Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Vive La Loafing!

simoniker posted about 10 years ago | from the bonjour-to-sloth dept.

United States 649

theodp writes "Bonjour Paresse, an anti-corporation slacker manifesto whose title translates as 'Hello Laziness,' has become a national best seller in France and made a countercultural heroine of its author, who encourages workers to adopt her strategy of calculated loafing in response to dimming prospects of success for rank-and-file employees. Could a translation find a Silicon Valley audience?"

cancel ×

649 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Slacker Thee (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 years ago | (#9982931)

who encourages workers to adopt her strategy of calculated loafing

In english: reading/posting on slashdot (e.g. I should be working on X but wonder if CowboyNeal is mentioned in the latest slashpoll)

in response to dimming prospects of success for rank-and-file employees.

Got news for you, there was a terrific article in the Detroit Free Press back in the 80's regarding the epic scale slacking which contributed to the ills of the automotive industry. Overly strong unions and workers with an "I deserve stuff" attitude resulted in many of the anecdotes of redundant jobs and slacking where the line was already overstaffed (workers taking turns going across the street for a few quarts of beer and sitting on the roof working on tans and such.) I went to school with a lot of laid-off workers who recounted many tales which often even amazed them by the audacity of the perpetrators. Slacking is by no means unique or original to people in IT.

Could a translation find a Silicon Valley audience?

Dunno, when Silicon Valley finally hires a a worker I'll ask.

Work hard. Learn new skillz. Get sacked anyway

Re:Slacker Thee (0, Troll)

XBruticusX (735258) | about 10 years ago | (#9983012)

And of course on Slashdot, it's always those evil, awful old unions' faults. The Big Three in Detroit agreed to and signed off on every letter of those contracts, so wouldn't that make the management at least one half responsible for this supposed "audacious slacking"?

Re:Slacker Thee (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 years ago | (#9983120)

The Big Three in Detroit agreed to and signed off on every letter of those contracts, so wouldn't that make the management at least one half responsible for this supposed "audacious slacking"?

You have to remember, back in the 50's and 60's the automotive industry had a LOT of capital tied up in foundries, assembly lines, parts plants and logistics. I hail from the former heart of GM, Ford and Chrysler where cities grew with the fortunes of these companies and saw first hand the stranglehold the unionized workforce had on this investment. With nowhere else to go for labor (a strike would idle their lines and the competitors would reap those lost sales, and damn few would cross a picket line in a company town) and much of their investment located where the attitudes were complacent, GM, Ford, Chrysler and AMC were sitting ducks for the japanese automakers. The pendulum has swung very far to the other side, now as the companies have considerable strength in negotations (don't ratify the agreement, we'll move to Mexico or China)

Re:Slacker Thee (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | about 10 years ago | (#9983178)

The Big Three in Detroit agreed to and signed off on everyBecause they had to. Unions where and are very strong back east. It's hard, though to label one or the other as the bad one when if the union had not forced a cushy contract, the car companies would have screwed the workers. letter of those contracts

The U.S. Version has been around for decades... (2, Interesting)

NoSelf (656465) | about 10 years ago | (#9983140)

Since the early 80's a 'zine published in San Francisco called "Processed World" has dished up biting criticism and satire of the Amerikan workplace, all with an outrageous sense of humour.

One of their early mottos: "Time is money, steal some today."

http://www.processedworld.com/ [processedworld.com]

Lazy French? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9982936)

You're kidding me. I would have never guessed.

Can't be bothered to RTFA. (5, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | about 10 years ago | (#9982939)

Can't be bothered to RTFA, I've got too much slashdotting to do here at work before lunch rolls around.

Re:Can't be bothered to RTFA. (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 years ago | (#9983180)

Can't be bothered to RTFA, I've got too much slashdotting to do here at work before lunch rolls around.

<Comic Book Guy>
"Sorry, I can't get to that project right now, I'm terribly busy, please call back later, thank yew!"
"Now where was I? Oh, yes, moderating on /. 'Worse post, ever!'"
</Comic Book Guy>

Not again - No DNS entry... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9982941)

Oh No! ViveLaLoafing.com isn't registered!!! Quick someone register it so we can have another katie.com [slashdot.org] scandal.

Please follow her advice. (5, Insightful)

grub (11606) | about 10 years ago | (#9982943)


Let the weenies that hate their work slack away. When the annual review comes up the people that take pride or work hard will move ahead. Then the weenies will bitch about not being liked, etc. ANYTHING but looking in the mirror and taking responsibility for their place on the ladder.

