Punching In: The Unauthorized Adventures of a Front-Line Employee

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9780060849665: Punching In: The Unauthorized Adventures of a Front-Line Employee

Curious to know just what happens behind the "employees only" doors of big companies, journalist Alex Frankel embarked on an undercover reporting project to find out how some of America's well-known companies win the hearts and minds of their retail and service employees. Frankel knew the only way to find answers was to go native.

During a two-year urban adventure through the world of commerce, Frankel applied for and was hired by a half-dozen companies: he proudly wore the brown uniform of the UPS driver, folded endless stacks of T-shirts at Gap, brewed espressos for the hordes at Starbucks, interviewed (but failed to get hired) at Whole Foods, enrolled in management training at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and sold iPods at the Apple Store.

At the heart of Punching In lies Frankel's quest to find out how some of the giants of commerce turn thousands of average job applicants into loyal—even fanatical—workers. How do they identify and recruit workers who will best fit their companies? How do they indoctrinate employees into their corporate cultures and make them perfect messengers of their brands? Along the way Frankel pauses long enough to wonder why he is so often immune to corporate attempts to win employees over.

In this lively and entertaining narrative, Frankel takes readers on a personal journey into the land of front-line employees to discover why some workers are so eager to drink the corporate Kool-Aid and which companies know how to serve it up best.

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From the Back Cover:

"I see Alex Frankel as the Jane Goodall of the modern workplace jungle."
--Po Bronson, author of What Should I Do With My Life?

"Like an intrepid anthropologist, Frankel immerses himself in self-contained commercial cultures-UPS, Gap, Starbucks--and resurfaces to write with great empathy and keen insight about the workings of the service economy. Punching In will make you think twice-and think differently-about the human interactions that lay behind our every-day transactions."
--Dan Gross, Newsweek columnist and author of Pop! Why Bubbles Are Great for the Economy

"Insightful, personal, and funny. Frankel does the impossible--he gives corporate culture a soul."
--Rodney Rothman, author of Early Bird.

About the Author:

Alex FrankeL is a writer based in San Francisco. He has written about business culture and adventure for Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times Magazine, and Outside, and he is the author of Wordcraft: The Art of Turning Little Words into Big Business.

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