Friday, November 20, 2009

On Friday

I think that, no matter your work status, no matter the relationship you may have with the office/the school/the shop/your own home, there exists a built-in programme intrinsic to most humans not unlike a sacred fire that goes off like a firework at some point on Friday afternoon. I am off the rat race as I knew it, and yet I am not immune to an explosive desire to fist-pump the air come 3 pm on Fridays, even if my 3 pm on Fridays are no different than the 3 pm on Mondays or on Wednesdays or on any other day.

The daily treat.

This is a curious development for me. When I used to leave the office at 3 pm on Fridays on the way to Euston station or Heathrow, I was too tired for words, too tired even to be happy that another week was in the sack. The weekend itself was a blur of narkiness and recriminations, mostly aimed inward. You just haven't got a clue as to what the dreaded grind can do to you until you are hung out to dry, no matter the weather. No wonder so many colleagues got ill and were off for ages, even in their early twenties. Nothing they can teach you anywhere can prepare you for a working environment that couldn't be further from your wildest nightmares.

The other day news reached me that one of the big dogs at my ex firm has been made redundant. I re-read the email wide-eyed; partners don't get made redundant, especially not when they have spent every day of their working lives ass-kissing the partners two steps above them in the hierarchy, do they? How could this guy have been made redundant when he embodied so well all that was prescriptive about his role? He didn't really speak to people: he always seemed to be reading off a well-rehearsed script, always referring colleagues to policy 1234 or whatever. He was a living Arnold J. Rimmer, quoting Space Core Directive 34124 (34124: No officer with false teeth should attempt oral sex in zero gravity) at any given opportunity, except John wasn't funny. In fact, he didn't even seem self-aware.

Gosh, I cannot imagine what life must be like for him right now, getting the boot just before Christmas. I am shuddering. Bloody hell, by the time he gets his head out of his bottom he may even realise that blackberries are also eaten and not just used in the real world. How will he cope without the company-provided wheelie bag for the laptop, without the bodyguard-like headset, without the revolving flashing sign above his head advertising to all and sundry that he was a corporate git whose days were spent blue-sky thinking and leveraging the key enablers that would talk-track the up-sell of the value-tracked restructuring? It doesn't bear thinking about really.

As I was pondering on his sad state of affairs, I resolved never to be an employee again. Yes, yes, I know that I have been talking about work an awful lot on here and about the necessity to have a job, at least for some of us. Yet, I think that I was misplacing my efforts, misconstructing my needs, misunderstanding my mission and an awful lot of other mis-. And it's all crystal clear now: I shall never be an employee again.
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