Sunday, April 20, 2008

Madness in the Workplace: Company

I first heard of Max Barry's novel, Company, when it was published in hardback. It's the bizarre, amusing, and all-too-accurate tale of a newly-hired young sales assistant. An excerpt:

Elizabeth puts her hands on her hips. Elizabeth has shoulder-length brown hair that looks as if it has been cut with a straight razor and a mouth that could have done the cutting. Elizabeth is smart, ruthless, and emotionally damaged; that is, she is a sales representative. If Elizabeth's brain was a person, it would have scars, tattoos, and be missing one eye. If you saw it coming, you would cross the street.


IT does know what went wrong, down to the line number of the offending piece of code. It begins to explain several possible solutions. But these involve confusing phrases like "automatic fail-over switching," and Senior Management gets irritable. It skips ahead to the logical conclusion: Information Technology is a bunch of idiots who locked the stairwells. They put the wheels in motion: IT will be outsourced by the end of the week.

Good stuff. Check it out.


Jim Stroup said...

It really is very good stuff, isn't it?

This book is a nice combination of taking a break with a (technically) non-business fiction book that happens to be about a business. The characterizations and situations are hilariously on the money, as is the concluding revelation.

This is a fun and illuminating read.

Michael Wade said...

I've been amazed how how much of it is right on target. Very funny stuff.