HR Strange But True!
January 25, 2007

By now you may have heard of Emmalee Bauer, a 25-year-old who spent much of her 21 months with a hotel company at a computer -- compiling a detailed diary of her determined efforts to avoid any sort of actual work.

Sitting at her desk at the Four Points Sheraton in Des Moines, Iowa, Bauer spent her days as a sales coordinator playing computer games and writing about her work -- or almost total lack thereof, the Des Moines Register reported.

"I am going to sit right here and play Elf Bowling or some other nonsense. Once lunch is over, I will come right back to writing to piddle away the rest of the afternoon," Bauer wrote. "I have almost 100 pages here! I wonder how long that's going to take to print?"

Bauer originally began the diary in handwritten form, but switched to the computer when she was instructed not to write in her journal on company time. That proved to be something of a godsend for her.

"I am going to be typing all my thoughts instead of writing all day," she wrote. "That way, there isn't any way to tell for sure if I am working really hard or I am just goofing off." And later: "This typing thing seems to be doing the trick. It just looks like I am hard at work on something very important."

Other Bauer entries excerpted by the Register include:

  • "I can shop online, play games and read message boards and still get paid for it. I think I'll keep this job for a while until I can find one that offers the same freedoms."
  • "I think I'll do some more Internet searching about beagles. If nothing else, I'll look at puppy pictures."
  • "I don't know what I would do if someone got a hold of this -- besides get fired."
Her prediction proved correct -- she was fired after a supervisor discovered her journal. The journal also proved to be her undoing at a hearing on her request for unemployment benefits. The administrative law judge said the writings showed a refusal to work, as well as Bauer's "amusement at getting away with it," the Register reported.

This week, in the wake of news coverage of the story, an editor from Random House and a literary agent were trying to contact Bauer to see whether the journal might be worth publishing. But getting the journal published might not be easy or even possible: Sheraton is thought to have destroyed much of the journal, and the 100 pages that Bauer printed before she was fired might be considered the property of Sheraton because it was written on a company computer on company time.

The possibility of her journal being published was one of the many topics covered during Bauer's rambling musings.

"There might be some great worth to my writing," she wrote. "Who knows? I may get all this stuff published ... and then won't everyone feel silly? They were stifling a great author."


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