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Archive for the ‘work stress’ 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

Hot, Flat and Shrouded

In global warming, Interpersonal, Wage Slaves, work stress on May 3, 2017 at 06:00
There are 8.5 billion of us crawling the planet and sucking it dry. Each one of us brought up to think he/she/it is unique and has a destiny drafted and approved by the executive editor upstairs. It’s a miracle we haven’t killed each other to extinction yet. And this miracle is called money.
 Going Going Gone
Money is the pursuit of violence by other means. The largest and longest running simulation in the history of the world. It keeps us occupied to the point of obsession and blindness. The few who master the game; 1% to be precise, watch us gladiators from the perch of their fiscal leverage.
 Money counting
Blood sports are wasteful and short-lived. Institutionalized competition is the stuff GDPs are built on. The modern economy is a well-oiled noise-free machine with the unfortunate side-effect of carbon emissions. Largely civilized, channeling all the collateral damage into the slowly maturing mutual fund of global warming instead. Private Profit – Planetary debt.
Polar 1
Between 16° and 28° lies the cold war between two rival camps of office employees with widely differing body chemistry, political leanings and thermodynamics. There are the tropical Eskimos who travel through melting heat and enter the office is a sweater and muffler. Who shudder at anything below the ambient temperature of 24°. Who are convinced they were born in the wrong hemisphere. And there is you and your neighbor Sameer who enter the office looking like chimps with your arms hanging out with the discomfort of the sweaty crescents under your arms. You do not believe you were born in the wrong hemisphere because we are all going to die anyway. But the Eskimos regard you as Vulcans. You are not sure if calling someone an Eskimo is considered racist in today’s world. But they don’t have internet so they can’t outrage. And they might also be leading happier lives. But to ensure your rant ages well, you call them just Moes instead.
 Cold giphy.gif
More than the numbers, the Moes also have a moral lead on your camp. It seems feeling cold draws more sympathy​ than sweating like a pig. Cheif Guests are often awarded shawls because intellectuals feel more cold than proles and they don’t even tire of shuddering at the ills of society. In winters animals hibernate in a Zen-like state. But an animal in heat only produces more animals.
You have employed all techniques from rationing AC usage to stealthily using the AC remote only coming short of bribing the office boy. But the Moes’ ring leader trumps all your efforts. Samantha has always looked frail, now with her summer shawl collection, she looks like a hermit on chemo. And when she tries to balance herself on a chair to guide the flaps of the AC away from her cubicle with the aid of a foot ruler, she gets enough sympathy to last her a week. It seems her doctor has prescribed that the blast of the AC should be at an angle of exactly 176° away from her head.
Each summer is only going to be more biting but Moes’ bodies refuse to adapt to their God-given latitudes. It seems the Vulcans are going to have to retreat. Until one fateful day, the thought of buying yourself out of this predicament occurs to you. A thought so noble in its simplicity you are almost ashamed it didn’t occur to you earlier. Sameer’s girlfriend calls you one day proving that a. She exists and b. You still have the capacity of being a friend. She asks for suggestions for Sameer’s birthday present. And the words ‘USB Fan’ just drop out of the ozone-depleted sky into your lap.
 LED-USB-Fan-Clock
The Vulcans and the Moes’ co-existed in an armistice after that proving once again that the only answer to consumption is more consumption…till there is no ground left to stand on. Then we can all go medieval. It would be the perfect ending.
– Punit Pania

Being Polite is the Slowest Way to Die

In Communication, Organisation, work life balance, work stress on March 5, 2017 at 15:39
‘Being polite is the slowest way to die!’ you had heard in a motivational workshop. But that was for sales guys.
Now you are in an air-conditioned office where interactions can be more hostile but language always has to be civil to the point of flippancy. Words like help start losing weight and assume a life of their own. And some words are hunted to extinction. Like the sweet and simple No.
Image may contain: 1 person, standing
No is decisive, firm and has gravitas. No doesn’t wait for regret to seep in, No moves on, No has a life. Which is why it has no space left in corporate life. ‘I’ll get back to you’ has taken its place in perpetuity. Because with enough euphemisms, we will all be immortal one day.
And in the midst of this nihilism you have ended up saying yes to another stinker of a project. Coz it came in the garb of help. Help; a word so versatile it can never go extinct. It’s scale is quantum but it’s demeanor is benign. You can keep helping blind old ladies cross the road remembering that Jesus too once helped us by taking one for the team.
Image result for jesus brb
As you now type away into the wee hours of the evening instead of being home with your family of online subscriptions, you begin to wonder is it that difficult to say no? You wonder how all the succesful VPs and up-and-comers get through the muck of life and come out clean and gleaming. You wonder how people can get away by simply saying ‘I need your help’ instead of ‘I know you hate doing it but there is no way I am going to do this myself so we are in this together now’?
Image result for shawn michaels suck it
But it is difficult to say No. Increasingly so, in the minefield of power structures, dotted line reporting and 360° appraisals. And beyond the niceties and tea parties, No has to come from a very real place deep inside your hollowed conscience, beneath all the layers of conditioning and anxiety. Do it when you are ready, when there is no looking back and there is no regret. Life in the wild can be brutal but life in climate control is excruciating.
– Punit Pania

Ctrl+S

In frayed ends of sanity, humor, Office Romance, work stress on March 25, 2013 at 03:12

Life is all about second chances. If it weren’t we wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t be here to talk about it, boast even. Show off; on bumper stickers, fridge magnets and wallpapers.

