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Prologue

We hear three stories of how conflicts are resolved in offices. Two of those stories come from sociologist Calvin Morrill, who studied the executive suites at a number of large companies in his book The Executive Way: Conflict Management in Corporations.

Act Two: Sheetcakes In The Conference Room, Whiskey After Dark

David Rakoff discusses the world of birthdays and other holidays, as they're celebrated on the job... and what happens when you call yourself an editorial assistant but the editor you're assisting calls you a secretary. He read this story before a live audience at Town Hall in New York City, during a This American Life live show.

Act Four: A Fate Most Of Us Fear

Jonathan Goldstein took a telemarketing job as a kind of temporary Plan B ... never suspecting that it would be a ten year chapter in his life. Jonathan hosts the podcast “Heavyweight” whose new season starts September 26th.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with Stephen Goldin, author of an online guide that prescribes 23 rules for comic fans to follow when mingling with professional sci-fi authors at sci-fi conventions. For instance: don't try to start a discussion with a pro on the way to the bathroom.

Act Two: Know When To Walk Away, Know When To Run

Ira travels to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker, gets hooked, and tries to figure out what it would mean if he'd ditch his job in radio to become a professional card player. What he learns: A professional gambler can suffer two heartbreaking losses back-to-back, costing him over $100,000, and moments later, at the casino bar, calculate the million-to-one odds of his unlikely losses...in his head.

Act Three: Martha, My Dear

Contributor David Rakoff visits his dream job: In the crafts department at Martha Stewart Living magazine.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to two different people who have stories they just can't get over...stories that make them cringe...and stories from which we can glean what makes a cringe story different from other kinds of stories.

Act Two: M*a*s*h Notes

Ira reports on a week he spent on the set of the TV show M*A*S*H in 1979, supposedly to do a story about the program for National Public Radio. He was 20 years old.

Act One: The Test

At a fairly bleak time in his life, Scott took a job driving all over the state of Utah, interviewing people who were diagnosed with schizophrenia. His job was to administer a standard test, which measured mental health.

Act Two: The Friendly Man

It's another not-so-great period in Scott's life. This time he takes a job inside his profession, as a producer for a national commercial radio program.

Act Three: Ich... Bin... Ein... Mophead

Producer Alex Blumberg sets out to find a woman named Susan Jordan, who babysat him and his sister for a year when he was nine. He discovers that each of them remembered something about the other that the other would just as soon forget.

Act Two: Wonder Woman

Kelly McEvers with the story of Zora, a self-made superhero. From the time she was five, Zora had recurring dreams in which she was a 6'5" warrior queen who could fly and shoot lightning from her hands.

Prologue

Ira talks with Lee Qi, who came to America from China. He worked in Chinese restaurants in small towns, live in tiny apartments with other illegal immigrants who worked there as well—apartments that were sometimes in the back of the restaurants.

Prologue

We listen in on a ritual that happens in millions of families every week: kids getting dropped off at the babysitters. Six-year-old Dylan and nine-year-old Sarah explain what they can and can't get away with when they have a babysitter.After that, host Ira Glass has a few words about Mary Poppins, who is the Gold Standard of all fictional babysitters.

Act Two: Deceiving Others

Lawrence Otis Graham reads from an account of how he left his job as a $105,000-a-year Manhattan attorney to enter the exclusive Greenwich Country Club the only way they'd allow a black man like him: as a busboy. He discovers just how invisible he can become once he gives up his seat at the table and starts clearing the dishes instead—so invisible that people make racist remarks right in front of him.