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30 Jul 2004 00:00
Those who dedicate their professional lives to idleness should do so with discretion if they hope to keep their jobs.
This is one message in Hello Laziness: The Art and Importance of Doing the Least Possible at Work, an anarchic anti-business bible published in France.
However, it is advice its author, Corinne Maier, a senior economist at Electricité de France (EDF), failed to follow. She faces a disciplinary hearing next month, accused of attempting to “rot the system from within’‘.
The book explains why it is in your interest to do the least work possible and how to damage the system from within “without appearing to do so’‘.
An antidote to the recent rash of career-enhancing self-help books by business management gurus, it rails against corporate culture and preaches a philosophy of active disengagement.
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 “fooling around’‘.
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 has worked part-time for EDF for 12 years.
She said she wrote the book on her days off.
France’s unions this week 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.
EDF refused to comment on “an ongoing disciplinary procedure’‘, but indicated it was angry at the book mentioning that Maier was an employee. —Â Â
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