Hello Laziness by Corinne Maier is a hoot! Or maybe, I should say “huée”. (That’s hoot, in French. Look at me being all cosmopolitan.) The thing is, this book was a bestseller in France, then Spain, Italy and Germany. Was it ever a bestseller in North America? Heck if I know. But maybe it should be!
My “work Bible” (Work Would Be Great If It Weren’t For The People) is irreverent but under it all, she knows (and you know) you gotta work hard to get ahead, along with learning and implementing office politics.
This book is just irreverent. And funny… in a snarky kinda way, which will either crack you up or make you want to toss it in the garbage. I’m serious about that… this is the kind of book that invites strong opinions, me thinks.
Many of the same subjects are covered in both books: office jargon, meetings, workplace relationships, etc.
As you read this book, you think there’s a catch… that eventually, Maier will tell us it was all a big joke. There will be a “Look, let’s be serious” discussion in the last chapter.
“In the great game of business, it is your company that makes the rules. You are nothing but a pawn.”
So this is where we begin. But then you sit back and think on it for a moment. In your gut, you feel it may be the truth. And so goes this book of truth-telling.
Except, it’s not actually the (one and only) truth. It may be Maier’s truth. It may be yours. It’s not mine… more on that in a minute.
This book is not about small companies with five employees. It’s a whole ‘nuther game in that kind of office. No, this book is about large corporations… the kind where you can get lost. I’ve worked for a couple of the big guys… one in the US and one in Canada.
For example: Wells Fargo was an incredible place to work back in the 1980’s. Some of my best working memories are about that place. Not only was it set in an aesthetically beautiful park-like setting, we had all the amenities… a never-ending coffee pot and a dedicated restaurant downstairs that literally only fed us. It was always packed at lunch time, which was staggered because there were… oh, 3000 employees, give or take.
(Also, okay, food matters to me, clearly, since the only amenities I mentioned were the kind you can eat or drink. I especially loved the fried egg sandwich with a hashed brown and salsa on toasted sourdough. My mouth is watering just thinking of it.)
Wells Fargo gave the illusion that we really mattered by doing things like allowing us to vote on the newest upcoming commercials. There were theatre-style seats in a screening room downstairs. We watched the commercials, then voted. We wouldn’t know which were voted in until we saw them on television. When I’d see it, I felt like I had a hand in that. It was really neat.
Wells Fargo is the exception. And, I suspect, is no longer as wonderful. I mean, if the internet has anything to say about them – and it does. I could be wrong. If any of my readers work for them, chime in!
Anyway, big corporations. Maier hates them. She’s in one at the time of the writing (2004) and is probably long gone by now… but who knows?
She’s snippy and funny, snarky and bitter. Also, just a little cynical. Actually, a lot cynical.
The book is also short and easy to read. You can pick it up and put it down and repeat as wanted/ needed.
As I was reading, I couldn’t help thinking… if this book were a movie, it would be this scene from Office Space:
As Peter Gibbons says: It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.
Maier lays it all out in her book.
(Ha! Not related to each other AT ALL. But funny, that!)
So, there you have it. You’ll either find the book hilarious, eye-opening, and truthful… or just too negative to enjoy. It’s provocative, that’s for sure! Me? I liked it okay. But I’ll stick with my work Bible.