The Dilbert Zone

Productivity. Who needs it?

Stanley Bing is probably best-known for his hilarious columns on modern business, which appear in "Fortune" magazine every week. But with "Lloyd: What Happened", Bing proves that his full-length novels can be just as funny as his two-thousand-word columns...and even more scathing in criticism.

"Lloyd..." takes us through one year in the life of the title character, a senior manager at a large software company, who begins his New Year by staggering into an important meeting drunk and hung over from too much partying the previous evening. Before long, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary meeting - Lloyd's boss, Walt, is being gently pushed into a position where he is to share duties with the Chairman of the Board, an amoral corporate cutthroat who puts Productivity above all else.

Under Doug's leadership, the corporation is poised to become the single largest corporate entity on planet Earth, an audacious strategy referred to as Moby Deal. As Lloyd and his employees work nights putting the deal together, it soon becomes clear that Moby Deal will result in the termination of a huge number of employees - including Walt, Lloyd's friend, mentor and boss. The situation is further complicated by Lloyd's growing attraction for Mona, an attractive co-worker; his wife Donna's affair with a hunky carpenter; office politics and double-dealing; and Lloyd's own lack of self-control for all things alcoholic.

Will Lloyd be able to keep his job, resolve his feelings about Mona, and still make the bottom line? You'll have to read it to find out...but Bing does a great job of infusing his story with just enough sadistic twists to bring to life the often ludicrous inconsistencies of corporate life. Filled with bar graphs, pie charts and clip art which "even an MBA can understand", the story of Lloyd is the story of everyone who's ever faced a domineering, sadistic boss at work...and wished they could fight back.

If you're in business, you'll chortle through "Lloyd..."'s 400-odd pages, its quirky characters, and its ever-more confusing spirals...and if you're not, it'll make you grateful for your foresight!

This article was first published on 14 Feb 2001.