slavesincorporated

Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page

The Letter of Your Dreams

In Appraisal, HR, humor, Office humor on April 24, 2012 at 01:52

‘If you don’t act on life, life has a habit of acting on you.’

That is just the kind of misnomer of an insight you want to start your day with. The new vendor for your intranet sites is still in his show-off stage. Hence, a daily dose of dumb-down wisdom (‘Quote of the day’) greets you every time you sign in to view your salary slip (a depressing exercise in itself).

But it does get your attention. There are bald guys out there making a killing with the verbal equivalents of stick figure stock photos and you are just sitting there in your cube…reading them! What is with this inertia?

You put it down to lack of motivation/provocation.

With appraisal season upon you, the creature that is your loyalty is getting wings again. ‘Once the letter in my hands, this little birdie will fly, fly away!’ said Mr. Anders, a fellow slave and 10 year veteran.

‘Didn’t he say that last year?’

‘I think so, but in a less delirious way.’

You don’t know whether to laugh at a grown man doing a birdie flutter motion or to be scared by the wild glee in his eyes. You choose to take the scissor out of his reach when he is not looking.

One by one, nine to fivers are being called into the fateful glass cabin of Head Slave. The whole thing has a very Big Boss feel to it. One healthy year of your mortal existence condensed in a couple of pages of type…the letter of your dreams. Much of the type, off course; is legal spells. Just in case any of the laborers get any bright ideas. You are surprised HS does not have security, a Rottweiler perhaps, to stand by him in case the letter triggers a slave to go Spartacus on his ass!

It has all gone uneventfully, if not amicably till now. Mr. Anders is up next. Slaves awaiting their turn line up at an angle to the cabin to get a peek of the silent drama across the glass, much against the secretary’s assertions. It is like seeing a silent movie without the subtitles and a background music that is only playing in your head.

Into the third minute, Anders has not done his birdie dance yet. You expect the worse. He comes out a couple of minutes later, walks slowly to his desk and goes about randomly clicking icons. You walk up to him, more out of solidarity than wanting to know.

‘What is one more year huh?’ he says not looking up from his screen. An implosion can be a dangerous thing. Good thing you took the scissors away.

You strike lack of motivation/provocation off your list of reasons to stay back.

No one stopped smoking overnight. And Mr. Taleb has said: ‘The three most dangerous addictions in the world are heroin, carbohydrates and a monthly salary.’

Now that is your kind of quote.

–          J.

Exit Strategy

In Boss, Head Slave, Hiearchy, Hopsquatch, Office humor, Resignation, Wage Slaves on April 16, 2012 at 23:21

You have always felt there are two cuckoos in your nest, if not more. One is the forceful voice you hear in your head and the other is the whimper that comes out of your mouth. They seem to co-exist uneventfully if not peacefully.

It has been growing inside you for months, prodding, teasing and pontificating. But you can’t…just do it. It’s not like ripping off a bandage now is it?  So you build a strategy, an exit strategy. It’s about time you applied some of your business acumen to your personal business.

Off course, you can’t just stand up and leave. That only happens in movies and sitcoms. In all your years as a paddler, you have never seen anyone stand up and yell, ‘I quit!’ Maybe you are not working in the right kind of office. Where is the drama?

Profound tragedies and arid humor do occur in your galley but at a subtle level. Oddly enough, Head Slave always seems friendlier when you have rebellion on your mind.

‘What are you thinking?’ says HS in the middle of an impromptu meeting.

‘I…was just trying to…get my head around how we are going to do this…thing,’ is your elegant reply.

‘We sure need to do a lot of thinking. We should get the server in-house next year. I want you to start working on it.’

‘Like I am gonna be here next year,’ is what you want to say. ‘…Oh..kay,’ is what you actually say with a crumpled smile.

‘Keep working this hard and we may give you an extra screen…and an assistant!’

‘That sounds…very…generous…,’ you stop short of saying thank you.

‘I want you to really sink into this thing. If you face any problems, you come straight to me. As this team gets bigger, we want good people to be in-charge.’

By good, he means government mules and by in-charge, he means fall guy. You have always been confused between a negative and a realistic take on things. When you are non-committal, the self-perpetuating nature of things is clearer than ever…from dictatorships to corporations to relationships.

You want to think this through but you don’t want to go Dubya on your exit strategy. Sure the world is full of opportunities. But what about the Greener Grass theory? Sure you could do better than HS? But what about the Known Devil theory? And what about all the time and energy you have invested in your current liaison/contract? What if he finds out you are straying? Sound familiar?

Between lost weekends and stretch working, HS seems to have talked more to you over the past one year than his wife and kids combined! That is a scary thought. You can’t keep this hollow relationship going for long. At some point, you have to tell him: ‘I am seeing other people!’

A very wise but evil boss told you once that no one leaves overnight, mentally; you have left six months ago. It has been about that long now.

J.

Fwd: This is not a forward

In Blogging, e-mail, humor, Interpersonal, Motivation, Office humor on April 10, 2012 at 05:34

There it sits, smugly in your inbox. It always seems to pop in at the right time…like it knew. Like it knew its presence was required or its intrusion tolerated.

