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Archive for the ‘Motivation’ Category

Hobbies and Jobbies

In Blogging, Monday, Motivation, Office humor, SlavesInc, Wage Slaves, work life balance on October 27, 2017 at 17:12
Employment is an increasingly thin disguise for lives being spent on auto-pilot. Hours, years, decades spent at desks convincing yourself that this is what you were born to do. Your entire childhood, education and the relative exuberance of your youth add up to this contract of employment at this CTC. Most of your time and faculties are spent not in working but in telling yourself that this…it it. This is all there is to life. This and shopping. Shopping is why you exist. And voting once in a while. In the modern world, we are consumers first, citizens later. Social media; at best, let’s us humour ourselves. At worst, it keeps you in a semi-comatose state throughout the day. Man did not evolve to grow old in cubicles. But via the miracle of the modern economy he can gladly do so simply because everybody else is. The mass tranquilization of conformity.
Stray ideas and interests can be kept as pets and called hobbies. Something you do in your free time, on the side, in the most inconsequential way possible.  ‘Yeah, he still does that…collecting stamps,’ followed by a sympathetic smile. As if we were describing a disease he has to live with, ‘Yeah, he loves getting Asthma, but only in his free time…and on rainy days.’ We never reserve the same disdain for day jobs, ‘Yeah, he is Vice President Marketing now. It only took him twenty years, two angioplasties and one divorce to get there.’ Hobbies are looked down upon as guilty pleasures. Not only can they not earn a livelihood they are not even supposed to. Which is why the most powerful people in the world are the ones who have made making money their hobby. A single-minded pursuit of money is bound to succeed in a world designed to worship it. But simply existing in defiance of it is the bigger success. In times when money is by itself a consumer product, a healthy detachment is essential to maintain sanity. You don’t have to be a hermit though. Struggling artists give artists a bad name. The compulsively struggling down on his luck stereotype is why we can’t imagine a world run by artists instead of politicians and businessmen. There would be no material progress, only a never-ending hippie party. And it’s probably true. If artists ran the world we may not have had nuclear power but then we would not have needed it either.
I still know people who state ‘General Knowledge’ as a hobby. GK. Admittedly, they are all old. But there was a time; not long ago, when it was cute that uncle Shyam could recite the capital of Azerbaijan and all Soviet states in alphabetical order. Now; in the 4G era, it is just sad. But at least Shyam had a personality. He tried to grasp something beyond the mundane. We remember people for their quirks, not their routines. If your entire life’s work amounts to a flat in the suburbs and a few FDs, the world could have probably done without you. ‘He was a nice guy…yeah…’
– Punit Pania

What Does Success Look Like?

In Motivation on September 8, 2017 at 19:05

What does success look like? Is it the first promotion after you have finally paid off your student loan? Is it a neatly framed ending to a feel-good movie? Is it taking your parents out on the first ride in your new car as prescribed by television? Whichever version you buy, it seems short-lived. But failure has to be lived everyday. And nobody teaches you how to, not even your parents. The crushing reality of not having made it in the Rockstar way you had imagined all your life, the statistical improbability of it ever happening in the first place is never discussed. You either live in denial or keep trying just for the heck of it. Sometimes you know you are running into a brick wall but you still do it ‘coz a bump on the head is a better feeling than not having tried at all. But no one is kind enough to tell you that giving up is also a legit option. It’s a stale mate of overgrown kids refusing to believe that playtime is over. And if every Complain kid got to be an Astronaut, there would be a lot of depression in space.

Perhaps there really is no happily ever after. Life is a series of sequels that you can choose to make sense of or just sleepwalk through. Even the most celebrated personalities don’t experience Zen levels of pleasure. They are only humans, hangovers are real and they are not going to have unearthly zero-gravity sex. Life is short but orgasms are shorter. And there is always a bigger stadium to sell out, a bigger award to be earned and a bigger ego to be humoured. Disappointment eventually catches up with you in proportion to your batting average.

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Robin Sharma won’t tell you that coz selling slogans are so much easier. Why does it all have to be about a getting a bigger car and a bigger erection? Why don’t these great speakers talk about having greater civic sense and not being an asshole, those are the burning needs of the day.

