Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

2012 in Omnishambles

In Blogging, Office humor, SlavesInc, true enlightenment, work life balance on December 31, 2012 at 21:31

If you were to make a flip book of yourself sitting at your desk through the seasons, you would get changing surroundings and decor against an unchanging expression on your face. Quarters, interns and festivals come and go. You and your desk endure. But don’t pat yourself on the back yet.

Enduring is just the start of it. Each year brings with it a realization of the pedestrian nature of things and the Olympian effort needed to break free of it. It is like the beginning of a sequel where what you thought was the climax turns out to be just foreplay. And like all sequels, you don’t want to have one too many, lest it starts to stink.

superstorm       Vote Gangnam

Between Superstorms and superstyles, the world almost ended. At least it was fun to think for a while that it would. But the best we could get was Omnishambles.


2013 will hold similar promise for both the mundane and the magnificent. There will be rickety printers, pointless meetings and machine coffee to keep you busy. There will be Mondays, multi-tasking and motivation (sic) to keep you distracted. You will find humor in new places while some of the old stuff won’t even seem funny anymore.

Greatness v/s obscurity, Open skies v/s fluorescent lighting, Freedom to fail v/s Stress to succeed. You will feel like an ant that has to move a mountain, a twig that has to resist bending in a storm, a pawn too small to matter in a system too big to fail.

bankersThere will be times when you will miss the good old ignorance, the days of clueless pursuit and nights of dreamless sleep. Innocence lost is not a big price to pay. For life begins with awareness.

Master Oogway


2012 SlavesInc. Annual Report.

Here’s a patronizing excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 25,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

– J.

Season’s Meetings

In Festivals, Head Slave, Office humor, work life balance on December 25, 2012 at 05:58

Seasons are what you see on TV or read in the news. Work drags on in cycles or rather, a death spiral. In the lab that is your office, climate control and uniform lighting keep the seasons and the sun at bay. You go by proxies to keep track of the outside world. The odd kite marooned in the parking lot says the end of winter is nigh. The admin dept. dusting out the old plastic X’mas tree signals the end of the year.

Prince Charles Weather Man

HS confirms the news:
‘Gentlemen, X’mas is upon us. And we haven’t even gotten off the ground yet with our mailers.’

‘Season’s greetings?’

‘Yes, but with coupons. Those stamps don’t come free you know. We estimate that even if 5% of customers use the coupons, the campaign would have paid for itself. Anything beyond that is profit!’

HS is clearly in love with his marketing skills. You are in doubt as to whether 5% would even open the envelope. Since you have not even had your first shot of caffeine yet, you decide to conserve your energy instead.

‘Thousands of coupons need mailing. This is not going to be easy gentlemen,’ he was being unusually honest.

‘But don’t worry. I have a plan,’ he was going quite out of his way here. ‘All of you leave whatever you doing. Whatever you are doing, just drop it. We can’t go home till all the envelopes are dispatched. No matter how late it gets, no matter how messy. The envelopes are our priority from now till X’mas Eve. ‘


And so they are. In fact, the envelopes are the closest you will get to X’mas this year. You and 4 other unfortunate slaves. You arrange yourselves in a mini assembly line: address, personalised message, signing and attaching the coupon being the steps involved. You try to imagine yourselves as little elves working round the clock to bring joy to the world. But the fact that you are peddling coupons for a hand sanitizer reminds you that you are working round the clock only because you have to and it brings you closer to the end of the month.

Elves at work

If targetted TV programs have taught us anything, it is that if miracles are to happen, this is the time. So you leap for a mini-miracle of your own. You urge your fellow slaves to see the envelopes as a stumbling block to holiday bliss. You try to rally them into the fastest way to finish the task at hand. But years of conditionaing gets in the way. You end up quarelling over the nuttitest of things like whether the order in which you sign the envelopes should follow seniority or whether the use of glitter pens confers an unfair advantage?


Its 8 pm, 500 envelopes still await your attention and there is talk of complaining to HS how Mr. A took up too much space to sign his name and how Mr. B took the top spot that should have been reserved for HS himself. X’mas is pretty much written off. This is when rare inspiration dawns on you. You take the soup you have ordered and empty the contents on to the pending heap of envelopes. You make sure almost every last envelope is smeared hot’n’sour.

