Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Nov 4, 2009

A Realistic Book on American Work Place Culture 1

Filed under: Reading — admin @ 12:46 am

I have just managed through a book called Then We Came to the End: A Novel by Joshua Ferris, 2007. How I dislike the content of the book. It is said that “Americans spend more time with coworkers than with their families.” That is, more time at work than at home. Can you imagine that!

The book describes the daily engagements of office cubicle dwellers. The descriptions are so pathetically realistic and unflattering, revealing everything we don’t want to see in ourselves or we want to escape from, yet sadly to say, the author seems to show us that there is a bit of us in his descriptions. No wonder the book is said to be “A small, angry book about work.”

In peace times, office is occupied with irritable, sarcastic, grumpy, gossipy, and absolutely frivolous beings, whose minds, deficient in ideals, dreams and aspirations, are shaped to think in group and act as one team. When business goes downward, fear and insecurity prevail, with everybody taking care of him/herself and devil taking the unfortunates.

The cubicle dwellers are thoroughly and hopelessly smothered with trivialities, drudgery, and pettiness, that absurdity seems to scream out at your face, making you wonder if white-collar work is meant to be this senseless, this soul-killing. The author expresses his discontent over this office life through the voice of one employee.

I talked to my daughter about this book. “It gives you a suffocating feeling,” I told her. “Then, why do you read it?” asked her. “I want to understand the work place culture in America,” was my answer. Also, I wish my children could read this sad little book someday and make all efforts to escape from this kind of existence. I shared the book with a colleague of mine who told me, “The book makes me depressing.” If it is not a real picture, it is at least uncomfortably close to the truth. Well, if truth is depressing, let it be.
To be continued …

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