Image result for robin sharma quotes

Appealing to base instincts is easier and can be mass-produced. Sex, drugs and Rock’n’Roll for the few chosen poster boys and the hamster wheel for everyone else. A cosmic lottery where you either succeed in the most vulgar and opulent way possible or die in regimented obscurity. There is no third option for truly enlightened folk who do not have the right mix of narcissism, loose morals and good fortune to succeed on a cinematic scale. We are so enamored by the popular idea of success that we let celebrities get away with anything including murder, or worse. Of course, in many cases it is also political and financial clout that keeps them out of jail. But we shower far too much sympathy on them failing to discern that what we see on screen is a hollow projection of a very real very mortal person on earth who is furthermore a different person from his driver.
Cinematic success is exactly that, a few frames of escapism to gloss over reels of hard truth.

And it has us yearning with every breathing moment, struggling, scratching and slogging our working class asses off to buy these pre-digested packages of success off the shelf. Engineering-MS-Green card, IIT-IIM-Paperback novel. And then re-innforcinng through graduation batch WhatsApp groups and LinkedIn updates that we all made an equally good or equally bad decision.

You were born into a particular family, hometown, peer group and their collective pathos, you don’t have to die with them. If on a given day the number of activities you like to do outnumbers the number of activities you need to do, isn’t that success enough? The greatest success can be as simple as not having to wake up to an alarm in the morning. Screw your happy endings and bury your peer group in a shallow grave and never look back.

  • Punit Pania

Inflation and the Myth of Satisfaction

In Motivation, Salary, work life balance on April 20, 2017 at 17:05
The really premium stores are the ones where you can’t even make out what they are actually selling. It is difficult to tell what’s on offer, the crockery, the antique toy cars or the staff’s mime act.
Kama-Ayurveda-Store
Italian decor, Indian prints and African drum music because…why not? You can’t tell if the staff has an accent or they are struggling with queer product descriptions they have been made to memorize. You can’t tell if the look on their face is irony or a perpetual shrapnel up their ass.
Kama-Store
And they are always empty. You could either feel like you are one of the chosen few or you stumbled in mistakenly. Either way, you have never felt so out of place since the time your Mom left you alone with Grandma and her Poker Club friends.
The price tags have detached themselves not only from the inherent value of the product but from gravity itself. And yet it feels impolite to walk out without a purchase but not to price a scarf at 5695 bucks in the first place!
It’s only numbers afterall. In a world of rival religions and vicarious recreation, numbers are the only real thing and they rule everything we do.
Your salary, your BMI, your EMI, your credit limit and your per capita GDP. All numbers; manifested in the struggle you call a life. The jumble of neurons you call a consciousness. And competing hormonal levels you call a personality.
And somewhere down the line we decided that they should all move upwards, double digits, year on year, more chaos, more dollars, more entropy, less sleep, no stopping. A death spiral of consumption, diminishing returns on investment and the myth of satisfaction that always lies beyond your salary bracket.
Clooney Boat
But you don’t know when to give up. You never do. Make do with the MRP bars and save for the birthday bash. Wait for the online sales and splurge in Diwali. Scratching, clawing and ducking into another financial year of accounting obscurity.
Sure there are alternatives and different trends but the shop selling detox depends on the shop selling liquor. And the only right answer to any question is: More!
When the last tree has been cut down
More and more till the last beach is turned into a carnival and the last forest is strip-mined into a grave. The centrifugal force of consumption is so great that only the blessed few with resolve can resist and that too only within the sanctuary of their minds. For the rest, life will be at best a blurr of alarm clocks, plastic pop songs and credit card due date reminders all held together by a constant primordial anxiety to belong, never really getting there but never realising freedom can be as simple as turning the WiFi off!
Don’t you give up, nah-nah-nah
I won’t give up, nah-nah-nah…
– Punit Pania

