Frankflash! Last weekend I put out my second ebook, a 15,500 word novelette called Sticky Pages. If you’re quick you can still pick it up free at Smashwords.
It’s also on Amazon too but the minimum price they’d accept was 99c (77p), so I recommend you snap it up at Smashwords instead for free. You can download it onto your Kindle from Smashwords just the same as on Amazon. If your weapon of choice is an ipad, nook, or Sony reader etc, no problem, you can zap it straight to those too from Smashwords.
Sticky Pages is a satire on what it’s like to work for a big organisation with overbearing management who make all the employees feel small and crushed. Know the feeling? Without giving too much away here’s the blurb I wrote for Sticky Pages:
“Randy Bloemfontaine has a problem. Several problems. He hates his boss, for starters. He hates his lousy job writing financial ads for the horrendous corporate organisation that is UK Cash Cowboys. He hates the way the internet has taken over life. His life. Everyone’s life. Most of all, his 64 mega-bit problem is, he can’t stop thinking about sex. Randy can’t look at a woman without mentally undressing her. Over the years Randy has learned to live with his afflictions. But when his boss sends him on a three-day internet conference packed with drop-dead corporate eye-candy, and asks him to write a bunch of urgently-needed banner ads along the way, things threaten to get very sticky. If you think Don Draper had it bad in Mad Men, meet the UK Cash Cowboys’ clients from hell in power-mad CEO Cleopatra LeGrande and corporate automaton Norman Shylock, who heads up their Online Marketing Bullshit Division. Any advertising creative who has ever worked on the account of a big corporate client will recognise the ham-fisted interference by senior management who wouldn’t know a good ad if it was sat on the end of their noses doing a striptease.”
Needless to say, Sticky Pages is based on my own personal experience in the creative team where I work at UK Cash Cowboys (my day job), the big-shot UK financial brand with aspirations of becoming market leader. Or as I like to call us, the money industry’s equivalent of a Big Mac – slick advertising, but containing all sorts of nasty shit that’s bad for you. I should know, I write most of our ads. On that level I guess Sticky Pages is kind of a case study on how NOT to run a company.
Take our CEO, Cleopatra LeGrande. She’s got an MBA in ethnic cleansing. When she wants to trim her teams she sends in Radovan Karadic, she sends in Ratko Mladic. Her overbearing management style, cascaded through the company by her death-eater board of konzentrationslager kommandants, sucks out the last drop of enjoyment from the working day. Does it have to be like this in every company? What is it with people when they get a sniff of power? Must they all grow Hitler mustaches? LeGrande models herself on Lord Voldemort in drag. Put her in front of a camera and she’s all coutured femininity and airbrushed smiles, grinning out some bullshit about how we’re all one big happy family at the Cowboys. In reality there’s not a person here who doesn’t hate her guts, and the company she stands for. Last month she had all the staff suggestion boxes removed because they were rammed with hate-mail. Murder threats, requests for her to take up skydiving without a parachute. No wonder our customer service sucks. ‘Happy staff make for happy customers,’ right?
If I ever run a company my ethos will be simple. Manage people as you’d like to be managed. As friends, as equals. Treat me well and I’ll walk through brick walls for you. Wrong me and I’ll pray with all my heart for your destruction. I mean shit, all people want is to be able to walk through the average day with their heads held up. To make a difference. To have a purpose in life. And not be treated like serfs. Is that too much to ask? Look for the best in someone and you’ll find it. Look for the worst and you’ll find that too. I’m no management guru but it doesn’t sound like fucking rocket science to me. Sadly my guess is that most of us will have to spend the majority of our adult lives working for self-important, power-mad greedy assholes like LeGrande and her sycophantic oberleutnants Dick Holder and Norman Shylock. That’s how capitalism works. You eat shit or you starve.
In that sense we should all be able to empathise with the plight of the central character in Sticky Pages, Randy Bloemfontaine. He hates his tyrannical employer, but in a tough jobs market in the middle of the worst recession in a century, he knows he has to keep bending over and taking it to pay his mortgage. I hope the story gives you a laugh, anyhow. And if you’re reading this in your lunchbreak, hang in there, it’ll soon be 5pm. Don’t let the bastards get you down.by