An eerily prescient tale of layoffs; think “Alien” set in an office, where computers are stealthily self-destructing and people keep disappearing from their cubicles, leaving vast empty warrens of corporate debris. Did I mention that it’s deeply, bitterly funny?
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
In September, Ketzel Levine, a senior correspondent for National Public Radio, came up with an idea for a series about how Americans were handling economic pressure....
Ms. Levine and her editor didn’t want a series of unconnected stories. “We came up with the idea that each person should be connected with the next somehow, and that was the best part for me,” she said....
But there was an unexpected ending. Midway through her reporting, Ms. Levine found out that she had been laid off as part of a 64-employee cut at NPR.
Ms. Levine, who has worked at NPR since 1977, said she decided the final episode, and her final piece for NPR, should be about her own situation.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
One of the notable events in recent literary history was a modest bump in the number of novels about white-collar work. The two most heralded were, significantly, debuts: Joshua Ferris' Then We Came to the End and Ed Park's Personal Days. Both young authors, possessed of little experience besides what their cubicle daydreaming and job insecurity had supplied, they exploited the potential of office spaces to their extreme, and the immediate response these novels elicited from reviewers was: "more!" We needed more novels about bagel brunches, useless meetings, excessive coffee drinking, awkward exchanges, e-mails and layoffs. We were to re-experience what so many of us went through every day, to know it as pain, to see the expression of that pain among others as a form of solidarity.
—Nikil Savil, for The Millions' "A Year in Reading"
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I met with a recruiter recently (online media industry) and in conversation I happened to mention I'd spent way too much time in the early 2000s playing online games, which I described as "the ones before World of Warcraft"....
He replied that employers specifically instruct him not to send them World of Warcraft players. He said there is a belief that WoW players cannot give 100% because their focus is elsewhere, their sleeping patterns are often not great, etc....
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Books of prose I recently finished that I keep thinking about are Ed Park's hilariously-and-sadly-perfect-for-our-times Personal Days. I also loved Kelly Link's Magic For Beginners....
In "Personal Days," Ed Park's dark, dark humor captures the slow death-spiral of a company and the workers still living in its decay. As they are summoned by human resources, the still-employed huddle around their monitors like some post-apocalyptic campfires, writing screenplays, Googling themselves and generally acting far more clever than anyone in charge. Sadly, the book is timely.—Louisville Courier-Journal
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
...Commonweal includes it in its Christmas Critics roundup—click here to see...
...and...a "former African dictator" gives it a thumbs-up:
Park shows both the cramped spaces and bizarrely profound social investments we make in our co-workers' lives by telling the stories of a dozen mid-level employees of a moribund company, marooned on an increasingly empty floor of a New York high rise. Together, they're bound in anxiety over losing their jobs, excitement at the sudden independence of being fired and terror of doing anything to draw attention to themselves. Oddly, this semi-oblivion engrosses them. The best jokes come from the office. So do the freshest ironic nightmares. It's the most entertaining thing they have, but no one wants to ask too seriously if perhaps that's because it's all they have. —Et Tu, Mr. Destructo?
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
[I]t is the small tablets with tiny writing that are the most tantalising objects in Babylon, Myth and Reality (at the British Museum until 15 March). Can one, through them, get beyond archaeological evidence and inference, bypass the fevered imagination of William Blake’s and John Martin’s Bible illustrations and hear the voice of a Mesopotamian Pepys?
Well, not exactly, but the range and character of what is written down give some idea of the texture of everyday life in Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon. The majority of tablets may be the equivalent of office files – letters, legal documents, contracts, mortgages, lists of goods – but there are also messages addressed to the gods, some of them expressing indignance that good behaviour has not been rewarded. —Peter Campbell, LRB
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
This book, Personal Days, totally nails the particular weirdnesses of working in an office, how days blend into days, years blend into years. That weatherless timelessness. What a curious book to be reading this week, too, as the news is all so very dire -- recession, the publishing industry, joblessness, blah blah. Just like the people in the book, you can hate your job and still be so thankful for it. —Moonlight Ambulette
Bonus video (from 9 to 5!):
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
This week, Joshua Cohen writes about Kafka's office writings at Nextbook. (Five installments.)