Re:Please follow her advice. (3, Interesting)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | about 10 years ago | (#9982976)

Beware the union shop (well, some of them), where it might be the status quo to slack off and delay work, and anything resembling industrious labor will get you ostracized

Re:Please follow her advice. (4, Insightful)

GeckoX (259575) | about 10 years ago | (#9983126)

Great point. (Not always the case as you have implied, but certainly true much of the time)

Anyone ever had a job on a roadwork crew?
What happened when you showed up on your first day and tried to actually work a full day without standing around with your thumb up your ass?

I quit after 2 weeks of being shown that it is not actually acceptable to 'work' all day long. How people can show up to a job day in and day out and fuck the dog all day every day is beyond me. In my experience this leads to the LONGEST days imaginable. Working is a heck of a lot easier when you actually work. (You know those days where you don't even get a chance to think hardly, and they're typically over before you realize the day was even begun!)

Re:Please follow her advice. (2, Insightful)

WormholeFiend (674934) | about 10 years ago | (#9983191)

In my experience this leads to the LONGEST days imaginable.

looking on the bright side, at least it will give you the impression that you live a longer life, as opposed to life in the fast lane...

working hard, or hardly working? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983205)

I had a temp job with the state where I busted my ass all day every day. They got rid of me because I made them look bad.

Then I had a temp job with the state where I worked equally as hard as everyone else. They got rid of me 'cause I was only average.

Then I had a job I loved working for private industry, that paid twice as much as the best job I ever had before, and was gratifying, and made me feel good about myself (even though I was always tired), and I liked my supervisor, and he thought I was pretty cool, too. Someone there didn't like me (still not sure why) and so *shoop* I'm not there anymore.

Guns are still legal, right? Or do I have to go to Iraq for that nowadays? Oh well, either way.

Re:Please follow her advice. (1)

essreenim (647659) | about 10 years ago | (#9982983)

I looked in the mirro today, and realised my stuble didn't bother me that much. I saw no ladder tho..
I only see the ladder when the leprechaun talks to me.

Re:Please follow her advice. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983008)

Ho, ho, ho. You must be an Ivy League student. Valuable annual reviews?

I live on a magical planet where work reviews actually make sense. And there's dogs with bees in their mouths, and when they bark they shoot bees at you.

Re:Please follow her advice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983067)

Do you imply only Ivy League students value work? I guess the stock put into hiring students from there first is true after all.

Re:Please follow her advice. (1)

dykofone (787059) | about 10 years ago | (#9983128)

looking in the mirror and taking responsibility for their place on the ladder

Jesus man, do you have any idea the shree amount of work that would involve?

The funny thing is you have it backwards (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 10 years ago | (#9983130)

If you'd bother to read the (very short) article at all, you'd know that actually part of the reason she proposes slacking is in fact to get ahead!

It's very dependant on the French business climate, but basically she says that since you have no chance to advance through good work (becaue the system is very rigid and based on tenure or diplomas), instead slack off in ways that few people notice - since the system makes it almost impossible (or very unlikley) to fire you, a boss will more likley move you up somewhere else than try to deal with you!

Now for an American slant - could you please let us all know where you work where your review determines how much you move forward? I have had a great carreer but any movements up have been more about me forcing the issue than being moved up because of good reviews. And I've seen plenty of people move up the ladder without good reviews to back them. Reviews, and pandering to them, are possibly the most pointless waste of time ever invented by humanity.

Re:Please follow her advice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983149)

Seems the employers job to motivate people to want to work. The current mentality of "pay peopple the minimum and threaten to move their jobs to china" will simply create more and more unmotivated people.

Re:Please follow her advice. (1)

fred_sanford (678924) | about 10 years ago | (#9983183)

You missed the point of the article. She's stating that it doesn't matter if you work hard, you're only judged on pedigree.

Re:Please follow her advice. (2, Insightful)

Mateito (746185) | about 10 years ago | (#9983186)

When the annual review comes up the people that take pride or work hard will move ahead.

Please give me a one-way ticket to your ideal world.

The chances that annual reviews will hand out awards in a way that correspondes to reality is basically nil. The problem, widely documented, is that most low to middle IT managers have no management skills. Corperations are failing to instill these skills when promoting good technical people.

Its Catch 22, we need your technical skills so we promote you, but when we promote you, you manage people.

That people are slacking THIS badly means that his or her manager should be shot, and they are obviously not excessing control over their team.

