And now, onto the Two for Tuesday. Brainchild of the ever fab Kate Hart, it’s where you post two of anything: book reviews, pictures, quotes, poems, songs, videos, rants, shout outs, whatever floats your boat. Just connect them somehow. That’s it.

So my Two for Tuesday: My two favorite books about office life (yes, even though I write about seventeen year old werewolves and teenage ghosts, I have to pay the rent somehow and that requires being a cubicle mouse).

This morning, just after 11:00, Michael locked himself in his office and he won’t come out.

Bill (Bill!) sent Michael this totally wicked flame-mail from hell on the e-mail system – and he just wailed on a chunk of code Michael had written. Using the Bloom County-cartoons-taped-on-the-door index, Michael is certainly the most sensitive coder in Building Seven – not the type to take criticism easily. Exactly why Bill would choose Michael of all people to wail on is confusing. We figured it must have been a random quality check to keep the troops in line. Bill’s so smart.

Bill is wise.
Bill is kind.
Bill is benevolent.
Bill, Be My Friend…Please!

Actually, nobody on our floor has ever been flamed by Bill personally. The episode was tinged with glamour and we were somewhat jealous. I tried to tell Michael this, but he was crushed.

~ Douglas Coupland, Microserfs

I first read Microserfs at the (slightly optimistic) age of sixteen, blissfully unaware that I was six years away from working in the Information Technology sector.

I next read Microserfs when I was twenty-six. Someone had left a copy in the office and I would read it in fits and bursts. At the time, I was working fourteen hour days and, whenever I got to the point where I was so sick of looking at my computer screen that I wanted to hurl, I’d get up, grab the book, flop down on one of the expensive leather sofas (the ones that no one ever sat on between nine and five) and read a few pages.

Though I’ve only read it twice, Microserfs is one of the books that I find myself thrusting on people the most often.

WE WERE FRACTIOUS AND overpaid. Our mornings lacked promise. At least those of us who smoked had something to look forward to at ten-fifteen. Most of us liked most everyone, a few of us hated specific individuals, one or two people loved everyone and everything. Those who loved everyone were unanimously reviled. We loved free bagels in the morning. They happened all too infrequently. Our benefits were astonishing in comprehensiveness and quality of care. Sometimes we questioned whether they were worth it. We thought moving to India might be better, or going back to nursing school. Doing something with the handicapped or working with our hands. No one ever acted on these impulses, despite their daily, sometimes hourly contractions. Instead we met in conference rooms to discuss the issues of the day.

~ Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End

I will never read Joshua Ferris’s Then We Came to the End a second time. I’m absolutely positive of this. So positive that I parted with my copy of it. Not because it wasn’t brilliant (it was). And not because it lacked voice or style or accuracy (it had all three in spades). And not because you shouldn’t read it (because it’s very, very good and everyone knows that very good books need to be read).

I gave it up because it hit entirely too close. It summed up forty plus hours of my week (multiply that over several years) and while I saw the humor in it (it really is a brilliant book), part of depressed me in an “Oh my God is this really my life” sort of way.

* Bonus points and virtual cookies if you know where the quote in the subject line hails from.

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