Congratulations to you, college student! You must have worked really hard to get here, and surely, after graduation the world will just lay down before you and opportunities will come a-knockin’ at your door. Because of your intelligence and scholastic diligence, corporate executives and big business managers alike are practically trembling in anticipation at offering you colossal starting salaries and generous benefits, and probably the key to the executive bathroom… Right?
Don’t unzip just yet. Let’s face it; even if you’re lucky enough to get into college and subsequently get through college, you still have yet to break into the corporate world. At this point, you probably believe that your hard work will eventually pay off and your college-level degree will open many doors for you. This, dear student, is where you would be wrong. According to Corinne Maier and her internationally bestselling book Bonjour Laziness: Why Hard Work Doesn’t Pay, companies are keen to hire young people – that includes you – if only to take advantage of their naivetŽ and relative newness to the world of business. Your company will expect the world from you and give you very little in return, and, as Maier says, “that’s just the way it is.” So what can you do about it?
Nothing. At least, you should do nothing. Maier explains her policy of idleness, active disengagement and the merits of shirking responsibility in six chapters, beginning with a rude awakening to the ruthlessness of corporations and ending with a brilliant conclusion titled, “Begin Your Sabotage Tomorrow.” In between, she tackles every issue imaginable, from the business dress code to corporate jargon, the usefulness – or uselessness – of multiple diplomas to the static immobility of middle managers. The purpose of Bonjour Laziness is not just to explain why “It is in your best interest to work as little as possible,” it is to propose a series of solutions that revolve around perfecting the art of doing nothing. Work as little as possible, stay low under the radar, accept no positions of responsibility and avoid changes: Everything that you thought was detrimental to your career and your potential future happiness is, in fact, the best way to avoid becoming the plodding, wage-earning zombie that big businesses crave.
Though Maier’s book may seem, at times, a bit disheartening for the young, hardworking, and ambitious, she balances her eye-opening cynicism with enough factual information to stimulate the reader’s own subversive thoughts and wonder if this “work” thing is really all it’s cracked up to be. A tongue-in-cheek answer to the numerous self-help books about launching your corporate career, Bonjour Laziness is actually filled with useful information about recognizing your self-worth and keeping your esteem intact.
So go ahead; sit back, relax, crack open that beer and rest assured knowing that your laziness is actually catapulting you forward into your future career.