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Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

Having Arrived

In Boss, HR, humor, Office, Wage Slaves on May 30, 2011 at 02:21

They look at you differently. Routine interactions like the ones near the coffee machine suddenly become awkward. Ending conversations becomes difficult for lack of ways of addressing one another. No, you do not have a communicable disease. You; have been promoted. You are not a leper. You are, the Newly Crowned Prince (NCP). Saying Heir Apparent would be too self assuming.

You; have arrived. What you worked extra hard for, what you missed X’mas lunches for, what you cut down socializing for…is finally here. You get to live this uptight reality every day now. Lucky you!

Apart from the quarantine treatment dished out by your erstwhile peers, there are positive signs of your arrival in the big league:
• An enhanced stationary ration

• Re-enforced cubicle, separated by a cupboard instead of hollow modular partitions

• Long-distance calling facility

• And a fruity phone so work never leaves you, even when you are taking a loo break

More like corner workstation

The partial vantage of your new cubicular co-ordinates seems to be at an elevation. Or maybe, it is just your ego perched on a fluffy pedestal. You tell yourself to snap out of it. You do not want become like the bosses you despised. Albeit, you can’t help but notice the ant-like movements of the staff, your staff…putting various little tasks together with varying degree of skill and speed. All you have to do now is direct the traffic.

Neighbor's envy...

Instances of your boss’ worst behavior are already starting to make sense to you. It is a scary but devilishly empowering feeling. A contempt-full smile has quietly broken across your face as you ponder all this. Your hand, unknowingly stroking your new extra-large stapler, as a Pharao would stroke his favorite cat. It won’t be long now before the fringe benefits get to you.

– J.

Why everyday life is like a Video game

In humor, Office, Wage Slaves on May 23, 2011 at 01:41

24 hours to the day, 5 working days and 7 days of creation. These are the co-ordinates that are eating up your life, systematically and without reprieve. Off course you want to go sky diving in New Zealand and on other days, sleep till the Sun is high. But you need to take care of some hygiene factors first. These include, apart from the actual hygiene, going to work, commuting, cooking, eating etc. By the time you are done, it is time to rest so that come tomorrow, you can do this all over again. Sounds insane, doesn’t it?

This is your routine and it is killing you, one day at a time. It is distracting enough though, to keep you going. You even begin to enjoy it at times, trying repeatedly to get better at it. It can be frustrating too but you just can’t let go. Sounds very much like a Video game doesn’t it?

Life is like a Video Game

Super Mario ducks rockets, flies over valleys and zaps monsters. But they just keep coming. The momentary joy finishing level I is immediately followed by the dread of level II. The rockets are faster, valleys deeper and monsters meaner. But the lure of what lies at the end of level two eggs you on. You will get better at it. You just need to keep on trying, again and again. To make it easier, Super Mario always has a smile on his face as if defying gravity and running perpetually was what he was born to do!

The pain can be excruciating. You know you need a break. You know level two is not the end but only the begining of an even more painful level three. But you keep going as if you were hard wired to do so.

As compelled as you may feel to finish the Video/computer game, to conquer it through its own absurd rules and limitations, you forget that you are the one who should be in control. All you need to do is pull the plug.

– J.

With a Cigarette in their hand…

In Health, humor, Office on May 17, 2011 at 03:12

It is a closed group with complex social dynamics. There is a hierarchy and detailed customs. The Alpha usually controls the proceedings. In his absence or late coming, a deputy may take over. However, on Alpha’s eventual arrival, the deputy meekly surrenders the throne.

In the Flesh

A payload of camaraderie ensues as the day’s proceedings goes up in smoke through intense interaction. The general form is relaxed, almost casual. To the onlooker outside the pack, the whole thing exudes a ‘we came, we saw, we filed’ demeanor.

It is only 10 am, time for the day’s second smoke.

For most nicotine junkies, this is the manliest thing they do on a given day. Sometimes, you think they are better off this way. Having doodled/photoshoped them without their moustaches on a never-ending Friday afternoon, you have serious doubts about their…modesty. The figure hugging polo-necks sported on casual Saturdays have not helped their cause either.

