Archive for October, 2012|Monthly archive page

Life Spans and Short Cuts

In Health, humor, SlavesInc, Technology, work life balance on October 29, 2012 at 04:08

Your brow is sweaty, your heart’s a beating and you sense a vague but seldom felt emotion…that of being alive! Maybe it is a mix of adrenaline and testosterone coupled with (shudder) normal blood sugar. You have not exactly jumped out of a plane but in a nine-to-five cityscape, this is the closest you can get to physical exercise.

Walking. That’s right. Plain old walking. On your own two feet. Imagine that. Just like our ancestors who climbed out of the trees.  That is all you have to do for good health is what some ‘experts’ will have you believe. But it also all you can do for good health. Fair trade. But even you know that walking while eating a king size cheese burger is just fooling yourself.

And to think all it took to get you vertical and in a non air-conditioned environment was a series of seemingly unrelated cross-leveraged events, like Cloud Atlas. Powers that be in your galley decided the long term cost of employee insurance would take us all down like the Titanic. Gone are the good old days when you could select your slaves by looking at their dentures and shooting them dead when they were too frail to pick in the fields. Now, you have cover for their medical expenses. What a scam!

WalkOn they call it, for lack of a better name. And quite a pile on it is. Each employee is given a Pedometer, you know, those devices that magically count the number of steps you take. They are kind of like cattle tags except you can harness them on your person without the need for painful piercing in the absence of anesthesia. The cost has probably been claimed as depreciation already. But a lot of pomp is beaten up citing ‘employee engagement’. You have heard the word ‘care’ so many times over the past few weeks; it has begun to sound like something dangerous. They just stopped short of getting Johnny Walker to sponsor it. Something about company policy and alcohol came in the way. It was close.

So if you haven’t got it by now, here is the dough: Fat employees eating up too much insurance-Need to whip them into shape-No time left after insanely long office hours and working on weekends-Gyms too expensive-Simplest way is to make the blobs walk-But they are bound to cheat-So we stick them with cattle tags linked through the magic of GPS to their Slave numbers (employee IDs) and hence their insurance benefits and salary accounts-Wrap this all up in the shiny gift wrapping paper of employee engagement and…

There is one problem. Motivation. Yes, it is in short supply. We can’t give out more green, if anything, we should be giving out less. So you tie it with up with team building-KRA- inter-department-competition hoopla, add weekly updates via mass automated mailing and voila – Healthier Slaves!

It is a modern day miracle.

So on a typical Monday morning, typical meetings begin as such:

Colleague X: Hey, we can’t start, J is not here

HS:  Oh I have put him on…another assignment

Colleague X: You mean the new product? That is a dead end

HS: No-no. This is a very important assignment; he is taking one for the team

You see, walking is a team activity with team goals and you can’t expect to HS to be out walking when there is millions worth of business walking past us. So you agree to do his part of the walking and a little bit more. It is a pain to carry a change of clothes and sneakers. You look like you are going out hunting in the morning and your use of deodorants has increased significantly. But any bit of work-life balance is welcome, random events and ulterior motives be damned.

PS: The Pedometer is not a very smart device; it continues counting even when you take a bus. It gives you a feeling of bastardly smugness, like a Hedge fund manager. But that is not how you were raised.

– J.


In Technology, Wage Slaves on October 8, 2012 at 04:04

You know how you have given it a run too many and it just doesn’t feel like before? You know how you know its past its prime but what’s one more time for old time’s sake, right? You know how you know when there is nothing left in the tank, not even for one more run?

Off course you do.

The question that keeps me up nights is, does the horse know?

Does he know that there is nothing else left to do but to de-commission him?

Since you are a mere wage slave, your story is not as heart-wrenching, certainly not enough to be made into a mainstream biopic.

But it does sadden you to finally put your old-world CDMA handset to rest. That’s right kids; CDMA is what your grandparents used to use to communicate with each other, kind of like a string phone, slightly better. You can almost hear employees at the service provider’s office giving each other hi-fis now that one the last remaining subscribers has ceased to subscribe. What were they thinking giving out life-time offers? You feel like the only surviving member of a war veteran’s club or a ham-radio enthusiast who finally realizes no one is ever going to talk back.

Not that you didn’t try, you really did. You faced ridicule from one and all, including haggard vendors, kids in your neighborhood and the security guard. You braved radiation fears even when it felt like your ear was being deep fried over a thirty minute conference call. You learnt to ignore the industrial grade vibration mode. Having dropped it one time too many, you will have to be content keeping your handy handset at home as a relic.

Not that you were not prepared for this day. You have already bought a fruity replacement for your war horse years ago. But it has never seen the light of day. You just carry it in your bag every day and never use it. That’s kind of twisted, a bit of Hitchcock in it.

Finally you will graduate to the twenty-first century. Say hello to sleepless nights and pointless status messages. You too, will become a part of the fruity club and try to look happy to be called a ‘Berry Boy’ in your mid-thirties. And as far as Berries go, yours is already a couple of ‘generations’ old.  So you will never catch up, such a shame.

Not that you are particularly a laggard or (gasp) old-fashioned. You don’t have an active msn account and you don’t wear glasses with rims. Not everything needs an upgrade but not everyone appreciates this. And you don’t expect them too either. If an upgrade is a proxy to moving up in life, you have very low standards.

–          J.