An old (2 years to be precise) interview I did with George Saunders finally surfaces at Vice.
The power dynamic of offices is territory that seems very rich for you. Do you remember any specific, non-fiction instances of workplace cruelty at a job?
Oh sure. I remember having to fill out evaluations on some very good friends who were going through difficult times personally, and then getting chewed out because I hadn’t been “truly frank.” But it’s more the creeping, gradual, everyday stuff that I still dream about—the accreting nature of being under someone else’s power. And the weird and complicated thing was, the people who were oppressing me were usually pretty nice people and were being oppressed themselves, and would joke about the fact that they were oppressing me and being oppressed. Then just after our little commiseration session they would go away, and pretty soon here would come an oppressive memo, or they would fire somebody and leave early in order to avoid discussing it