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Archive for the ‘Wage Slaves’ Category

Hamster Paradise

In conspiracy theories, Head Slave, Hiearchy, humor, SlavesInc, true enlightenment, Uncategorized, Wage Slaves on November 28, 2011 at 13:34

Have you ever got the feeling that you are paddling away in a trance? Like a long drawn hypnosis that is hard to tell from reality. Like some Art of Living mojo you heard while on the herb. Has to be some out of the ordinary explanation that keeps you slogging away in the ordinary. How else could one mire in this daily drudgery till death or old age prevail?

There must be thousands if not millions of hamsters like you at it every day. You cannot fathom how your drone-like paper pushing ultimately makes business happen, generates revenue, satisfies share holders and credits your monthly ration.

Its 2 pm in the afternoon. And it is just like you to drift into a heady day dream post lunch.

Just when you think you are on to something…the phone rings to snap you out of realization. It is Head Slave and he wants you in this cabin with the Acme contract. You rush in trying to collect your thoughts only to find HS even more disoriented.

‘We have 9,000 employees in 73 countries and we can’t get an auditorium entry?’ HS was demanding of his secretary.

‘They have been all booked for a week sir,’ explained Sec.

‘I am Vice President of this enterprise,’ reasoned HS.

‘Sir, there are 123 Vice Presidents globally, Head Office had only reserved seats for 90,’

In visible disbelief, HS turns to you. He keeps staring having forgotten why he had called you in. At this time, he would probably have trouble recalling your name too. Finding HS in this very pedestrian situation, you too forget what you were there for.

After an awkward few seconds, you wisely step out and slip into the comfort of your pointless but peaceful existence.

Knowledge is power but ignorance is bliss.

J.

Dream Job

In humor, Office humor, Wage Slaves, work life balance on November 14, 2011 at 02:16

Some professions are cooler than others. Admit it. If everyone from your school grew up to be what he or she wanted, we would have too many astronauts and Rock Stars. The economic impact of such utopia would be good subject matter for the next paperback hit. Fortunately, a classic bottle neck filters out the lucky bastards from the also-rans.

By the law of averages, you the reader are probably an also-ran. I feel a kinship with you already.

Youth is a great thing and most people are optimistic by default. The result is dreams and its waking love child: hope. Regardless of track record, dreams continue to show up, shameless and smug. They are like static, always there but not dwelled upon.

You even try your bit to feel like you have not given up: Guitar classes on weekends and half an hour of daily practice. But after earning your loaf from 9 to 5, you are running virtually on empty.

You are jolted to reality by a hard strummed Am (A minor) hit by your 9 year old batch mate. Very good says the instructor to the kid looking at you with deep despondence. With your fat grown-up fingers stuck ungracefully between the frets, mouth ajar and eyes sleepy, all you can give in return is a blank look. As the kid’s young and nimble fingers continue to thread actual music effortlessly through the acoustic instrument, you are run over by an epiphany:

A dream job is an oxymoron.

– J.

Theme Song

In Boss, conspiracy theories, Office humor, Organisation, Wage Slaves on October 24, 2011 at 02:22

Wide smiles, vibrant colors and perfect sunsets. Community, camaraderie…utopia. No twisted ankles, no traffic jams, no troubles. No stress, no back aches, no empty calories. You can also sense vague but spastic music and distantly jarring rhymes.

No, you are not at the carnival nor have you licked a stamp. You are being subjected to…the corporate theme song. More pompous than a self-titled rap album, more lame than a Friends re-run, it seems custom made to irk, itch and ­annoy. There are more ethnic varieties of employees than the United Nation’s Assembly, more scene-esque locales than a tourism commercial. For a creature of the cubicle such as you, this seems cruel and unusual punishment. But it could be worse: may be there are subliminal slave control messages in the video.

Since you have to stand up every darn time they play it, letting your mind drift is also difficult. The best you can do is mix truly felt contempt with plastered-on smile to produce a neutral look on your face. By the time the second verse starts, cracks are appearing on your solemn face, revealing lines of dissent. With immaculate timing, Head Slave catches you by the elbow. ‘Sing along sport!’ he bellows over the music. You didn’t even notice he had crawled next to you, so enthralling were the stock images in the video. Now you will have to pay some improvised lip service. Your mouth is already half open in mock-sing along but no voice escapes it. Lip syncing is easy when you are standing next to the speaker but it would be a lot easier if you knew the lyrics. The emotion you need is ‘Acme Sales Corporation: A wholly owned subsidiary of Acme International is God’s gift to mankind.’ But you would have to be method actor to fake it.

