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Working for the Man: Inspiring and Subversive Projects for Residents of Cubicleland


Working for the Man: Inspiring and Subversive Projects for Residents of Cubicleland

book that starts with the disclaimer “Doing some of the
things in this book may get you fired. You’ve been
warned” has to have some true gems inside. Buckle your seat
belt, sit back in your cubicle and take in the numerous hints on
how to be successful, in spite of “the man.”

At first blush, you might think that everything in WORKING FOR THE
MAN is geared toward the negative aspects of cubicle living. Not
so. There are very funny sections here about surviving your
boss’s tirades, preparing for performance evaluations and
many other tactics --- not just to survive but to flourish. On most
pages there are small quotation boxes with a numbered rule. These
are fun and easy to digest. “Rule 11: The shorter the
message, the more trouble you’re in. ‘Call me as soon
as you get in’ is bad. ‘See me’ is really

Boss case studies include the Could-You-Get-Me-A-Cup-of-Coffee (or
bagel, etc. and never pay you back) Boss, the Change This One Thing
(or two, or three, also known as the sea of red ink) Boss, the
Reader of Pop Psychology Business Books Boss and of course the
ever-popular It’s 5 o’clock on Friday But I Really Need
You to Get This Done Boss. Everyone can relate to at least one of
these classifications.

Author Jeffrey Yamaguchi challenges his readers to be creative.
Take, for example, the chapter on co-workers. Here you have the
opportunity to complete individual scenarios, exactly as your mood
suits you. In the chapter on “friendly competition” we
are offered numerous opportunities to engage in activities that you
do every day at work anyway, so why not make them fun? Some are
riskier than others, so proceed with caution! The meetings pool and
most emails in a day contests look like fun.

The absolute winning chapter is “Surreptitious
Projects.” You can get in some serious trouble, but they
really are hysterical. “Truth in muffins: Set out a tray of
muffins or doughnuts or bagels. Then, put a sign in front of the
tray that says ‘For Upper Management Only.’” Or
everyone’s favorite: On the vending machine leave a message
for the vending distributor to “please stock with those
little bottles of Jack Daniels.”

And “comments from a concerned coworker” are priceless:
“Please stop leaving food out, even if it’s wrapped and
stored in your desk drawers. I am starting to see bugs. Sometimes
my desk is completely covered in giant roaches. They seem to appear
and then hide in the blink of an eye.”

WORKING FOR THE MAN is a primer, a “must-have” for
anyone working in corporate America who truly sees the humor (often
preceded by frustration) in the sometimes frivolous work
environment. To survive, we must rise above the trivialities of
daily living. Now, to really live and thrive, try implementing some
of these treasures! In the now-immortal words of Yamaguchi,
“Don’t get mad, get inspired.”

Reviewed by Marge Fletcher on January 24, 2011

Working for the Man: Inspiring and Subversive Projects for Residents of Cubicleland
by Jeffrey Yamaguchi

  • Publication Date: October 17, 2007
  • Genres: Humor
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Trade
  • ISBN-10: 0399533710
  • ISBN-13: 9780399533716