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Corinne Maier

  • The more big business talks about something, the less of it there is. For example, it 'values' jobs just at the moment when they disappear; it revels in 'autonomy' when in fact you have to fill out forms in triplicate for the slightest trifle and ask the advice of six people to make insignificant decisions; it harps on 'ethics' while believing in absolutely nothing.

  • ... any effort at large-scale reorganization — that is, any project spanning more than two years and, more generally, anything that has not already been done — is inevitably doomed to failure.

  • Only communist regimes have churned out more jargon than modern business.

  • Money counts more than you think.

  • Corporations never actually mention 'money'; that would be vulgar. They prefer such words as 'turnover,' 'profit,' 'salary,' 'revenue,' 'budget,' 'premium,' and 'savings,' all much more refined.

  • ... the middle manager is doomed to remain just that. Once an office rat, always an office rat.

  • ... we live in a world of excess: too many kinds of coffee, too many magazines, too many types of bread, too many digital recordings of Beethoven's Ninth, too many choices of rearview mirrors on the latest Renault. Sometimes you say to yourself: It's too much, it's all too much.

  • The religion of the corporate world is novelty. What is new is always right.

  • Culture, which by definition serves no purpose, has now found a role as the consort of business. Right off the bat we have a beached whale, since there is nothing that disdains culture as much as business does. ... In fact, 'corporate culture' is nothing more than the crystallization of the stupidity of a group of people at a given moment.

  • Ethics is a detergent word, used time and time again to clean consciences without scrubbing.

  • ... ethics is a bit like culture: the less one has, the more one flaunts it ...

  • Business and its logic of productivity have become the reference point in a society that thinks marketing every time it opens its mouth.

  • 'Manager' is a title, not a function. It's better to be one than not. Since you spend all day doing the job of the person above you, the higher up you are, the less you have to do.

  • ... although the typist has disappeared, her work has not: now you do it yourself. ... Since most companies have reduced the managerial ranks, there are fewer and fewer bosses, so you become a manager, his boss, and his secretary all rolled into one.

  • Remember that work is not a place for self-fulfillment. If it were, you would know it.

  • What you do is ultimately pointless. You could be replaced any day of the week with the first moron who walks in the door. So work as little as possible, and spend a little time (not too much, though) 'selling yourself' and 'networking' so that you will have backup and will be untouchable (and untouched) the next time the company is restructured.

  • Never, under any circumstances, accept a position of responsibility. You will be forced to work harder with no other benefits than a few extra bucks — 'peanuts,' as they say, if that.

  • In the biggest companies, seek out the most useless positions: those in consultancy, appraisal, research, and study. The more useless your position, the less possible it will be to assess your 'contribution to the firm's assets.'

  • When you're 'recruiting' people in temporary positions for the firm (short-term contracts, free-lancers, etc.) treat them well: remember, they're the only ones who actually do any work.

Corinne Maier, French economist, psychoanalyst, writer

(1964)