Book about a job doing nothing.
April 28, 2011 1:47 PM   Subscribe

This post reminded me of a name-that-book question.

Some years ago, my friend Elise told me about a book she had read by two guys who had gone to work for big, rapidly growing company (maybe Amazon or some other dotcom success). They had, if I recall correctly, been hired at the same time. They had been given an office, desks, computers and phones, and handsome paycheques, but essentially no work to do.

I do not recall the details of how this happened, if indeed I ever knew them: perhaps their offsite boss had quit answering e-mails and returning messages, perhaps their boss had left and their attempts to contact HR to find out who they now reported to came to naught. In any event, they worked there for a relatively lengthy period -- maybe a year or more -- without any actual work to do before they collaborated on the book, and then, IIRC, eventually quit afterward out of boredom.


Does anyone know this book?
posted by ricochet biscuit to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't know of a book, but I do know that Rodney Rothman's story "My Fake Job" sounds fairly similar. It was published in the New Yorker in the November 27, 2000 issue and appeared in the Best American Nonrequired Reading 2002.

Note: Rothman is former head writer for David Letterman, and also got in a wee bit of trouble when it was revealed that -- shocker! -- not all of his experiences were strictly true.
posted by Madamina at 2:30 PM on April 28, 2011


I seem to remember something similar going on in "JPod" by Douglas Coupland. I may be wrong, but it's still a fun read.
posted by gakiko at 7:46 AM on April 29, 2011


I read something similar - there was a re-org and his boss left, but he didn't get assigned to a new boss. He came to work each day, closed the door, and just surfed the internet all day. At one point he looked up the cost center on his paycheck and found another guy in a distant office with the same situation. I remember at one point in the story he was named an executive and they made a big deal about making sure he had a globe in his office. Maybe he was supposed to manage people but he didn't have a team. Sometimes he would get emails asking for help solving a problem and he was able to solve it, so they liked him being there.

I don't know what it was or where I read it. If this is the same story, maybe the additional details will help someone else remember it.
posted by CathyG at 6:16 PM on April 29, 2011


Response by poster: Gakiko: No, as explained to me, this was non-fiction.

CathyG: That sounds promising.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:35 AM on April 30, 2011


Best answer: Someone at Reddit asked the same question and they came up with the answer in 5 hours.

from Everything Shii Knows ... American Dream
posted by CathyG at 6:56 PM on May 20, 2011


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