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April 28, 2008

News & Opinion: Dan Kennedy's Rock On

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 6:17 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

As Roy pointed out last week, work can be a bit much sometimes, overwhelming us with unexpected demands and stress. The book he suggested offers very sound and sensible advice that will probably help get you back to a positive state of mind. The book I suggest today to alleviate that same stress, and provide fresh perspective, offers no sound advice or any real strategy at all. The only thing it offers is a large dose of humor. It is not a business book, even, but a memoir, a "power ballad to office-life."
In Rock On: An Office Power Ballad, Dan Kennedy skewers the absurdities of the corporate music industry, and the life he briefly led in it's belly. Kennedy landed what he thought was a dream job at one of the industry's major labels. Instead, he found himself quickly launched into a series of humiliating events: trying to find, and write in, the voice of women "forty to fifty-plus years of age" for a Phil Collins' ad campaign; getting caught trying to act cool in front of a young female punk band; and awkwardly navigating office politics the entire time, most hilariously the politics involved in deciding how best to speak to his boss's lap dog.
So what does this offer us? Well, first of all, a good laugh... often at his expense, but also at ourselves. Kennedy's self-deprecating humor reminds us that we're not the only ones straddling work and life, trying to balance who we are and where we work with who we once imagined we would be, and who we want to be.
I like the office I work in, and I'm lucky in that I truly love the people I work with, but honestly, looking back, did I really see myself working in an office at this point in my life? Hell no. I was going to be a great artist--or maybe a writer--and, you know, probably starting at shortstop for some major league baseball team (preferably in the National League). Dan Kennedy was going to be a rock star. Most of us were going to be something else, and most of us aren't. Most have other people's deadlines and expectations to meet. And, it's alright, especially if we can laugh at ourselves every once in a while. Dan Kennedy helped me do that a little more with this book.
"Q: How many record executives does it take to change a light bulb?"
A: Here
You can read a far more eloquent review of this book from our sister company here.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.