(Correction made: Nextbook, not The Forward!)
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Smartly of-the-moment, this is office life at its best and worst: the "instant folklore" of the internet age ("when you feel a tingling in your fingers it means that someone?s Googling you"); the modernist poetry of an email inbox; the weird of experience of being a boss: "Every night, the chances are that at least one of [your staff] dreams of you."
Sunday, November 30, 2008
So now that I remembered how to read I've been picking up all the many half-read books littering my apartment, and have happily re-delved into Personal Days, Ed Park's very funny novel about a group of people who work in an office at a time of economic upheaval and rampant layoffs. It just goes to show you what a difference it makes to be reading the right book at the right time -- even just a few weeks ago I'm sure the employees' skittishness about layoffs wouldn't have struck so chillingly close to home, but now layoffs (and rumored magazine shut-downs) are sort of the theme of the day at the media company where I work.
And then the most amazing thing happened. One day I read this paragraph: "Week after week, you form these intense bonds without quite realizing it. All that time together adds up: muttering at the fax machine, making coffee runs. The elevator rides. The bitching about the speed of the elevator. The endlessly reprised joke, as it hits every floor: Making local stops." Funny, I thought, and so true about the unexpected bonds. But no one makes that elevator joke where I work, bub! I mean, no one really makes small talk or even looks each other in the elevators in my building.
And guess what happened the next day at work. Two security guards in the elevator, going up, with practically every floor's button illuminated. One turned to the other and before he even said it I knew what he was going to say. Making local stops.
This book must be magic!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
This comic and creepy début novel takes place in a Manhattan office depopulated by "the Firings," where one can "wander vast tracts of lunar workscape before seeing a window." The downsized staff huddle like the crew of a doomed spaceship, picked off one by one by an invisible predator. Crippled by computer crashes (one worker suggests that the machines are "trying to tell us about the limits of the human"), the survivors eddy in a spiritual inertia; when one of them is banished to "Siberia"—a lone desk on another floor—no one can muster the energy even to reply to her increasingly anguished e-mails, until, one day, she is simply no longer there. Park transforms the banal into the eerie, rendering ominous the familiar request "Does anyone want anything from the outside world?"
after you read the book, send the two names that are anagrams of each other to
and get a
free whimsical jpeg!
Monday, November 24, 2008
—I've Been Reading Lately
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Neat in their boxes, dolor of pad and paper weight...
Read the whole poem here, and learn more about Rylan Steele, who took this photograph:
Photo: Office, 2008 by HHS entrant Rylan Steele
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I spent a large part of today in front of a microfilm reader in the New York County Clerk office on Chambers Street, looking at immigration records from the turn of the century. How many people today ever use microfilm? Most technologies pass into obsolescence, but others are completely forgotten. After people stop using email, it may not take many more decades before people forget what email was - before they forget that it was ever an innovation in the real world. That is my secret hope for Personal Days - that someday in the future one of its readers will come across a passage about a QWERTY keyboard or cd drives and see it not as a laughably retro reference, but as the techno-babble of some forgotten era. On that day the novel will pass from very good period fiction to very good science fiction.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Where did Kafka learn to think like this? A case could be made that he found his training not in his intricate psyche or in his horrified commitment to writing – ‘the service of the Devil’, he called it – but in his day job at the Prague Institute for Workmen’s Accident Insurance.
