Journalist Alex Frankel decided to get a real job.

The writer spent two years working and learning frm the other side of the service counter, working as a UPS driver, properly folding shirts at the Gap, baristo-ing at Starbucks and hawking iPods at the Apple store. “Punching In” is the result, and it’s a book that everyone from high school students to corporate executives should take a look at.

Frankel uncovered some amazing factoids about American working culture including:

  • Companies like Whole Foods, Best Buy and the Container Store use high-tech questionaires and a.i. software in their hiring processes — they were effective enough to prevent the reporter from getting jobs at these places.
  • The Apple Store takes its already fanatic and loyal fans and gives them jobs as salespeople
  • Frankel saw how poorly Gap is doing — they’re “fumbling as it tried in vain to fix all three retail pieces: its products, its display systems and its people.”
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car tries to mold anyone into its corporate culture, not just people who are already familiar with the top car rental dealer.

What really sold me on this book was that Frankel admitted he had strong feelings both ways about the various places he worked. For instance, he says he felt a real sense of pride and purpose working for UPS, delivering important packages to their destinations.

“Punching In” is just about 200 pages long, a quick read and a very interesting tale.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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