虛擬馬克,道出職場真心話

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2013 / 5月

文‧劉嫈楓 圖‧金宏澔



2008年金融危機撲向台灣,裁員、無薪假等負面消息漫天飛舞,圖文創作家李含仁,以部落格「我是馬克:五斗米靠腰」,創造虛擬人物馬克,替廣大的上班族一吐怨氣。

一頭鋸齒狀劉海,臉型猶如碗公,眼神呈現一字線,李含仁創造的職場小人物馬克總是臉帶無奈,髮絲凌亂的現身。在「《人人有腰靠》系列中,滿臉疲憊、冒出鬍渣的漫畫人物馬克,邊搬運著貨品,轉頭向同事埋怨:「之前找不到工作,我的人生是黑白的。」同事反問:「那之後找到工作呢?」馬克含淚回答:「我的生活就空白了!」三格漫畫中,主人翁馬克的三言兩語,引發上班族共鳴。幾天內,臉書粉絲團即吸引一萬多人按讚,轉發分享一千多次。

職場苦水無處說,馬克上場!

金融風暴陰影未散,2009年年初,不少上班族雖幸運保住工作,年終獎金卻不見著落。悲觀的景氣氛圍觸動李含仁,他改編周杰倫的歌曲〈說好的幸福呢?〉為〈說好的年終呢?〉,歌詞裡悠悠唱著:「怎麼了,你哭了,說好的,年終呢/我懂了,不給了,錢沒了,心死了,資遣與不資遣一一細數著,你再不捨/那些加班的感覺都太深刻,我都還記得。」切中實情的創作,快速吸引人氣,至今累積16萬瀏覽量,成為網站上線以來的經典作品。

37歲的李含仁創造出全台最紅上班族馬克,也為自己博得療癒系部落客的美名。就讀復興美工,自文化大學美術系畢業的李含仁是典型廣告人。4年的職場生涯,他不甘未來就此定型,2005年決定與夥伴出來創辦設計公司。

李含仁身處高壓、高工時的廣告行業,週遭上班族心中充滿酸甜苦辣,卻有口不敢言的情緒,激發他的創意靈感。他也發現美國、日本充滿職場創作,例如美國漫畫《呆伯特》,主角呆伯特幾句簡單詼諧的對話,道盡了職場趣事。台灣不乏兩性、愛情的圖文創作,如漫畫家朱德庸的《澀女郎》,卻少了職場題材。2006年起,李含仁開始構思職場圖文創作,2年後,嘗試將虛擬人物「馬克」放上部落格,展開一系列的圖文創作。

李含仁從菜鳥新鮮人,一路轉換職場身分,擔任主管、老闆,深切體會不同職場角色的掙扎與苦處。因為廣告工作,他大量接觸飲料、汽車等各行各業的客戶,累積不少獨到且精闢的職場觀察。每回創作前,李含仁會仔細回想每段職涯的體驗,將心比心地自問:「如果我是菜鳥時,應該如何?」「最討厭的客戶是哪種人?」無時無刻的細膩觀察,讓馬克彷彿成了李含仁的縮影,也成了全台灣的職場代言人。

心念一轉,一笑置之

短短4年內,「我是馬克:五斗米靠腰」,靠著網友點閱、分享,快速累積起四千多萬瀏覽量。李含仁也將馬克的角色延伸至周邊商品,印著馬克的杯子,以馬克為圖樣的T恤,約為200~500元的價格,受到網友好評;網站大量的流量,也引來廠商投放廣告,並在一年內開始獲利。

為了打入職場族群,每週一、三、五,早上十點「馬克」即會現蹤,「靠腰」職場苦水,培養上班族固定收看。李含仁每日必回覆60~80則留言,也與網友通信,傾聽職場心情,匯聚創作靈感。

