Life Under The Corporate Microscopeby Larry Underwood
Enterprise History Through the eyes of the company Maverick
The recession in the housing market, which led to my sudden unemployment, created the perfect opportunity to start another random career, this time in the car rental business, with a company called "Executive Leasing." I stuck around for twenty-six years, while becoming one of its highest paid,/b>
Enterprise History Through the eyes of the company Maverick
The recession in the housing market, which led to my sudden unemployment, created the perfect opportunity to start another random career, this time in the car rental business, with a company called "Executive Leasing." I stuck around for twenty-six years, while becoming one of its highest paid, and probably, most irreverent executives. The company would change its name to Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and I would be embarking on a career that would pay me more money than I ever dreamed possible, in a business I truly loved. At the peak of my career, I was raking in close to four million dollars a year while overseeing one of the company's most profitable and fun-loving operations...
In Life Under the Corporate Microscope, Larry Underwood, a former high-level executive with Enterprise Rent-a-Car, chronicles the remarkable transformation of a company that grew from a small leasing operation to become the largest and most profitable car rental company in the world.
- Outskirts Press, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 0.49(w) x 9.21(h) x 6.14(d)
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The author, Larry Underwood, provides the reader with his personal experiences of life in Corporate America, specifically, with a company called Enterprise Rent-a-Car. In the process, he humorously affirms what many Americans already believe---Corporate America is a swarmy, micro-managing, bureaucratic mess, filled with hypocricy and backstabbing. Underwood (aka "Uncle Larry") does a nice job of narrating his 26 year career with Enterprise (1974-2000), as he rises the company ladder at the same time the company is rising up the industry ladder. By the time Enterprise becomes the largest and most profitable car rental company in the world, overtaking Hertz for the number one position in the early '90s, Underwood is making millions of dollars, annually. Wait a minute. Did I just say this guy was making millions of dollars a year? It's true. The company somehow figured out a "performance based" commission pay plan that made millionaires out of many of its higher level executives, provided they could, as Underwood states, "make their operation a profitable enterprise for Enterprise." Needless to say, "Uncle Larry" succeeded in doing that, for a number of years. By the time he was making close to $4 million a year, the guy known as "the company funny man" was awkwardly forced into an early retirement. I guess the company didn't think paying him that much money was very funny, and as Underwood said, "it was time to go, with no regrets; except of course, I wouldn't be making so much money." This is a very good book, filled with a lot of laughs, but also filled with a very fascinating look into the evolution of one small company who became a very large part of Corporate America.
Dear, Mr. Underwood, Hello Uncle Larry. I just got threw reading your story and I have to tell ya, it was an amazing journey for me. I saw many dramas in your life that the average person goes through every day in a different perspective. You pieced together a wonderful mind blending story of laughter and pain. I saw all the situations that you went through as contemplating events that only the chosen few of us get to experience. Money, success, and a stable of chicks; what else can you ask for? lol When the book first came to my house I was thrilled and didn't know what to suspect. I opened the box and looked at the cover. It gave me an Idea that I was going to be reading something spectacular. It took me a while to read it because I was taking a Biology class when it finally arrived. Usually when I go out and study or write I would go to a coffee shop; maybe a Star Bucks or a 24 hour restaurant. I wanted to finish the book earlier but every time I gotten to a great part in the book I had to force myself to stop reading and start on my other assignments. Life is as wonderful as we make it. Who would ever think that things will turn out the way they do -every now and then. Some of us are born leaders; others are followers and the rest of the given few or observers. Every so often I look deep inside my knowledge about people and try to piece together what I can about a perfect personality and I come to find that there are not that many good people left in this world. But you Mr. Underwood are a first-class citizen. What I have notice most of all about others, is when good people are part of a certain environment, they keep it all together. Kind of like peaches and cream but it all crumbles and falls when there is a snake in the grass wanting to get into their shoes. What the serpents don't understand is that we can't pinch off other people's abilities and that is what snakes do for a living; they want to know how they can occur something that they could never have or handle. I'm talking about people like Ernie. lol Let me end it by saying thank you for letting me read your life experiences. It kept me laughing but also distressed. When I say distressed I mean I felt passionate about the situations that you went through and where deemed to accomplish. Thank you again, Sincerely, Daton L. Fluker Web: http://deathkeeperworld.