corporate is a novel written by Jeb Stewart Harrison. The book revolves around the life of a middle-aged man, Jack Sullivan, who is caught up between family, unemployment, and his encounter with the corporate world in America.
At the beginning of the book, the reader meets an unemployed American citizen, Jack, who is almost at the verge of giving up in life. His wife, Carrie, was worried about his state of hopelessness and had to keep reminding him to have a positive attitude. When he finally got a job, he was happy that he would be able to provide the much-needed financial support to his family. As an employee of BFC Corporation, the world’s giant IT company, Jack found out that the cheque that he received after every two weeks was not enough to make his family complete and happy. He struggled to help his fourteen-year-old son, Robbie, with all that he needed to perform well in his studies. His daughter, Lulu, also needed his attention every day. Could Jack cope with the demands of his job and family?
Through Jack’s life, I learned a lot about the American corporate world. When Jack got his job as a middle-level manager, he experienced what it felt like to work in a multicultural setting. Majority of the employees were Americans. The others were from different parts of the world. The aspects that dictated the work environment at BFC Corporation were racial discrimination, several cases of romance between employees, inability to follow work ethics, and gender discrimination.
It was heartbreaking to learn that top-ranking executives found it difficult to embrace cultural diversity. For instance, Dominique Chatelard, Brigitte Touliard, and Pierre LeDieu (from France) constantly referred to their American colleagues as stupid. In addition, some Americans could not stand Japanese culture and cuisine. For instance, Jack Sullivan and some of his friends ordered Japanese food during one of the organization’s career boot camps. When Little Joe, one of the top executives in the company, saw Jack enjoying his food he said, “I don’t know how you guys can eat that sh*t…. I wouldn’t be surprised if you all woke up tomorrow morning with little slit eyes, bowing to each other like a buncha nips.” That was gross.
Jeb also used the characters in the book to give advice about parenting. The general manager of BFC Corporation, Buzz Young, left his career in the military after the Vietnam War. After joining BFC Corporation, he devoted most of his time to his job. He later lost his family. His advice to Jack was, “get into your kid’s faces and stay there. I don’t mean intrusive, but there. Always there. Always present with your eyes and ears wide open, because they will stray, take my word for it. But they won’t stray far if you’re there for them.” I couldn’t agree more, especially in a world where children have been somehow neglected as their parents strive to climb the corporate ladder.
The book gives an interesting story while conveying realistic themes. In addition, the author used a simple style that is easy to read and understand. However, I could not give it a perfect score because I found a handful of errors in the book. I believe that the helpful hand of an editor will eliminate the errors. Therefore, I give American Corporate 3 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the experiences of employees who work for international corporations in America.
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