Re:Please follow her advice. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983208)

Annual reviews are garbage. Half the time, they are glossed over because there is WORK TO BE DONE rather than filling out pissy little paperwork. The rest of the time, they often go by a "curve" which means if 100 employees all kick super ass, 20% will always get fucked, 20% will always be gods on paper and 60% will be mediocre... evne though they ALL kick as much ass.

And companies don't so much care about your reviews. When it comes to layoff time, seniority plays more of a role than capability, productivity and work-ethic. That seems bizarre since a company that is having financial trouble should trim their belt by retaining only the few best people they can rather than ditching everyone based on number of years in the company, retaining some of the crappier, lazier, lesser qualified individuals simply because they've been at the company, skating by without notice, longer.

Seriously, reviews aren't worth the paper they're written on.

I put in 80 hour work weeks for seven years. I lived my work. I worked at work, then I went home and worked on work the rest of the night. Plus weekends. And holidays. That's assuming I didn't just live at work, which I did for weeks at a time. And all of my reviews were golden. But I didn't play the political game as much. Rather than kissing ass and talking big about myself, I kept my nose down and did the work that was being neglected by those who were spending their time ass kissing rather than working.

I neglected my health and social life and now I'm in very poor health (living in an office and eating crap food so you can spend more time working is a bad thing in the long run) and I have no social network. All I did was work. Day, night, weekend, holiday. Sometimes I would go home at 10pm and drive back at 2am because I got bored or wanted to get more work done, even though the work day didn't start until 9am.

Anyway, I was laid off a few months ago in favor of hiring a bunch of people in india. I noted that all of the people that were laid off had been there less tiem than those who were kept on the payroll, and many of those who were laid off were known company-wide to be far more talented and capable than those that stayed on.

Close, but misses the mark (5, Insightful)

skrysakj (32108) | about 10 years ago | (#9982944)

This mostly pertains to France, which is similar to other European countries whereby employees stay at one job, for life, and very rarely get fired.

I think US citizens should focus on different things, like getting 3 or 4 weeks of vacation per year, not just two.

Also, some professions are not equal in the USA. Medical residents, for example, are under the same employee laws as everyone else, but routinely work 100 to 120 hours per week. Only *now* are they starting to get tired of it and fight back.
Good for them, because that kind of thing is outrageous and needs to change.

Instead of focusing on "Bonjour Paresse", people should focus on working to live, not living to work. [worktolive.info] Or, how to be a good employee [skrysak.com] and not slack off, bringing down the system.

Re:Close, but misses the mark (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983053)

As someone who used to work for a multinational before having his job outsourced to india, I'd just like to reaffirm the fact that French people (and many euros) are fucking lazy as hell. It pisses me off that Americans are branded as "fat and lazy" when I'm being paid the same as some dickhead in France, but I'm picking up HIS slack, because he only works 35 hours a week, can't be forced to work weekends, can't be forced to work overtime, is gauranteed something like six weeks of vacation per year, plus gets something called RT every month for another day off.

Fuck all that. The french don't need a book on how to slack off. Their government fucking ENCOURAGES it to begin with.

Re:Close, but misses the mark (2, Informative)

pubjames (468013) | about 10 years ago | (#9983069)

This mostly pertains to France, which is similar to other European countries whereby employees stay at one job, for life, and very rarely get fired.

That's one hell of a sweeping generalisation.

Although this is more true of Europe than the USA, it is not true of all jobs (especially IT jobs), nor is it true of all countries.

Re:Close, but misses the mark (1)

skrysakj (32108) | about 10 years ago | (#9983122)

You're right, and I tried not to be TOO accusative, or generalize too much. Europe is a large body of countries, and off the top of my head I only think of Spain and Germany being close to the mark.

Hence my use of the words "mostly pertains to" and "similar to other European countries" instead of "similar to ALL European countries".

Anyways, as hard as we all work, in any country, us Americans often find ourselves envious of such employee comforts in most of Europe. (on the whole)

Re:Close, but misses the mark (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983078)

Uh. Working to live?

You have to LIVE to WORK. The reverse does not hold true. You take the jobs that are available for the price they'll pay doing the things you know. YOU are not the one with the power - the corporations are. Your options are to work the hours they want you to, taking the vacations they want you to, with the benefits they want you to for the salary they want you to (while being potentially laid off any day, with no company loyalty returned to the employee)... OR.... you can refuse to do that and find a $5/hr job flipping hamburgers and live under a bridge.

Yeah. Working to live my fucking ass. How fucking simple minded.

Re:Close, but misses the mark (0)

pubjames (468013) | about 10 years ago | (#9983107)

I think US citizens should focus on different things, like getting 3 or 4 weeks of vacation per year, not just two.

