Bonjour Laziness
AuthorCorinne Maier
Original titleBonjour paresse
TranslatorDavid Watson, Sophie Hawkes
CountryFrance
LanguageFrench
PublisherEditions Michalon
Publication date
2004
Published in English
2005
PagesApprox. 144

Bonjour paresse (Hello Laziness) is the title of an international bestseller by Corinne Maier, a French writer, psychoanalyst, and economist. The book is a highly cynical and humorous critique of work and contemporary French corporate culture (epitomized for Maier by the middle manager) that advocates various ways of undermining the system. Maier advocates that it is in the reader's best interest to work as little as possible.[1] The title is a reference to Françoise Sagan's novel Bonjour Tristesse. It is variously subtitled Jumping Off the Corporate Ladder, or Why Hard Work Doesn’t Pay depending on the edition. Because of their similar attitudes towards the workplace, Maier has been frequently compared to Dilbert creator Scott Adams.

Maier was subjected to a disciplinary hearing on 17 August 2004 by her employer, Électricité de France, for the writing and publication of Bonjour Paresse. The French newspaper Le Monde ran a front page article about the dispute at the end of July 2004, which did much to publicize the work.

Chapter titles and subheadings

As translated by Sophie Hawkes:

Maier's Ten Counterproposals

Sometimes referred to as the Ten Commandments for the Idle, these counterproposals have been widely reproduced on the Web in a shortened form:

  1. 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.
  2. It's pointless to try to change the system. Opposing it simply makes it stronger.
  3. 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.
  4. You're not judged on merit, but on whether you look and sound the part. Use much leaden jargon: people will suspect you have an inside track
  5. Never accept a position of responsibility for any reason. You'll only have to work harder for what amounts to peanuts.
  6. 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.
  7. Once you've found one of these plum jobs, never move. It is only the most exposed who get fired.
  8. Learn to identify kindred spirits who, like you, believe the system is absurd through discreet signs (quirks in clothing, peculiar jokes, warm smiles).
  9. Be nice to people on short-term contracts. They are the only people who do any real work.
  10. 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 knowing when...

English translations

Bonjour Paresse has been translated by David Watson (as Hello Laziness) for The Orion Publishing Group Ltd in the United Kingdom, and in the United States by Sophie Hawkes (as Bonjour Laziness) for Random House.

References

  1. ^ "Bonjour Laziness". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 2018-06-28.