An anarchic antidote to management tomes promising the secrets of ever greater productivity, Bonjour paresse [sub-titled The Art and the Importance of Doing the Least Possible in the Workplace] is a slacker’s bible, a manual for those who devote their professional lives to the sole pursuit of idleness.
The author states the 10 commandments for the idle are:
- 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…