In the rarefied atmosphere of the architecture school, little is taught about the world of work - certainly nothing as trivial as how to behave when you turn up at the office. Hence the attraction of On the Job by Stephen Viscusi, recently reviewed in USA Today .
Aimed at raw recruits, this really boils down to blending in and shutting up. It includes gems such as: 'Once you have mixed up your private and your work lives, it is extremely difficult to re-establish a truly professional persona; even throat-clearing, though it sometimes cannot be helped, should be avoided; and, you don't need to show the tattoo at an interview.'
So if your new recruits are unnaturally bland and cowed, you may suspect they have been reading Viscusi's words.
Of course, this may appeal.
Viscusi-cowed employees would certainly give you a quiet life. 'Young workers generally have more trouble knowing just when to be quiet, 'he writes. 'I am cautioning against the tendency to talk for the sake of talking.' If you would like serried ranks of willing cannon fodder who don't ask endless questions or seek guidance all the time (another Viscusi precept), you might like to buy a job lot of the book from Three Rivers Press, and hand them out to new joiners.
But it is not only the young who are in his sights - one piece of advice for older workers is to invest in cosmetic surgery. That really is a scary thought.