Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page


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:


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.


A colorful log of a band on the road


A published author writes about living on different continents and reforestation


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.

10 Alternate Uses for the Office Dustbin

In creativity, disaster area, dust bin, latent talents, paper balls, work stress on September 22, 2011 at 01:12

Creativity is a word that is abused a lot. It is ‘boosted’, ‘enhanced’ and ‘encouraged’ but never given its due. We may be stuck in the wrong job but the mind finds its fodder in the unlikeliest of places.

As a testament to the latent talent of bored employees everywhere, we present:

10 alternate uses for the Office Dustbin-                      

  1. As a prop-up for an injured foot in a cast
  2. As a boost to survey neighboring cubicles
  3. A make-shift hoop for Basketball
  4. A make-shift wicket for cricket during breaks
  5. As an overflowing display for crushed paper balls…indicating you have been hard at work, even borrowing from your neighbor to add to the scene
  6. To cordon off a disaster area: ‘CUBICLE UNDER SERIOUS WORK STRESS’
  7. A prop for a vomiting act: ‘Look boss, this is how sick I am feeling! Can I go now?’
  8. Collect funds for a office party: ‘Drop your donations here, Joe is finally leaving!’
  9. A make-shift Halloween costume: ‘Look, I am Buckethead!’
  10. A blunt weapon in case of a cat fight (rare)   
  11. Under-cover ice bucket to keep your Bruskies cold

Ok, so that is 11. It is hard to contain your enthusiasm when it is not ‘work’. I am sure there are other latent talents out there. Tell us what you would do with your office dustbin.

– 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.


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 penny-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.