The cover of her [Medoff's] new novel, This Could Hurt, is an employee termination checklist ... Together, Rosa and her team of desperate middle-managers are charged with guiding the company’s 'human relations'... While the recession grinds on, This Could Hurt rotates through these characters, one per chapter, sometimes showing us the same meeting or conversation from different points of view ... Medoff exploits that structure to illustrate how delusional Rosa’s staff can be, how willfully they misinterpret what’s happening ...plays lightly with the conventions of corporate discourse ... As smart as Medoff’s critique of corporate inanity is, it’s tempered by compassion for these people, who are ultimately tender with each other, too.
This Could Hurt is set in the offices of Ellery Consumer Research in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse. There’s an air of The Office TV show in its darkly comic tone, but it delves more deeply and seriously into the dynamics of a workplace ... Medoff mines the phenomenon of the 'office wife,' generational values, gender politics, racial nervousness, networking and more, all set against the irrevocable reality of meeting the bottom line ... The narrative cracks along, without an indulgent passage in the book. The characters change in credible ways, and Medoff has us, at various times, both rooting for them and wanting to dump coffee over their heads.
So how does This Could Hurt — based entirely around the daily happenings of a human resources team — yield such a delicious, satisfying book? Because Jillian Medoff delivers a story that is about so much more than run-of-the-mill office politics ...a worthy follow-up to Medoff’s bestseller I Couldn’t Love You More. Filled with heart and humor, it will ring true to anyone who’s experienced both the cruelty and the camaraderie that make up the modern American workplace.
At the heart of This Could Hurt is Rosalita Guerrero, a character Medoff clearly loves. A demanding but galvanizing torchbearer, her work is her life. Among the tradeoffs she's made for her brilliant career: A family … The narrative bounces along briskly between Medoff's cast of challenged corporate deputies, though it's occasionally slowed by redundancies when we get the same story from slightly different perspectives … Yes, it's a bit sappy, but let's not knock compassion. Ultimately, Medoff's book is about finding oneself — and satisfaction — in a combination of absorbing work and personal relationships.
...a deeply funny and deeply affecting look at the twenty-first-century personnel machinations of a Manhattan market research firm’s HR department ... The stories intertwine and then untangle and then merge again with emotion and meaning. The five protagonists each have different information to provide about the others, and while This Could Hurt is not The Alexandria Quartet, Medoff uses their braided revelations to heighten the drama behind each storyline ... A less generous novel might have been willing to sacrifice its characters in pursuit of the bottom line of social satire, but Medoff seems committed to treating her creations as more than human resources.
In This Could Hurt, the mordantly funny new novel by Jillian Medoff, those people are far more than faceless numbers. Set in 2010, at the nadir of the Great Recession, the book focuses on the staff of the human resources department at Ellery Consumer Research, a midsize company headquartered in Manhattan ... Medoff, who has a long career in management consulting in addition to her work as a writer, paints her characters’ work life in sharp detail. She also warmly sketches their personal lives, as parents and children, husbands and wives, and especially in their friendships with one another ...in This Could Hurt, Medoff tells a tale that suggests that even in the worst of times, there really are human resources.
Although Medoff frankly chronicles plenty of scheming and self-serving, Rosa’s devotion to her staff is repaid with loyalty and affection that are all the more poignant coming from believably flawed characters ... At the center stands Rosa, a tough corporate infighter who is also a mother hen; she’s the most vivid figure, but everyone gets nicely textured treatment in an engrossing narrative... An economical epilogue makes clever use of corporate organization charts to quickly trace the characters’ odysseys after the story’s bittersweet conclusion... A sharp-eyed novel of corporate manners.
Medoff explores the effects of the 2008 economic downturn on a small staff of human resources managers at a research firm in this witty novel ... At least one of the four underlings whose stories are told along with Rosa’s has ulterior motives, but all will recognize their weaknesses and become more fulfilled by the end ...characters are well-drawn, though the author gets stuck in their personal tangents, which occasionally drags down the storytelling ...a sharp and moving novel.