Good reading (from the New Yorker, Nov. 2000) that also caused a bit of controversy after it was published….

My Fake Job: Day 11, Noon: When I get back from lunch, there is a meeting of at least thirty staff members in the big conference room. Why am I not part of the company’s knowledge-management system?

I work the resentment out through my work: an afternoon spent devising ways to deceive the increasingly menacing Red-Haired Lady. First, I open up a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet document on my computer. I’ve never used a spreadsheet before, but I have no problem filling it in with random numbers. Whenever I see the Red-Haired Lady’s reflection in the window, I click from my word-processor file to the spreadsheet file, drumming my fingers distractedly on the mouse. My only concern is that she’ll think I’m auditing her expense reports and go on the warpath.

I also draw a meaningless flowchart, labelled ‘Starwood Project,’ on a legal pad, and leave it out on my desk to give me management credibility. I invent some acronyms, box them, and connect them with arrows. Then I write ‘August 2001’ in big letters underneath, and underline it three times. This lets her know that I am very much on schedule, whatever it is that I am doing.

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