Absolutely. Holidays actually increase workers productivity.

The French and Germans have loads of holidays compared to North Americans, and yet their productivity per capita is actually higher than in the USA.

Re:Close, but misses the mark (1)

The Bungi (221687) | about 10 years ago | (#9983179)

I think US citizens should focus on different things, like getting 3 or 4 weeks of vacation per year, not just two.

Perhaps you'd like to offer some insight as to how to go about achieving this. I routinely cash out vacation I had no time or inclination to take during the year. Not because I don't want to take it, but because I can't afford to be away from the job for more than 7 days at a time.

And no, I don't want the government to "help me out" with this. I'm fine. I have a life and time for my family and I'm building a future. Work is not that bad when you truly love what you do.

Re:Close, but misses the mark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983216)

If you cashed it out, you still benefit from having more of it. Meanwhile, those of us who actually use it get our breaks and increased productivity from it.

Re:Close, but misses the mark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983249)

I've been in the industry for 10 years now. Straight out of highschool. I've never taken a sick day or a vacation. When I was laid off, I cashed everything out. Vacations are over-rated and I don't know what lazy euros do with two or three months off every year. I've had one week off out of ten years total - and that was because my employer FORCED me to take it off to deal with a death in my immediate family.

le first psot (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9982946)

bon jour. asshole

more (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9982948)

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5698558/

slacker get fp?

One name ... (5, Funny)

Lead Butthead (321013) | about 10 years ago | (#9982952)

Walley. (read: Dilbert.)

Re:One name ... (0, Redundant)

Analogy Man (601298) | about 10 years ago | (#9983026)

Damn...beat me to it.

Re:One name ... (2, Funny)

dbleoslow (650429) | about 10 years ago | (#9983076)

That reminds me, I have to catch up on my dilbert comics. That should keep me occupied for 30 minutes or so.

Re:One name ... (0, Offtopic)

OverlordQ (264228) | about 10 years ago | (#9983123)

That's Wally, no e.

pirst (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9982953)

ph0st..iyam..iyam..iyamm..

In Slashdot? (3, Funny)

rkrabath (742391) | about 10 years ago | (#9982955)

Are you aware of who you're posting to?

All we are is lazy. This post is the proof!

Re:In Slashdot? (1)

wan-fu (746576) | about 10 years ago | (#9983087)

However, "grammar nazis" never slack off. The correct usage in your question is "whom" not "who."

Re:In Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983169)

And "Nazi" is capitalized.

And these are sentence fragments.

Re:In Slashdot? (1)

The Queen (56621) | about 10 years ago | (#9983248)

To one-up you, he also ended with a preposition; let's fix that.

"Are you aware to whom you are posting?"

Caffeine (0)

Knights who say 'INT (708612) | about 10 years ago | (#9982962)

Why is coffee so popular?

We're just not physically constructed so to endure 8+ daily hours of work.

Just look at any other animal.

Re:Caffeine (3, Informative)

GeckoX (259575) | about 10 years ago | (#9983066)

Those 3 statements just don't add up to an insightful comment without a) data backing up each of those points and b) something to correlate those 3 statements together.

Re:Caffeine (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 10 years ago | (#9983095)

"We're just not physically constructed so to endure 8+ daily hours of work."

I agree, it eats into my sleep time. To quote the late great Bill Hicks, "all I need is eight hours of sleep a night, and then another eight hours during the day, and I'm good."

Re:Caffeine (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 10 years ago | (#9983247)

Elephants, draft horses (Percherons and Clydesdales specifically) as well as other creatures are physically constructed to work 8+ hours of work a day.

Besides, let's be honest, just because you are at work 8 hours a day doesn't mean you are actually working (like me posting here for instance).

The title is a pun (4, Informative)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | about 10 years ago | (#9982969)

On the title of a very famous French book called Bonjour Tristesse [amazon.com] (Hello Sadness).

John.

That'll lower the productivity index (3, Insightful)

grunt107 (739510) | about 10 years ago | (#9982990)

And give businesses more excuses to outsource.

If you are so worried about the dead-end/exiting nature of the lower/middle jobs, start kissing major butt to move into managment.

Or maybe start your own business doing something you are interested in.

And if you still think loafing is the way to go, please do not procreate.

Re:That'll lower the productivity index (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983054)

"And if you still think loafing is the way to go, please do not procreate."

Exactly! We all know how much stupid work bringing up kids involves.

Re:That'll lower the productivity index (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983097)

How about not allowing those companies to outsource.

I don't know about you, but treating a worker population like a colony of ants is not the way corporations should be run, IMO.