You survive this round but there will be no escaping come the sales meeting you have to conduct next week. Not only will you have to ‘sing’, you will have to get fellow slaves to participate. In the absence of options, you will manage somehow. At least, you will use the word sell-out more prudently in the future.

– J.

That‘s a lot of fat people

In Boss, Head Slave, humor, Office, SlavesInc, Wage Slaves on October 17, 2011 at 00:01

You never liked too much preparation. Right from science projects in school to your first date and now, slavery solicitations. It has always seemed uncalled for; deceptive even, to build an Ark every time it drizzles. If ‘awareness’ was as high as it is now, you would have probably been diagnosed with ADD in your childhood. Sure stand-ups and musicians prepare copiously to look like they are improvising. But there is a big difference, they don’t hate their jobs.

“Do it like your lives depend on it!” was Head Slave’s unimaginative attempt at pep talk. You wish you had come up with a better response than a stifled yawn. But it could have been worse; you could have let loose a knee-jerk chuckle. It is the latest version of ‘the big presentation’ that needs working on. Post 5th revision, it has gone from big to morbidly obese. You have been paddling for too many years to let a little pep talk motivate you. So you let the new pair of hands on the deck carry the load. Unfortunately, you cannot send them out to bat. You have been bestowed with that honor/led out to slaughter when SIC visits.

As rapture draws near, you willy-nilly get sucked into the paranoia. Sleep is the first victim of this boot camp routine, weekly offs are the last. When you are finally up against the audience on D-day, you feel like a doomed gladiator under the scope of a heavy-breathing audience. You feel more pressure than an ethnic student in a spelling bee final. All you can think of is: ‘Where is an out-of-body experience when you need one?’

You do manage to make it almost to the end of your Bible-sized presentation without questions, queries or quotations. It is the closest thing to a spiritual experience you will ever go through. That is when the sound of a fellow human grinds you to a halt like a hand brake. SIC has finally spoken. You did not get what he said but going by his gestures, another look at the previous slide on obesity demographics is what he wanted.

So you flip back and wait nervously. As SIC ‘hmms’ and ‘ahhs’, the meeting room seems caught in a never-ending final slowmo sequence of a tiring baseball movie. He finally says:

“Well, that ‘s a lot of fat people!”

.

.

.

It is the kind of silence that can only end with a well timed laugh or a lot of nodding. Luckily it is the former. What follows is a wave of banter, chit-chat and small-talk as SIC disappears into a Sudoku of handshakes. It is almost as if he vanished into smoke. You would say he was beamed up but you are not a fan of body suits. Both SIC and the topic of the ‘big presentation’ have not been seen or heard from since…

…until the next drill.

J.

Salary Slip

In Hopsquatch, HR, humor, nine to five, Office humor, Wage Slaves on October 10, 2011 at 03:58

Here it is, in black and white. It would be in shades but you know how expensive color printing is. There is something about seeing your remuneration (hope I spelt that correctly) in utter specifics. The surrealism of the experience contrasts with the placid demeanor of the numbers. You are, of course, face-to-face with your salary slip (sic).

This is it. Five days a week (sometimes six), nine hours a day (sometimes twelve) and unquantifiable brain damage gets you only this much. How can one make a decent living on this? More importantly, would you know a decent living if it you in the Bahamas?

Long repressed panic is finally setting in. You should do something about this, but what? Should you start a twitter campaign or a facebook page? Seems juvenile. Should you take it up with HR (seriously)? You signed the deal yourself. You would only be making a (bigger) fool of yourself if you raise a query.

 

Damn those lawyers who draft employment contracts with the ‘fine print’. They must be part of Lucifer’s Legions; for God has surely stopped residing in the details. Maybe you should groom your son to be a lawyer to take revenge on the world/society.

You want to tear, crumple and other wise mangle the salary slip. But printing is at a premium and you remember something about a ‘Save trees’ campaign you had to sign recently.

The thought of the last bus out of town departing in another ten minutes re-introduces you with gravity. Momentary rage having been tamed like a prison riot, you carefully fold and keep the salary slip in a folder. Three consecutive proofs of bondage are required to change galleys.

