Book Reviews

Punching In: The Unauthorized Adventures of a Front-Line Employee by Alex Frankel | Book Review

Punching In: The Unauthorized Adventures of a Front-Line Employee by Alex Frankel | Book Review Punching In: The Unauthorized Adventures of a Front-Line Employee by Alex Frankel
Genres: Non-Fiction
Original Publication Date: 2007
Source: I purchased this book
Find the Author: Goodreads, Amazon

During a two-year urban adventure through the world of commerce, journalist Alex Frankel 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. 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.

Punching In Examines The Varying Work Cultures Of Different Companies

The author applied for and actually spent time in each of these jobs.

Alex Frankel went into these jobs with an open mind. Frankel tried to give each company a chance.

Punching In is an interesting comparison of entry-level jobs.

Frankel Describes The Different Workplaces

Frankel delivered packages for UPS in hilly San Francisco. He was also a salesman at the Apple Store.

Alex became a rental agent for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. He also trained to become a barista at Starbucks.

The hiring process was just as interesting as the jobs. Some companies were easier to get hired at than others.

Frankel never made it through the full hiring process at The Container Store.

He did manage to get hired by the Apple store.

Final Analysis

Frankel was interested in how various companies trained their employees.

He was interested in how effective the training was. He was surprised to find out the differences between the jobs.

The UPS delivery job was exhausting physically. He did come to admire the company.

Folding jeans at Gap was mind-numbing.

At Enterprise the goal was not about renting cars. It was about persuading customers to buy “extras”.

Many jobs were different than he thought they would be. He was also surprised by how much was very hard work.

Similar Books and Places

I also reviewed  Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Check out my photos of The American Labor Museum.

Thank you for reading The Literary Lioness!

About Alex Frankel

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 Punching In and Wordcraft: The Art of Turning Little Words into Big Business.

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