Dear Miss Snark,
A View from the Top is a satiric novel chronicling a year in the life of Alexa Dover, an ambitious and sarcastic twenty-three-year-old who has reluctantly accepted a position in the marketing department of a globally renowned software company. The company, affectionately dubbed the Factory by its swelling ranks of employees, has come to dominate its once-rural landscape, creating a modern company town full of competition, backstabbing, and gossip.
Alexa leads the reader through her corporate existence, from her collegiate recruiting experiences through her inauspicious opening days to her unprofessional colleagues and political manipulations. She rises and falls with her wit and honesty intact, and her
observations on the Factory's machinery makes her tale not only one of personal adversity but of the often-comical inner workings of today's technology industry.
I graduated from [Ivy League] in 2005 and have worked in marketing at [software company] for the past thirteen months. The novel is partially based upon these experiences.
Thank you for your consideration of my work.
Very few satiric novels are published in any given year. It’s a very very tough category. Satire tends not to backlist well. Novels with satiric elements fare better but you’ve got to have fabulous writing to carry it off.
Also, this novel has already been done. Max Barry wrote The Company and it’s front list this year. He’s set the bar pretty high.
These kind of “work place travails, isn’t corporate America stupid" novels from people who’ve been in the workplace for thirteen months set my teeth on edge. When I look back to the time I’d been working 13 months I cringe at how little I knew. Maybe that’s just me…but I’ll bet you a doughnut it’s not.
They all lied. "Oh, such a great company. And it's so beautiful out there. If I had an opportunity like that, I would totally take it." They too had secured jobs, but in relevant and provocative locales such as Manhattan, and they could afford to be optimistically gracious in their assurances that I was on the fast track to success in the global corporate world which we had ostensibly spent the last four years preparing to enter. Their evident relief that another potential competitor had been neatly rendered insignificant by virtue of geographic and industrial exile made me cringe. I knew I had failed.
This knowledge was confirmed in early September, merely three months and several thousand miles after I had received my diploma – with honors, no less – on a glorious June day. It was new hire marketing training at the Factory, and as I stared at the distribution of schools to which the sixty of us had matriculated, I read state school, state school, obscure private college, state school times ten.
"We have the most selective hiring practices in the nation," recruiters had assured me. I, as a member of the upwardly mobile middle class for whom hard work and intelligence was rewarded with admission to a superior academic institution as designated by both reputation and highly objective rankings, now suspected this was false.
Ten months later, I find myself at a trade show in Boston with twenty of my organizational contemporaries. Ten of us are listening to the fifty-year-old woman whose office is next to mine complain about how infrequently she gets laid and contemplate ending her drought that
evening via an industry acquaintance with whom she's had a long-standing flirtation. Another divorcee, who functions as the executive assistant to our VP, is twenty feet away scamming on some suit. She is a few years older than me, and I am both horrified and fascinated by this scene. She catches me staring, and glares at me, and I can't hide a smirk as I turn away, knowing that if she sleeps with him, we will all find out and laugh about it for days behind
Ginny, the reluctant celibate, thinks I'm laughing at her. Fortunately, though she has power, I'm not in her chain of command. I give her my most disdainful look and announce my departure to the surrounding crowd. I've scored enough face time for this evening.
My manager decides to accompany me. "Have a good time, Alex?" she asks as we exit the bar in which I've been held captive with four hundred sweaty nerds for the past three hours.
"Sure," I reply. "I'm just exhausted. Long day in the booth."
"I bet you weren't expecting this much travel," she comments for the hundredth time since I began working for her.
In truth, I had no idea what to expect from the Factory, the world's largest technology company (and, as I've learned to recite enthusiastically, the number three global brand according to highly objective rankings). I am entirely disinterested in technology beyond
the consumption of entertainment. Two summers ago I was handed a plum internship through the connections of a relative concerned that my dreams of writing and producing artistically brilliant yet commercially successful films would lead me into yet more unpaid servitude with a former Hollywood lightweight constantly teetering on the brink of bankruptcy whose one-room office in Hell's Kitchen was accessible only via five flights of stairs. (did you even re-read this once before sending it? That sentence is 63 words with NO punctuation.)
This is a form rejection.
I was pre-disposed not to like it, and I don’t.
I can point out all the flaws but even if the writing had been good I probably wouldn’t have read much past the start.