The Biggest Ponzi Scheme in the World

In Big Brother, Christmas, HR, humor, Motivation, Wage Slaves on December 24, 2016 at 08:39
Nietzsche proclaimed ‘God is dead’ in 1882. But HR is keeping Him alive for KRA purposes.
From Rangoli competitions to Secret Santa, no festival, tradition or tribal mating ritual will be left behind. Selfies will be clicked, forms will be ticked and camaraderie will be faked.
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All in the name of that modern and universal measure of human relations – engagement. Engagement is just the kind of cashless-paperless-soulless term corporations like to employ to make complicated responsibilities seem manageable.
If only 4 AM philosophising could get you far in life, you wouldn’t have to wonder what to get Rozy for her last Christmas in the galleys before she begins her long but terminal affair with pension. What could you get her that she has not seen in three decades of salaried existence and nearly six decades of attracting gravity in general? Where does being a compliant slave stop and being a nice person in general begin? Is Jizas watching us all the time? Doesn’t he take a day off? Not even on his birthday? Does anyone give a flying Rudolph about any of it?
Not really. Not when you consider that the primary purpose of any system is its own perpetuity, be it the Anglican Church or Acme Corp. And the whole thing started as an ad campaign anyway. The whole Santa thing, not Church. And it only took you three Wikipedia pages to come to that conclusion.
So you decide to gift Rozy a frame. She can put her granddaughter’s drawings in it, her own photos or just leave it empty and call it art. Of course, you had to assume that she has a granddaughter…who likes to draw. But you’ve already alloted more brainwaves to this act of corporate Karma that it merits.
Secret Santa must be the biggest Ponzi scheme in the world. And the house always wins. The best you can do is engage, keep your head down and quit while you are ahead.
– Punit Pania

Switch off the damn WiFi

In Big Brother, Blogging, Motivation, SlavesInc, work life balance on December 20, 2016 at 15:46
It’s been an hour since you’ve been staring at your screen, a month since you took a break and a year since you put out a blog post.
But Facebook is the new blogging, Insta is the new Facebook and SnapChat is the new Insta. You don’t even have to wait for the next InstaSwipeClick thingy to take away any residual need left to think or even simply take a deep breath. It just keeps coming, like wave after wave of zombies. You can keep striking them down but drowning is only a matter of time.
Sure you have friends and something akin to an employer and a guiding deity. But they are all increasingly mute. Just acting out their parts in mime unless double clicked to say more. Just one more thing to scroll past on a never-ending conveyor belt to oblivion.
Pearl Jam Virtual Reality.gif
There are happy moments, funny cats and morbid quotes but they are all faint proxies for a real-world cousin who doesn’t even matter anymore. Neither do you nor your blog nor any other form of documentation you force into a habit.
But you do it anyway more as an exercise in free will than in any meaningful defiance. In the flat, hot, post-truth world, creating, holding and relishing an independent thought in your head is by itself revolutionary.
And detox is always just the flick of a switch away. So switch off that damn WiFi and start some real work.
 Merry Christmas!
– Punit Pania

Every Farewell Note Ever

In Motivation, Resignation, Retirement on January 18, 2016 at 04:45

Deer Phriends,

With a heavy heart and a light pocket, today I say <insert google searched French word for goodbye>

My time with Acme Chemicals has been fantabulous, like an orgasm every minute.

Thank you all for blah blah…

Life is a journey coz…who gives a f*ck about originality.

Keep in touch randomid@inevercheckthisshit.com and let’s connect on LinkedIn where I will suddenly become more active than a circus monkey high on crack.

Warm Regards,
Bud

 

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Stranger to Kindness

In Commute, humor, Motivation, nine to five on June 16, 2014 at 02:10

As related by a friend

Of the many things that are in abundance in this world, plight is one that courts you on a daily basis. And plight of a personal nature is like being in an abusive relationship; the more you fight it, the earlier it gets to you in the day.

GroundHog Day Bill Murray

Lately, it hits you as soon as you are outside your door in the morning. You didn’t want to opt for company sponsored transport. It seemed too much like being out on parole. But the traffic and the damn economics of it!

shawshank prison bus

A minivan is all your employer can afford at this stage and the driver is always late. You want to be civil, if not kind to people working hard for a living. But the lack of sleep followed by a tropical morning gets the best of your better senses and you end up giving him an earful. It doesn’t seem to help though.

On the fourth such pleasant morning, the driver gets a call from his boss/handler. ‘I am on my way…on my way, I mean, I am just here…no, not on the highway but I am almost there. It is not my fault boss…’

He turns around to look at you. You try to look like you were not paying attention to the one-way conversation.

‘It is the first pick-up of the day, that guy is always late boss. It’s not my fault’

Roadrage

What the…you almost blurt out. But the driver is looking at you making a sorry pleading face. You motion to him to keep his eye on the road. The driver is off the phone now and checking you out in the rear view mirror making a puppy face. You try to check your rage. For once, counting to ten helps. An ugly puppy perhaps, but a puppy none the less.

Every one’s got their KRAs. Telling your boss the market research team delayed the presentation is no different that the driver blaming you for his running late. The least you can do is take the hit for a change, especially when it is easy for you to do so.

empleo-human-taxi 2

Happy at not letting frustration get to you any further, you even thank him for the ride on arriving at the galley.

‘Sir, sir…,’ he calls out behind you. You turn around with a ‘Now what?’ expression.

‘Sir, you stay at that Jumbo Apartments Complex right?’

‘Yes,’ you reply quizzically.

‘You don’t have to come to the station for the pick-up Sir. I can take a detour and pick you up from your doorstep. It will be quicker for me too. I will be on time everyday!’

‘…Ok,’ you say managing a smile, ‘See you tomorrow at 8 then.’

‘Yes Sir, thank you Sir, good day Sir!’

human_kindness_captured_in_pictures

Of the many things that are in abundance in this world, kindness of strangers is perhaps the most underrated. The sooner you find this out the better.

 

–          J.

Are you motivated yet?

In humor, Motivation, Office Romance on August 6, 2012 at 01:09

You remember how it all started. You also remember the time before it started. But you are not sure if any else does.

To think a simple thing like that could be so addictive and so dangerous. They are everywhere now. You don’t know how you did without them.

Motivational posters are what we are talking about. Its a freaking arms race out there. Every cubicle has one, for starters. Then there are the mugs, the printed T-shirts, e-mail sign-offs and more. Oh how you hate the e-mail sign-offs!

And to think it all started with an e-mail, a forward rather by none other than HS. 

Motivational posters have always had the opposite of their intended effect on you. Perhaps you take life too seriously; perhaps you are extra allergic to phoniness. Either way; you could laugh it off and spam the damn chain mails. But now, it’s like your whole life is an e-mail forward. Your most polite mails are being responded with smiley infested replies. You can’t have a coffee break without someone taking you off-guard with a high-five. The only motivation you are getting here is to leave this mad house.

If you had been inert to inertia, you wouldn’t have been a slave in the first place. So you drudge along. You return the fake smiles with one of your own, avoid high-fives when you can. You know it has really gotten out of hand when a motivational poster campaign is announced!

3 days is all you’ve got to pimp up your rowing station. HS will come around on Monday to adjudge the most motivating motivational poster (sic). This is going to be the ultimate test of your undercover skills. Taking a leave won’t help. The non-bling nature of your cubicle will give you away even in your absence.

So you put your head down and do what everyone else is doing; Google search. You could also search your trash mail folder. But that seems too against principle. Being creative when asked to is the toughest thing. So you keep putting it off.

It is the day of assessment and you have nothing. Zilch. HS has started doing his rounds too. When he is about two cubicles away, you remember an image a similarly reluctant friend had sent you. It says: ‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.’

You print it out and pin it up quickly. 

‘Hmm…,’ starts HS. He keeps looking at your print-out. It ain’t that long a sentence. But you don’t want to disturb him. He even rubs his chin, deep in thought. The whole thing is so ridiculous; you can’t help but smile a little.

‘I like it,’ he says. ‘I…like to keep it simple, Sir,’ is your honest reply.

Maybe, deep down, HS has decent taste, maybe even a sense of humor. Maybe he just does what he does out of bondage to KRAs. In a phony eat phony world, you will never know.

As for your comfort zone, you will need someone to kick you out of it.

– 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.