Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Workplace Enthusiasm

I went to a xmas party over the weekend.  I'm no social butterfly and meeting new people takes a lot out of me, mainly cause I have to try so hard to look interested and maintain banal conversation.
These outings are however a necessary part of living in society, and so I put my best effort in most times.  
I find that the best way to maintain conversation is to actively ask the other person a whole heap of questions about themselves.  People tend to love talking about themselves, and will think that you are an interesting person, even if you don't say a word but listen.

I met one chap whom at 34 years had worked only one job in his entire life.  He proceeded to tell me that his place of work (a financial services firm) was the best place ever to work.  I continued to ask him why, and I received a 10 minute soliloquy about about the company culture, how some people 'just don't fit', how he'd never leave, how he feels so great to be part of something as its being built, how he started at the bottom, and how he's so well looked after.

Firstly I was happy for the bloke, but then after a while it felt like I was talking to a religious nutjob, except his religion was company culture.  Its so sad that at his age he hasn't yet realised that every job you work, no matter what company, in what country, or what position, that you are only there to make the company money and keep it alive.
Some may argue that I'm just cynical, but I used to be like him, until I had my spirit broken by not one but three different firms.
You may argue that he is happy, albeit naieve.  When I thought about it, I concluded that no, actually it is me that is happier, as I am living in the reality that I know what the truth is, I have no loyalty to any company as no company has to me, and that I am only around as long as they keep paying me, and pay me well.  I finish on time, take a fat paycheck, all because I let my employers know exactly how much effort I put in, and that I'd quite happily go elsewhere if the money or hours suited.

I wish I could have told the guy the same.  Just quit, see what else is out there.  Inevitably one day you are going to have a irreconcilable difference with a new boss, or the company will take some policy change as determined by the board, and the place will be different.  Your loyalty over all those years will be forgotten in a heartbeat.  All the things you like about the place will be gone, and you will be left there, working 12 hours a day as expected, for a wage that you compromised yourself on because you fell in love with where you work.

Don't be afraid of selling out to the highest bidder people.  There's more to life than just work. 
I haven't sold out to the man.  I am the man.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I grew up on an isolated livestock farm in country New Zealand, and in my time there I learnt to be incredible frustrated with sheep.
Sheep are plain dumb fucking animals.  I've seen that many get stuck on fences, walk into ditches and not get out, follow each other round, all the stories you hear are true.  Cows and pigs are a lot smarter, horses have attitude problems, but I'm getting off my point.
We pride ourselves as individuals, but so many times we follow the crowd in a sheepish mentality.  We believe everything that happens on the news and get upset by it, when most of the stories are deliberately told one-sided to get you watching and the ratings up.  The other day in the train the carriage was full and I noticed everyone standing was facing one direction, and it wasn't the direction of the doors. 
The other day I saw a lady with pram waiting at the bottom of the stairs whilst a whole flock walked past her, none offering to help.  She was amazed when I offered.
Infinitely more disturbing are those stories where you hear about a person in dire straits, albeit a car accident or receiving a beating /mugging, even when there are plenty of other people around.  Other people all waiting for someone else to do something.

Which are you?  Would you react in a time of need or would you stand by dumbstruck, waiting for someone else to take the initiative?
I know which kind I am, and even though it gets me into trouble sometimes, I'm proud of it.  Someone once told me that life isn't a spectator sport, which I believe in full.
To all those sheep, those who don't help the elderly, to those that walked past the poor woman with the pram, to those that get upset by the rubbish touted as the news, I hate you all for not thinking, for not being, for not thinking for yourself.
But I would give my life for any of you in a heartbeat.

Its the duality I bear.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Three Emotions

One common theme of my life, and one that took me 25 years to realise, is that I have only three emotions:
I don't know whats its like for the normal person, to have this wide scope of feelings, but its something thats caused me to be an outsider most of my life.
I remember when Grandad died when I was 5 and I was just mildly confused at what all the fuss was about.  I kinda knew the guy was pretty old so I figured it was only natural.
I got sent to a psychiatrist at 8 whom diagnosed me as depressed.  Isn't everybody depressed?
It was hard to make friends at school, the kids seem to want you to be empathetic towards them which I couldn't do.  I got beaten up every day for a year by this kid who loved WWF wrestling and used me as an involuntary wrestling partner.  I let it go as I figured he wasn't doing much harm.  One day he hit my head on a desk and I flipped out and strangled him until he passed out.  Kinda got in trouble for that.

Its been hard, especially trying to keep in control of that old rage thing.  Even now I still have problems sometimes trying to keep it in check, however from the outside I just seem like any other kind good natured individual.  I've got my poker face down to a T.  I just hope like shit that nobody will ever push me too far.
The hardest thing though, is being able to feign all these other emotions in order to be able to function as a person.  Its expected of us in order to be accepted into social groups to be able to listen, smile, and otherwise react appropriately to a given emotional input.
Anything else would mark us as an outsider to the tribe, an anomaly, an intruder.

Doing this all day every day sure as hell wears me out.  Small wonder I long for time by myself.