Are the walls of your cubicle starting to close in? Have you just sat through yet another meeting trying to rally team morale? Time for a break. Grab a cup of coffee, find a quiet spot, and delve into Jonathan Baird's illuminating and hilarious book Day Job. Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.
Mark Thornton works in customer service for a company committed to TQM (Total Quality Management), a program in which "groups of contaminated individuals lapse into loud and ungovernable fugue-like states, wherein future trends of commerce are prophesied and cosmic lessons in human behavior are thought to reveal themselves." Charters, team spirit, unreasonable clients, and a manager totally dedicated to TQM plague Thornton, who, just a couple of years out of college, never envisioned himself working in a meaningless "day job." So when a client recommends participating in the SysCorp Journal program, Thornton jumps on it, hoping, perhaps, to discover a career path for himself. For one day, he'll record everything that happens to him at work, which SysCorp will then analyze and notate. The result is Day Job; half business self-help, half humorous novel, it is the journal of a disillusioned worker, complete with notes from SysCorp, doodles and asides from Thornton, and helpful words of advice culled from everyone from Proust and Walt Whitman to Deepak Chopra and Stephen Covey's (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People).
The design--which at first may appear gimmicky--is ultimately delightful, making this book a pleasure to flip through. But the true fun lies in how Thornton dissects his life and the lives of those all-too-familiar characters who appear in our own offices--the defensive temps, the proudly overworked, the suspicious coworkers. Whether you're just starting your career or you've been master of your cubicle for years, you'll enjoy the lively prose (think Douglas Coupland meets "Dilbert"), not just for its humor but also for how close it hits home (or, rather, office). --Jenny Brown
From Publishers Weekly
This refreshing approach to the conventional business book, a combination of text and illustrations in an unusual format, is guaranteed to grab the reader's attention?and may furnish some insights, chuckles and a lesson or two about satisfaction in the job market. Mark Thornton, whose notes about his job and his life form the basis of the story, is your typical recent college grad. He's got a useless political science degree and tons of student debts and has landed a job as a customer rep for a graphics company in the throes of Total Quality Management (TQM) training. TQM has driven Lon Baffert, Mark's boss, bonkers, so that he periodically pops into people's cubicles and tells them to "get psyched." Mark has latched onto management's limitless appetite for psychological fixes by getting the company to underwrite his Syscorp Journal program. Offered by a rival to TQM, Syscorp's morale and retraining program requires that, for a day, Mark jot down random observations on his life. Baird, who has been a magazine art director, gives the ostensible results of this project a distinctive journal-like look by rendering much of the text as though it's a typed manuscript-in-progress, including marginal doodles, sidebars (for instance, "a Select Inventory of Management Office Furnishings," listing the baffling knickknacks with which middle-managers tend to clutter their offices) and an array of quotations from such masters as Nietzsche and Steven Covey (of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People fame). The trick by which Mark gets to join the design department is the funny payoff for this quirky look at workplace anomie in the 1990s. (Sept.) FYI: The publisher intends to distribute this book only through college and independent bookstores and the Internet, avoiding the chains. Readers are encouraged to interact with the author and publisher at www.dayjob.com. or firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.
See all Editorial Reviews
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.