Novel is a take on a strange trip to the Big Apple

Spring 2017 Edition


Donn Hess’ main character in his new book doesn’t even want the job that he has an interview for in New York; he just showed up for the all-expenses-paid momentary escape from his boring life to the Big Apple. That’s where things go awry.

 “A God in Middle Management” follows a Midwestern corporate employee, Marty Foster, who has a weird adventure after he interviews with a well-known financial firm that really wants him to take the job. Hess said there was not a deep inspiration for “A God in Middle Management” other than childhood memories of reading Greek mythology.

“[I was] mostly goofing around, and it just kind of came together,” Hess said.

Hess’ experience in corporate America gives the novel an authentic atmosphere. Hess is currently the senior vice president and director of marketing and communications for the retirement service branch of Lockton, which is “the world’s largest privately-owned, independent insurance brokerage firm,” according to its website.

As a J-School freshman, Hess thought that he wanted to be a reporter. Some of his favorite moments as a journalism student came from his reporting and editing classes. The classes were taught by professionals, including a few Pulitzer Prize winners.

“You not only got an education, but you also received a perspective on how to apply it [journalism skills] to the real world,” Hess said.

After he had an internship as a reporter, Hess decided that writing for news organizations did not interest him. He decided to switch his major to strategic communication with an emphasis on advertising, and he graduated in 1990.

Hess said that the fast pace of the J-School helped him develop his professional skills and the ability to efficiently finish materials.

“You have to work incredibly quickly to get all of that material distilled,” he said.

–– Erik Nelson is a junior from Hopkins, Minnesota, studying news and information.