Thursday, September 07, 2006

My Cover Is Blown

It can't be good for your reputation as an ace at your job when a co-worker anonymously leaves a copy of a book called Bonjour Laziness: Why Hard Work Doesn't Pay on your chair. Unless the message is that, you know, you work too hard and you should read this and relax a little.

Somehow, in my case, I doubt that's what was meant. I guess that's what you get when you are, from time to time, passionately vocal about the stupidity or pointlessness of livin' la vida corporate.

It's not that I don't do my job, or that I even dislike it per se. It's that I stubbornly refuse to view it as anything more than a job. It isn't a way of life or a religion or a guiding philosophy or the key to my identity or anything other than a temporary, mutually beneficial economic relationship.

That means I ignore any and all corporate rah-rah initiatives. I badmouth the entire "HR" department any chance I get (including the odious term "HR" itself). I roll my eyes at unrealistic deadlines and call bullshit on people who speak about quality, deliverables, or processes. I avoid meetings and (unpaid) overtime as much as possible.

You know, the sorts of things any sane person would do.

So let's see... the book's cover says it's an "international bestseller." It's written by a French woman, and this is the English translation. That's appropriate: When it comes to work, who is lazier than the French? The Swedes, maybe?

According to the back cover:

Bonjour Laziness dares to ask whether you really have a stake in the corporate sweepstakes, whether professional mobility is anything but an opiate. It shows you how to become impervious to manipulation and escape the implacable law of usefulness.

In short, this book explains why it is in your best interest to work as little as possible.
Sounds about right to me.

Well, maybe it's an interesting read, or maybe it's just some old-fashioned Gallic crankiness. At least it's short. I'll read it at work while everyone else is at a meeting.