—Michael Wood on Kafka's office writings, London Review of Books
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
[I]ntensely plotted, [with] a very satisfying surprise ending...a finely-modulated progression of narrative voices...It's as though working at this unnamed company, engaged in its unspecified business, they are living through a slow-motion disaster, an earthquake in freeze-frame, that will not end until they walk out of the funky lower-Manhattan office building for the last time — assuming that blasting in the neighborhood doesn't cause it to topple. The unaffectionate intimacy with which these young people cohabit adjacent cubicles gives the book a snarkily cheerful surface beneath which flow unpredictably chilly currents.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Do you want to maximize your productivity, push your career to the next level, and maintain a positive outlook at work? Artist and office worker Michael Lewy has a series of helpful charts for you. Lewy, who has an administrative job at MIT, spent the past year engaged in a surreal act of worldbuilding that resulted in City of Work, a collection of slide presentations, ad campaigns, and educational films that reveal the dark side of "getting things done." —i09
Monday, November 3, 2008
—From Frigyes Karinthy's "The Moral," in Soliloquies in the Bath (read all of it at A Journey Round My Skull)
Friday, October 31, 2008
Franz Kafka: The Office Writings brings together, for the first time in English, Kafka's most interesting professional writings, composed during his years as a high-ranking lawyer with the largest Workmen's Accident Insurance Institute in the Czech Lands of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Franz Kafka (1883-1924) is commonly recognized as the greatest German prose writer of the twentieth century. It is less well known that he had an established legal career. Kafka's briefs reveal him to be a canny bureaucrat, sharp litigator, and innovative thinker on the social, political, and legal issues of his time. His official preoccupations inspired many of the themes and strategies of the novels and stories he wrote at night.
These documents include articles on workmen's compensation and workplace safety; appeals for the founding of a psychiatric hospital for shell-shocked veterans; and letters arguing relentlessly for a salary adequate to his merit. In adjudicating disputes, promoting legislative programs, and investigating workplace sites, Kafka's writings teem with details about the bureaucracy and technology of his day, such as spa elevators in Marienbad, the challenge of the automobile, and the perils of excavating in quarries while drunk. Beautifully translated, with valuable commentary by two of the world's leading Kafka scholars and one of America's most eminent civil rights lawyers, the documents cast rich light on the man and the writer and offer new insights to lovers of Kafka's novels and stories.
(From John Mark)
II. What Would Don Draper Do?
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
(More about Asia Pacific Forum here.)
And at 7 p.m. on Thurs., 10/23, he'll be reading at the Asian American Writers' Workshop (16 W. 32nd St., 10th floor) with Monica Ferrell (The Answer Is Always Yes).
Monday, October 20, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
(Pianos: 158 Ludlow St. Event goes from 7 to 9. Trains: F or V to Second Ave. JMZ or F to Delancey St. $25 admission, which you should fulfill on the website pre-event, goes to the Obama/Biden campaign.)
2. Next Thursday (10/23), Ed will be reading at the Asian American Writers' Workshop. Also appearing: Monica Ferrell, author of the novel The Answer Is Always Yes.
(AAWW: 10 W. 32nd St., btw Bwy & 5th Ave., 10th floor; event starts at 7; suggested $5 donation.)
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I meet a friend who's bad-tempered and nervous because of a problem at work that's harrying him. From outside, from the edge of his desk, it's easy to measure the absurdity of this preoccupation about something that doesn't even touch him (vicariously living someone else's problem: misfortune of a good worker, of an honest manager). I wonder whether it occurs to him to suddenly consider the absurd, as a comparison with the cosmic, whether he sometimes takes a step back so the monster in front of his eyes turns back into the fly hovering in the air....
—Julio Cortázar, Diary of Andrés Fava (transl. by Anne McLean)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Do we have an Italian Camus on our hands? Just possibly - Class of Civilizations won Italy's Flaiano Prize....On Columbus Day weekend, it's added serendipity for the novel to revolve around a character - Signor Amedeo - whose Italian origins are utterly in dispute.
Lakhous shapes his story around a single apartment building on Piazza Vittorio in Rome, an immigrant area. His building's residents, whose stories crisscross, offer a microcosm of modern Rome as they battle over the deteriorating condition of their elevator.
