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Archive for February, 2012|Monthly archive page

The Weekend Mafia

In Boss, dust bin, humor, Interpersonal, Office Romance, work life balance, Working on Weekends on February 22, 2012 at 01:01

With the lights dim and the garb loose, an air of comfort may creep in. But you guard against it. The empty chairs are reminiscent of the theater you visited to catch yet another ‘romantic comedy’ last week. There are very few humans around you. The few in your immediate surroundings seem more inviting than on a Monday. The tapping of keyboards and ringing of phones also seems subdued. But you try to look busy.

You finally relent when you are invited a fourth time to a cuppa. As co-worker small talk ensues, you feel like disappearing. You are; off course, working on a Saturday. Part of a slaving elite. But you don’t want to remind yourself of it. If you work fast enough and push out, you probably won’t even notice the weekend was shorter, right?

You manage to pass an offer of a cancer stick. But that is as far as you want to go in this huddle. The machine-spouted coffee tastes like sweetened Styrofoam. You can’t prolong it any longer.  You dump it in the dust bin and excuse yourself.

As you hurry back to your rowing station, you are intercepted by Head Slave himself. You did notice a figure approaching casually but didn’t take it to be HS. Else you would have ducked.

‘There you are sport. Lunch is on me. We are going to that new joint by the curb. 2 pm. Look sharp now!’

It’s like HS has a twin brother who is only let out on Saturdays. The first thing that comes to your mind is: ‘What has he been smoking?’

An invitation to work on weekends is like a being admitted into a secret society. You have read enough pulp function to know such memberships are one-way traffic. It is also clear that not much work gets done on weekends. It is really only a long Friday, like never-ending purgatory. To be on the good side of the weekend mafia is to be one with them. To be on their bad side is to have one shot left at relative freedoms. It is up to you to decide.

J.

Mr. Motivation

In HR, humor, Office humor, SlavesInc, Training, Wage Slaves on February 13, 2012 at 02:44

‘This carpet is a magic carpet! You are flying 3000 feet above the ground. Your mission is to invert the magic carpet without falling off. Don’t look down now. If you fall, there is 3000 feet of air followed by a 3000 feet deep valley. At the bottom of the valley are 3000 year old alligators who are hungry and are waiting for you!’

…all you could give in return to this pitch was a blank stare of disappointment. If you haven’t realized it yet, you are in process of being motivated by a professional motivator. It is the company outbound meet and attendance is compulsory.

There are 10 other slaves besides you garbed in ‘smart casuals’ scurrying not to fall off the magic carpet. You don’t know about them but standing with a bunch of grown-ups on a discount blanket in the middle of a grass lawn does not get you motivated.


At this stage, the only thing that can motivate you is wrapping Mr. Motivation in the magic carpet and kicking the fake high pitched drawl out of his mouth. The French Revolution in your mind is disturbed by a sharp sound in your immediate vicinity.

The ‘trainer’ claps in your direction as if to say ‘chop-chop’. Words finally escape your irritated conscience. ‘I feel like a fool,’ you say. The smiley on your company-branded t-shirt flutters in the outdoor wind, seemingly unaware of your frown.

Mr. M walks up to you, not willing to give up on a difficult student, not as a motivator he can’t. ‘You need to understand the rules of the game,’ he opines expertly. ‘What rules?’ you ask, ‘We have been randomly doing activities Kindergartners would deem lame.’

A couple of rounds of bargaining later it dawns on you that besides the motivation hoopla, this is also fertile ground for evaluation of slavery quotients. You put up your hands mid-sentence to say, ‘Alright, let’s do this!’ At the end of the outbound, you even get congratulated by Mr. Motivation on your leadership skills displayed on the grass-bound magic carpet.

You may have betrayed your inner Spartacus on the grass but on paper, you let it rip. A scathing feedback is all Mr. M is going get from you.

J.

Charting your Existence

In Boss, Head Slave, Hiearchy, humor, SlavesInc, Wage Slaves on February 5, 2012 at 23:49

You are staring at it. You just know it’s going to ring. And it does. You almost pick it up at the first ring. But you hold back, affording yourself a few seconds to catch your breath.

 

When you are institutionalized, things move like clockwork. You can predict most developments, even human behavior. It is the grind playing on loop that kills you, not anxiety.

‘Hello?’ you say betraying your gurgling annoyance.

‘We are in trouble’ says HS, salutations and niceties being a thing of the past.

‘What is it Sir?’

‘What is it?’ Have you not checked the report?’

‘I have Sir, it is submitable.’

‘Not like this it isn’t.’

He hangs up. The click of the receiver is an unspoken summons to his lair.

You are confident of your work but not of HS’ creativity. You didn’t expect this report to be your breakthrough performance but you didn’t expect it be a self-goal either. Having almost reached, you remember you are without the moral support of pen and paper. You rush back to your desk to get it.

Slowing down your steps, you touch up your hair in the glass of the cabin. It is time to take one of those deep breaths again.

You walk into the dreaded chamber. HS looks at you dismayed. He holds up a page from the report, clutching it like a butcher would handle a chicken’s neck.

‘The Organizational chart!’

Your eyes search frantically for the pain point but you’re stumped.

At utter loss for safer words, you ask, ‘what about it Sir?’

‘There are no photographs!’ says HS in disbelief. ‘Head Office will never approve it. Get everyone to a studio immediately! Will the prints be ready by tomorrow?’

Ignoring HS’ ignorance of technology and not bothering to enlighten him, you move out with a compliant nod.

You spend the next two hours knocking and entering every cabin on the floor. Your mission (since you had to accept it) is to click every last ugly kisser on the payroll and then paste it onto the Organizational chart. There is also the unenviable task of editing and aligning these candid shots on PowerPoint.

It is still an honest buck you are making. And you have one more story to pass on to your grand kids.

Thank God for camera phones.

–          J.