Thursday 6 July 2006

then work came and made us free....

Working is a funny way to make a living.

I realise that's a completely ridiculous thing to say, but it is. Yeah, I know that there are some people out there who have worthwhile and fulfilling jobs that make a real contribution to mankind. There are people out there whose life work is to help other people: they save lives, they are dedicated to ending poverty and other good stuff like that. The thing is that I don't have a job like that. I am a tiny cog in a vast and faceless corporate machine. My days are full. I generally have more work than can do in the time available. I work long hours and sometimes I have to take work home with me.

I get up every morning, I get into my smart trousers and my stiff-collared shirt, and I head into the office. I let myself in through the barriers using my ID card, which I then use to buy myself a coffee as I head to my desk (it's a cashless building, so I have to charge my card up with money if I want to buy anything). I read reports. I write reports. I read emails. I write emails. I go to meetings. I answer my phone.

Sometimes my computer plays up.

Before I know where I am, it's nearly noon and I have my lunch. Usually I have a sandwich, a bottle of water and some crisps. Sometimes, just for variety, I'll have some salad instead. I try not to eat too much junk food when I'm at my desk, and I make sure I take in a variety of fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts and things to graze on throughout the rest of the day.

Other people start to go home at about 5pm, so I have fewer meetings and my phone stops ringing. The next couple of hours are usually my most productive, and I'll often pop my headphones in and crank up my iPod as I try to catch up on whatever has arrived on my desk whilst I've spent all of the day in meetings. At around 7pm I'll head home.

At the end of the month they pay me.

Today was different. The team that I am joining when I get insourced had an away day. This meant I was able to get up into my jeans and a t-shirt and head off to a local hotel instead of to the office. We did some "getting to know you" ice-breaker type exercises, we had a big lunch, and we talked about the new organisation ("Team I.S.") and its proposed processes. We were done by 15:30 and I went home. It was a nice break to the routine, and I suppose in its own way it was quite interesting.... but it got me thinking about how peculiar my ordinary working life really is, when you think about it. All that stuff that we do as routine - what's it all for? why on earth do we put ourselves through all this stuff? Why do we spend all this time with all these people that we barely know, most of whom we don't even like? It's like some kind of a bizarre soap opera where nothing much ever really happens. It's the untelevised reality TV show of my life.

It's certainly a weird way to live.

Who decided we should live like this? You know what? It was a **TERRIBLE** idea.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not moaning about my lot. I know that I can always get off my arse and become a gardener or a volunteer or something like that if I think that will make me happy. The fact that I am working for a large corporation is down to me and I know it's up to me to change that if I want to. I know all that.

It's just that work is proper bobbins.


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