—Carlo Romano, review of Amara Lakhous's Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, Philadelphia Inquirer
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The nearly universal carpeting of offices must have come about in my lifetime, judging from black-and-white movies and Hopper paintings: since the pervasion of carpeting, all you hear when people walk by are their own noises–the flap of their raincoat, the jingle of their change, the squeak of their shoes, the efficient little sniffs they make to signal to us and to themselves that they are busy and walking somewhere for a very good reason, as well as the almost sonic whoosh of receptionists' staggering and misguided perfumes, and the covert chokings and showings of tongues and placing of braceleted hands to windpipes that more tastefully scented secretaries exchange in their wake. —Nicholson Baker, The Mezzanine
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Personal Days, by Ed Park, is a post-Dilbert, post-Microserfs look at office culture. It's like the show The Office, except populated by people who, for the most part, understand what is happening to them. What I like best about the book is Ed Park's use of cliché phrases. You know how that first song on Elvis Costello's Imperial Bedroom album (Beyond Belief) strings together known phrases into something entirely bigger? Or the way Delmore Schwartz would italicize a phrase as if to show it was a saying instead of just words? Know what I'm saying? Park does this throughout his text, creating a gentle, phantom hypertext that required no further explanation. And this black comedy about downsizing brings an almost Beckett-like sense of reduction to the dwindling office.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
AT the Livonia, Mich., headquarters of Fathead, which produces life-size wall graphics of athletes, two new figures stand on opposite ends of an office hallway — a likeness of John McCain, and another of Barack Obama, each 6 feet 5 inches tall. They are conversation pieces, to say the least.
On the Manhattan desk of Amara S. Birman, an account executive at Dukas Public Relations, sits a Beanie Baby with a G.O.P. emblem on its tummy — an invitation to anyone who wants to talk politics.
You’ve heard that rule about never discussing politics at work? That’s so last election.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t some silent types out there. Joni Daniels is one. A business consultant and meeting organizer in Manhattan, she has lots of opinions, but she keeps her political ones to herself.
Rachel Kempster used to feel that way, too — at least in the old days, which ended for her a few weeks ago. During the primaries, she says, she was “irked” by all the political chatter at DK Publishing in Manhattan, where she is a book publicist.
Is all this political talk in the office a boon for the democratic process or a tyranny of the vocal over the taciturn? Depends, sometimes literally, where you sit.
...try to find common ground.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
"Walking 9 to 5" Or, "How many times would I fall down each day?"
An article last Thursday about desks that include treadmills stated that Dr. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, invented the first known treadmill desk. After the article was published, Seth Roberts, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, pointed out that he had created such a desk in 1996, eight years before Dr. Levine.
— New York Times, September 25, 2008
* I Put In 5 Miles at the Office (NYT, September 18, 2008)
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
On September 14, EP read from Personal Days at the Brooklyn Book Festival, joining fellow debut novelists Charles Bock and Chuck Klosterman. (Here's what the Columbia Spectator had to say.)
(Photo: Restless Reader)
Monday, September 22, 2008
1. Authors for Obama (10/19), with Paul Beatty, Nick Flynn, Elissa Schappell, Gary Shteyngart, Anthony Swofford, and actress Lili Taylor
2. Asian American Writers' Workshop (10/23), with fellow debut novelist Monica Ferrell
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
"Jenny says he heard head cabbage (or the Boss Russell, from which Brussels and cavoletto Brussels) singhiozzava, with the office door socchiusa. Jonah has accused of wanting to humanize the enemy. 'Maybe laughed' , Says Laars, but we all know that the laughter of head cabbage not like a weeping. Remember rather a ululato. " We are a company in Manhattan where employees consume their days with the terror of losing the place. If the boss calls you and commends you, confident that after a short time you will be sacked.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
2. For the second year in a row, Ed will be appearing at the Brooklyn Book Festival. On Sunday, September 14, at 5 p.m. on the Mainstage, Ed will join fellow debut novelists Charles Bock (Beautiful Children) and Chuck Klosterman (Downtown Owl).
