slavesincorporated

Archive for the ‘Office’ Category

That‘s a lot of fat people

In Boss, Head Slave, humor, Office, SlavesInc, Wage Slaves on October 17, 2011 at 00:01

You never liked too much preparation. Right from science projects in school to your first date and now, slavery solicitations. It has always seemed uncalled for; deceptive even, to build an Ark every time it drizzles. If ‘awareness’ was as high as it is now, you would have probably been diagnosed with ADD in your childhood. Sure stand-ups and musicians prepare copiously to look like they are improvising. But there is a big difference, they don’t hate their jobs.

“Do it like your lives depend on it!” was Head Slave’s unimaginative attempt at pep talk. You wish you had come up with a better response than a stifled yawn. But it could have been worse; you could have let loose a knee-jerk chuckle. It is the latest version of ‘the big presentation’ that needs working on. Post 5th revision, it has gone from big to morbidly obese. You have been paddling for too many years to let a little pep talk motivate you. So you let the new pair of hands on the deck carry the load. Unfortunately, you cannot send them out to bat. You have been bestowed with that honor/led out to slaughter when SIC visits.

As rapture draws near, you willy-nilly get sucked into the paranoia. Sleep is the first victim of this boot camp routine, weekly offs are the last. When you are finally up against the audience on D-day, you feel like a doomed gladiator under the scope of a heavy-breathing audience. You feel more pressure than an ethnic student in a spelling bee final. All you can think of is: ‘Where is an out-of-body experience when you need one?’

You do manage to make it almost to the end of your Bible-sized presentation without questions, queries or quotations. It is the closest thing to a spiritual experience you will ever go through. That is when the sound of a fellow human grinds you to a halt like a hand brake. SIC has finally spoken. You did not get what he said but going by his gestures, another look at the previous slide on obesity demographics is what he wanted.

So you flip back and wait nervously. As SIC ‘hmms’ and ‘ahhs’, the meeting room seems caught in a never-ending final slowmo sequence of a tiring baseball movie. He finally says:

“Well, that ‘s a lot of fat people!”

.

.

.

It is the kind of silence that can only end with a well timed laugh or a lot of nodding. Luckily it is the former. What follows is a wave of banter, chit-chat and small-talk as SIC disappears into a Sudoku of handshakes. It is almost as if he vanished into smoke. You would say he was beamed up but you are not a fan of body suits. Both SIC and the topic of the ‘big presentation’ have not been seen or heard from since…

…until the next drill.

J.

SlavesIncgeist

In Blogging, Office, Office humor, SlavesInc, true enlightenment on September 25, 2011 at 22:42

SlavesInc has been nominated for the prestigious Versatile Blogger Award

Very little is expected of you. Motivation comes from speakers. Help comes from books. Management comes from training programs and thinking is done by hats. You just need to punch in and out. You are paid enough to keep up with inflation but not enough to retire.

You Can Win, The SecretIt is not a bad deal. And it’s not like you have seen better ones. But it leaves you strangely dissatisfied, like primates bred in captivity.

Between performance ratings and working on weekends, you realize the only one who can help you is yourself and off course, some friends. Breaking the perimeter of captivity will require some elaborate scheme, like Prison Break.

As in scripts, you need some lucky breaks, like jet packs in Super Mario. You need to swim against the tide of non-believers and nay-sayers into the pristine waters of realization.

And nothing works like Vindication:

 9th September, 2011

Management would call it positive re-enforcement, we call it community. It is the reason why worker unions, fan clubs and tribute bands exist and thrive.

You don’t have to be Neo from The Matrix, just Peter Gibbons from Office Space will do. You don’t have to be weirdly unique either. Most of what we call unique is like a differently colored stick figure in a stock photo. You just have to be crazy enough to look beyond the cubicle and sane enough not to send out a farewell note laced with expletives.

__________________________________________________________

SlavesInc was launched in January of this year with a gusto I don’t remember having for anything else. Before Freshly Pressed or even my friends and acquaintances started reading the blog, Lorna was a regular visitor. Though there was no bogging down SlavesInc, Lorna’s comments greatly re-enforced my belief in the content of this site. It makes me think of all the blogs I have enjoyed reading but left without commenting. The writer would never know someone read the whole deal and appreciated it (I am talking pre Like-button era)

Now, Lorna has done me one better by nominating SlavesInc for ‘The Versatile Blogger Award’.  This award follows a pass the baton routine. Besides being a major motivator and smile-inducer, The Versatile Blogger Award also makes you realize what was missing in school, college and now, at work.

