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My New Filing Technique is Unstoppable Paperback – March 2, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
From the disparate extremes of corporate banality and his own furious imagination, Rees has crafted a world seething with humor. Following his antiwar hit Get Your War On and his samurai spoof, My New Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable, this is a hilarious satire of workplace desperation taken to a medieval level of agony and the madness needed to survive it. Visually, the story consists of bland clip art taken from business presentation manuals, but Rees skillfully uses the same drawings over and over again to create an entire cast of characters. These doomed office drones speak in a profane gangsta patois that is anything but boring. "You're being killed by the numbers? Fuckin' count harder man!... You are real. You are better! Say that shit ten times." Tensions mount as the unnamed company tries to find a new filing technique that will neutralize the presumed boredom and incompetence of its workers. Dr. Fanderbiles, a consultant portrayed by a drawing from the 1920s, is brought in to increase productivity, but things go terribly wrong, even when he promises team members a chance to "jump out of an airplane and hold hands." This work joins Office Space, Work is Hell and Dilbert as a fantastic recreation of the middle-management tedium and petty in-fighting that the workplace can become. Unlike Dilbert's wasteland, though, this office actually seems to be a very exciting place, what with people turning invisible, databases blowing up and computers using Scotch tape to network. Rees is quickly becoming one of Gen Y's foremost humorists.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Raw, enraged, sardonic, hilarious...and impossible to pigeonhole. -- Rolling Stone
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You probably already know many of the characters in your own life-most of Rees' trash-talking clipart people are familiar enough to make part of you laugh in recognition and part of you consider hara-kiri. The clipart device also works well because Rees treats the pictures literally and builds absurd stories around them. Two women in front of a filing cabinet have intense and profane conversations about filing techniques; co-workers gathered around a workstation are business trainees who use the "spy computer" to learn about office politics; a shadowy man with a stack of dot-matrix printouts contemplates stealing the paperwork to start his own company.
So take a cubicle break and visit a world where management can drop a Triangle Body Mode at any time or can bring in Dr. Niles Fanderbiles to make sure your filing system is in the Realm of Excellence.
Do the numbers in our files represent real objects, or are they just an abstraction?
Is alphabetically the only order letters come in?
How can I empower myself to excel the data?
Why are you performing eye surgery in my cubicle?
If you don't mind swearing for swearing's sake then you will probably get a kick out of this one. It's short and you won't find yourself re-reading it on winter nights, but it's a nice novelty item and worth the price tag.
Also highly recommended for catharsis from insanely tedious work that makes you want to yell after awhile. This is not nuanced subtlety here, not a comedy of manners like "The Office" but hits the rage spot just about right.
Rees did this before 'Get Your War On", which is more cohesive (I guess you could call it that) and he hit his stride in that book, but this is so perfect for its time. It's the same format that's been ripped off and much-imitated since then - Clip-Art figures ranting and raving and making absurd non-sequitors, and generally spewing all the things you'd like to say but cannot in the interest of keeping your job, even if you hate it.
Sample "presentation": "Success Strategies: Why Don't You Have One? Because You Can't File for #@&*".
In short, I laughed until I couldn't breathe and had to put the book down. An incredible, hilarious commentary on the depths of despair available 9:00-5:30 in your metropolitan area.