No More Mr. Nice Guy
by James E. Alston
4 out of 5 Stars
In No More Mr. Nice Guy, James Alston holds absolutely nothing back in this chilling tale of self-sacrifice to a company whose executives either participated in or enabled racial misconduct and sexual harassment towards its employees and customers. A true company man, Alston always looked out for the the company’s well-being, even if it meant holding the company legally accountable for 27 years of abuse by the company’s “good old boys” network.
When are “a son of a sharecropper”, you are a sharecropper. That is a family-level event. From that early childhood experience, Alston’s desire to rise above adversity by proving his ability to perform regardless of his color was instilled in him by his elders. Alston says, “I was never a stranger to hard work, and I worked hard to achieve results.” Alston carried that mindset with him through various low-paying odd jobs and brought that to Handly’s Food Corporation. (This is a fictitious name used to satisfy the terms of his lawsuit.)
No More Mr. Nice Guy gives the reader a historical account of James Alston’s experience with Handly’s Food Corporation. After making his way into Handly’s upper management, Alston never ceased to work hard and surpass the company’s performance goals. In addition to the praise and recognition, Alston also got his fair share of discrimination. From being the brunt of racial jokes to suffering the mental anguish that comes with given tasks with unrealistic expectations, No More Mr. Nice Guy unveils the male dominated racism present in multi-million dollar corporations scattered across the U.S.
This is the story of metal-on-metal struggle. Handly’s Food Corporation’s “good old boy” network systematically profited from Alston undying work ethic while constantly putting him in precarious situations in terms of job performance and job security. Alston consistently met each attempt at his derailment with the company’s core values: meeting the problem head on, make moves with the company’s profit in mind and retain the best human assets. While most of his superiors placed him in certain conditions with the intention of causing his failure, Alston shook his feelings of inadequacy by bringing his company profits and his customers and employees the best possible experience.
Not only does Alston fight the racism he faces, he also brings discrimination and sexual harassment issues experienced by employees and customers to the highest ranking executives in Handly’s Food Corporation. Each time, Alston’s requests for investigations were pushed to the side while misconduct was given little attention. This company culture not only affected his mental and physical well-being, Alston’s financial prowess was also hindered. His buying powers was artificially limited by phony performance reviews, low raises and the shifting of his most profitable stores and store managers to peers who were simply unscrupulous moves used to hold him back. He was making $15,000 to $20,000 less per year than his peers.
Alston’s situation is akin to a marriage gone bad. Alston was fully committed to Handly’s Food Corporation. He faced the challenges of this relationship with dignity and hard work only to find out the executives only wanted what they could get from him with no intentions being respectable. Eventually, Alston begins to itemize his contributions to the company. He looks at his contributions in respect to what Handly’s Food Corporation offered him during the course of a stellar 27 year career of profits and customer satisfaction.
Alston begin to realize the utter disregard that the executives of Handly’s Food Corporation had for him. This brings forth the decades of anger, mental anguish, depression, embarrassment and other negative feelings and emotions. Instead of apologizing and making the situation right, Handly’s Food Corporation offers to sweep it under the rug and give him a little money for his troubles. The legal manuverings of Handly’s Food Corporation and James Alston’s pit bull determination clash for a final time. But are there any true victors?
Drawbacks: Although I understand that the book cover reflects that Alston was not looked at as a real person and therefore a commodity, the book cover’s illustration should have been better drawn/sketched. There were run-on sentences and misuse of punctuation marks that should have been picked up by the editor. There were a paragraph where 3 or 4 sentences didn’t begin with a capital letter.
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