George Saunders on the American Workplace

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Early in his career writer George Saunders filled notebook after notebook with ideas on how to make more money, how to live in a nicer place, and how to get beyond never having enough. The theme of work became dominant in his writing – and there are few happy endings, let alone straight ahead characters.

His short stories are filled with mistreated employees and villainous CEOs. He writes about a sort of corruption at the heart of corporate culture, and parodies the elliptical language of “memos from the management.” George Orwell called it meaningless words and pretentious diction. Worse maybe in George Saunders’ world is meaningless activities like filling out daily partner performance evaluation forms or DPPEFs, and pretentious questions like, “are there any Situations (capital “s”) that require Mediation (capital “m”).

The writer George Saunders assails the American workplace.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


George Saunders