There was a Time

I like my job. I actually do. I know that I am lucky. There was a time though in my life when circumstances were very different. A time when late Sunday evening would bring me an ulcer just thinking about the upcoming work grind.

I wrote this short story back then. It is quite sarcastic with sharp wit. As they say, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Truth can needle sometimes as suggested in this quote:

In hindsight now at peace on a Sunday night, I can kinda laugh at this old comical short story. It is admittedly a little over-the-top but I still like it and kept it for some reason.

If I could impart any specific wisdom on younger generations entering the workforce, it would be this:

Be very careful deciding where to work. It can affect so much of your future and your family’s health and happiness. Do your research. Check your networks for referrals or check online for company reviews on Glassdoor, etc.

So here is the story with a short Far Side comic to go along with it:

Cube Farm

Disclaimer – This is a fictional story.  The names of these demons, er, people, I mean…have been changed to protect me from the not so innocent .

Satan:  “Welcome to Hell everyone!  Ha, ha…I bet you were expecting an Inferno.  Please, I expect everyone to be friendly here.” 

Me:  “Ok, well this place doesn’t seem so bad…”

Satan:  “Let’s set some ground rules, folks.  We’re all going to work closely together in a confined space for eight hours and you all must be nice or you get fired.  And just to make things entertaining, I’ve thrown some cleverly disguised demons in the mix.  Here we have Bitchy Brenda, No Deodorant Ned, Lazy Leo, and Power Hungry Peter with his inseparable sycophant Sidekick Sam.  They like to tag team. 

And let me introduce now my favorite demons.  First, we got Ball Dropper Brad and Blame Shifter Ben.  These two are very effective on their own but deliver a one-two knockout on unsuspecting new employees time and time again.  Their KO stats are simply amazing.  Ball Dropper Brad is notoriously bad at his work but is cute and charming so he gets away with murder.  If you give him a minor task, he will inevitably mess it up but he shows up at your desk flashing his pearly whites and giving a half-hearted apology.  You will be cast direct under his spell.  Trust me folks, it happens all the time to the new guys.  And you will take the fall for this guy though you don’t know why.  He’s like your favorite teddy bear…a teddy bear that makes mistakes all day long. 

Blame Shifter Ben works best at meetings.  The problem usually generates in his department but he quickly shifts the blame from department to department making everyone super defensive and uncomfortable and prolonging all meetings for all eternity. 

Now, let me tell you about the Queen of Quality, Demoness of Demons, Perfectionist Pam.  Good luck trying to get any work past that one.  Perfectionist Pam rejects 80 percent of the work she inspects but will reject 99.99 percent of the work if you are on a fast deadline.  If this little lady takes a personal dislike to you, let’s just say you will be crying to your mama in your pillow at night. 

Ah, and don’t forget Disdainful Debra.  She is the IT manager.  She only updates technology if she deems it cost-effective.  If she doesn’t like your department, you work on a DOS prompt system with malfunctioning printers.  If you need a computer repair, you must submit an automated request for repair which can take weeks or months to be fulfilled.  You must never rush her or she installs spyware on your computer to monitor your internet activity.  Meanwhile, she will send a company-wide policy notice indicating harshly that no one must use the internet ever.  Violators will be punished and put in stocks for the slightest infraction.  When she does finally show up for your repair, it will take her two minutes to accomplish and she will throw passive-aggressive barbs at your IQ level and technological inferiority. 

Disdainful Debra is a real peach just like Hot Potato Harry.  Harry is the “genius” Continuous Improvement outside consultant.  He isn’t an official employee so he doesn’t really work and trolls internet newbies on Reddit message boards all day on his laptop.  Harry takes the hardest workers and makes them do extra busy work called CI Projects which involve hours and hours of pointless meetings with odd questionable icebreakers and doodling while the employees secretly worry deeply about their regular work piling up back at their work stations.  He gives these employees long tasks to complete and when the employees do the work, he hot potatoes the tasks back to them to develop further.  This hot potato exchange continues on and on until the frustrated and dimwitted employee realizes that he or she must do all the extra work alone.  Once the work is done, the consultant smiles and packs up his laptop, his fat paycheck, and all his credit for the demoralized workers’ accomplishments.  He further informs the employees that he gets to leave the company unlike them and he’s headed to the Bahamas on a great vacation with his family. 

Remember folks, the only rule here is to keep calm and work no matter what or you’ll be out on the streets picking nits out of your children’s hair and sleeping in dumpsters. Any questions?  Ok, let’s get started.  Oh, and one more thing…I expect you to come back tomorrow and the next day and the next day, etc. etc. etc. again and again doing the same work for years. 

Years, folks, years..

…….until about five years before you’re expected to die.  And if you are lucky you might get a gold watch…correction, a gold plated and made in China, easily breakable fake watch.

Ok, let’s get the work week started. Any questions?”

Me:  “Oh no…”  (sobbing big wet tears).

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