– J.

Karma of the Commute

In Commute, humor, Office humor, Wage Slaves on October 3, 2011 at 14:42

The final stretch will decide the fate of your day. Like a fifth set tie-breaker or the final of forty laps, you are running purely on adrenaline. That is how you started the day too. Down in the 5th base, you have got to suck it up, put in the long yards and control the sports analogies. Post the morning high, it has all been downhill as expected. But the day ain’t over yet. Not until you clear the obstacle course that separates your quarters from your galley.

You are, of course, referring to your eventual bus ride home. It is the most sporty thing you do all day. You do not exactly look forward to it. But it is amazing how resourceful one can be in the absence of options. As the fateful vehicle approaches, you become aware of an impatient, heavy breathing flock of fellow slaves around you. This is not going to be easy. But what would life be without competition?

As you jump, lunge and land, predator-like focus takes over your senses. The only thought that comes to your mind is: ‘This would look really cool in animation!’

 

Most slaves have developed their own techniques: elbowing, blocking, side-stepping and toe-crushing. You too have to play ball for the prize. Looking prim is the least of your worries right now and civility a distant acquaintance. Like sniffers trained to lunge at the prize, you and fellow slaves scamper for the few and vacant seats.

You see your target, a vacant aisle seat on the left. With random precision, you spill into the seat. The look of reclusive relief on your face seems to say: ‘Life is not so bad after all!’

Having caught your breath, you look around at the losers who could not corner a seat. A lady standing right next to your seat catches your nearly gloating eye. She is uncomfortably contained in her formals and has a familiar look of disappointment on her face. You had the same look on yesterday when a miscalculated side-step cost you a coveted seat.

You get up, at once compelled, and offer your seat to the morose lady who takes it in disbelief. As you hang on in the public transport vehicle, your legs are wary but your eyes have a glint. Good deed in bag, free will practiced, you have salvaged an otherwise forgettable day.

–          J.

Work Life Balance (sic)

In budget holiday, colored font, HR, humor, Office, planning a budget, practical joke, Wage Slaves, work life balance on September 10, 2011 at 23:02

The phrase Work Life Balance contains three assumptions:

  1. You actually work
  2. You have a life and
  3. The myth of balance

 

It is a phrase that was born in cliché` and mires in it to this day. But it is still used, heavily. ‘Don’t smirk, you know what we mean. We are concerned you know?’ is what you feel they are saying when the practical joke called WLB comes up.

You do not view any communication from HR without suspicion. The first line of a friendly mail from this great department reads: ‘We want you to strike work-life balanse…’ (yes, they misspelt balance and hyphenated work and life). You look around for snipers and try to hide the look on your face that says ‘Ha!’

 

After the first line of forced small talk, they quickly get down to business. The next couple of paragraphs in colored font are predictably forgettable. The words ‘policy’, ‘new rule’, ‘accrued’ and ‘lapse’ litter the landscape. Excluding the ‘herewiths’ and ‘forthrights’, the mail basically says:

‘Why are you chipmunks not having the bananas (privilege leaves) lawfully granted to you? You can’t store them forever you know? To keep you from going crazy and to avoid lawsuits, we are going to confiscate your bananas!

So use them while you can (before the next calendar year begins), do not complain later. Power to the people!

Peace out!’

You sure feel simian right about now don’t you? You realize life is one big never ending school routine with rules and supervision governing everything from yawning to bowel movements. But you have to make the most of it. So you immediately start planning a budget holiday to save your 10 remaining bananas that are now in danger. Your only consolation is, you are doing it on office time.

J.

Daylight Saving Time

In circadian rhythms, conspiracy theories, day of creation, Health, humor, nine to five, Office, rare occurrence, Technology, Wage Slaves on September 6, 2011 at 03:16

As you near the gates, your steps grow anxious. You are still trying to determine if this is really happening. You have a look of heightened disbelief on your face as you approach a familiar milestone. But it looks different, better, happier. As you finally step out, “Daylight!” you utter loudly ‘Daylight,’ the guard concurs affording a faint smile.

