Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page

Courtesy Call

In humor, SlavesInc, work life balance on September 22, 2012 at 05:18

You are spent, disillusioned and disoriented. But it is still blinking. And a blinking smart phone has to be answered. You may feel like you are being professional, displaying the height of courtesy even. But the thing about courtesy is; it is seldom extended willingly, like it ought to be. What is extended is obligation. And this obligation travels around the world and comes back to you smugly disguised as civility. You return the gesture in clockwork.

You used to think to-do lists were lame. Now you can’t function without them. You also have a to-call list. And right now, there are three entries left, begging to be checked off:

  1. Your girl-friend whose 7 missed calls you are yet to return. (Alright, she is not your girl friend. But she may very well be)
  2. Your mail-only colleague who has sent the 4th reminder for the 3rd quarter report you had promised you would send 2 days ago


  1. The air-conditioner servicing guy who has already gone back twice because you were not at home

What you really want to do is doze off right there on the sofa in your formals. Unfortunately, that option does not feature on the list. So you pick up the phone and hit the little green button to call her. Then you immediately hit the little red button. You just don’t have enough left in the tank, not even enough to sound courteous.

A nap on the sofa it is, in your formals, to hell with it!

If only sleep was to come that easy. You have too many to-dos swimming around in your brain. TV and hot chocolate it is. After flipping through various abominations, you settle with a rather queer choice, Devil Wears Prada. It is more of the protagonist’s enslavement to her job and phone rather than the wardrobe that gets you hooked.

Miranda Priestly may make Head Slave look like an amateur. But the similarities are uncanny.

Even in your disorientation, one scene really sticks with you. Having had it with the protagonist’s constant engagement over the phone, the boyfriend says:

“You know, in case you were wondering – the person whose calls you always take? That’s the relationship you’re in. I hope you two are very happy together. ”

Don’t you hate it when chick flicks teach you something about your life?

You know what you have to do. You pick up the damn smart phone, hit the little green button and tell her that you’ve got your priorities messed up. You tell her you are in so deep that you need time to set them priorities right. You also tell her she doesn’t need to wait for that fateful day. You also wish her best of luck.

Now that is courtesy.

– J.

Just a little whiter

In humor, Office humor, SlavesInc, work life balance on September 11, 2012 at 02:15

Your sleep is always the first one to go. You have given up TV a long time ago. And you wouldn’t know socializing if it hit you in the face. All that is left now is daily sanitation and bare essential communication with family. Not unless it is required.

And it will all pay off today. For today is ‘The Big Meeting’ also known as ‘Annual Game Plan’ or ‘The Hunger Games’ depending on your perspective. They don’t care if you have not eaten or slept or even bathed in days. But you had better be there; on time, prepared and in company colours.

So you yell at your wife or mother or laundry guy or whoever is unfortunate enough to be associated with you coz you have got to have your white shirt. And it has got to be whiter than the Joe sitting next to you in the meeting. Sure, it sounds like a stretch, a little extreme maybe. But it is the little things you know, that add up to hard work and make you eligible to be considered for progress.


No one gave you anything else to believe in. Having found yourself in this job with a poorly articulated urge of ‘doing something big’, you are going to give it all you have got.

On D-day, you seem to have everything covered, except the white shirt. Joe seems to be dressed whiter. Or maybe it is just the lights. For someone sitting at the opposite end of the table, your team of four seems ready to be in a Tide ad!

Your smile tries to defy the lines on your face borne out of sleepless nights. The tapping of your fingers tries to defy the slight restlessness that has built up in your system. Most other people at the table look similarly haggard. So no brownie points there. Hours fly by but you have not got a chance yet to share all the work you have done for the occasion. You become anxious and try to break into conversations. But the powers that be have more important things to discuss first then your little brand presentation.

And boy, do they discuss it or what? The sun has almost finished its journey across the sky and the discussion still seems young. You have given up and are now surfing wiki instead of making the nth touch-up on you master piece.

Then it ends, abruptly. HS just remembered another meeting he had scheduled. No brand presentation, no lime light, no nothing. You put in all the long yards and threw fits to get your white shirt and probably lost a few years of life expectancy over nothing. You and your team almost spontaneously take off the choke chains around your respective throats when the meeting ends. Doesn’t matter who is whiter now.

You could have worn a blue shirt and it would not have made a difference. Because this is a freaking Microcosm. It has its own rules and its own God. And it has its own little rewards and punishments. It has enough carrots dangling to keep you paddling till you die or retire, whichever comes first.

At least next time, you won’t trouble your laundry boy.

–          J.