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A seven year non-compete, non-disclosure agreement kept "Life Under the Corporate Microscope" under wraps and bottled up (just as champagne is bottled with high-pressure carbonation) until publication in early 2009. The gusto with which author Larry "Uncle Larry" Underwood recounts his Enterprise Rent-A-Car (ERAC) career through the pages of "Life Under the Corporate Microscope" resonates resoundingly, just as the cork on a bottle of champagne causes a loud retort when released from captivity and duty as the bottle's seal. "Uncle Larry" eagerly pulls the reader into his career chronicle, practically saying, "C'mon, jump into my ruby red '84 Porsche 944 and I'll give you a driving tour of my grand corporate adventure." Uncle Larry artfully sets the stage for this fast-paced, riveting read of his improbable journey, starting as an unemployed recent college graduate with bad hair, late for his first day of work as a "number 3," in a branch location of a business that was an afterthought creation of another business located on Kingshighway, south of St. Louis, MO. However, in life, it's far more important where one finishes rather than where one starts, and Uncle Larry indeed finished strong and "in the money." As the mileposts zip by on our tour of Uncle Larry's career, the reader engages in the storyline to the point of being right there alongside the budding Larry as he endures a plodding existence in a lowly position in the short-term replacement car rental business of Executive Leasing, then begins to accelerate his career once he gets a little experience under his belt. An assistant manager fortuitously moves himself out the way, allowing Uncle Larry to attain the first of many promotions and increases in responsibilities in what becomes a whole career of geographical and organizational moves that portend the growth-to-critical-mass that ERAC experienced in the 1980's and 1990's. The storyline transitions into a banquet of sorts as Uncle Larry serves up an appetizer course of juicy morsels. Succinct, incisive evaluations and stories of the personal and performance characteristics of dozens of subordinates, peers, and superiors provide the reader a guilty pleasure akin to freely perusing an HR office chock-full of personnel files at will. The entrée of this banquet is the progressive growth that the nascent West Group attains with Uncle Larry's capable hands maintaining a steady grip on the steering wheel. One feels so involved in the unfolding story that it is quite tempting to jump out of the recliner and cheer as the West Group attains success after success. A banquet just isn't a banquet without a dessert course. Uncle Larry plates generous servings of an entire dessert buffet as he liberally skewers two of ERAC Chairman Andy Taylor's cousins that couldn't even make nepotism work for themselves, two Executive-Leasing-managers-turned-failed-ERAC-General-Managers, ERAC President Pam Nicholson, a bumbling, retired-Big-3-automaker-executive-turned-ERAC-expansion-office-disaster, and all three ERAC CVP's (Corporate Vice Presidents) that we come to know as the "weasels" who served as Uncle Larry's handlers during the latter part of his ERAC career. "Irreverent" is a term that crops up repeatedly in "Life Under the Corporate Microscope" as a self-descriptive adjective for the author. Let's just crown Uncle Larry as the King of Irreverency and call it a day. Obviously, all the irreverency
This is a great story about one guy's rocky road to success with a car rental company, Enterprise, that grew to such immense proportions, nobody ever saw it coming. Nor did anybody expect the company's top managers, like the author, Larry Underwood, would be making millions of dollars per year from the commmissions resulting from all that unexpected success. But that's what happened, and to make the story even more interesting is the author's zany and irreverent sense of humor as he narrates his way through a remarkable career (1974-2000) as well as a remarkable company success story. But there's a catch. The more successful Underwood became, as he started making over a million dollars per year, the larger and more structured Enterprise became. By the time they had overtaken Hertz for the top spot in the car rental industry, according to Underwood, the company started doing what most large corporations usually do---micro-manage, nit-pick, finger-point, and ultimately, back-stab. In the end, after experiencing a great deal of success while constantly "under the corporate microscope", the corporation cut him loose, which isn't such a surprising course of action, considering Underwood was now making something like $4 million a year. In essence, this is really a story of one guy's rise up "two company ladders" since the company changed their entire identity along the way--- from the small outfit that seemed friendly and forgiving---to the mega-corporation who felt it necessary to change their management structure and even their way of dealing with guys like Underwood in the field. I found the book very easy to read, and very funny to boot. But the thing that makes it so interesting, and useful to anyone trying to learn anything about big business, is how rapidly things can change within an organization, and the next thing you know, there's a whole new set of rules to play by. What concerns me is, when can employees and employers share the necessary mutual trust and respect that used to be so commonplace, not that long ago? I really believe the current mess we're in today has something to do with that issue, and if we're going to have a significant recovery,we'd better get our collective act together. I suppose that's the major underlying theme I got out of this very well written book.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, primarily because I knew the author; he was respected for being an honest and competent business person, who wasn't afraid to have fun. When he left the compmany, many of his employees followed him out the door (including me). Suddenly, what used to be fun became "work", and nobody really likes to work for a living.
"Uncle Larry" was simply a guy who knew how to take care of business, and that resulted in a happy and motivated bunch of employees who were proud to be working in the Wild, Wild, West Group.
I know there are a lot of people who wish he was still around. At least we have this book, which brought back some very good memories.