My life is not sustained by the productivity index.

Re:That'll lower the productivity index (4, Insightful)

laigle (614390) | about 10 years ago | (#9983218)

What good would that do? I'm still a competent engineer, no matter how much butt I kiss. That means I can't be promoted, or they'd have to find soemone else to fill my slot. It also means I'm ineligible for pay commensurate with my abilities, because management doesn't consider anyone a "real employee" unless they're involved in hyping stock.

Trying for middling promotions is just polishing the brass on the Titanic. We're not going into economic collapse in the US because of slacking. We're collapsing because management is viciously incompetent, and Wall Street insists on keeping them that way.

Slacking is good (1)

Adolph_Hitler (713286) | about 10 years ago | (#9982996)

Nothing is wrong with being lazy as long as its efficient. If you'll get paid either way why ever work harder than you need to? Work just hard enough to make the money you need to spend time with the people who truely matter and pay your bills.

You gain nothing by working harder, the company just exploits you and makes you work even harder. You won't get an increase of pay and even if you do you have to weight the time and freedom loss against that increase of pay, most of the time they arent big enough increases.

Exactly (2)

essreenim (647659) | about 10 years ago | (#9983193)

do {
if task=1
do task;

else if task=0&lab=empty {

for x=0;x300;x++
Surf google
for x=0;x300;x++
read;
for x=0;x300;x++
Surf /.

}task=1;

}while in_work=true;

..why not spread gangrene.. (2, Funny)

burgburgburg (574866) | about 10 years ago | (#9983002)

"why not spread gangrene through the system from inside?"

I'd have to imagine that that sounds much more attractive in the original French. Let's see what Babelfish says:

"pourquoi gangrene non écarté par le système de l'intérieur ?"

Yes, I was right. That sounds much more attractive. I'd like some, but without the butter.

Re:..why not spread gangrene.. (1)

hsoft (742011) | about 10 years ago | (#9983094)

Babelfish didn't translate this well. In french, it is "Pourquoi ne pas répandre la gangrène dans le système de l'intérieur?", but I would rather say "Pourquoi de pas infecter le système de l'intérieur?"

Ah the French... (1, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | about 10 years ago | (#9983003)

Let's see, you read this, you get like 1-2 months off every year, then you piss-and-moan about Americans being more successful.

Re:Ah the French... (2, Insightful)

Patik (584959) | about 10 years ago | (#9983050)

then you piss-and-moan about Americans being more successful.
Gonna back that one up?

Re:Ah the French... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983194)

Sure. How about this [chicagobusiness.com] .

Oh.

Re:Ah the French... (5, Informative)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | about 10 years ago | (#9983055)

Insightful?! Not sure the French are complaining about the Americans being more successful, they're actually sitting on the beach going on about how productive they are...

A much more informed view of "Europe vs. USA" can be found in a recent Economist. There's a multi-page special on the subject that boils down to:

1. USA has higher GDP/capita than EU, but
2. USA and EU have similar GDP/capita growth rates (in fact the same if you eliminate Germany which is having to cope with unification). How about the US tries merging with South America?
3. GDP/work hour is similar in USA and EU
4. US citizens have higher disposable income than EU citizens because US citizens work 40% more hours, i.e. EU citizens have same productivity as US, but work less hours, hence lower GDP/capita. Or to put it another way EU citizens have traded GDP/capita for leisure time, US citizens work much more and hence buy more stuff (TVs, cars, ...)

So there's no fundamental difference in GDP/work hour or productivity between the two federations. Europeans just take more time off, which might have a lot to do with the better health and better life expectancy in the EU. US citizens work like crazy and hence can afford houses stuffed with electronics, appliances and multiple cars.

I assume that you are a US citizen, perhaps you'd like to spend some of your disposable income buying the article here.

John.

Economist link (4, Informative)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | about 10 years ago | (#9983085)

Is here [economist.com] .

John.

Re:Ah the French... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983100)

USA has higher GDP/capita than EU

US citizens have higher disposable income than EU citizens because US citizens work 40% more hours

So, Americans are more successful after all.

Re:Ah the French... (3, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | about 10 years ago | (#9983143)

So, Americans are more successful after all.

Depends on your definition of success. In Europe, "having the most money" is not the sole criteria for success.

Re:Ah the French... (4, Insightful)

tumbaumba (547886) | about 10 years ago | (#9983198)

>>US citizens have higher disposable income than EU citizens because US citizens work 40% more hours

>So, Americans are more successful after all.