This is not the last scene of a formulaic prison movie. This is you leaving office on time; it is a rare occurrence, a blue moon. For a few seconds, you just stand there, not knowing what to do next. Your eyes are still adjusting to the extra lumens, your nose taking in whiffs of what actually feels like cleaner air. You want to do a Hulk and tear off the shirt but prudence is hard to shake off even in broad daylight. This is your interview shirt but you can afford to loosen your collar, let your hair down and call it a day (sic).

You have still not understood why your galley pulls the blinds and uses flourescent lighting throughout the day. It does not fit the penny-pinching personality of Slaves Inc. You can think of numerous evil reasons why artificial light would be imposed: to develop detachment from nature, induce vitamin D deficiency, scrambling circadian rhythms, acclimatize to never-ending shifts… But there will be loads of time for conspiracy theories tomorrow, and the day after. Today, you need to make the most of day light hours. A quick nap seems appropriate. Sure there is a mountain of work to climb tomorrow. But for now, the demons of your desk seem to have sublimated like Vampires in sunlight.

– J.

Cube and Culpa

In Coffee Mug, humor, Interpersonal, Office, Wage Slaves on August 31, 2011 at 12:55

You are impressed by your own ability to find bright spots in the dim-lit terrain of the galley. So what if your previous ray of hope turned out to be a flickering flash light? Something about how hard one falls and gets up…you either heard it in Rocky V/VI or in the training program last wasted weekend. Either way, it sounds right and positive.

The new bright spot is called Nina and she seems to go about with a halo around her, the kind they show in fairness cream ads. Her voice is not delivered in the monotone you are used to from fellow slaves. Her attire shows more imagination than most inmates who have a fixed dress for every weekday. And she possesses a non-borrowed sense of humor. It is a combination so rare that coincidence alone cannot claim credit for it.

So what if she is in legal, a department you have never had to correspond with? Over the past two months, a record number of legal queries have sprung up. Over these two months, you have discovered functionalities on your intercom and IM you never knew existed. You are convinced of the feasibility of your persual. If she were not hip with the interest, she would have gone sour on you by now, right?

Serendipitous run-ins at the copier aside, you finally manage a coffee tête-à-tête. It is less apparent than a date and more relaxed than a meeting. You are jittery but pleasant, she is calm but unyielding. It is all flowing well, like a freshly cartriged printer untill…you notice her hand on the cup of caffeine.

The ring on her ring finger is as unmistakable as a paper jam and as disappointing as blocked site. The sparkle of the stone on her ring is in stark contrast to the gloom you will be returining to from tomorrow. You manage to waddle through rest of the tête-à-tête without asking her. There will be lots of time for that over IM. You may not have found a new bright spot but you have found a rarer species called a new friend.

You say Mea Culpa to yourself and move on. ‘Tis better to have tried and looked stupid than to have never tried at all.

– J.

A Case of the Mondays

In day of creation, high altitude, humor, inanimate object, Monday, music system, Office, Wage Slaves on August 22, 2011 at 02:42

With your bed pushed against the wall, there is only one side you can get up on. That throws ‘the wrong side of the bed’ phrase out of the window.

…except, if the one side left to get up from is the wrong side. A scary thought. But its just as well to blame an inanimate object because you feel like killing someone today!

If you thought you were running late before, have a look at the traffic ahead. This could only mean one thing…

It is…a Monday (the horror¡)

 

If only you had gotten up five minutes early, you would not have missed your 7.45. But someone had to stay up till late. Someone had to salvage a Sunday lost to lethargy. And now someone will have to pay.

As you hang on in the crowded bus, more and more wage slaves pack in, looking similarly miffed. Yes, the bus has AC but it is huffing and puffing like an asthmatic at high altitude. Yes the bus has a music system, but they are playing ‘Linkin Park‘ on MIDI. As you move into an increasingly uncomfortable stance to avoid squeezing against fat aunties, you can’t help but think: this is a good time for an out-of-body-experience!

When you finally get down, you feel like you have just finished running a marathon with bricks on your back, and no shoes. You are late but you have to punch in. By the time you reach your workstation, 4 colleagues have wished you good morning, 3 have handed you pending files and 1 gave a you a stare. All you could give in return was a look that said, ‘What the pudding did you have for breakfast!’

 

It can only go downhill from here. Your worst fears of the lack of positive thinking are about to come true. After your seventh unsuccessful attempt at signing in to your mailbox, you throw in the towel.

 

You switch off the monitor, get up and walk out into a sick live. At least, you will live to fight another Monday.

– J.