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Book Review: How to Get Fired!: The New Employee’s Guide to Perpetual Unemployment by Jeff Havens

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In How to Get Fired!: The New Employee’s Guide to Perpetual Unemployment author, comedian, and public speaker Jeff Havens takes a comedic look at bad work practices. It’s an amusing take on the how to succeed at work book genre. I’ve read many of these professional development books, but I’ve never read one that recommends that the reader fake their resume, dress inappropriately, and offers tips on how to alienate your co-workers. In fact, in a reverse psychology sort of way, Havens spends the majority of the book advising the reader on the many ways that he or she can become a terrible employee.

While I found the book amusing at times, it seemed kind of odd to spend an entire book advising readers on what not to do. How to Get Fired!‘s written in a satirical way, and much of the content is so over-the-top that the reader knows that they aren’t reading the usual business book. Havens writes from this anti-Stephen Covey point of view until the final section of the book. In Part Five, entitled “What You Really Need to Know,” he sets aside the bad employee shtick and offers straight talk and sound advice on how to be a great employee. I would have preferred that more of the book was written in this vein, but How to Get Fired! isn’t supposed to be your typical professional development book.

Aimed at recent college grads, this group may find How to Get Fired! more entertaining and engaging than the majority of books in this genre. I graduated about a decade ago, but I could see how it could speak to college kids. Havens’ ridiculous scenarios and horrible tips are an attempt to shake graduates out of their college mindset. In the final chapter Havens explains that he has spoken with many business leaders and they’ve all shared that the new generation entering the workforce has exhibited the bad habits and work practices that he comically highlights throughout the book. This could be just what the doctor ordered for this new generation.

Havens’ funny writing style makes How to Get Fired! a good book for a recent college grad or those new to the workforce. The 200-plus pages of goofy advice on how to gossip, writing business documents like you would text messages, and which illegal drugs to use should drive home how not to be the worst employee possible.

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