Perhaps when you turn forty and get tired of working your butt off you will realize that there more to success than having more disposable income than your neighbor, who can actually spend some time with kids and perhaps teach them something worthwhile.

Re:Ah the French... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983199)

How about the US tries merging with South America?

I see your point. Getting all of South America drunk first would be prohibitively expensive.

Re:Ah the French... (1)

GeckoX (259575) | about 10 years ago | (#9983168)

Are Americans actually more successful?
No wait, I retract that...I really don't think I want to open _that_ can of worms today ;)

Re:Ah the French... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983206)

The only pissing and moaning I see is yours, about your imaginary French friends, of whom I'm sure you have few.

"Yeah, but I don't want them, I'm an Amurican!"

Dopes like you give America a bad name.

Re:Ah the French... (4, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | about 10 years ago | (#9983255)

Let's see, you read this, you get like 1-2 months off every year, then you piss-and-moan about Americans being more successful.

You really don't hear many Europeans moaning about Americans being "more successful". We could be more "successful" (if your definition of success is having more money) here in Europe if we wanted to just by working more.

However, the culture is very different here. Whereas someone like Bill Gates is looked up to in the USA, in Europe very rich people are not socially looked up to very much. In fact, they are generally looked upon as being greedy.

Believe me, the main reason Europeans "piss-and-moan" about the USA is because of your foreign policy, especially under Bush.

It's a trick! (2, Funny)

Manip (656104) | about 10 years ago | (#9983020)

She just wants everyone else to do nothing so she comes out looking all good, teachers pet! :-/

That's great (1, Troll)

Rethcir (680121) | about 10 years ago | (#9983022)

I should move to France, I'd be a model worker!

Re:That's great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983237)

If you're American you really should. The French always need more Americans who will become the butt of their jokes.

Ummm.... (2, Insightful)

Solder Fumes (797270) | about 10 years ago | (#9983033)

So a French author advocates not doing the task in front of you; merely give that so-expressive French shrug with the palms upward. I guess this explains all the French military victories. Merely look like you're fighting a war, don't overdo it! Also: "Given the difficulty of firing employees, she says, frustrated superiors are more likely to move such subversive workers up than out." Let me just say right here that France has got to be quite different from America in this aspect. The firing process in America is a smooth, well-oiled and often-used machine.

Military slacking off? (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 10 years ago | (#9983086)

Actually, that's not a bad idea. If not overused, the inflatable tank technique [theotherside.co.uk] is quite effective. :)

Re:Ummm.... (1)

liquidpele (663430) | about 10 years ago | (#9983101)

"The firing process in America is a smooth, well-oiled and often-used machine."

Depends. For some jobs, (usually govt ones) there are many people who are hired because they are minority etc who actually can't be fired.
For instance, my friend's siter teaches, and her assistant doen't do shit all day.
Just does her nails, and sits around because she can't be fired and she knows it. It's nuts.

More power to you all! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983041)

While you slackers piss and moan about work being pointless, there will be more room for us who will be able to demonstrate a real committment to work and you twits will be the ones out on the street continung to whine about the job situation.

Gangrene up on that azz... (2, Informative)

Mitleid (734193) | about 10 years ago | (#9983052)

[the author] argues that France's ossified corporate cultural no longer offers rank-and-file employees the prospect of success, so, "why not spread gangrene through the system from inside?"

Interesting concept. Of course, I'd have to read the book to get the full explanation of this philosophy, but I think corporatist/capitalist countries have in fact gotten to the point where the corporate culture isn't one where one can aspire to promote themselves, but moreso just make sure that they're going to have a job come tomorrow morning. Business administration seems to have gotten to the point where employees have become so anonmyous and replaceable that, for the most part, it seems no one is encouraged to maintain or even develop a sense of loyalty. Maybe her suggestion to eat out these corporations from the inside could prove to light a fire under their asses. On the other hand, as I think anyone can attest to being displayed in the past, it will most likely just instill the people in charge to take away more and more rights and benefits from the employees as a means to counter-act the half-assed work they're getting in return for paying out salaries. Ah well, the door swings both ways it would seem. I guess it'd just be safe enough to admit that we're all pretty much fucked.

Typical, you'd think they worked hard from this. (2, Insightful)

Performer Guy (69820) | about 10 years ago | (#9983058)

Seems like a self fulfilling prophecy, but French socialists are the first to complain when the little guy actually gets a piece of the action from a company instead of the State.

