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Saturday, July 31, 2004

The French guide to laziness

August 1, 2004
FRANCE could be in big trouble. The appearance of a book advising people to be lazy at work is expected to become one of the best-read manuals of the summer, writes Matthew Campbell.

Some may scoff that it did not need to be written and Bonjour Paresse, or Hello Laziness, is unlikely to please a government trying to coax citizens into working longer hours. The subject is stated bluntly on the cover: “The art and necessity of doing as little as possible in the workplace.”

Corinne Maier, the author, insisted it was tongue in cheek but her employer, EDF, the French electricity company, is not amused. “It seems they did not like my book,” she said in an interview, adding that she has been summoned to a disciplinary hearing accused of trying “to rot the system from within”.

In her book she argues that loyalty and hard work are so rarely rewarded that employees lose nothing by doing as little as possible without being fired — a tactic she calls “passive resistance”. She recommends calling in sick and converting to Islam or Judaism simply to get days off for religious reasons. FR Reprint.

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