Apart from the merriment, VBA comes with a set of customs:

  • Copy and paste the Award Image to your “Acceptance Post” .
  • Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you.
  • Disclose 7 random facts about yourself.
  • Notify the bloggers I nominate for this award

So here goes…7 random Slave’s facts:

  1. SlavesInc was originally intended to be a comic strip. (Watch this space)
  2. The sign-off ‘- J’ was meant to be a central character in a comic strip theme. Over 34 posts so far, it has come to become more of a pen name and it suits the look and tone of the blog
  3. The very first post, Morning High, was meant to be a one-off post on my older blog. But so enthralling were the results that I spun it off into a blog by itself
  4. Offline/in real life, I am a slave whose existence resembles though does not mirror the logs of SlavesInc
  5. Many of the posts are suggested by fellow slaves who see kinship in this account of their not-so unique multitude routine
  6. I am not a harrowed, stressed, diabetic desk monkey (yet). I work out and I carry 7-10 small but frequent meal containers to office
  7. But I am not the sporty-type either. I only learnt to ride a bi-cycle after I was 21 years old. Learnt it without falling down even once, long legs you see.

Nominations: I am guilty of not reading many blogs. Recently, I realized that I have not even subscribed to Lorna’s wonderful blog. So I am aiming for 10 but I may fall short:

Lafemroar

Being single, being crazy and a lot of things in between

From The Fluffy Cloud

A beautiful collection of skillfully penned short short stories

Vici Mia Vita d’oliva

A blog about Olive Oil! Delightfully celebrative and well written

Mostly Bright Ideas

Humble and humorous churnings from a veteran writer

Oodles of doodles

A canoodling of smile-inducing doodles

High on Coffee

A book in the making

Boring, Banal and not at all Bodacious

Aptly titled and ably worded, it is described as ‘pursuing a career in professional unemployment’ by the author himself.

IMONTHEBANDWAGON

A colorful log of a band on the road

TEStazyk

A published author writes about living on different continents and reforestation

THE WARPED PRISM

A photography blog that is a treat for the eyes and fodder for the mind

Deep as a Birdbath

Earthy and likable accounts of an affable life

My Pencilart

Reclusive but pleasing, rendered by the humble lead pencil

Okay, we actually have more than 10 so far and it has taken some doing. I will stop here since I would only want to mention blogs I can vouch for. Also, I am sticking to WordPress blogs.

Thank you fellow slaves and kind readers for your interest and thank you Lorna for supporting SlavesInc.

- J.

The Cribber next Cube

In duracell bunny, frayed ends of sanity, geographical sense, Health, humor, minute periods, Office, violence and bloodshed on September 16, 2011 at 03:21

It is the same tedious movie over and over again. Only the actors change, the characters remain the same. There is the squealer, the cribber, old man Jack, the almost good-looking receptionist and the Duracell bunny high on Valium. You would like to think of yourself as ‘caught in the wrong job’ type but that is not very niche, is it?

In every galley you have served time in, you seem to attract the most stressed species. Off course, when you say attract, you mean in a geographical sense: same department, neighboring cubicle, shared printer.

In your current slammer, the character of the cribber is played by none other than Mrs. Saldana. Loud and within earshot, Mrs. S is a cure for deafness and a malady for sanity. With planetary precision, she starts her record soon after 9. She quiets down by 4 by when she has already started packing. But it is too late by then. You are at the frayed ends of sanity and your to-do list seems to be defying many laws of physics by simply not ending.


Though cribbing audibly seems to be at the very top of her KRAs, Mrs. S does some other work too. She attends exactly 3 personal calls throughout the day that may last in multiples of 30 minute periods. These are more peaceful times as her tone of voice undergoes schizophrenic changes when on the phone. Almost alchemically, she reverts to the slow grinding cribbing as soon as the receiver of her phone clicks ending her call.