Before your fellow inmates find their wits to verbalize their shock you are in HS’ cabin. You tell him you tripped, you spilled the soup, there are no more envelopes left, you apologize and you leave.

You wish them a Merry X’mas and you walk out into the remainder of the evening’s magic.


Seasons are what you see on TV or read in the news. The real tempest is what’s on your mind.

– J.

Time and Pressure

In Big Brother, Office humor, SlavesInc, Training on December 18, 2012 at 03:16

It is 10 pm. The belly is empty, the back limp and the mind is a mess. The stale air and the cheap biscuits have sapped your vitality. But Yoda is still going strong. To say that he was born to do this is an understatement. To ask why you were born is tempting depression.


There is hope though. At this point, you will cling to even a whisper carried on a feather. It comes from Yoda himself. It is in the form of suggestions (surprise!).

‘It has been a long day. I suggest you head back to your rooms, take a nice hot shower. Enjoy the dinner and head for the beach. The waves look so calming under the moon. Then come back and get a solid night’s sleep. Wake up to a continental breakfast. One should breakfast like a king they say. Enjoy it at leisure and come back to the workshop at 9 am. Somewhere in the middle find a few minutes to get around to the assignment which is…’

It takes Y more than a couple of minutes just to tell you what the assignment is. And it takes more than a couple of moments for the joke to sink in. In this state of dashed hopes and compromised reflexes, you spend the next few hours burning the midnight bio fuel.

Somewhere over the past couple of decades, companies have come to believe that the only way slaves can learn is under high levels of stress, under a state of mental and physical agony, sort of like training mules with spurs. Only here, the mules get to take notes.


To make it interesting, Y has made a wager with teams competing for points and cash. It is your very own Big Brother experience. With each passing session, stress levels rise and civil conduct falls.


It is 10 am. The belly is stuffed, the back stiff and the mind is staffed. During a particularly crisp morning session, a fellow slave and sufferer seems to be at the frayed ends. Let’s call him Mr. M. After several failed attempts at making a point, M seems so restless you start hoping he doesn’t have a gun under the table. By now, everyone except Y knows he is dying to share something with the group. At first you feel: ‘Another poser.’ Then you get mildly irritated by his cries for attention. But now, with his eyeballs almost popping out, you feel vaguely curious about this piece of information that he just cannot keep to himself. Yoda finally relents and invites M to share.


Yoda magnanimously waves him out. As fellow boot campers burst out laughing, M bursts out of the room. To save a few preciously painful seconds M undoes his fly on his jaunt out of the gas chamber. You can only hope he made it to the Promised Land well contained.

Super Pee

Time and pressure can move mountains. If the only thing time and pressure of slavery move for you is your hairline, you need to rethink your game plan.

–          J.


In humor, Retirement, SlavesInc, work life balance on December 12, 2012 at 12:26

Fresh ground coffee, sunlight and a leisurely stillness. The closest you will ever get to these things is on a wallpaper. That and your day dreams, if you are still capable, of dreaming i.e. If you are not, we have a product for that (more on that later).

Day Dreaming 1

You get a glimpse on sleepy Sunday afternoon, at a long lunch break and over some particularly foul-tasting coffee. And it vanishes, with the next e-mail, the next ping and the next back ache.

You kill the thought in its infancy before it escapes your lips. You laugh it off yourself before others have a chance. But it persists. Like a faithful puppy. You try to explain to it that the world is a cruel place that does not have the patience to humor fluffy dreams. But it just barks back at you.

So you throw it a bone sometimes. You do the only thing that does not require intellectual or testicular fortitude. You Google it. And you find there is a website for that too:

Tips and tricks, products and services, news and…research! It’s all here. It has an All-you-ever-wanted-to-know condescendence about it. It says that even in your most personal dreams, you are as ordinary as a consumer. And we have just the product for you!

Black Sabath Heaven and Hell

Every day that you procrastinate, more seemingly novel business ideas are being taken by those with a greater supply of kash, kismet and kahoonas, or a combination thereof. The economics of it all is staring you right in the face. Get rich soon or die trying.

50 Cent

The ancients believed dreams tell us what we need to know. Dreams of the modern man may not be more than a noxious mixture of last night’s TV shows and his last Happy Meal. But they can still provide mild entertainment. One thing is clear: We did not crawl out of trees to rot at a desk all day.

–          J.