Evolution

You would think they are discussing some serious manly stuff. But if you happen to stray too close to the pack and overhear the banter, this is what you may probably chance upon:

Smoker α:   I think tea is giving me acidity.

Smoker β:   I hear you.

Smoker β1: Really?

There is more intellectual fodder on offer, but you choose to move on.

Ethics and support groups aside, you experience new-found respect for heritage brands that made cigarettes what they are today. Had the folks in these frontier companies relied on something akin to modern day consumer profiling/consumer connect, we would have had these daisies in our collective conscious as the essential smokers. It might not have encouraged as many people to smoke which would have been a good thing. I would still prefer a cow boy though…

But it is only 10 am yet. The best ideas usually emerge after the 5th stick.

–          J.

Death by Meeting

In humor, Office, Wage Slaves on May 9, 2011 at 17:28

The third time your name is yelled out, you jump out of partial paralysis. Bright lights in an otherwise dark environment keep you disoriented. Questions circle your consciousness. Simple questions. Question like ‘Why me?’ and ‘Why was I born?’

Soon, intimate presence of other living beings becomes palpable. Their breathing and relative lack of hygeine painfully registering on your senses. And they are all staring at you in disbelief…’How could you…?’

This may look and feel like a Near Death Experience (NDE) to you but on paper, it is just another meeting. A pre-planned congregation of qualified human beings pooling their grey matter to create solid solutions for real problems.

It may also look like a bunch of paupers putting their two cents together trying to make a fortune. But you can’t be subjective, can you? Not with your stinking white hat on!

Just when you’re thinking: ‘If we go through this one more time, my head will explode!’- It happens.

‘I want you to update the projections on the Warner project. These figures are so…last month!’

You have never been in a medieval torture device but it can’t be much worse than this. Subtle brain damage would be hard to prove if you want to sue the company.

Putting their 2 cents together hoping to make a fortune

Desperation leads you to ask for a loo break. Thankfully, unlike your primary school, such requests are not turned down in a corporate environment.

As you look at your harrowed self in the washroom mirror, you realize you cannot be paid enough for playing mad angles every day. (See it in action, here)

The first step is admitting it.

– J.

Desk-bound Nostalgia

In humor, Office, Technology on May 2, 2011 at 13:25

Tomorrow is a very re-assuring concept. It is a soft pillow, a foot massage and Valium rolled into one.

Couldn’t finish that file again?

We will catch it tomorrow.

An old colleague has been calling to catch up?

May be tomorrow

Forgot to fix the leaking pipe again?

What is one more day…?

Still haven’t updated your CV?

You get the drift.

Tomorrow is therefore under a lot of pressure to deliver. But it always comes through for you at the end of the day. It has one mortal enemy though, death. Yes, eventual and coldly absolute. Death means no more tomorrows and no more second chances.

Demise is scary, even when it comes to in-animate objects. That is why the recent ‘news’ of the last type-writer factory shutting down has received widespread sympathy. From horse-drawn carriages to gramophones, many of us feel nostalgic about a time we have not even lived.

Still a good choice for a gift; albeit, in a different context

Being born into a world without correction pens and film rolls, it is difficult to appreciate the subtle flavors of an era past. It is great to read about Sherlock Holmes taking on a city full of crime with nothing but his intellect. But the stories don’t get into the nuances of everyday life in the Victorian era. Think uncontrolled polio and uncollected horse dung.

And that is what nostalgia is, a condensation of the best of yesterday. The feeling is at best, a fleeting romance. It conveniently side-steps the petty drawbacks and little frustrations of the time you long for. Think Dot-Matrix printers and highly pixilated TV games.

As soon as I read about typewriters finally kicking the bucket, my first thought was: ‘I should get one!’ But as the news gets traction, more and more Nostalgiophores will line up to get their past-cringing hands on the last few specimens of typewriters left. The pursuit will look increasingly lame.

This is when you need to look around your desk. A lead pencil, a calculator and a dark ages version of MS Office. Nothing of note about them individually, but put them together and you have…technophobia or even a general anxiety towards change.

Can't imagine snoopy with a netbook, or worse, a Black Berry

I know the recorded ‘click’ of cell phone cams just does not feel as warm as your old Kodak but it’s better to collect relics than to become one.

–          J.