I have succeeded in business because I do things by the book
from the Autumn 2008 issue

I am a very successful man. As human resource manager at a medium-size utility company, I make a salary that is probably larger than yours. I drive a stylish and expensive automobile. My children attend the finest schools. My wife wears the latest fashions and is adorned with costly jewelry.

What is the secret to attaining this enviable lifestyle?

Without a doubt, I answer you that it is my habit of doing things “by the book.” By the book, I mean the Pennichuck Corporation Employee Handbook. In it are answered any question an employee of my company could possibly have.

On pg. 11, for instance, the book explains that suits worn in the office must be blue, black, or grey; I own no brown suits. On pg. 16 the book instructs employees that they may take one-hour lunch breaks; I have lunch between 12:30 and 1:30 every day. Once my wife met me for lunch and wished to order dessert. It was 1:25 at the time. I told her that she would have to consume her slice of key lime pie on her own. I do things by the book. The book informed me that staying for pie was unacceptable.

Approaching my profession like this has served me well. At my last performance review I received my annual cost of living adjustment and increased my salary by 1.02 percent.

My future is so bright that, as they say, I must wear shades. I do wear sunglasses. As employees are instructed on pg. 12, my sunglasses are worn between the months of May and September only, made of metal material, un-mirrored, and worn only on the outside grounds of the office complex.

As the human resource manager, I am also in charge of ensuring that other employees conduct their careers by the book. One young man customarily came into work in dungarees, unshaven, and sporting a ring in his nose. I warned the young man that that each of these things was in violation of the employee dress and grooming code, as specified on pgs. 11, 14, and 12, respectively. The young man made haphazard attempts to address these problems but I was forced to confront this situation again. As specified on pg. 17 of the book, he was given first a verbal and then a written warning and eventually dismissed. As specified on pg. 6, he was given two weeks severance pay and continued to take advantage of his employee health care for a month following his dismissal.

The erstwhile employee now consults for my company. He is paid according to industry-standard wages (as specified on pg. 23) and no longer required to follow the corporate dress code (as specified on pg. 13).

Truly by following the guidelines set out in the book, this situation has worked out to everyone’s advantage, as is suggested, though not specifically stated, on pg. 1.

Peter Karsten works in Merrimack, New Hampshire.

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