YTAH's Weblog


More of the Same, Only Different.

Posted in rants,work by YTAH on September 3, 2008
Tags: , , ,

The article by Vitriol McMalice last week set me thinking about work again. It’s been a while since I tackled that subject for africans – about as long as it’s been since I tackled my manager and fed him his own shit that I had yanked out of his asshole – so perhaps it’s time. Or perhaps it’s just started to annoy me again. Work, I mean; not my manager (he’s never stopped annoying me). This is surprising, considering how little work I end up doing. Sure, I get done what I need to in order to get by, but mostly that’s “just enough not to get fired”, as the great man Carlin once put it.

But why?

The question that arises – for me, anyway – is, how did it come to this? After all, I’m willing to spend entire evenings at my computer, writing a never-ending spam-storm of articles and blog posts, and designing banner ads, and “networking” with people I barely know and whom I probably wouldn’t look in the face if I was sharing an elevator with them. Moreover, I’m willing to do all this for absolutely no money and very little recompense in the form of adulation and acclaim. So how is it that I can’t motivate myself to do more than my fair share of work at the place where they do, in fact, pay me for my services?

The answer is simpler than you think. The thing is, I’m an all-or-nothing kind of guy. As far as my employment goes, this means I can either treat my job seriously or I can treat it like a joke. The moment I’m expected to do the job equivalent of jogging-in-place, or doggie-paddling, or some other such half-baked sorta-sports metaphor, I lose interest. Much like I lose interest in sports, or half-baked sports metaphors, or too many interminable sentences following on each other, even if they’re my own.

But there’s an additional complication: I refuse to be the straight man in a comedy show. Everyone knows that it’s an essential part of some very funny routines, and that much of the comedy arises from the straight man’s misunderstanding of what’s happening – feigned or real, either kind works … but this is a thankless role. They never become as famous, or as rich, or get as much respect as the buffoon, and they get almost none of the laughs.

Film at 11.

Corporate headhunters: Film at 11.

Seriously, if everyone else treats the responsibilities of my job as if it’s the best joke in the world, I’m not going to be the humourless stick-in-the-mud who takes everything seriously. Who wants to be a wet blanket? I don’t. I’m a funny guy; just wait, you’ll see how funny I can be. When I’m tying up your children, and chaining your spouse to the bed, and pouring petrol over you and all that you love – oh, and your family, too – before torching the house with you and everything in it. Fucking hilarious, I tell you. I’ll be laughing my head off. (Or more accurately, I’ll be laughing your head off; at the very least I’ll be laughing as I take the cricket bat to your charred skull, and then watch in glee as your head goes flying off your stupid neck to go bouncing down the stairs, bouncebouncebounce.)

Overtime? You’re joking, right?

Despite the attendant promises of “overtime pay”, and solvency, and so forth, my feelings towards my job ensures that I greet the prospect of doing extra work for my current employer with the same enthusiasm I harbour for the next Tom Hanks movie. This despite the enormous bill that’s just arrived in my post box, my existing debt, or my need to keep acquiring gadgets and music and films – not to mention my constant need to acquire and consume the vast quantities of beer that help me get me to sleep at night and make the prospect of getting up again the next morning even worth contemplating. (And we’re talking about the kind of quantities that the Titanic could flounder in.) Instead, my attitude to my job is summed up by a pithy little mantra I’ve come up with, which I repeat to myself whenever my Inbox flashes with another dull-as-dust work assignment: “Whatever mindless, pointless, irredeemably stupid inanity you fuckers have dreamed up for me, I say: bring it on.” I can ignore as much as they throw at me, and I fully intend to do just that.

Get the picture?

Get the picture?