The fact is that in Europe tech employees don't benefit as much from options etc whether at startups or larger corporations. The typical reaction however is not to expect better rewards or demand a piece of the pie (with the corporate tax incentives that are required to encourage it) but to tax the hide off profitable corporations and wealthy individuals a.k.a. "fat cats". There are no angel investors in Europe and almost no engineer level guys who made it rich in the rank & file who are then able to comfortably start their own business.

The typical small business starts out there with one or two guys, no cash (or a bank loan taken against your house) and maybe a grant from the EU or some development commission.

she might lose her job... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983060)

...just for writing the book. I had read this BBC article a few weeks ago:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3935669.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Wrong time of year... (3, Insightful)

Tailhook (98486) | about 10 years ago | (#9983061)

...as about half the French corporate workforce is on vacation right now. Probably not the best season to try to advise them.

CHOWDA (2, Funny)

Heem (448667) | about 10 years ago | (#9983075)

Say it frenchy - CHOWDA

Vive la SI!! (5, Informative)

Potor (658520) | about 10 years ago | (#9983090)

This is old hat. Guy Debord's Internationale Situationniste [nothingness.org] was daubing "ne travaillez jamais" on walls back when it was formenting the Paris student riots of 1969. And they meant it, man ...

as Bartleby would say ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983092)



I would prefer not to.

Imagine... (0, Offtopic)

Burpmaster (598437) | about 10 years ago | (#9983096)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of people slacking off! Oh, I guess that wouldn't do much, never mind.

Re:Imagine... (1)

savagedome (742194) | about 10 years ago | (#9983135)

a beowulf cluster of people slacking off

You just described my workplace

Living in France... (5, Interesting)

dmayle (200765) | about 10 years ago | (#9983115)

I know it's kind of cynical, but I live in France, and this isn't vry counter-culture at all. There's a continuous struggle between those who try to take advantage of the system from the bottom (the "lazy" ones), and those who are trying to take advantage from the top (what we usually term "evil corporations"). The French are working on equitable treatment all around, and for the most part they get it. (36 hour work weeks, I get 7 weeks of paid vacation a year, great social care/ health insurace, and no, the taxes are almost exactly what I paid in the United States. They're only very sharp once you get to the 150,000 and up range.) The downside is that there are many who take advantage of this to try and bilk the system. I'm glad to be here, because they do right by me, and I try to do right by them, but the worst of the lot are really making things terrible for the companies that are trying to do the right thing, and aren't "evil".

Hmm I wish... (2, Interesting)

MGhost (739206) | about 10 years ago | (#9983136)

According to the article, she works 20 hours a week for $24k a year = $25/hr? I know plenty of college grads making less than that, working twice as many hours. What a hard life she must have...

Self-respect (2, Insightful)

Rich Klein (699591) | about 10 years ago | (#9983137)

How could I practice calculated slacking and still respect myself?

Huh??? (1, Funny)

TopShelf (92521) | about 10 years ago | (#9983142)

What I don't understand is how this qualifies as countercultural in France...

This is an American phenomenon too... (5, Funny)

jkiryako (643156) | about 10 years ago | (#9983145)

"...if you don't like your job, you don't quit, you just go in every day and do it really half ass, that's the American way." - Homer Simpson

Managment by Paper (4, Funny)

rf0 (159958) | about 10 years ago | (#9983151)

If you just walk around with a bit of paper in your hand you look busy and can make sure you achieve nothing.

Rus

NEVER in Silicon Valley. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983171)

Such a philosophy would never become popular in Silicon Valley. The very fear of losing one's job increases the motivation to be productive. It keeps the employees on edge.

Unfortunately, nonexistent job security and a pessimistic outlook are the future. Employee complacence is much like a disease which can quickly destroy a company's competitve edge.

IMHO when France finally gets hit by outsourcing, it will be a very painful transition.

The Stint (5, Interesting)

havoc (22870) | about 10 years ago | (#9983173)

There was a time when factories ran around the clock and would then close down for months on end until all their stock was sold. The workers had a great solution to this problem called "The Stint," an agreed upon rate of production that no worker would go over. To quote Joanne B. Ciulla:

Employers were constantly trying to make employees work faster. Most workplaces had a stint, and those who failed to maintain it by doing too much or too little were ostracized. Workers who upheld the stint despite the curses of their boss earned reputations as "good men" and trustworthy masters of the trade. The worker restriction of output symbolized "unselfish brotherhood," personal dignity, and "cultivation of the mind." One reason why the stint was important is that workers wanted control over the amount of time that they worked. Businesses at this time often ran factories around the clock and then shut down for months at a time.