Dexter Hannah quote

Learnt, borrowed or forwarded, wisdom is everywhere these days. From a blonde girl’s t-shirt to your boss’s e-mail sign-off, from a coffee mug to a random tweet. Even fellow slaves have caught the message bug, their mundane cubicles proclaiming life’s profound truths. ‘Success always hugs you in private but failure always slaps you in public’ says one. ‘To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people merely exist,’ says another. Then there are the outright rebellious kinds: ‘Silence does not always mean yes. It means…

bizarro-priorities-burgers

You have always been suspicious of anything that is in abundance from credit cards to carbohydrates. So you have kept your rowing station practical and without frills. But some wisdom would have helped today, even a tit-bit. For you sure feel stupid today.

You ought not to. Today was a day you got more work than on most days. Concurrently, today also turned out to be a day you questioned your existence the least. It sure took a lot of tunnel vision to finally finish that confidentiality agreement that looked like it would never end. It took that and a lot of saying no. No to taking coffee breaks, no to seeing that funny video everybody has been forwarding and no to answering the perpetually blinking phone. And it would have all been worth it too. All the effort would have been worth it if you had only pressed one small button. But you didn’t. And now it’s all gone. Into a black hole of disappointments never to return.

I didn't save

Relieved that you had finally wrestled the document to the ground and annoyed at the number of different versions you had created in the process, you go on a deleting spree, saying ‘Do not save’ to anything that pops up, including your day’s work. It takes some time for the stupidity of it all to sink in. When it does, you are so cross you kick everything in sight. You come to close to smashing the computer too. But if you were that impulsive, you wouldn’t have lasted this long in this job.

So you sit back, take deep breaths and try to figure out why you were born. Colleagues drop by, some sympathize with your sob story; others can’t stop laughing, especially after looking at the harrowed look on your face. You know you should sleep over it to keep yourself from killing someone. And if you can’t laugh at yourself, you should at least take some positive out of this guffaw. So you take a size-40 font print-out to finally join the message band-wagon. It says:

Ctrl+S

To err is human, to save is divine

Ctrl+S to err is human

–          J.

Pipe Music

In Casual Day, Friday, HR, humor, music system, Office humor, SlavesInc, work stress on March 22, 2012 at 17:38

It startles you out of your trance-like working state. A sound mellow in nature but sudden in occurrence spreads through your shackled surroundings. You look around at similarly dumb-founded fellow slaves. You look up at the heavens, Noah like, but are only greeted with the piercing fluorescent lamp and a security camera. Once you get over your initial queasiness, the sound which can almost be called music seems strangely déjà vu –ish.

This could only mean one thing:

It is pipe music day

(The horror!)

As if garish clothes courtesy casual day were not enough, you ears have to suffer too, via mass announced generic tunes.

More cheesy than elevator music, more awkward than a loo at a 5 star hotel and more pedestrian than a gimmicky restaurant, office pipe music will strain your ear for music, if you have one. Touted as having a positive effect on ‘employee productivity’, pipe music is as cutting edge as it gets in HR practices.

For the reluctant rower such as yourself, it is one more reason to have jangled nerves. To the more imaginative, it may even seem like subliminal mind control. By noon, you are so bugged that you are ready to believe ‘It’s a wonderful world’ played backwards’ sounds like Death to all Mankind or Type faster ye slave!

You know they are never going to play Hard Rock or even Reggae. But you do try slipping a CD to the Admin guy disguised as an engaged employee. His reluctance makes it clear that the ambience is just another chore for him. It is as routine as music on – music off for him, just like the lights, AC and server.

You have tried everything including shutting yourself off in the loo. But a faint chiming of spastic music still reaches you. Sitting on the commode with your palms over your head, you feel like a difficult student at a pre-school for autistic children. Once again, you have forgotten to carry your own music on this difficult day. With nothing to drown out the tranquilizing ‘instrumentals’, all you can do is suck it up and keep a straight face.

The day does have its moments:

Head Slave pleading with his secretary over a MIDI version of ‘Bryan Adam’s ‘Everything I do…’

Your neighbor straining to hear over the phone to Lionel Ritchie’s ‘Hello’

The anorexic new marketing manager gesturing with her hands wide in a meeting room with Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart will go on’

 

Grateful for still being able to find humor in the ordinary, you get through your 9 hours with a note in your calendar for next week:

Friday: Get iPod or stay at home!

–          J.

10 Alternate Uses for the Office Dustbin

In creativity, disaster area, dust bin, latent talents, paper balls, work stress on September 22, 2011 at 01:12

Creativity is a word that is abused a lot. It is ‘boosted’, ‘enhanced’ and ‘encouraged’ but never given its due. We may be stuck in the wrong job but the mind finds its fodder in the unlikeliest of places.

As a testament to the latent talent of bored employees everywhere, we present:

10 alternate uses for the Office Dustbin-                      

  1. As a prop-up for an injured foot in a cast
  2. As a boost to survey neighboring cubicles
  3. A make-shift hoop for Basketball
  4. A make-shift wicket for cricket during breaks
  5. As an overflowing display for crushed paper balls…indicating you have been hard at work, even borrowing from your neighbor to add to the scene
  6. To cordon off a disaster area: ‘CUBICLE UNDER SERIOUS WORK STRESS’
  7. A prop for a vomiting act: ‘Look boss, this is how sick I am feeling! Can I go now?’
  8. Collect funds for a office party: ‘Drop your donations here, Joe is finally leaving!’
  9. A make-shift Halloween costume: ‘Look, I am Buckethead!’
  10. A blunt weapon in case of a cat fight (rare)   
  11. Under-cover ice bucket to keep your Bruskies cold

Ok, so that is 11. It is hard to contain your enthusiasm when it is not ‘work’. I am sure there are other latent talents out there. Tell us what you would do with your office dustbin.

– J.