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all things to some people

Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Thu 20
Sep
2007

Book Club With Your Boss

Company An anonymous reader writes in with a Company-related conundrum:

I read this book and promptly gave it to some of my work colleagues—I’m sure you hear this all the time. I wanted to buy a case to keep under my desk to hand out to people who came in my office.

Now my manager and some others have read it and they want me to come to their book club to lead a discussion! If you have any ideas to lead me into this land of discussing this with upper management who just happen to be members of this book club please let me know. I need to keep my job!

Hmm. Tough one. Perhaps, “What I got out of this book was a deep, abiding relief that our company is nothing like this. That’s why I hand it out to people at work; everyone enjoys stories that have nothing to do with their own lives. It’s pure escapism!”

One of the interesting things about corporate workplaces is that they turn otherwise decent human beings into… well, management. They’re not like that because they’re petty, deceitful scumbags. I mean, obviously that helps. But it’s the environment that encourages those personality traits. This could be a cry for help from your boss, who in a flash of self-discovery has thought, “My God, what have I become?” Your job at this book club, then, is clearly to reassure him/her that it’s only the other managers who are like that, and gather information that will be politically useful at your next performance evaluation.

Comments

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thewylddream (#1191)

Location: Montana USA
Quote: ""Always forgive your enemies -- Nothing annoys them so much." ~Oscar Wilde~"
Posted: 2620 days ago

My goodness this one cracked me up. I will remember it in the meeting today and make everyone extremely nervous because I am smiling so much.

Thanks.

Machine Man subscriber M.I.Minter (#347)

Location: Houston Texas, USA
Quote: "When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading."
Posted: 2620 days ago

I like the idea of the downward spiral of good person to manager....I'm going to bring this up at the leadership retreat next week. When I write sentances like that last one, it makes my skin crawl....

Linnea1928 (#2654)

Location: Rosemount, MN
Posted: 2620 days ago

Ha Ha!! Oh my goodness, if that was me, I would be terrified to lead a discussion at my superior's personal book club! Good for them, though! This may help their connections at work! Max, you are all about helping people!!

shabooty (#637)

Location: D.C./V.A/M.D.
Quote: "I will shake your foundation. I will shake the f**cking rafters. Nobody'll be the same -Danny Bonaduce ....& go visit my blog @: http://www.shabooty.com"
Posted: 2620 days ago

Being a Max Fanboy at work def. can't be good for your job future. . .

...between having a mock can of FU*K cola on your desk, the Company book on your shelf, the Syrup screenplay on your computer screen, and printouts of a nationstates walk-thru on your printer...=GOOD GAME.

:]

Brenng (#3235)

Location: UK (sitting down)
Quote: "Laugh when all the world cries and they'll lock you up for being an antisocial freak. www.brennigjones.com - there's a laugh in there somewhere!"
Posted: 2620 days ago

My situation doesn't come up too often.

My colleagues found out I wrote a (largely autobiographical) novel that was published a couple of years ago.

And they bought a copy.

And they've been passing it round.

Now they know I'm not a single-minded, output-orientated maanger; I'm really an obsessive/compulsive freak who barely tolerates the corporate world and who will (erm, I mean used to) screw anything.

Bummer.
:-)

Travis Freeborn (#3314)

Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Quote: ""When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." Hunter S. Thompson"
Posted: 2601 days ago

As much as I would love to hand out copies of this wonderful piece of literature, it probably wouldn't be good for my current career....as a manager. I do, however, get a good laugh at my co-workers' expense on the 'down low' quite often when I write journal entries and ideas for satirical corporate stories while I'm sitting in meetings. It's quite funny and satisfying to know that I'm pretending to take notes while actually creating material that will hopefully one day make me money at the expense of the very organization that is currently signing my paychecks. Ah, bless the corporate world. Everyone has their head so far up their own arse that they don't even know when others are writing about them in their presence.

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