Essays

Re: Resignation Letters

by The Inmate . . . prose consists less and less of words  chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases  tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house. —George Orwell I received the following memo in my box this week.  I have underlined the corporatespeak phrases: To: My…

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Re: Advertising

by The Inmate There was hardly a soul in the firm who was not perfectly well aware that publicity– advertising– is the dirtiest ramp that capitalism has yet produced. —George Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying One of the more pressing questions of existence is this: Where did car salesmen come from?  Were they created or…

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Re: I’m Nobody. Who Are You?

by The Inmate Working in the fields is not in itself a degrading job.  It’s hard, but if you’re given regular hours, better pay, decent housing, unemployment and medical compensation, pension plans–we have a very relaxed way of living.  But the growers don’t recognize us as persons.  That’s the worst thing, the way they treat…

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Re: In Praise of No

by The Inmate We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon. —William Zinsser, On Writing Well No!  No!  Noooo!  No! —My Two-Year-Old Son There is no more important word in the workplace than “No.”  It is not used enough.  If asked to work overtime or work on the…

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Re: The Proper Use of Profanity

by The Inmate Eloquence, smooth and cutting, is like a razor whetted with oil. —Jonathan Swift Inmates know the Biblical commandment not to use the Lord’s name in vain.  This is good advice for all words, particularly those words defined as profanity.  When used incorrectly profanity becomes a meaningless, hollow noise, but used properly it…

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Re: Employee Involvement

by The Inmate . . . workers did not reject the presence of the time-motion man and the stopwatch per se,  only their lack of participation in the decision to employ such methods. Anson Rabinbach, The Human Motor Once every few years my floor of the Asylum asks its employees what they think about the…

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Re: Fatigue Vaccines

by The Inmate . . . the length of time of labour required under the present system is too great, and that, far from leaving the worker time for rest and education, it plunges him into a condition of servitude but little better than slavery. Resolution of the Working Men of Dunkirk, New York, 1866…

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Re: Ambition

by The Inmate What chiefly diverts the men of democracies from lofty ambition is not the scantiness of their fortunes, but the vehemence of the exertions they daily make to improve them. Alexis de Touqueville I am a determined, committed, tenacious and dedicated part-time employee.  My ambition is to work no more than six hours…

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Re: Acceptance Speeches

by The Inmate It is perhaps a general rule that where human uniqueness is impaired words are emptied of meaning. —Eric Hoffer, Working and Thinking on the Waterfront For discerning employees the acceptance speech is the best initial indication of a new manager’s competence.  The general rule is this: the shorter the speech the more…

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