Any question or greeting directed at her invariably meets with a complaint about how overworked she is and how the work sucks and how she is just gonna die doing this! It is not very eloquent but it gets the job done. Like a construction site next door or an alarm clock that you can’t locate in your cupboard, Mrs. S’s voice speaks to your most primeval urges of violence and bloodshed. There have been times when you have almost gotten off your not-so ergonomic chair, stepped into the cubicle next door and told her to put a sock in it, or two. But frustrating civility keeps you in your chair. The only thought that comes to your mind is: ‘Where is your gun when you need it the most?’ It keeps you up at nights. There have been times when you could have sworn you heard Mrs. Saldana’s baritone outside your window. On most occasions it turns out to be a cat but it is disconcerting.

Following months of bombardment, a different day finally dawns. On a rather peaceful Monday morning, your train of thought is broken by the piercing sound of silence. Amazed, you stand up to check on Mrs. S. She finally took a day off, you think. Next door Joe seems to have read your thoughts.

NDJ: Mrs. Saladana won’t be coming in for a while.

You: (only manage a ‘what gives?’ expression that barely contains your joy)

NDJ: You see that young man over there?

You: (still the same expression)

NDJ: That is her son, he has come here to collect her things. Mrs. S suffered a heart attack over the weekend. So she won’t be coming in for a while. Doctors say it was stress.

You: (only manage an expression that is a mixture of shock and guilt)

Sympathy is long dead and empathy is in short supply. It is every slave for himself.

- J.

Work Life Balance (sic)

In budget holiday, colored font, HR, humor, Office, planning a budget, practical joke, Wage Slaves, work life balance on September 10, 2011 at 23:02

The phrase Work Life Balance contains three assumptions:

  1. You actually work
  2. You have a life and
  3. The myth of balance

 

It is a phrase that was born in cliché` and mires in it to this day. But it is still used, heavily. ‘Don’t smirk, you know what we mean. We are concerned you know?’ is what you feel they are saying when the practical joke called WLB comes up.

You do not view any communication from HR without suspicion. The first line of a friendly mail from this great department reads: ‘We want you to strike work-life balanse…’ (yes, they misspelt balance and hyphenated work and life). You look around for snipers and try to hide the look on your face that says ‘Ha!’

 

After the first line of forced small talk, they quickly get down to business. The next couple of paragraphs in colored font are predictably forgettable. The words ‘policy’, ‘new rule’, ‘accrued’ and ‘lapse’ litter the landscape. Excluding the ‘herewiths’ and ‘forthrights’, the mail basically says:

‘Why are you chipmunks not having the bananas (privilege leaves) lawfully granted to you? You can’t store them forever you know? To keep you from going crazy and to avoid lawsuits, we are going to confiscate your bananas!

So use them while you can (before the next calendar year begins), do not complain later. Power to the people!

Peace out!’

You sure feel simian right about now don’t you? You realize life is one big never ending school routine with rules and supervision governing everything from yawning to bowel movements. But you have to make the most of it. So you immediately start planning a budget holiday to save your 10 remaining bananas that are now in danger. Your only consolation is, you are doing it on office time.

J.

Daylight Saving Time

In circadian rhythms, conspiracy theories, day of creation, Health, humor, nine to five, Office, rare occurrence, Technology, Wage Slaves on September 6, 2011 at 03:16

As you near the gates, your steps grow anxious. You are still trying to determine if this is really happening. You have a look of heightened disbelief on your face as you approach a familiar milestone. But it looks different, better, happier. As you finally step out, “Daylight!” you utter loudly ‘Daylight,’ the guard concurs affording a faint smile.

This is not the last scene of a formulaic prison movie. This is you leaving office on time; it is a rare occurrence, a blue moon. For a few seconds, you just stand there, not knowing what to do next. Your eyes are still adjusting to the extra lumens, your nose taking in whiffs of what actually feels like cleaner air. You want to do a Hulk and tear off the shirt but prudence is hard to shake off even in broad daylight. This is your interview shirt but you can afford to loosen your collar, let your hair down and call it a day (sic).

