Some days at the office were so absurd, so surreal, and so dumb that you just had to laugh.
Julianna Newland has spent more than three decades in a variety of work settings, from working for Fortune 500 companies to working in nonprofit organizations and state government. The roles and responsibilities may have been different, but the humorous incidents of office life were strikingly similar.
“I saw so many things happen and observe that I found funny or interesting. I was taking notes about them and I thought I would put them together and write a book.”
Newland has now retired from the business world, so he has collected his memories and random observations in a new book. It’s All in Your Business: Managing Your Business is a whimsical collection of humorous stories and experiences drawn from his own observations throughout his career. Interspersed with anecdotes about the details of the office, it’s good-hearted advice to help readers navigate the corporate world.
“This is not a business textbook. While it offers a lot of interesting advice, it’s also tongue-in-cheek and funny so that people can read it and enjoy the examples, programs or processes of the people they’re reading.”
And to accompany the different seasons, Newland worked with the mixology staff at Ambrosia, a longtime favorite among Indianapolis diners, to include cocktail recipes to help unwind after a hard day at the office.
Newland, an Indianapolis resident and graduate of the University of Indianapolis, hopes her experiences will bring a smile to readers’ faces as well as teach them something.
“I hope they take some comedy and humor to help them. It’s a very divisive world right now and we’re all frustrated with what’s going on. It’s something for them to have a little laugh and find some learning points that they can use in their work experience,” he said.
Newland grew up in Indianapolis, then graduated from UIndy with a double major in English and political science. These dual majors became the engine that drove his career. He worked for Eli Lilly and Co. for 23 years as both a public affairs manager and associate counsel.
He spent time in state government, contributed to two nonprofits and was active in a prominent trade association. His unique blend of writing talent and experience in public affairs, government relations, lobbying and fundraising has led him to consistent success.
During these various positions, Newland learned a lot about the ins and outs of office politics.
Newland had kept notes of these funny incidents over the years, and when he decided to write “It’s All Your Business,” he put them together and fleshed out the ideas to give them more body. The book is divided into more than 40 topics, from parking spaces to the use of exclamation points and holiday office parties.
It closes with a look at the “exit interview.”
“I just put them together, did a lot of rearranging, writing, editing and rearranging before I sent it to the publisher,” he said.
While the tone is meant to be humorous and even irreverent, Newland weaves valuable observations and advice into the stories along the way. He has been a part of and conducted countless interviews, gone through performance reviews and interacted with people in all departments. His own experience can provide advice to those currently in the workforce, he said.
He also emphasizes the importance of having mentors to guide you through the business world.
“It’s a critically important part of someone’s job. They should try to find a mentor, someone who can help them along the way,” he said. “That’s extremely valuable.”
Some of his memories are still bitter – such as reckoning with the “good old boys’ club” mentality of upper management.
“I’ve seen over the decades how the good old boys’ club has waned a bit, but it’s still there, but not as much as when I first started,” he said. “For a female CEO of a Fortune 500 company, it was very difficult to look up and see female mentors in higher positions because they just weren’t there.”
Still, Newland’s tone is decidedly open, which is reinforced by the inclusion of cocktail recipes included in the book. She and her husband, James, are frequent patrons of Ambrosia, an Italian restaurant in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood.
Over the years, they have become close with the restaurant staff, including the mixologists at the bar.
“Most of the time they would make something up and ask us to try this drink or that drink,” he said. “I thought it would be interesting to put in a book and give them business titles like ‘Networking’ or ‘Thinking Outside the Box.’ The whole point is, when you get home after a hard day’s work, why not try this recipe to help you relax.”
All Up In Your Businesses is available now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
AT A GLANCE
“Your Business Has It All: Managing Your Business”
What: Author Julianne Newland’s collection of wryly humorous stories and experiences, drawn from her career-long observations, accompanied by good-hearted advice to help readers navigate the corporate world.
How to buy: Visit allupinyourbizness.com. The book is also available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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