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Day Job: A Workplace Reader for the Restless Age Hardcover – October 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Allen & Osborne Inc; First Edition edition (October 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966080521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966080520
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 7.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,270,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 jbaird@a-os.com, or lallen@a-os.com.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Jon Baird really hit the nail on the head with this witty journal of a Twenty-something Customer Service rep experiencing corporate stupidity, and laying it out for all to see and experience. The layout is incredible. One that I think will start a new trend in off-line publishing
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book can be read on many levels. From its unusual layout complete with artistic gems in the margins, to the well researched literary allusions peppered throughout, it's quite an experience. The writing requires a someone delicate read - otherwise much of the subtle nuance could be glossed over - there are many hidden treasures in this book. I have an advanced degree in literature, and I would hold this up there with some of the better things I've read recently. It really captures the zeitgeist of the 90's workplace, as well as the angst-ridden humor of young corporate Americans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The knock-you-on-your arse, eye-candy layout was enough to keep me engaged for hours. After seven months working at my first "real" job, I have started to wonder where it's all leading, and to question how the heck I ended up here. Once I started "Day Job" I soon realized that I was not alone. It's as though Mr. Baird was sitting in the cubicle next to mine, capturing the various dramas and forces at play in the office. Laughing at these characters was like laughing at myself, which is just what the doctor ordered!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Allen97 on January 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
On the back of this book, it reads: Fiction/Business/Popular Culture.
Is this some well-disguised TQM book? In the back of the book, it has order forms for more books -- so that middle management can give them to all junior staff and say, "I understand you, dude: my office, five o'clock."
If it's not just a disguised TQM book, I'm awed by the brilliance. If it is a disguised TQM book, I'm disgusted. They've infiltrated our ranks and are using our own against us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By dracula@bellatlantic.net on September 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The book excellently depicts the main character's struggle with the inner conflict, between what he wants to do and what he is doing. Those of us who recently came out of school and into our first job would truly understand if this job was not what we had in mind.
It is a quick read and can be done in about 1-2 weeks during the lunch hour. The author truly captures the main character's emotions and issues and conveys it to the reader in a way that the reader can relate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jadd Boyden on May 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I love books that are different. When I saw this I bought it right away. I was not disappointed.
Day Job is just about the funniest thing I've ever read. The author is really demented.
My only complaint is it's physically tough to read at times, but it only adds to the charm of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I think you've been watching too much of the X-Files! Paranoia is an unfortunate side-effect. The book is NOT by a TQM sympathizer-it completely makes fun of silly management initiatives. It's not sneaky--it's BRILLIANT!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
For all those Nietzche fans who woke up and found themselves working for a corporation. I haven't laughed this much since reading Confederacy of Dunces.
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