Photo of EP (with Rob Sheffield) by Adrian Kinloch, from last year's Brooklyn Book Festival.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
—Don Paterson, Best Thought, Worst Thought
When I stand in my office, my limbs slowly turn to wood, which one longs to set fire to, so that it might burn: desk and man, one with time!
—Robert Walser, "Helbling's Story"
Monday, September 1, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The book's first third unfolds in first-person plural: Park's "we" comprises a shrinking number of bright young things who have begun to dim, day-jobbers who are no longer sure what dreams their jobs feed. This device (varied slightly in the book's middle) blurs the characters in the same haze of shame and depression through which they see one another. It's a dangerous stylistic tack, but Park pulls it off with sharp wordplay and a mind for the absurd. By keeping intimacy at bay early on, he also heightens the pathos of the book's final third, where — in a leaping epistolary confession, written on a "craptop" without a period key — a single character tells his own story and dignifies the stifled lives of his axed colleagues.
Rebellion in this office goes little further than FedEx-ing office supplies to your home, but a battle cry rings between the lines of Personal Days: an angry defense of language against its murder at corporate hands. Park performs riotous burlesques with e-mail misspellings and corporate clichés; his characters hear double-entendres in computer error messages ("You are almost out of memory") and invent new words like "deprotion," for "a promotion that shares most of the hallmarks of a demotion." The novel may even remind you of Orwell's "Politics and the English Language."
"This is a parody," Orwell wrote after one of his own savage illustrations, "but not a very gross one."
—Josh Kamensky, L.A. Weekly
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
To test the birds’ recognition of faces separately from that of clothing, gait and other individual human characteristics, Dr. Marzluff and two students wore rubber masks. He designated a caveman mask as “dangerous” and, in a deliberate gesture of civic generosity, a Dick Cheney mask as “neutral.” Researchers in the dangerous mask then trapped and banded seven crows on the university’s campus in Seattle.
In the months that followed, the researchers and volunteers donned the masks on campus, this time walking prescribed routes and not bothering crows.
The crows had not forgotten. They scolded people in the dangerous mask significantly more than they did before they were trapped, even when the mask was disguised with a hat or worn upside down....
Monday, August 25, 2008
Ok, when I first started reading this, I thought that it was the same as Joshua Ferris's book "Then We Came to The End" except that Joshua Ferris's story was better. Both are set in the modern work-place: lay-off fever has gripped the office and both are about the trivial details with which we become obsessed in our daily work days. But in the end, I think it's a dead heat: both books are very funny. Ed Harris's novel definitely improves with reading. By the last section--written in a kind of stream-of-consciousness way--I couldn't put the book down. But the funniest thing about this book? "The Jilliad." Keep your eye out for it.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
You confess to a colleague that you're worried about your supervisor, who hasn't been very focused the last three weeks and has been coming in late to work. Later that day, like a game of office telephone, you hear a version of your story from a different co-worker, and it's not hard to figure out the source. The Tape Recorder takes your confidential conversations and plays them back to everyone in the office. The person's motivation is often to feel important or "in the know" rather than any malicious intent. --"What Kind of Office Gossip Are You?," MSN
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
My boss holds a meeting and announces that the company has to make some cuts. Later that afternoon, while everyone is at their desks being worried and emailing their resume out to people, I bravely march into his office and say that I’ll be happy to be let go in exchange for one of my coworkers–perhaps the one with the newborn, so I look like even more of a saint. My boss intially refuses to let me leave the company and gives an extended monologue about how valuable I am and how he regrets not devoting enough time to telling me how awesome I am. But finally, he is moved by my courage and allows me to quit, but only after offering me a hefty severance package, which I use as seed money to open an island resort for beleaguered assistants to detox from their jobs.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
We do not actually do any work in the office anymore, other than trying to imagine what it would be like to kiss each other. We have been thinking about it so long we have forgotten what it is we should be doing. —Joe Meno, "An Apple Could Make You Laugh," from Demons in the Spring
Friday, August 15, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
"I'm going to send it soon—if not this week, definitely the next," said Quigley, who often opens the e-mail, corrects spelling and syntax errors, and saves the changes before relegating the fearless letter back to his drafts folder....