Another interesting part of the workingman's moral code was having a "manly bearing" toward the boss. In the nineteenth century this popular expression was an honorific signifying dignity, respect, and egalitarianism. A person earned his honorific by refusing to work while the boss was watching. It is useful to reflect on the difference between only working when the boss is watching and not working when the boss is watching. They are both gestures of defiance, but one is about keeping one's job and the other is about keeping one's dignity. The first says, "I don't want to work, but I will, because you are watching." The second says, "I'll work because I want to, not because you are watchingThere was a time when factories ran around the clock and would then close down for months on end until all their stock was sold. The workers had a great solution to this problem called "The Stint," an agreed upon rate of production that no worker would go over. To quote Joanne B. Ciulla:

Employers were constantly trying to make employees work faster. Most workplaces had a stint, and those who failed to maintain it by doing too much or too little were ostracized. Workers who upheld the stint despite the curses of their boss earned reputations as "good men" and trustworthy masters of the trade. The worker restriction of output symbolized "unselfish brotherhood," personal dignity, and "cultivation of the mind." One reason why the stint was important is that workers wanted control over the amount of time that they worked. Businesses at this time often ran factories around the clock and then shut down for months at a time.

Another interesting part of the workingman's moral code was having a "manly bearing" toward the boss. In the nineteenth century this popular expression was an honorific signifying dignity, respect, and egalitarianism. A person earned his honorific by refusing to work while the boss was watching. It is useful to reflect on the difference between only working when the boss is watching and not working when the boss is watching. They are both gestures of defiance, but one is about keeping one's job and the other is about keeping one's dignity. The first says, "I don't want to work, but I will, because you are watching." The second says, "I'll work because I want to, not because you are watching."

Great fodder for the execs to discuss... (1)

eufreka (793009) | about 10 years ago | (#9983182)

...after their round of golf, sitting in the 19th hole, waiting for their expense account meal to be served. They can bemoan the "new laziness" of their overpaid, overbenefitted employees.

Follow Her Advice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9983214)

That way, I'll look like a hard working yes-man, and I can move up that corporate ladder straight into Mohogany Row.

No loafing (5, Funny)

Burpmaster (598437) | about 10 years ago | (#9983217)

Seriously, have these businesses considered a no loafing [homestarrunner.com] sign?

One obviosly hasn't tasted India (5, Interesting)

Neo's Nemesis (679728) | about 10 years ago | (#9983220)

I am living in India's capital, New Delhi. And the condition of government departments here is stagnating. According to the official hours, you work from 10AM to 6PM. But the schedule goes something like this:

10AM - Crowd bundles up at the office
10:30 to 11:00AM - The staff arrives
11:00 to 12:30PM - Work!
12:30PM to 1:00PM - Closed for Lunch
1:00 to 1:15PM - Getting-all-the-gas-out break
Then it is followed by some work, lots of bribery, lots of chatter with friends while the common man waits for his turn and so on...

On paper, its actually 40-45 hr weeks, but in reality its much less. And thats the situation in cities. In villages its worse than anything. No work for days, and that too only thru bribery. And OTOH, the private sector employee works his ass off till night to make himself and country proud (and also to pay off those heavy bribes). Sad and sic!

Venality and slackness would kill Indian dreams.

Passive Resistance (1)

Feneric (765069) | about 10 years ago | (#9983224)

Passive resistance can work wonders (just ask Ghandi) but if one really wishes to effect change with this technique a message would somehow have to be communicated to the powers-that-be telling them what sorts of changes were required.

Who knows? There are definitely some employees out there getting abused by their managers. Possibly this technique (used surgically) could help them get basic rights.

Used haphazardly I suspect that this technique could do a lot of harm.

It's my guess... (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | about 10 years ago | (#9983232)

... that the book was funded by an Indian outsourcing firm. It would be in their interest to perpetrate the notion that Western workers are lazy and ineffectual.

Bring It To The States! (0, Troll)

blueZhift (652272) | about 10 years ago | (#9983250)

I'm either going to wait for the English translation, or learn French! I hope the book will make its way to these U.S. shores, but I'm sure The Man will do whatever he can to stop it. OMG! Such subversion! What? People shouldn't work their guts out at jobs they hate for less and less money with no hope of advancement? Damn! That could bring this whole country down. Can't have that! That's a danger to homeland security!

Seriously, has anyone noticed how our corporate overlords and their government stooges have been less and less subtle about suppressing expressions of dissent in the media? I'm going to see if this is on Amazon yet...

After RTFAing... (1)

CarrionBird (589738) | about 10 years ago | (#9983254)

It seems to be less of a pro-lazyness rant than a "how to get ahead by bucking the system" rant.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>