A post about hedonism a while ago in this blog, along with Gordon‘s current nervousness about work got me thinking about a recent best-seller in France, Corinne Maier’s Bonjour Paresse. The trigger for this thought may also have been my recent recruitment by the second largest employer in Rome, the UN (the largest of course is the Italian state, for whom I’ve also worked, at the Ministry of Overseas Trade – more on that another time)
Maier’s book is full of pithy observations of bureaucratic nonsense and provides ten key points (or should that be “take-home messages”) for the slacker:
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 (It is fruitless to indoctrinate a super-annuated canine with innovative manoeuvres)
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. (So that’s why everyone smiles at me…)
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…
God. It sounds like we’re in the Matrix. ‘Cept that we’re not fed on liquified corpses (right?).