—From "Courageous E-mail to Boss in Drafts Folder Since December," The Onion
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
In each of the novels, Stark (who is one of Donald Westlake's many identities) concerns himself with such seemingly mundane details as finding a good job, getting to know the other workers, and doing the work. He doesn't stint on detail, and he doesn't touch on much outside of the job.
Check out Stark's The Outfit—guaranteed to hold you up!
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Question: Parker’s work often seems unglamorous—he spends lots of time alone, driving, thinking, planning, waiting around, making phone calls, negotiating, checking numbers. He seems to value the bourgeois virtues of self-control, discipline, consistency, and focus. Do you agree Parker might make a great accountant?
Westlake: I’m not sure he has the patience for accountancy, but I’ve always believed the books are really about a workman at work, doing the work to the best of his ability. However, I see him more as working stiff than professional class.—From an interview with Donald Westlake, about his Parker novels (written under the name Richard Stark)
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
—Justin Bauer, Philadelphia City Paper
Monday, August 4, 2008
Conversation in my new office (8/3)
C: Do you want to come to Starbucks with us?
M: Sure! Let's go.
M-K: I forget... which one is the good Starbucks?
C: It's the one between 5th and 6th, definitely.
M-K: Yeah... the other one is so much worse.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
New Yorkers! Come here Ed read at KGB on Thursday, July 31, 7 p.m.! With fellow L-mag contributor April Wilder. More info here.
Read what New York magazine has to say...This will be EP's last reading of the summer!
* * *
In other PD news—
Canada's National Post has a "guaranteed summer read"—Personal Days.
And EP jabbers somewhere in the midst of this Korean American radio show out of Chicago (is it called "Ill-Rated"?).
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
In reading this and reflecting on how much of the typical office day is spent in nattering, nagging and nothings, I kept thinking: So why do we still have employees come to an office? It's time to admit that there are more distractions at the office than at home, and just give in to the idea of remote employees.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Eleven was the only clock word she liked. She would insist it sounded lilting and relenting to her.
For me, though, the hour itself—the work-shift one, I mean, and not its trimmer twin in late evening—did not slope toward anything better. I never budged for lunch, and I liked to do myself in a little. I would postpone a piss until I had to brave rapids, practically. (There was a vessel I kept beneath my desk.)
This was the property-management division. We were sectored off from the rest of headquarters by little more than particleboard. The job required the luxurious useless indoor fortitude it has always been my fortune to enjoy.
—Gary Lutz, "Years of Age"
Sunday, July 27, 2008
—Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Ms. Getty relished her late-in-life success, her son said. And she enjoyed reminiscing about more difficult times. In a 1990 interview she recalled one of her last secretarial jobs, at a company called Snap-Out Forms, where she kept her acting ambitions a secret for fear of being fired.
