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The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Work

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Work

by Joshua Piven, David Borgenicht

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Work is bad enough, but what if things go really wrong? The Worst-Case Scenario authors come to the rescue with expert advice for surviving dozens of nightmare on-the-job scenarios, whether in the office or on the loading dock. From savage bike messengers to a bag of pretzels stuck in the lunchroom vending machine, peril is everywhere. Learn how to sneak out


Work is bad enough, but what if things go really wrong? The Worst-Case Scenario authors come to the rescue with expert advice for surviving dozens of nightmare on-the-job scenarios, whether in the office or on the loading dock. From savage bike messengers to a bag of pretzels stuck in the lunchroom vending machine, peril is everywhere. Learn how to sneak out of a meeting, treat a deep-fryer burn, and survive a stockroom avalanche. Expertly remove a dent from the company car, extract a tie caught in the photocopier, and survive a workplace romance. Hands-on, step-by-step instructions guide you through these and other crises that can strike between 9 and 5, or on the swing shift. With an appendix of useful interview phrases, a career-path decoder, instructions for playing Jargon Bingo, and more, this is the one desk reference you can't live without.

Editorial Reviews

USA Today

Those with deep-seated fears about killer bees, quicksand, mountain lions and sharks will enjoy The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht , a handy little book for the extremely prepared that is climbing the best-seller list.

Just so you know right away, the first rule of survival is Do Not Panic. The last rule is Learn to Return. There are a lot of rules in between. This handbook tells how to get out of 40 bad situations, "pretty much a scary scenario for everyone," Piven says. Experts were consulted. The longest scenario (six pages) tells how to land a small passenger plane in case the pilot can't.

Everything signals seriousness. The cover (yellow-orange like traffic signs, school buses, No. 2 pencils) conveys caution, safety. The language is plain (scant adjectives) and formal (no contractions). The black-and-white drawings were inspired by that survival bible, The Boy Scout Handbook. This book is serious right down to the warning in the beginning: "DO NOT ATTEMPT TO UNDERTAKE ANY OF THE ACTIVITIES DESCRIBED IN THIS BOOK YOURSELF."

This is a no-nonsense, no-fooling-around guide with straightforward information. But fear not: The authors have enough perspective to acknowledge the campy appeal of an armchair guide for the anxious. "We thought it would be funny to people," Borgenicht says.

They were, he says, "inspired by pop culture as much as by paranoia - most of the scenarios we talk about were a TV or a movie scene."

Sharks, the authors say, scared both of them to pieces in childhood.

Blame it on Jaws.

How many book jackets have you seen bearing the words, "This book can save your life!"? Finally a book that really, no kidding, could.
Publishers Weekly
The latest addition to this wildly popular series continues-surprisingly-to display the wit, style and plain-old smart-ass insight of its multiple predecessors. The secret to Piven's and Borgenicht's success seems to be in maintaining, at all costs, a dead-pan and practical approach to survival techniques in ever-wilder scenarios (though, considering that these are "survival" guides, wilder in this case actually means increasingly mundane). Thus, in this volume-based on the assumption that we spend "so much time in the work environment [that] the odds are staggering that something is going to go wrong while you are there"-the authors provide precise instructions on how to survive working in a cubicle, being trapped in a bathroom or walk-in freezer, and getting caught "slacking" ("Blame your browser" is one suggestion for habitual Web-surfers). Helpful hints on how to survive an interview are balanced with equally helpful, but funnier, tips on how to ditch a meeting ("If you are planning to crawl [under the table], wear loose-fitting clothes"). From dealing with a "nightmare" boss or co-worker to escaping from a lion cage, and from removing a tie caught in a document feeder to treating a finger cut on a deli slicer (step one: "Turn off the slicer"), the authors know the secrets. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This program, as with others in the "Worst-Case Scenario Survival" series, offers advice from experts on how to handle people and events-this time while one is on the job. The recommendations range from the purely practical (restoring coffee-stained or shredded documents) to the morally suspect (how to convince the boss one isn't accessing inappropriate web sites on company time) to the definitely worrying (how to get a job as a brain surgeon when one doesn't have the qualifications). Morally neutral, there is an undercurrent of "fun" behind the more outrageous suggestions that might lead to lively discussions within workplace carpools and in break rooms. For instance, is it really possible to escape from a meeting by crawling out of the room while no one is looking? Information for handling people (problem bosses, coworkers, customers) is generally good and does offer insights into situations that can baffle employees. Advice concerning possible or real physical injury is appropriate. Narrated by Jeff Woodman, this work is recommended for public libraries where the "Worst-Case" materials are popular and for corporate libraries only where the "powers-that-be" have a strong sense of humor.-Kathleen A. Sullivan, Phoenix P.L. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Magazine Editors People
Chances are you'll never have to extract your arm from the jaws of an alligator. But if you do, remember this: wacking the beast in the nose is the best way to get him to open up. Hence the appeal of this guide, which gives step-by-step instructions on crucial, if seldom encountered, challenges ranging from treating frostbite to landing a pilotless plane.