You see, I’m not a schmuck. I remember my original interview, the one for my first position even further down the corporate stepladder, before I’d even dreamed of applying for my current position one rung up. I also remember the torturous and enervating thought-process that went into planning my responses to those awful, tawdry questions all managers ask in interviews: “What are your strengths?”, “What are your weaknesses?”, blah, blah, blah. And I specifically remember informing them that I was a fast learner. While I partly said that because I wanted the job (back then, anyway; this was a while ago now), I also said it because it’s true. I am a quick learner; and I can certainly see when someone’s fucking with me. That’s when I laugh, or stop caring, or slam this ice-pick through your skull. Because if I’m not in on the joke, I won’t be laughing. But then, neither will you.

The particular joke I’m talking about, i.e. my current job, is getting mighty fucking tiresome, despite the fact that I’m in on it. There’s no development, no punch line, and the timing’s all fucked up. It’s just the same bunch of words repeated endlessly, in the hopes that someday, someone will think it’s hilarious: “Work harder, work faster.” Well fuck you. The harder I work, the less I get out of it. Sure, you’ll pat me on the head and pretend that I’m your best friend, but then you’ll simply give me more work and expect me to do it faster than last time. Even more often, though, the whole thing will turn out to have been an oh-so-charming bit of subterfuge, because what they say they want never has anything in common with what they’d really like. So the more you struggle to do what you think they want, the less you’ll give them what they want and the more they’ll treat you like a complete cunting imbecile, on the grounds that you’re obviously incapable of understanding or following instructions.

Mr McMalice, meet Mr Job Satisfaction.

Mr McMalice, meet Mr Job Satisfaction.

One day I plan to find that Vitriol character and explain a few things to him about my work ethic, and middle management, and job satisfaction. Job satisfaction? Yeah, I got your job satisfaction right here, motherfucker; hope you like yours with extra iron. See how you like life with Mr Job Satisfaction bashing your face in, Mac. I’m sure once your superiors find your dismembered carcass they’ll pin a medal on your chest and say “Go fuck yourself.” Because that’s what upper management does, not so. Hope all those years spent selling out your employees was worth it to earn that knife in your back and the kick in the teeth, because that’s what they’re going to give you.

So where to from here, then?

Go play a nice game of hide-and-go fuck yourself.

Go play a nice game of hide-and-go fuck yourself.

Having mulled over and dissected and formulated my reasons for hating my job over and over again, I am left considering my alternatives. The first thing that springs to mind – apart from massacring everyone I know – is to find another job, but I can’t be bothered, at this point. Rather the devil you know, and whose address you know, and whose house you’ve had under surveillance for several months. The second solution that occurs is to become one of those awful, awful people who smile all the time and work really hard and are all efficiency and teeth. You’ve heard of the go-getter types, I assume. I like to think of them as the “go fetch” types. Because they’d do anything to “go get” whatever they think they need, just like a dog would – a Labrador Retriever, for instance. Well I’m sorry, but anyone waving a stick at me is going to get it jammed so far up their ass they’ll be able to regulate their heartbeat by using that stupid stick as a gearlever. And the number of people who’d have to blow me before I waste another hour trying to earn non-existent brownie points would dwarf the attendance for the Beijing Games.

So where does that leave me? Right where I started, with neither the wherewithal to remain independent or the get-up-and-go to find alternative employment. Thanks to this soul-destroying, mind-achingly boring job, my will to live is being sapped faster than the speed of rising inflation. There are days that I’d rather be unemployed than remain in my current job, and yet I can’t imagine not working for a salary. I’ve been a student, thank you very much; I remember what it’s like to subsist on rice and tomato sauce, and I have no inclination to return to that kind of half-life.

And so I sit at my desk, alternatively bashing away at my keyboard in the deluded hope that my meagre efforts will ensure that enough work gets done so nobody will hassle me, or hoping that it will go away if I ignore it hard enough. I wonder which one will work faster? I suppose only time will tell. Maybe someday someone will laugh. Till then, you know where to find me.

Yours truly asshole

[Originally posted on www.africans.co.za, Wednesday 03 September 2008.]

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