“At Snap-Out Forms, the first day I came to work, I had an audition, and I said, ‘Can I go for my lunch at 10 o’clock?’ ” she said. “The next day I had to go someplace else. I said. ‘Can I take my lunch at 2:30?’ The next day I asked if I could take lunch at 11 o’clock. The office manager said, ‘You have the strangest eating habits of any secretary we’ve ever had.’ ” —NYT
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
—Ed Park, "The Sure Thing"
Friday, July 18, 2008
From Restricted View:
I checked my card's account history when I got back to my desk and found this list of purchases:
- 6/11/2008 12:05 PM Purchase - Vending Location $0.85
6/11/2008 10:24 AM Purchase - Vending Location $1.50
6/11/2008 10:24 AM Purchase - Vending Location $1.50
6/11/2008 10:24 AM Purchase - Vending Location $0.85
6/11/2008 10:24 AM Purchase - Vending Location $0.85
6/11/2008 10:23 AM Purchase - Vending Location $1.50
6/11/2008 10:23 AM Purchase - Vending Location $0.85
6/11/2008 10:23 AM Purchase - Vending Location $1.50
6/11/2008 10:22 AM Purchase - Vending Location $1.50
6/11/2008 10:22 AM Purchase - Vending Location $0.85
6/11/2008 10:22 AM Purchase - Vending Location $1.50
6/11/2008 10:21 AM Purchase - Vending Location $0.85
6/11/2008 10:19 AM Purchase - Vending Location $0.85
Re: The elephant in the room
OK, um, seriously? I thought we were going to have cupcakes for Angela's birthday at 3, but then I get there and someone has clearly put an elephant in the conference room. I am sure whoever did this thinks it's pretty hilarious, but you guys are not the office manager, and you are not the one who is going to have to deal with building services when they find out that there's an elephant inside the office park....—Wendy Molyneux, McSweeney's Internet Tendency
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Your piece on office songs immediately made me think of "Piazza, New York Catcher," which I sometimes think is the best song ever. (Seriously: when he gets to the "I know it wouldn't come to love" line, then invokes "Don't Walk Away Renee," my heart just crumbles every time.) I realized that I tend to think of it as an office song—but looking again at the lyrics reveals that of course they're barely in the office at all (hell, the office is ultimately imaginary, too, isn't it?)—just "At dusk when work is over we'll continue the debate."
(At Largehearted Boy, EP names "9 to 5" as one of his favorite office songs, and discusses New Order's "Run.")
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
My cubicle feels strongly that Linda is the gal to lead the charge into a more sane, less youth-centric, more woman-friendly year. Born in 1965, she is living proof that life, and fabulousness in general, begin at 40. Watch for her in the upcoming Prada ads. And watch for her peers Naomi and Christy in various other fall fashion campaigns. The supermodels are back!
Cubicle theories abound regarding the return of this triumvirate....
—Simon Doonan, "Teen Chic Is Tired; Women Are Back!," New York Observer
Monday, July 14, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
During the workday, many interoffice emails arrive in my inbox with this message at the bottom: "Please consider the environment before choosing to print this email." There must have been a company-wide campaign at some point before I arrived; I don't have the banner, but it seems like most people do...But...this consciousness-raising banner doesn't just appear onscreen; it shows up at the bottom of the page if you decide to go ahead and hit "print"...
Read more of Mollie's "Today's Office Irony."
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
—Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince
(read the rest of the excerpt at Maud Newton.)
Monday, July 7, 2008
Don't go to the bookstore, though—the reading is at Solas (232 E. 9th St., btw Send and Third Aves.)
A ROUGH SKETCH:
See you there?!
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
It is not so much a memoir as a series of commentaries, interspersed with contemporaneous office notes and entries from a diary he kept in 2005 while working on the book. President Havel worries about everything from the future of the planet to the half-cooked potatoes served to the visiting Emperor of Japan and the bat that has taken up residence in his summer house. “In the closet where the vacuum cleaner is kept there also lives a bat. How to get rid of it? The light bulb has been unscrewed so as not to wake it up and upset it.”
Friday, July 4, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
For more than two years, Combs has taken a bus, the No. 7 train and a Metro-North train to get to and from work. She leaves her home at 6:45 a.m. to get into work at 9:15 a.m., and then leaves the office at 6:30 p.m. to return home at 9 p.m.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
[T]oday I got a work-related e-mail in which the last (unrelated) line read, "By the way, [boss' boss] tells me you're moving to another building soon!" Uh, thanks for letting me know, guys? I will try and forget about the book I just read in which soon-to-be-laid-off employees were first moved to a near-empty floor where no one would visit them. —From a LiveJournal entry
"...a reverse alarm clock to be programmed for how long you want to sleep instead of when you want to wake up. Keeping with her ideas on sleeping and waking, Wang has come up with a Tyrant alarm clock, which steals your mobile phone and makes random calls every three minutes until you get up..."
Monday, June 30, 2008
Update: Here's the playlist, featuring songs ("Work Is a Four-Letter Word"!), readings from PD, and cubicle shots from listeners: