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Archive for the ‘Office humor’ Category

Late Shift Blues

In Artist, freelancing, Office humor, Organisation, SlavesInc, vitamin d deficiency, Wage Slaves, work life balance, work stress on June 8, 2017 at 20:13
‘You again?’ he said. You could have said the exact same thing but you stick to the more traditional, ‘Hi.’
This must be the seventh time you have ran into the man on the last train home. You vaguely remember him in the audience at one of your dos. You don’t recall ever asking his name and it has not hampered your acquaintance for lack of a better word.
Train Kandivali
You fill him in on all that has been happening in your little version of rebellion. He listens with amusement but that is about it. Then you ask him about his…work. Not that there is much excitement he can share about the ERP offshoring project that is gainfully employing him. Then you try silence for a while and it catches on. Till it’s time for you to say goodbye at your destination. The empty rake takes the man home only to repeat the cycle again tomorrow. He didn’t seem sad but he didn’t look hopeful either. A version of you in a parallel universe. It was a rather Fight Club moment, like meeting your spirit animal.
There is something about late night shifts that brings about contemplation even in the most wound up of automatons. May be it is the moonlight, the relative coolness or just the silence. The sweepers on the platform, the rickshaw drivers waiting for a last ride home or just an excuse to call it a day and you on your post-gig high seem to share an unspoken camaraderie, a loose brotherhood of odd-jobers. Going through the motions of their respective mime acts. Like you were in a video for a blues song together.
New York Workers

PhotoShop always was a latent need of the market.

Some days you see your ex-colleagues on the other side of the tracks, on the right side of market sentiment and the wrong side of traffic. Their belts struggling to contain their impending cardiac episodes and the compartment barely containing the class struggle. As you wave at them from your empty compartment going upstream, the success is almost cinematic in contrast. But it’s not the end, it never is. There is always a higher plane to abdicate to. And unfortunately life is a series of sequels no one asked for.
Rat Race.jpg
Man is a creature of habit. All creatures are. Meaning can always be retrofitted. From training troops to telecallers, most mission calls are euphemisms at best. Lies we decide to believe collectively to make life bearable. One should always be weary of replacing one drudgery with another.
Slice of Life Dexter
Small talk about traffic, weather and elections is just static filling the emptiness of your years. You can choose to wake up or sleepwalk through the rest of your life, no one will notice either way. But at least pick the shift that feels most defiant.
– Punit Pania

Secret Santa

In HR, Office humor, SlavesInc on December 25, 2014 at 05:07

Both secrets and good deeds have been conspicuously absent from your life thus far. So a good deed carried out secretly would be against the run of play indeed. To say that the chances of such a thing happening to you or by you are low would be an understatement.

Secret Santa
Yet here you are at the mall at lunch time looking specifically for trinkets for a lady who until recently was not specified in your life. You underestimated the power of peer pressure once again. And now you have to sift through piles of overpriced diaries and yearly planners instead of chasing killer year-end deadlines.
Even the most painful of ordeals can become that much more bearable with company. Several fellow slaves you avoid eye contact with are exchanging knowing glances at the book store. A flimsy diary that costs 500 bucks for no apparent reason other than fact that it’s close to X’mas speaks to everyone’s inner arsonist.
secret-santa-office-rulessecret-santa-office-rules 2secret-santa-office-rules 3
There are other other ridiculous gifting options too including a 2-inch plastic fish that apparently swims in water and will set you back by only 565 bucks. The only item fitting your budget is gift wrapping paper. To be honest, your budget is rather low given inflation and the general trend towards consuming like there is no tomorrow. To be even more honest, your budget is set by the gift you received from your secretly assigned corporate Santa. In a world of random reciprocity, it seemed fair to assume that you should pay in kind.
Secret Santa Gift Fish
Holiday Spirit Conan
Yet; with some more effort, you finally settle for a set of curiosities that strike the right balance between novelty and economy.
Secret Santa Trinkets
Holiday Spirit Meme
You even feel good about yourself for a while. But the feeling vanishes before it turns into the rumored ‘holiday spirit.’ You did do better than the gift your own Secret Santa gave you: a pack of sugary biscuits. But true satisfaction can only come from deeds of free will. And that; is no secret.
– J.

The Way to a Manager’s Heart…

In humor, Interpersonal, Office humor on July 20, 2014 at 19:48

As related by a friend and fellow slave

Managers are people too. This dawns on you from time to time. But in the interim, they just seem like a peculiar tribe slave to rigid practices and pointless ritual.


The-Office-Dance-OffRicky Grievas DancingDavid Brent Dancing
As your department’s pack forages on their usual slope, the new kid on the block stays on the side lines. Besides the one-off documentation and scheduling of meetings, the kid has little to do to keep herself busy. She does try though, her anxiety shows anyway. The veterans of the pack show no signs of even acknowledging her existence. You, as always, are the passive observer.

And as a good observer is wont to do, you survey from a distance without intruding, interacting or influencing the subjects of study in any way. It is a tough job but someone has to do it.

Austin Stevens

The pack almost seems to be trying too hard at times, going out of their way to look past the kid and act generally self-important. The posturing is led by their Head of Department, a man with a big face and a thin voice. He is also the Alpha Male by proxy.

On many an occasion you feel compelled to break in, break the ice and put the kid at ease. But with some effort, you convince yourself that nature has to run its course.

And it does until a day when the pack is feeling particularly restless and hungry, both feelings being often interconnected. They are pulled out if their lazing around into the mildly vigorous activity of looking for biscuits and half-eaten packs of chips in the foliage of files and half-open boxes of forgotten stuff.

The kid, startled at first, makes the bold move of offering her own reserve of nutrition bars and Oreos. It is an instant hit. One of the Oreos makes its way to Alpha for approval. You almost find yourself anxious waiting for his response. But guess what, the big man likes Oreos!
Cyanide Oreos

Over the next few days, banter increases in proportion with the kid’s supply of fodder. They still don’t know the kid’s name and her smile is still awkward. But there is progress…

The kid comes up to you once offering you the last Oreo lying at the bottom of her shallow lunch box. You offer her your pack of nutrition bars instead.

‘What’s your name?’

‘Kim!’ she says with a bright smile.

‘Glad to have you on board,’ you say.

oreo-rainbow

Managers are people too and nature has to run its course. But you can always run your own.

 

– J.

Not a Morning Person

In Health, humor, Office humor, work life balance on June 2, 2014 at 01:02

As related by a friend and fellow slave

 

As the minutes pass into hours and hours turn into the morning, you realise time is unforgiving. It is cold and consistent. No wonder you are not on good terms with it.

If you were to plot a graph of the number of hours you sleep, it would be a morbidly declining picture. But wake up you must for you have got for yourself what is called a day job. And after years of doing it you have realised that it would be fair to say you are not a morning person.


not a morning person

After your second visit to the loo and the third rerun of Two and a Half Men, you shudder to even look at the watch. Various methods including multiple alarms on different devices, keeping the curtains ajar and paying the watchman to knock on your door at 7 am every morning have ensured you hold on to your job. In hindsight it seems like one continuous nightmare with interludes of hazy wakefulness…at least it pays the bills.

two-half-men-charlie-sheen

And it has taken a toll on your circadian rhythms. You find yourself wrestling with sleep even on weekends. It is hard enough training yourself to be one type of person; there is no place to fit in a weekend mode in there. It doesn’t help that the watchman doesn’t keep track of what day it is.

It is 3 am and every cell of your body is crying for a reboot. You tell yourself to power through it for one more day even though you know by now that the tomorrow of work-life balance never comes. The tomorrow when you go to bed early, have an apple in the morning and ditch coffee for green tea is a modern day myth.

Lack of sleep or lack of coffee

You check your calendar: One client visit, two meetings and three con-calls. So you decide to suck it up, you double check your alarms and order your brain to stop thinking. Being professional is a 24-hour job.

coffee-you-can-sleep-when-youre-dead

At ten minutes past eleven, you realise being professional is overrated. A full blast of sunlight through the window is accompanied by a half-cake recipe being discussed on the telly. The morning rush has passed and all you can hear is a distant dog barking, a bored baby crying and maybe even an odd bird chirping. It’s like you hit a fast-forward button in your brain. You even get a fleeting feeling of what they call…peace.

Truman In case I don't see you

Then you check your phone: three missed calls, two skipped meetings and one defaulted radio taxi pick-up. But the world didn’t end.

Calvin Stars

There are more missed calls coming in. You switch off the phone and look out of your window. Time is cold, consistent and unforgiving. The least you can do is forgive yourself once in a while.

 

– J.

OUT OF OFFICE

In Communication, e-mail, humor, Office humor, Resignation on May 19, 2014 at 03:56

Courtesy is a form of formality. And formality is; in most cases, imposed. At least you find it so. This adds to the tedium of being in an office for the major part of your waking day.


Keep calm Courtesy

Till your major jail break takes shape, outdoor duty is the only gasp of fresh air you can take. But this too is fraught with formality starting with: ‘Out of Office’ replies. There are ready formats available ranging from the apologetic: ‘I will have infrequent access to emails. In case of urgency, I can be reached at…’ to the whacky: ‘You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn’t have received anything at all.’ Then there is the high flier who says the same thing in 5 foreign languages in case his long lost Czech friend finally decides to add him on Pinterest

Out of Office Beach

But none suits your style. This is because your style would be to leave no automated reply at all. You can’t imagine anyone’s life depending on your responding to a mail on the same day. But invariably, when you are out of office, some unfortunate soul’s life does land the misfortune of doing so.

Office emergency

There is no escaping formality. So you decide to go through ‘OUT OF OFFICE’ replies that you have received in recent months for inspiration. And there are quite a few of them. A lot of people seem to be gasping for air. One in particular catches your attention for its sheer length:

‘I am out of office right now…

Since you are still reading, might as well make it worth your time. This is a little story about a young girl who had joined us last year. After months of neglect and taking photo copies, she finally left voluntarily. This is the resignation letter she tendered: When I had joined last fall, I felt truly happy after a very long job search. Being a management trainee with this organization would be the perfect start to what I want to be a long career, I thought. The stipend wouldn’t hurt either. In fact, if I commuted by bus, it would help pay off some of my student loan. But after 9 months of only taking photo copies for pretty much everyone in office except the other management trainees, I feel guilty. The pay as I said; doesn’t hurt. Not that I have not eagerly asked for work from anyone who would listen but you guys seem to have everything pretty much covered. An office boy in more dire need of employment could do my work. The only consolation is; the coffee was good!

The letter does not seem to have affected HR much but I thought it would be better than a Plain Jane auto-reply. Thank you for your e-mail. I will get back to you as soon as I rejoin.’

Well, you don’t remember reading this yourself though it lies very much in your inbox. You do believe that rebellion no matter how ill-fated never goes to waste. But you also believe that you should save your energy for those who care and for a time that matters.

Resignation Letter - Cake

For now, you stick to the bare minimum: ‘I am out of office, I will return on the 29th,

And to liven the mood, you add: ‘In case of emergency, dial 911.’

 

– J.

Fire Drill

In humor, Office humor on May 12, 2014 at 01:57

Your father always talked about learning from experience. That way to wisdom has long since been discredited. This is a world of preparation and pre-preparation. And we are better and safer off for it. In this world, exams are cleared before they are written, matches are fixed before the toss and wars are won before they are waged. Foretold, forewarned amd foreclosed.

The Venus Project

You still try to be natural though, being unnerved by every act of deceit and moved by every act of kindness. However, the overriding emotion seems to be that of surprise. The jingle of the announcement system comes on and you expect the receptionist in her sorry voice to declare the occurrence of some non-event. But it is not her. It is not even the stand-in receptionist. It is a man’s voice. It is a very old man in charge of training very young recruits. His voice starting with the presumptuous “Hello friends…’ rains down from the skies. On more than one occasion you have imagined the end of the world to be akin to this. So you look around for what you could take with you for the arduous journey.
yesman mike

 

‘Saifty is verry imporrtant,’ says the old man in an accent thicker than a thick milkshake during HappyHour. Somewhere in the middle of his seventh long sentence you understand this is a fire drill. If you were to wait for the old man to finish, the whole place would burn to the ground. Fellow slaves have by now started scampering.  Well, not exactly scampering but getting their act together in general.

 

office-fire

 

Groups of slaves are to follow their assigned leader or ‘Fire Marshall’ as these guys like to be called; in a straight line to the designated escape area. If you were to guess the protocol you would have said, ‘Scream fire, run like hell and lock yourself up in the bathroom.’ Which is why you will never get to be Fire Marshall. But you can make like good sheep and follow your shepherd to the parking lot. If you were to follow your own path, you would keep running, as far away from the burning building as possible and not wait in the lot. But while in employment, policy rules everything right up to possible death and posthumous insurance claims.

A safety instructor awaits the rescued lot, mike at the go. Keeping a straight face was difficult enough without the instructor being a Comedy Circus wannabe. ‘Imagine its a fire in your kitchen, is that the best you can do?’ he says to one lady. ‘You will only stoke the fire further,’ he says to another ample volunteer trying to douse a flame by sitting on it!

ConductingFireDrill

 

The festivities are brought to a halt when the headcount does not add up. Two slaves are definitely missing, even after counting twice. The Marshals and the Instructor seem more crestfallen than one would if a loved one had met an untimely demise. You find their commitment admirable and amusing at the same time. They can write out all the fire safety SOPs with their left hand with their eyes closed but they can’t for the life in them figure out the cause of two possible casualties. After it stops being funny, you walk up to the Instructor and suggest that he check the tea stall outside the office building.

In case of fire

 

And sure enough, your two casualties are very much breathing, enjoying their third cuppa for the day. Foretold, forewarned and foreclosed but no real-life experience.

 

– J.

Higher Resolution

In Casual Day, creativity, Cubicle, day of creation, humor, Office humor on January 7, 2014 at 12:23

27 and counting. That is how many times you have had to wish people ‘Happy New Year’ superimposed with a smile. At least, online you can get away with abbrevating to ‘HNY,’ using copy-paste and throwing in the odd smiley for good measure. In the real world, it takes a lot more energy.

 Season's Greetings - A Lawyer's Point of view

So you pre-empt discussions and greetings with a lot of the everyday stuff so that your would-be greeter drops the idea altogether. This is a little bit more difficult at state level.

Because at state level, there is no dialogue,  there is only diktat: ‘All employees are requested to be dressed in their sports day attire with matching sneakers on the first working day of the new year…’

Beyond a point, if your handlers can tell you what and how much to wear, you have got to question if you are in the right profession. You wouldn’t want to begin the year on a non-compliant note, especially since you haven’t even updated your CV yet. So you lay your sports gear out on the morning of the big day. You even try it on. But it is very clear: You look ridiculous in it.

homer_mascot

Non-compliance it is.

But for once you are surprised to find you have company in this department. With only around 10% slaves dressed for a marathon, it would be fair to say this ‘initiative’ flopped. It is still amusing though to see the odd guy dressed in a red tennis jersey in a meeting room with formally dressed drones around him, especially if he is leading the discussion.

Around lunchtime when most slaves have already begun their countdown to punch out time, another state sponsored e-mail lands in your inbox: ‘All employees are requested to gather at the central lobby to participate in the New Year Resolution Tree Planting Ceremony.’ These would not be your usual loose weight-avoid-junk food-sleep early nonsense, you know, the kind of resolutions that ought to be suffixed with a *lol* in brackets. No. These would be more corporate. Ask not what the company can do for you but what…

Resolutions Gym
Lightweight promises to ‘add value’ on post-its stuck to a make belief paper tree. You sure hope the company is not counting on these to make or even maintain profits. You do go to see the fair. There are not many participants, the paper tree looks like a last-minute craft project destined for a ‘B-‘

The little that is there is predictable at best: ‘I will collaborate more with other departments,’ ‘I will be more responsive to customer calls,’ ‘I will only hold meetings when essential.’

You can’t partake in this. You decide there itself to drop the fleeting idea of finally making your own list of resolutions. If professionally run organiations can delude themselves around a calendar year, what chance do you, the common underling have? The wrinkles on your face, the the extra inches around your waist and the fire in your heart on its last flicker don’t give a dime about what date it is. You shouldn’t either. The best time to do what you want to is always right now.

– J.
SlavesInc Visiting Card

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Here’s an excerpt:

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Santa None the Less

In Festivals, humor, Office humor on December 25, 2013 at 05:00

‘What’s wrong with a table clock?’ You say having never bought into the secret Santa gimmick.

‘Nothing, if it was 2012,’ says Karen, obviously more sold than you.

‘You mean a table clock is so last year?’

‘Not the gift, but Nitin’s designation has moved up in life, leaving cheap gifts and open cubicles behind.’

‘Just give it now, isn’t it the thought that is supposed to count?’

‘It is but not in office.’

If you had a dime for every time you heard that, you wouldn’t need to work in an office in the first place. But you have accepted it as a fact of life, as routine as complaining about the traffic and doing nothing about it.

Annual events remind you that you are still here and nothing much has changed except the date. What changes is how badly you want to break free and the time available to you to execute this jail break, both of which are on a downward spiral.

Christmas_Ad_Zippo
‘The thought should count for something. Like 40%,’ you say, still not convinced about the designation theory.

‘Let’s just say that the thought is only table stakes, you need to back it up with action.’

‘Man, this is gonna be painful. How about a fancy lighter?’

‘He doesn’t smoke.’

‘It is never too late to start,’ you say dryly.

‘We have ten more minutes, then my vacation starts. Do it or Secret Santa flops,’ Karen was serious.

‘A Wine Set?’

‘Too informal.’

‘An actual bottle of wine?’

‘Too expensive.’

‘A box of rum balls?’

‘Too predictable.’

‘I give up then.’

‘Don’t you have something…non-narcotic?’

‘Not in office.’

‘What?’

‘Can’t think of anything…flowery right now.’

‘Good bye then, see you next year. Merry Christmas!’

‘Secret Santa my ass!’ you exclaim.

You get back to work trying to ignore the sad looking cotton balls masquerading as snow and the thin guy from accounts posing as Santa. Working through it seems to be the only revolt of some semblance against what you feel is just another shopping festival.

Christmas Mall

*Gift for Nitin* continues to stare at you from the top of your to-do list. But you just can’t get around to the formality. At 8 pm on Xmas eve; it is just you, Nitin and his name on the list that are left in office.

Alone in an office at night, an FBI agent sifts through files.

You decide to confront him, walk straight into his newly acquired enclosure, wish him and leave. He sees you coming a long way away and waves you in. But you rush back to the desk and put that zippo lighter you never used into your pocket, just in case.

Zippo ad kids

‘Long day eh?’ he says

‘Yeah, just like any other. Hey, can I help you with something?’

‘Oh no, I’ve…I’ve got it covered, thanks,’ says Nitin in a smile too big to be true.

‘I plan on being here quite some time. Why don’t you head home to the kids on time for once?’ you offer.

‘The kids are not at home…I don’t have custody for the holidays,’ says Nitin still smiling.

‘I’ve got nothing waiting for me at home either,’ you say pulling up a chair. Secret Santa still has a chance.

Santa-Smoking

– J.

EliteInc.

In Festivals, humor, Interpersonal, Office humor on October 13, 2013 at 01:47

A company is a highly designed place full of people who have landed there by default. Once there, they learn the rules of the reality show called employment. Like in any other motley group, some learn fast, others learn the hard way.

You always wanted to learn fast. But wanting is only the first step. And you have your whole working life to figure out the rest.


Tom_Sawyer_Gang__South_Park_by_Nuii_Pirate

A slew of colourful boxes has made it to the office in the morning sending much a flutter on an otherwise ordinary day. The boxes are too small to be product consignments and too bright to be routine stationary. They have to be gifts, big ones. It is not nearly festive season yet nor is the birthday or retirement of any office celebrity in the offing.

Gifts

Gossip, speculation and wild guesses rule till some time before lunch when the coveted boxes containing unknown payload start being handed out by none other than Head Slave himself. Each recipient emerges from the cabin a happy man, one box richer than when he went in. It is a rare sight. He also announces the name of the next man summoned into the sanctorum.

Then, the summons just stop and the exercise is at a sudden but definite end. So exciting this has turned out to be that no one noticed the pattern to the chosen box receivers. ‘It is a Diwali gift, only for line managers,’ said smirking Smriti just in case you had missed the appeasement.

Poggie

You have never been one for giving or receiving gifts. But those boxes were just so…happy looking. You feel like a step-kid on Christmas day in a crowded family. Like a stray dog who is not cute enough to get attention and not weak enough to earn sympathy.  Like the only guy without a date at a swanky coffee house. You have actually approached HS’ cabin and are standing dangerously close as Smriti makes the obvious more biting my mouthing it.

You walk off without acknowledging the glee on her face. You can now the see the boxes distributed over various desks, not distributed over others. But they don’t seem colourful anymore. They look a distant grey. Before the discrimination kills your appetite, you decide to head off for lunch. You ask around for company, making it a point not to ask the gift recipients. This does not stop Smriti from pitching in:

‘Can’t come, all line managers have been invited to a special lunch at The Chateau`!’

‘Did I ask you?’ you snap back, ‘I am only asking mortal non-line managers.’

Visibly recoiling from your outburst, Smriti walks off saying, ‘We need to talk.’

Gift boxes tie

A company is a highly designed place full of people who have landed there by default. You try to be tolerant. But trying is only the first step. And you have your whole working life to get used to the rest.

– J.

Town Hall

In Big Brother, Office humor, SlavesInc on August 26, 2013 at 23:52

Life is full of transactions. Many monetary, some legal but most social. Phone calls, IMs, meetings, coffee, interviews. In the unlikely event that you get the time to consider how many of these are desired, you would realise just how much you have abdicated your freedom.

social-butterfly business

These are lofty thoughts for the garden variety employee, especially during working hours. But you are on the semblance of a high right now. You are on an air cushion of defiance. For you have given the town hall meeting a pass. Whilst 100s of your fellow rowers try to look attentive and not miss an occasion to clap, you are sitting idly in the relative peace of your cubicle.

300-rise-of-an-empire-Xereses

Through updates on your intelligent phone, you know the address by ‘Senior Leadership’ is as dull and uninspiring as expected. You are feeling better about yourself by the minute. You may even put some music on to accompany the brisk elation in the air.

Cloud-9

But as it so often happens, when you think you are getting too ahead of yourself, you probably are.

‘What are you doing here?’ It’s Head Slave, seemingly having assumed form from vapour.

‘…What are you doing here?’ is your surprising counter-offensive after a moment’s stratlement.

‘I…came here…for a glass of water, see.’  HS gulps down a glass of water rather uncomfortably. ‘Why aren’t you attending the town hall meeting upstairs?’

‘Its…astonishingly boring.’

‘Well…it’s not appropriate not to attend this meeting.’

Wow. HS actually had no objection to you finding the meeting boring, astonishingly so. You tell yourself that is victory enough for one day and march upstairs to comply.

Dilbert ISO Compliance

It is another one of those undesired transactions and a one-sided one at that. Big Boss is rattling off slide after slide to the collective dismay of his captive audience. But you are happy being on this side of the transaction where compliance is independent of belief.

– J.