You have still not understood why your galley pulls the blinds and uses flourescent lighting throughout the day. It does not fit the penney-pinching personality of Slaves Inc. You can think of numerous evil reasons why artificial light would be imposed: to develop detachment from nature, induce vitamin D deficiency, scrambling circadian rhythms, acclimatize to never-ending shifts… But there will be loads of time for conspiracy theories tomorrow, and the day after. Today, you need to make the most of day light hours. A quick nap seems appropriate. Sure there is a mountain of work to climb tomorrow. But for now, the demons of your desk seem to have sublimated like Vampires in sunlight.

- J.

Cube and Culpa

In Coffee Mug, humor, Interpersonal, Office, Wage Slaves on August 31, 2011 at 12:55

You are impressed by your own ability to find bright spots in the dim-lit terrain of the galley. So what if your previous ray of hope turned out to be a flickering flash light? Something about how hard one falls and gets up…you either heard it in Rocky V/VI or in the training program last wasted weekend. Either way, it sounds right and positive.

The new bright spot is called Nina and she seems to go about with a halo around her, the kind they show in fairness cream ads. Her voice is not delivered in the monotone you are used to from fellow slaves. Her attire shows more imagination than most inmates who have a fixed dress for every weekday. And she possesses a non-borrowed sense of humor. It is a combination so rare that coincidence alone cannot claim credit for it.

So what if she is in legal, a department you have never had to correspond with? Over the past two months, a record number of legal queries have sprung up. Over these two months, you have discovered functionalities on your intercom and IM you never knew existed. You are convinced of the feasibility of your persual. If she were not hip with the interest, she would have gone sour on you by now, right?

Serendipitous run-ins at the copier aside, you finally manage a coffee tête-à-tête. It is less apparent than a date and more relaxed than a meeting. You are jittery but pleasant, she is calm but unyielding. It is all flowing well, like a freshly cartriged printer untill…you notice her hand on the cup of caffeine.

The ring on her ring finger is as unmistakable as a paper jam and as disappointing as blocked site. The sparkle of the stone on her ring is in stark contrast to the gloom you will be returining to from tomorrow. You manage to waddle through rest of the tête-à-tête without asking her. There will be lots of time for that over IM. You may not have found a new bright spot but you have found a rarer species called a new friend.

You say Mea Culpa to yourself and move on. ‘Tis better to have tried and looked stupid than to have never tried at all.

- J.

A Case of the Mondays

In day of creation, high altitude, humor, inanimate object, Monday, music system, Office, Wage Slaves on August 22, 2011 at 02:42

With your bed pushed against the wall, there is only one side you can get up on. That throws ‘the wrong side of the bed’ phrase out of the window.

…except, if the one side left to get up from is the wrong side. A scary thought. But its just as well to blame an inanimate object because you feel like killing someone today!

If you thought you were running late before, have a look at the traffic ahead. This could only mean one thing…

It is…a Monday (the horror¡)

 

If only you had gotten up five minutes early, you would not have missed your 7.45. But someone had to stay up till late. Someone had to salvage a Sunday lost to lethargy. And now someone will have to pay.

As you hang on in the crowded bus, more and more wage slaves pack in, looking similarly miffed. Yes, the bus has AC but it is huffing and puffing like an asthmatic at high altitude. Yes the bus has a music system, but they are playing ‘Linkin Park‘ on MIDI. As you move into an increasingly uncomfortable stance to avoid squeezing against fat aunties, you can’t help but think: this is a good time for an out-of-body-experience!

When you finally get down, you feel like you have just finished running a marathon with bricks on your back, and no shoes. You are late but you have to punch in. By the time you reach your workstation, 4 colleagues have wished you good morning, 3 have handed you pending files and 1 gave a you a stare. All you could give in return was a look that said, ‘What the pudding did you have for breakfast!’

 

It can only go downhill from here. Your worst fears of the lack of positive thinking are about to come true. After your seventh unsuccessful attempt at signing in to your mailbox, you throw in the towel.

 

You switch off the monitor, get up and walk out into a sick live. At least, you will live to fight another Monday.

- J.

My Chair

In Coffee Mug, Hiearchy, Hopsquatch, humor, Office, Organisation, Quick Sand, Table Fan on August 15, 2011 at 03:45

You have been together since the time your memory is foggy. She has always been there, supporting your wild pitches and cushioning your falls. You have seen 2 rounds of restructuring and 3 Presidents come and go. Exchange rates have halved, GDPs have doubled and the continents are few more inches apart. But you still find her every day you wake.

