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(en) [smygo] Media, The Art of Doing the Least Possible at the Workplace

From Dan Clore <clore@columbia-center.org>
Date Thu, 29 Jul 2004 10:04:09 +0200 (CEST)

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PARIS -- Those who dedicate their professional lives to idleness
should do so with discretion if they hope to keep their jobs.
This is one useful message in Hello Laziness -- The Art and
the Importance of Doing the Least Possible at the Workplace,
an anarchic anti-business bible published in France. It is advice
the author, Corinne Maier, a senior economist at Electricite de
France, failed to follow. She faces a disciplinary hearing next
month, accused of attempting to "rot the system from within".
The book, Bonjour Paresse (a nod to Francoise Sagan's 50s
novel, Bonjour Tristesse or Hello Sadness), pledges to
explain why it is in your interest to do the least work
possible and will tell you how to damage the system from
within "without appearing to do so".

An antidote to the recent rash of US-import,
career-enhancing self-help books by business management
gurus, it rails against corporate culture and preaches a
philosophy of active disengagement.

It is an elegantly written call to arms to the "neo-slaves"
of middle management and the "damned of the service
industry", condemned to dress up as clowns all week and
waste their lives in pointless meetings.

Maier cites the recent wave of financial scandals in French
business, and argues that since careers are at risk and
pensions under threat, employees should shake off their
shackles of loyalty and start "footling around" during
office hours.

Her publisher, Editions Michalon, said that the book did not
target EDF, and its hyper-sensitive response only served to
confirm the totalitarianism reigning in big business.

Maier, who works part-time, has been with EDF for 12 years.
She said she wrote the book on her days off.

France's unions yesterday rallied to her cause, saying EDF
was threatening free speech.

"They cited the pettiest offences in the letter summoning me
to face a disciplinary review," Maier said. "The real reason
is that they don't like my book."

EDF refused to comment on "an ongoing disciplinary
procedure", but indicated it was angry at the book
mentioning that Maier was an employee.


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