The one thing that makes for good writing, much like good food, is in the honesty with which it is cooked and presented. ‘What happens in office stays in office’ by Ankur Mithal is an earnest attempt to present an insider’s account of contemporary office life.
An alumnus of the prestigious IIM Ahmedabad, Ankur played with ‘numbers’ in the banking world, much before he began playing with ‘words’ in the literary world. He has worked with and led large multicultural teams in India and abroad. With decades of work experience in big conglomerates, Ankur Mithal offers a candid perspective on Indian corporate life.
What sets this book apart is its genre - contemporary fiction. The book is bristling with good humoured sarcasm, and comprises of several short chapters – each essaying a particular facet of official life. With his satirical brush, Ankur anatomizes most aspects of the work-culture in large corporations - business practices, designation codes, call centre rewards, voluntary retirement and customary reunions. His eye is focused on nuance even while traversing treacherous alleys of ‘bitching’, ‘office-politics’ and ‘annual appraisals’. The chapters on mobile etiquette, leadership assessment questionnaire, resume writing and the art of taking leave are particularly witty.
For those who are wary of disclosing the nature of their work, but are forced to strike a conversation at a reunion, Ankur has interesting suggestions - “I take up consulting assignments occasionally... when I get bored of golf, that is,” or “I am assisting a few old friends in executing their strategy. The job is confidential right now. I will let you know as soon as it is declassified.”
The narrative will echo with most working professionals, but it is eminently suitable for fresh graduate trainees entering the world of utopian jobs that promise money, liberation and empowerment. It may help lower their oncoming pressure.