She off course is your chair, blindly loyal to you, as you are to your employer. It knows you, it understands, it cares. It knows you fear intimacy and like familiarity. In turn, you fight to keep her yours. No one dares lay claim to it, even in your absence for a quick meeting. You mark her with signs of your togetherness and adorn her with accessories. She is unmistakable, even from a distance.

Along with your personalized table fan, your coffee mug and your computer system, your chair represents a self propagated gravitational field, forceful and hard to resist. Like a black hole, it sucks you in and escape seems too difficult to even attempt.

 

Consistency through a different mirror also looks like lack of progress. The length of your back rest represents the obesity of your pay check. And your back rest needs a lot of propping up. Beyond these gallows lie other enclosures with other chairs, more ergonomic, with better colors and cushioned arm rests. And they are waiting to be-throne you. If only you could escape the quick sand of slow procrastination. So wake up and smell the Styrofoam! It is time to shed your security blanket, shun the familiar warmth of your chair and move on. I am sure she will understand.

  

-          J.

Super Me

In Boss, Dick Cheney, Goats on the Farm, Head Slave, humor, Office, Technology, Two Syllables on August 7, 2011 at 23:19

You: John who?

JY: John Yan

You: You changed your name?

JY: No, John Yan is my username.

You: Who will use it?

You know what he means but you still want to be sure. Maybe paraphrasing it will convince him of its ridiculousness.

But John is convinced that despite his high BMI, adding two syllables and a consonant to his common last name will bestow him with uncommon coolness.

Online, everyone is Boss

 JY: ”You know, like Jackie Chan or Jet Lee. It is exotic…yet familiar.”

John Yan paused for effect; he was acting like a star already!

On a different yet predictable weekday, you learn another taxonomic quirk:

When your boss signed off mails simply as ‘- BS’, you always thought he was telling you not to waste on your time on it…coz it is BS!

But when others start addressing you in their syntax-starved mails as AD, you realize that BS is not what you think it is. It is Head Slave‘s initials!

You don’t know whether to feel stupid or scoff at their typographical terseness.

It is clear to you that your Pan Card name will just not cut it in the virtual world of augmented reality!

Over time, you get used to getting updates such as:

Hellzangel adores her two baby goats on the farm

Handsomedevilfromhell wants you to share his booty, click here

And

Dear AD,

Thank you for the appreciation letter. Looking forward to more – BS

You start referring to these savvy individuals by their nuked names with a badly disguised genuineness. It is like addressing Dick Cheney with his lawful Christian first name. At least you can afford a chuckle every time you get pinged.

- J.

Having put it Down

In chirp, day of creation, Hopsquatch, humor, Monday, Office, pontification, Resignation, true enlightenment, vintage car on July 31, 2011 at 23:53

The spring in your step and chirp in your voice is new. But you are used to it already. You greet friend, stranger and co-worker alike. Your average use of the word ‘no’ has dropped to record lows.

Anger has never known you and Benevolence finds a new friend in you. Position, pontification and other terrestrial phenomenon drop out of your field as gravity fails to keep up with you. It may seem like you have achieved Nirvana but unlike true enlightenment, your bliss is temporary, time-bound. And you know it.

But it doesn’t stop you from feeling re-christened; such is the feeling of deliverance. You no longer feel tight under the collar or weak at the knees. For having put your papers down, you are a free bird…till you move into your new galley.

You find people on your contact list you have never called. You try clothes from your closet that have never seen the light of day. With your hair down and your spirits up, you turn a blind eye to the calendar…until, the day before. Realization hits you like gravity hits an out-of fuel airplane.

Realization finally hits you

Like a convict on the last day of parole and a vintage car out for its final spin, you feel anxiety set in. It brings its friends denial, fear and depression along. You rue all the occasions you cursed time for being sluggish. There are so many movies to see, places to go and people to meet. But you can’t, for tomorrow is a befitting first day. Monday, Satan’s follow-up to the Day of Creation.

Having reached the stage of acceptance, you feel not defeat but purpose. Only if you start again will you get to the next interlude of fleeting bliss.

- J.

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