Corinne Maier is a trained economist (among other things) working for Electricité de France, a state-owned utility. She's penned Bonjour paresse, a hit guide for the disenchanted and disengaged employees of France. In a stunning example of institutional blindness, her employer is now pursuing disciplinary action against her - because of the book.
Over lunch at the Café Bonaparte off the Boulevard Saint Germain, the 40-year-old mother of two says it is time for wage slaves to hit back. "Businesses don't wish you well and don't respect the values they champion. This book will help you take advantage of your company, rather than the other way around. It will explain why it's in your interest to work as little as possible and how to screw the system from within without anyone noticing." (FT)
It seems Maier has the system figured out: she works 2.5 days a week, and has written 8 books since 2001. Nevertheless, it appears that the bosses at Electricité de France have very thin skin. they've called her in for a disciplinary hearing - on August 17th. The company's move seems unusual, since almost all of France habitually goes on vacation in August.
The book has been out for several months, and sales apparently weren't spectacular - until EdF tried to turn the screws.
At the end of July, however, Le Monde, the leading daily, unexpectedly devoted a front page article to EDF's disciplinary action against the book's author ...
Failing to see the funny side, EDF accused Ms Maier of "repeatedly failing to respect her obligations of loyalty towards the company," and of running a "personal campaign, clearly proclaimed in the book, to spread gangrene through the system from within." Citing her habit of reading newspapers in meetings and of leaving one gathering early on May 3rd, the charge sheet also alleged she had neglected to secure permission to mention on the back cover that she worked for EDF.(FT)
Here's an interview with Corrine Maier from l'Humanité.