Product Details

Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
Worst Case Scenario Series
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Because poisonous snakes can be difficult to identifyand because some nonpoisonous snakes have markings very similar to venomous ones-the best way to avoid getting bitten is to leave all snakes alone. Assume that a snake is venomous unless you know for certain that it is not.

1)Wash the bite with soap and water as soon as you can.
2)Immobilize the bitten area and keep it lower than the heart. This will slow the flow of the venom.
3)Get medical help as soon as possible. A doctor should treat all snakebites unless you are willing to bet your life that the offending snake is nonpoisonous. Of about eight thousand venomous bites a year in the U.S., nine to fifteen victims are killed. A bite from any type of poisonous snake should always be considered a medical emergency. Even bites from nonpoisonous snakes should be treated professionally, as severe allergic reactions can occur. Some Mojave rattlesnakes carry a neurotoxic venom that can affect the brain or spinal cord, causing paralysis.
4)Immediately wrap a bandage tightly two to four inches above the bite to help slow the venom if you are unable to reach medical care within thirty minutes. The bandage should not cut off blood flow from a vein or artery. Make the bandage loose enough for a finger to slip underneath.
5)If you have a first aid kit equipped with a suction device, follow the instructions for helping to draw venom out of the wound without making an incision. Generally, you will need to place the rubber suction cup over the wound and attempt to draw the venom out from the bite marks.


  • Do not place any ice or cooling element on the bite; this will make removing the venom with suction more difficult.
  • Do not tie a bandage or a tourniquet too tightly. If used incorrectly, a tourniquet can cut blood flow completely and damage the limb.
  • Do not make any incision on or around the wound in an attempt to remove the venom-there is danger of infection.
  • Do not attempt to suck out the venom. You do not want it in your mouth, where it might enter your bloodstream.

Unlike poisonous snakes, pythons and boas kill their prey not through the injection but by constriction; hence these snakes are known as constrictors. A constrictor coils its body around its prey, squeezing it until the pressure is great enough to kill.
Since pythons and boas can grow to be nearly twenty feet long, they are fully capable of killing a grown person, and small are even more vulnerable. The good new is that most pythons will strike and then try to get away, rather than consume a full-grown human.
1) Remain still. This will minimize constriction strength, but a python usually continues constricting well after the prey is dead and not moving.
2) Try to control the python's head and try to unwrap the coils, starting from whichever end is available.


  • Do not try to get a closer look, prod the snake to make it move, or try to kill it.
  • If you come across a snake, back away slowly an give it a wide berth: snakes can easily strike half their body length in an instant, and some species are six feet or longer.
  • When hiking in an area with poisonous snakes, always wear thick leather boots and long pants.
  • Keep to marked trails.
  • Snakes are cold-blooded and need the sun to help regulate their body temperature. They are often found lying on warm rocks or in other sunny places.

What People are Saying About This

Jean Heine
The book is somewhat tongue-in-cheek but includes some helpful advice you hope you'll never need.

Meet the Author

Joshua Piven, a writer and former cubicle dweller, enjoys working in his pajamas until noon. Coauthor of the Worst-Case Scenario series, he lives in Philadelphia.

David Borgenicht lives in Philadelphia and is co-author of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook series (Chronicle Books).

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