You know you should ignore it. Dump it, junk it, spam it, damn it. But there it sits, smugly in you inbox. In the red of the Unread. Maybe it’s your inherent decency that prevents you from using your spam folder to good effect.

But what the hell, it only asks for a couple of minutes. And this one talks about split second decisions. How could it hurt?

From the land of densely formatted excel sheets, you are transported to a train. A speeding train i.e. And you are in the driver’s seat. A few hundred yards away, innocent kids are playing seemingly unaware of oncoming death!

You have one option. You could turn to the extra track on the right. But there is; off course, a catch. A lone kid is playing on that track too. Maybe he is a kid with a learning disorder or maybe he is simply unpopular. May be he is mature enough to know not to play on the tracks that are in frequent use. You feel a kinship with him already.

But that is not the point here. You have a runaway train on your hands and you could save 7 kids by sacrificing one! The moral dilemma is clear: sacrificing one law abiding unpopular kid for the law flaunting innocuous bunch.

The answer too is clear after a twist at the end. But most of you have received this e-mail forward already. So we shall move on. With appraisals around the corner, you may see this forward as a hint; an allegory even, of things to come. You may find it ludicrous to different degrees depending on how low you rate the clown that sent the forward. The point is if you are not doing your dream job, any distraction is welcome. And you wonder why the cheesiest forwards get perpetuated?

See how far you have drifted now. You had better hit the spam button next time. It is about being assertive. Isn’t that on your resolution list?

The forward did make you think though. Inspiration can arrive in the strangest vehicles. Maybe you can create something of your own. Something that fellow humans find familiar yet worth reading, obvious yet difficult to articulate, until now. It will definitely not be as lame as a ‘motivational’ forward. And you wouldn’t want to spam people either. It would be the anti-thesis of a motivational e-mail, a weekly epiphany via blog post. To espouse the mild mannered adventures of a nine-to-fiver seems like a worthy cause. You can call it Slaves Incorporated (TM).

– J.

Slavedom Cometh

In Big Brother, conspiracy theories, humor, Office humor, SlavesInc, Wage Slaves on April 3, 2012 at 02:53

You don’t believe in religion, you have never known why. Perhaps, it is the effort-reward ratio that never appealed to you. It also seems a lot easier to go through life without a surveillance junkie overlooking your inconsequential existence. Sure He will be your Savior, but he also accepts credit cards.

You are not one of those militant atheists though. So you observe the quirks of the God-fearing tribe from a safe distance, without comment but with amusement. One such soul sits right across from your cube. Every day you see him offer elaborate prayers to a pantheon of godly beings that adorn a tray atop his rowing station. Only after a couple of minutes of this ritual does he sit down to work on excel sheets for 8 hours.

On this auspicious day, his ritual is broken by an even Higher Power. Mid-way through his fervent mutterings, an announcement erupts over the speakers. Today is the unveiling of a New Grand Design by the Powers that be, something about pan-organization efficiency. Most colleagues, still groggy, seem jilted as they look heavenwards to make sense of the ordinance. Like all historical occasions, Slaves are required to wear company colors. You, off course have forgotten. Your refusal to maintain calendar entries has cost you once again but the delusion of freedom it gives makes up for the inconvenience.

The announcement directs you to move to the parking lot. No other place in the building can accommodate all 200 slaves at the same time. This is going to be big.

You get an eerie feeling as you trudge along the congregation of working class people dressed in uniform. You are greeted by bright lights and instrumental music when you enter the lot. Without asking you for your approval, a group of volunteers slaps wristbands on you marking the occasion. Cattle tag attached, you spill over wherever the crowd takes you.

The Overlord is here today dressed in a three piece. He seems content overlooking the flock from the vantage of the podium. He wastes no time in getting down to business.

As fellow slaves behold with varied emotions; eagerness, bewilderment, anticipation, you are busy finding human walls to hide the non-compliance of your wardrobe.

Overlord’s speech seems well-rehearsed and almost evangelical. All the hallmarks of a covenant are there: Vague promises of utopia, certainty of penance required to get there, a routine prescribed for it and…hand holding. Yes, to mark this communion, all slaves are required to hold hands to form a chain of like dressed creatures as the theme song is played out. A video camera follows this human chain to capture the lameness for posterity. You know those stock photos of a differently colored stick figure standing out in a crowd or a green apple in a collection of red ones? You are the green/rotten apple here and there is no escaping it at least till the song is over.

Thankfully, it ends before homophobia takes over you completely. You wipe your hands and hurry to immerse yourself in the crowd. Far away, you see Head Slave’s head bobbing up through the sea of salaried humanity. He is coming towards you and he doesn’t seem happy. You can’t take more preaching on this day and make a run for it.

As the flock jostles to get through the alleyway, no one seems to have noticed the back exit. No one except you, you green apple! You make a dash for it and escape to the free air of a non-enclosed environment. You need to take a walk.

You don’t believe in religion, now you know why.

–          J.