In Labor Pains, Kevin Taylor, is the absolute worst employee ever. His high school counselor tells him, “You’re not that smart. You’re average. … You can easily get through life by fading into the background and just being good enough. No one will notice you and that’s a good thing. … Be you. And you are average.”
Fifteen years later, Kevin is exactly that. He’s maintaining, but remains far from successful. He slacks off at his job in human resources while failing job interview after job interview. His mediocrity at work bleeds over into his personal life. He has a girlfriend that’s way too hot for him and wants more commitment. His best friend is a carny. He’s got a condo he can’t afford, bills out the whazoo, and keeps getting passed over for promotion at work because, well, he’s a terrible employee. But things seem to be turning around for Kevin when new management arrives and employees start getting fired. Is this the opportunity Kevin has been looking for?
Labor Pains is a bit of a slow starter. It’s easy to get annoyed with Kevin, because he’s obviously the source of his own problems. “If he’d get off his butt…” you think. “If he wasn’t always so negative…” But just when this gimmick starts to stale, Kevin’s proposal to his girlfriend sets off a tailspin into something deeper, increasingly funny, and headshakingly wrong (as in reading along and laughing, shaking your head, and saying “that is so wrong”), but seriously funny.
While Labor Pains is irreverently funny, it also contains pearls of insight about the dichotomy of work. It’s a glorious celebration of half-ass-ism and mediocrity, terrific for readers who recognize the ridiculousness of the struggle to get ahead and appreciate the irony of having to work harder to buy more things that one has to work harder to maintain.
Captain of My Ship Publishing