David Smallwood recently sent me a link to the following book review (on MSNBC of all places!). I haven't read the book.. but it sounds great. --Skald
The Slacker's Bible
Management tips from the executive slow lane
By Jo Johnson
You sit next to idiots, loathe office bonhomie and crave escape. You're half- crazy with boredom, pretend to work when you hear footsteps and kill time by taking newspapers into the washrooms. Your career is blocked, your job is at risk and the most ineffective people get promoted to where they can do least harm: management. You recoil at jargon, consider the expression 'business culture' an oxymoron and wish you had the guts to resign. If this is you, help is at hand.
Bonjour paresse (Hello Laziness), a call to middle managers of the world to rise up and throw out their laptops, organigrams and mission statements, is the unexpected publishing sensation of the summer in France.
Sub-titled The Art and the Importance of Doing the Least Possible in the Workplace, the 113-page "ephlet" (part-essay, part-pamphlet) is to France's managerial class - the cadres - what the Communist Manifesto once was to the lumpen proletariat.
Written by Corinne Maier, an economist at state-owned ElectricitÈ de France, Bonjour paresse flashed albeit briefly to the number one spot on Amazon's French best-seller list.
An anarchic antidote to management tomes promising the secrets of ever greater productivity, Bonjour paresse is a slacker's bible, a manual for those who devote their professional lives to the sole pursuit of idleness.
There have been many works in praise of idleness over the decades, but with the French work ethic weakened by the introduction of the 35 hour work week, the siren's appeal has never been stronger.
You are a modern day slave. There is no scope for personal fulfilment. You work for your pay-check at the end of the month, full stop.
It's pointless to try to change the system. Opposing it simply makes it stronger.
What you do is pointless. You can be replaced from one day to the next by any cretin sitting next to you. So work as little as possible and spend time (not too much, if you can help it) cultivating your personal network so that you're untouchable when the next restructuring comes around.
You're not judged on merit, but on whether you look and sound the part. Speak lots of leaden jargon: people will suspect you have an inside track
Never accept a position of responsibility for any reason. You'll only have to work harder for what amounts to peanuts.
Make a beeline for the most useless positions, (research, strategy and business development), where it is impossible to assess your 'contribution to the wealth of the firm'. Avoid 'on the ground' operational roles like the plague.
Once you've found one of these plum jobs, never move. It is only the most exposed who get fired.
Learn to identify kindred spirits who, like you, believe the system is absurd through discreet signs (quirks in clothing, peculiar jokes, warm smiles).
Be nice to people on short-term contracts. They are the only people who do any real work.
Tell yourself that the absurd ideology underpinning this corporate bullshit cannot last for ever. It will go the same way as the dialectical materialism of the communist system. The problem is knowning when...
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