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This Could Hurt: A Novel
This Could Hurt: A Novel
This Could Hurt: A Novel
Audiobook12 hours

This Could Hurt: A Novel

Written by Jillian Medoff

Narrated by Andrea Gallo, Nick Podehl, George Newbern and

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars



About this audiobook

A funny and deeply felt novel that illuminates the pivotal role of work in our lives—a riveting fusion of The Nest, Up in the Air, and Then We Came to the End that captures the emotional complexities of five HR colleagues trying to balance ambition, hope, and fear as their small company is buffeted by economic forces that threaten to upend them.

Rosa Guerrero beat the odds as she rose to the top of the corporate world. An attractive woman of a certain age, the longtime chief of human resources at Ellery Consumer Research is still a formidable presence, even if her most vital days are behind her. A leader who wields power with grace and discretion, she has earned the devotion and loyalty of her staff. No one admires Rosa more than her doting lieutenant Leo Smalls, a benefits vice president whose whole world is Ellery.

While Rosa is consumed with trying to address the needs of her staff within the ever-constricting limits of the company's bottom line, her associate director, Rob Hirsch, a middle-aged, happily married father of two, finds himself drawing closer to his "work wife," Lucy Bender, an enterprising single woman searching for something—a romance, a promotion—to fill the vacuum in her personal life. For Kenny Verville, a senior manager with an MBA, Ellery is a temporary stepping-stone to bigger and better places—that is, if his high-powered wife has her way.

Compelling, flawed, and heartbreakingly human, these men and women scheme, fall in and out of love, and nurture dreams big and small. As their individual circumstances shift, one thing remains constant—Rosa, the sun around whom they all orbit. When her world begins to crumble, the implications for everyone are profound, and Leo, Rob, Lucy, and Kenny find themselves changed in ways beyond their reckoning.

Jillian Medoff explores the inner workings of an American company in all its brilliant, insane, comforting, and terrifying glory. Authentic, razor-sharp, and achingly funny, This Could Hurt is a novel about work, loneliness, love, and loyalty; about sudden reversals and unexpected windfalls; a novel about life.

Release dateJan 9, 2018
This Could Hurt: A Novel

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Reviews for This Could Hurt

Rating: 3.3157894736842106 out of 5 stars

38 ratings5 reviews

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Jillian Medoff puts corporate America under a microscope in "This Could Hurt," a smart and satirical novel set, for the most part, from 2009 to 2010 (they still used Blackberrys). Rosa Guerrero, chief of Human Resources at Ellery Consumer Research, is tough, ambitious, and self-confident, but she also cares about her employees. Unfortunately, with the economy is in free-fall, layoffs are inevitable. As she observes, "being chief at Ellery in 2099 was like running air traffic control during a typhoon." Rosa and her boss, CEO Rutherford Beaumont, have tough decisions to make if Ellery is to remain viable.

    The wonderful cover is worth mentioning. It shows the picture of an employee termination form with check boxes. Each box is next to one word of the title. The background color, orange, is cheery and upbeat, but the form, which is white with blue letters, is stark. This design tells its own eloquent story: Even when life seems to be going well, your job may go up in smoke. All of a sudden, you are unemployed and back in the rat race. You find out what you already know--that job hunting can be exhausting and demoralizing.

    Thanks to Medoff's terrific descriptive writing and the time she takes to delve into each person's psyche, we grow to care about the characters, even those who are not particularly likeable. Rob Hirsch is happily married with two daughters, but he is underperforming at Ellery and in danger of being let go. Leo Smalls is a lonely gay man who puts in long hours and is devoted to helping Rosa. Lucy Bender, an upwardly mobile young woman, is bright, capable, and like Leo, unsuccessful in love. Kenny Verville, a black man with an MBA from Wharton, has been coasting at Ellery until something better comes along. When a crisis changes the situation at HR, Rosa, Leo, Lucy, Rob, and Kenny will all face formidable challenges.

    This book is brilliantly constructed, with organizational charts that speak volumes; subplots about romances and relationships that flourish and fail; emotional meltdowns and visits to therapists; infighting; internal politics; tragedy; comedy; rejection; old friendships ended and new ones begun; and unexpected acts of kindness. The people in "This Could Hurt" are in process of defining who they are and where they want to be five or ten years from now. While they struggle with existential issues, we are caught up in their personal and professional dramas that continue to play out until the very end. A clever epilogue wraps everything up in style in this excellent and original work of fiction by the gifted, compassionate, and insightful Ms. Medoff.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Brilliant, funny, real and honest. I love longish, intricately plotted, character-driven stories, so this was perfect for me. Masterfully done, each character got their own arc that dovetailed with the larger plot. shows people in and out of offices, which I've never seen before. I also loved the way you see office life from different points of view--demographics, gender, etc. Aging in the office, male-female relationships, sexual politics, etc. Bravo!
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    A corporate tale, one of a few documenting the grueling downturn of the financial crisis and its victims and survivors. It takes place within the HR department of a consulting company, the fiefdom of Rosa, a 15 year veteran, and her direct reports, who are in various states of discontent and incompetence. When Rosa suffers a medical crisis, her staff simultaneously covers for and undermines her. Org charts sprinkled throughout the book illustrate the dismal dismissals and additional responsibilities. The personal lives of the diverse staff are also explored. It's a good but not great read - too long? Too many characters? Too much Rosa and too little upper management? All of the above, but with a surprisingly satisfying ending.Quote: "Heather had forged her career by echoing any man seated to her right."
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    what's the point of this book? and the voices are ridiculous. was not worth my time.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    My Review of “This Could Hurt” by Jillian MedoffJillian Medoff , Author of “This Could Hurt”, has written a unique and intriguing novel that combines big business with personal lives. The genre of this novel is fiction.Jillian Medoff describes her characters as complex, complicated, lonely, confused, flawed and emotional perhaps due to the circumstances of the times.In our society, everyone has to work to pay the bills, and some people are lucky to find a job that offers them everything that they are looking at. There are professional people who are doctors, nurses, teachers, police-officers, postal-workers, government employees, and many others that work in set organizations. In Jillian Medoff’s novel, the setting is a big company that holds the executives responsible, who hold the employees responsible for productivity. At Ellery Consumer Research, financial changes occur with the economic climate. The bottom line is to produce more, with costs being less. Often that means instead of hiring, letting go and firing employees. Of course this is very stressful.At Ellery Consumer Research we get to glimpse at the lives of several people and their life in the workplace and out of the workplace. Rosa is one of the women who made it to the top of the corporate ladder. She tries to meet and anticipate the needs of her staff, even though she has a high pressure job. Rosa does try to be fair, and this is even more stressful, as she finds out who is loyal and those who betray the company. There is a big difference in living to work, and working to live.Not everyone can take the stress, and several of the employees are lonely and looking for a relationship. Some are looking for friends. Some of the characters are go-getters and others are lazy and don’t carry their weight. Rosa tries to find a balance between what is good for her employees, and what benefits the company.When something traumatic occurs, everyone is forced to take a deep look at what they really want. For those who enjoy some controversy and a different type of novel, I would highly recommend this.