This book starts with the collective ‘we’ and starts to unfold describing a scene that if you work in an office you know all too well. There might be differences in the location – Chicago – and the type of office – an advertising agency – but those are minor issues.
What Ferris has observed so acutely is the way that people in an office are split into an us and them. In this case the ‘us’ group is being slowly chipped away at through a process of lay-offs. This is the post dot.com era at the turn of the century and the last thing people wanted to pay for was advertising. There are several examples of how people react to being told they have been laid off with the mysterious and threatening to the tears and denial.
But even with a couple of employees gone the group remains relatively intact and spends its time hanging around in Benny’s office hearing about the reactions of Tom Mota and Chris Yop to being told that they were being let go. Although self-preservation is at the top of everyone’s list there is a collective mentality that does not want to see anyone go. At the top of the tree sits Lynn who has the ability to fire at will along with her side kick Joe Pope, who seems to have a foot in both of the us and them camps.
There are some funny moments but bearing in mind we have had some redundancies at work recently it is more the acute observation of the workplace that you appreciate.