The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway. ISBN: 9780307268860.
One of the main elements of this book was the ability to retain your humanity while becoming less, er, "human" versus the inability to retain your humanity if you give up your individuality and become a part of the machine. In this case the machine happens to be a big, bad corporation, but you could argue that there are many varieties of machines available for us human cogs to become part of in this day and age.
I've been a good little pair of human hands, but I haven't gotten my reward yet, that reward being a more permanent part of the Society Machine, a place where I can do my job and be content at that. I mean, I've done what I can to get there. I went through all the little factories, starting with grade school all the way up to grad school (funny that the only difference seems to be one letter and several thousand dollars). Maybe Antioch was a tiny bit mold-breaking, but it was good for me nonetheless. And I have never felt like more of a cog than when I went through Kent State's program. I mean come on, my academic advisor didn't even read my senior project... or at least didn't bother making any remarks on it other than, "Your project is extensive."
What the fuck does that mean?
Anyway, where's my job? I'm sittin' here waiting to hear back from the university in Tennessee, and I'm hoping to hear a big fat yes from them, but it's so frustrating. I wasn't made for waiting. I'm not a decorative cog, I'm a greasy, dirty, hard-workin' kind of cog. I am totally willing to lose a tiny bit of individuality to get lost in the system, just so I can do something with my life. There's plenty of time outside the 40 or so hours I'd be required to spend in a job to do individual stuff. Please, please, please, someone let me be part of the damned machine.
I'll even do my own maintenance and oiling so I don't get squeaky.