Oh, how I hate corporate jobs...
I worked in one of those on-every-corner copy places where a couple friends of mine were currently employed. My manager was an ex-bar-band guitar player turned reptilian-yuppie-bastard of a man by the name of Dale--bent only one thing: making it up that corporate ladder.
He was a back-stabbing prick whose eyes pointed at the hierarchy but nose to cocaine. His lackey was this guy by the name of Dan who also had a "romance" going with amphetamines, though I donít know if Dale and he ever mutually acknowledged their "common ground." Dan was a compulsive liar, that is to say: I give him the benefit of the doubt by assuming that it was pathological. He was the kind of guy who hardly let you get a word in edgewise, and if you did his next anecdote would be a thin attempt to top your last words. The funny bit was how a guy in his shape would claim that he regularly surfed, climbed, hiked or rode mountain bikes and kayaks...
Anyway, the thing I hate about corporate jobs is the way that their insectoid nature makes them treat their lowest rungs like utter mindless drones. Too the extent that every facet of every moment of an employee's time is spelled out to the letter. With this "overlord" attitude "You are now a co-worker, a valued member of our team" quickly mutates into "Co-workers are to keep all trashcans empty at all times." That's a real example.
Once, while working there, a memo came in from corporate HQ in regard to the condition we were to keep the self-service area in. Aside from the standard bullshit at the end of the memo it read that "all trash bins in the self-serv area must be empty at all times."
One would think that a sensible person would simply disregard that, but our superiors were not reasonable people. No, they stationed another person in that zone so that, among other things, the trash was always empty. "Sure, they are cokeheads"--you might think, but it was a little more complex than just that.
Corporate head quarters would hire what was called a "Mystery Shopper" who would come in periodically to "test" the store in regard to a very specific list of something like 20-30 categories. Mainly things like, "Are you greeted within 15 seconds of entering the establishment?", "Are the floors free from debris?", and now "Are all the trash bins empty?" The results of these "Mystery Shoppers" reports determined whether a store got its bonus or not. I think you could miss up to three categories and still be eligible.
The addition to the list was an obvious ploy to basically eliminate it down to 2 categories so less bonuses would be awarded and the result of it was that on any given day someone would be standing around picking up paperclips and pulling single sheets of paper out of the trash bins... stupid, mechanical bastards.
Luckily I had made a point of learning the color copier, which at this time, was kind of a chore--color matching and all that. More importantly it was a chore that not many had undertaken so I was often liberated from the yet-more-mundane tasks I could have been doing. Still, one could not escape dealing with the public no matter what position you attained.
"Hi. What can I do for you today?" She's one of those power-fucks you can tell it in her demeanour and initial glare. Regarding, not greeting--plus she's in a suit, THEY always make me a little leary.
"I need 1600 of these, double-sided with a half fold on this paper." Her delivery is straight and through tight lips.
I fill out the necessary paperwork. "[mumble-p4-ds-mumble]...Okay, lemme go see when we can have this done for you." So far, so un-notable.
"Oh. I'll wait for it."
There is something flat and direct in her voice, as if she were trying to command me.
"Mmm. We're pretty busy right now, it may take awhile--hold on."
I go back to the "Key-Op" (production copier specialist) and ask him when we could get it back to her. He tells me that even if we were to rush it we couldn't have it done for like 4 or 5 hours.
"Let's see, it's 12:30 right now... we could have it done by 7:30 or 8:00."
I always tried to leave a little time padding for the Key-Ops so they didn't have to be rushed their whole shift. It helped the quality of their work by lowering their general stress. It was, of course, something that I would have been reprimanded for by the corporate heads who would, I assume, rather have us be insects or machines.
"Uhhm, NO. That is unacceptable. It has to be done right now."
Her tone is incredulous and condescending--a sound that gives one away as an enemy.
"I'm sorry Ma'am it can't be done right now. Maybe we could get it done as early as 6:30 or 7, but that-"
"NO!", she cuts me off, "YOU HAVE TO DO THIS NOW! THIS is REALLY important!"
"Sorry, I can't-"
"I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!! JUST GO DO IT!"
'You fucking bitch! What the fuck?!' immediately passes through my head. "I could give you some paper and you could do it out in self-serv." I'm being the model employee here, but this woman has this pointed look in her eyes that is a mock of exaggerated dumbfoundedness coupled with a derisive form of self-assertion that makes me want to just backhand her. There are people who become so focused on themselves that the rest on the individuals of the world become simply objects that are means to certain ends. They deserve an occasional ass kicking for all the anger and discomfort they spread in their wake.
"What? THAT is not MY job, IT is YOURS! GOD! YOU PEOPLE are so INSIGNIFICANT! I can't BELIEVE THIS!"
Okay, here's another thing I hate about corporate jobs: any Human, as opposed to mindless drone-slave to the hive, would totally understand if, right at that moment, I said:
"Look, you pushy myopic bitch, if you think we are so fucking insignificant I suggest you do without us."
But no, in the corporate structure you are NEVER allowed the option of telling the bastards of the world to fuck off. It's a shame, because really what those kind of people most desperately need is to be confronted with their own self-inflated faux-importance by people reacting with them honestly with no regard to whatever "power" they believe that they posses. I figure the reason that corporate structures don't allow realistic Human interaction is because most of their upper eschalons are comprised of the said 'bastards of the world'.
As a result of those behavioral policies I turn around and start mumbling "I'm gonna snap. I'm gonna fucking snap," at which a friend of mine, Gil, comes up to me and says "Whoa man! Itís okay. Go sit down for a minute, I'll deal with her!" You can't beat good co-workers.
I had almost lost it on that woman. Why? Well, because the structure that I was forced to exist within was so against my nature that aggression, stress and basic anger had got to slowly pent-up over time. I was a bomb waiting to go off. I now know why the occasional person kills a whole floor of people every now and then. See, I know that the woman ultimately leads a bitter, pained and angry life and is to thus be pitied (pitied, but dealt with justly none the less) but with all that pent up energy I was ready to lunge. The corporate structure is insectoid and I am too much of a mammal to bear it long.
I left this place when Dan, out of the blue during an employee review, says that he caught a friend of mine, Dave, smoking hash out back and though he "Understood" that was not "cool".
I thought "That bastard had some hash and didnít smoke any with me? Whatís up with that?" So I promptly ask Dave about it and as it turns out the story is complete bullshit.... and "yes" if he HAD been with some has he would have smoked some with me. I confronted Dan on it. He tried to stick to his story and later I ended up quitting over it. I mean: fuck that. Fuck deception. Its tolerable if its not spreading any harm--I mean, Hell, what does it matter if this guy wants to talk about sport he never does like he were a pro at them? It crossed over when he started lying about my friends though, made it personal.
All for the best.
I would have killed someone eventually had I stayed.
REVSCRJ is a writer/musician living in Monterey, California. Constantly on the verge of homelessness, he hopes that you enjoy his work or else his life has been in vain. Contact REVSCRJ at firstname.lastname@example.org to lodge complaints, notify of lawsuits, or receive spiritual advice.