「什麼叫做療癒?」李含仁笑笑地說,雖然虛擬角色馬克,充滿諷刺、批判風格,但目的只為了博君一笑,讓苦悶的上班族轉換心情,克服工作挑戰。「讓馬克幫你罵老闆、罵客戶,你會覺得原來不只我如此,心情就能獲得滿滿的慰藉,不再委屈,」李含仁說。

下回,當職場壓力再現,看一眼桌上小巧可愛的香菇,或是點開網站,讓漫畫人物馬克替你抒發怨言。心念一轉,辦公室裡的烏煙瘴氣,就能盡拋腦後。

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EN

Let “Mark” Speak Up for You

Liu Yingfeng /photos courtesy of Chin Hung-hao /tr. by Geoff Hegarty and Sophia Chen


When the 2008 financial crisis hit Taiwan, news of layoffs and people being sent off on unpaid leave were reported across the media. Under these dismal circumstances, illustrator Mark Lee created a fictional character called Mark in his blog. He calls it: “I’m Mark: Complaints from the Workplace,” and it voices all sorts of typical gripes from office workers.

Lee’s comic character Mark has a wavy fringe, a face shaped like a bowl seen side-on, and eyes that appear as just two lines. And he is often portrayed with a helpless look and messy hair. In one strip from the series titled “Everyone Complains About,” Mark appears looking exhausted and unshaven. One day as he’s lifting a heavy parcel, he turns and complains to a colleague: “My life was black and white before I found this job.” His colleague enquires: “So what happened after you found it?” Mark replies miserably: “My life became blank!” This and similar exchanges brought a strong reaction from office workers: within a few days, Lee’s Facebook page had attracted more than 10,000 “likes,” and over a thousand “shares.”

Mark the healer

At 37, Lee created Taiwan’s hottest office worker, and also gained a reputation as something of a “healer.” A graduate of the Fu-Hsin Trade and Arts School and the Department of Fine Arts at the Chinese Culture University, Lee was a typical advertising-industry employee. After four years of advertising, though, he realized that it wasn’t what he wanted to do forever, so in 2005 he quit his job to set up a design company with a friend.

Beginning in 2006, Lee had started to play with illustrations related to the workplace, and two years later, his fictional office character Mark appeared for the first time on his blog, launching a series of related illustrations. Lee had experience of a number of different roles in his own workplaces, from rookie, to supervisor, and then boss. So he understood deeply the scraps and hurts encountered by workers in an average office. Because he came from advertising, he had come into contact with a wide range of workplace situations amongst his clients: from the beverage to the automotive industries and beyond. So he was able to accumulate some unique insights into a wide variety of workplaces. Before every new creation, he recalls different episodes from his own working experiences. Springing from Lee’s meticulous observation, the character Mark seems to have become Lee’s archetype, the spokesperson for Taiwan’s workplaces everywhere.

Transforming the mind

The website “I am Mark: Complaints from the Workplace” has attracted more than 40 million visits in just four years. Lee has extended the role of Mark to producing peripheral merchandise including mugs and T-shirts imprinted with Mark’s image, which have been well received by Internet fans. Because of the large amount of traffic it generates, the website also attracts advertising, and began turning a profit in its first year.

In order to market into workplaces, comic character Mark appears at 10 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so office workers never have to miss an episode. Lee replies to the 60–80 visitors’ comments daily, and he also keeps in touch with his Internet fans, listening to the voices of office workers as sources for new inspiration.

“What is healing?” Lee says that the character of Mark is presented in a half-mocking style, but the basic purpose of the comic is simply to allow office workers to have a bit of fun, to relax them a little, and to help them overcome the challenges of the office. “Let Mark scream at your boss for you and tell off your customers. And because of the realization that you aren’t alone in feeling frustrated at work, you’ll feel comforted and the hurt will dissipate,” says Lee.

The next time you feel stressed out at work, go to the website to let Mark speak up for you. Or try growing some cute mushrooms on you desk. As long as you have access to some diversion to clear and relax your mind, the frustrations of the office will vanish.

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