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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

THE DAY OF THE ROBOTS

Hello!

Is anybody out there still?

It's been a while...

This blog was begun merely for the joy of expression and it did give me pleasure weaving my useless gibberish for a while. Lately, though, there has been little joy. Not even scrabble gives me much satisfaction.

It's hard to find joy when you can literally taste the bitterness of an economic recession. Corporations are shutting down and the big black hole of joblessness is sucking in more and more people.

The pain hit hard last week when the chilly breath of unemployment whispered "You're sacked!" to my most beloved colleague. On his first day back from holiday leave he was stabbed with just one word - "Cutbacks!" He was given seven days to pack before becoming a part of the 15 percent unemployment statistic.

What saddened me the most was my own reaction...or lack of! Ten years ago, a feisty me would have fought for a fellow colleague's livelihood. The 42-year-old mother of two did not. I swallowed the pill and got dumped his work (which translates to him being sacked and me doing more work than what I'm getting paid for). "I'm sorry!" I kept apologising to him. "I'm so sorry!"

I did try to stick up for him. But just with words. As if words mean anything when not backed by solid action.

I did write a note to the spy...THIS SPY LOOMING OVER THE DOORWAY TO MY DESK...CLICK HERE IF YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE CAMERA.... I scribbled something cliche about worker exploitation and held it into the camera's face for a moment or two...

"Hello Big Brother!" I said as I eyed the lens. "Welcome." And I felt the noose of the new order tighten around my soul.

As for my other colleagues. They were even more silent than I. That's it about the economic crisis. People become dehumanised as they worry about the consequences of losing their little jobs, getting littler by the moment... until they become as little as our little lives. And rather than react to the constant degradation, unpaid overtime, we all clam up. Like robots.

Remember when I used to wonder if I was an alien.... CLICK HERE.... Those concerns seem so extravagant now... These days, I wonder if perhaps I have stopped being a living being altogether and have entered a robotic stupor. Worst still, I feel as though I am surrounded by robots... So much so that sometimes I want to kick them just to test if they are alive.

I want to scream - "Hey folks! Wake up! Stop being so bloody professional and take risks! Make mistakes! Stick up for each other! Love! Laugh! And above all be human!"

Thanks for listening anyone who's out there... Even if that "anyone" is none other than my new best "friend", BIG BROTHER! 

18 comments:

Eliza said...

These times are scary, I think most people are the same, its just keep your head down and hope your not next!

Colleen said...

I'm out here and I'm no fan of "big brother" so fear not. :)

Do yo know Radiohead's lyrics:

"The breath of the morning
I keep forgetting.
The smell of the warm summer air.

I live in a town
where you can't smell a thing,
you watch your feet
for cracks in the pavement.

Up above
aliens hover
making home movies
for the folks back home,

of all these weird creatures
who lock up their spirits,
drill holes in themselves
and live for their secrets."

Your post reminded me of that song. I hope that something changes soon, that you start to feel differently and more alive. It is so hard to go through the days not really feeling you're "there".

I'm thinking of you and of your friend who lost his job. Sorry times are hard right now.

Robin said...

I wondered where you were. In the past, you would have spoken up because either you felt like there was still power with the people OR you didn't have responsibilities that outweighed what was going on. Those two things combined keep a person quiet. When you NEED that job, you tend to take whatever is doled out. Just thinking about that becomes quite scary. The boss can get pretty ruthless if he has no boundaries. No moral compass. We are feeling the same pinch here. Jobs are getting tighter. People are worker harder for less. Unemployment going up. Job satisfaction going down. Talk of printing more money. Say what? All that does is devalue the money we have. It is CRAZY. And it makes people a little bit crazy literally, I think. We shall see. You do still care. You wrote this blog. You just didn't know what it was to have fear override your fighting instincts before. Welcome to the human race.

Bringing Pretty Back said...

It is an unbelievable time isn't it. Hard to be optimistic and happy. I am thankful though , my friend... that you still have YOUR job.
kristin

lilbuttercup said...

I'm here!!! Finally... Glad to be back and reading this and writing. :-)

I'm glad you wrote this. I agree about making mistakes and helping one another and it's not often seen... It's very true a lot of places, people, things, situations... are robotic these days.

Take care!

Charlene said...

What I believe is happening is the bean counter business is seeing that fear in the face of their employees and this embolds them to demand more work for less pay and they're pretty successful. No one is going to demand to go home at 5 p.m. if working another 2 hours for no more pay means they will stay in the job. What happensi is productivity increases this way because work is being done free.

I told this to a friend who has a masters in economics. He said I was wrong. I know I'm right.

LJ said...

I'm out here. I'm listening. And I care ..... Now Snap Out Of IT!!!

Only kidding. Do whatever you need to do to survive - scream, punch something, get a little crazy. Just do it.

Purple Cow said...

I guess there are PEOPLE out there too. Thanks for responding.

Eliza - the "head down" scares me even though it is the wise thing to do.

Colleen - thanks for reminding me of that song. Sometimes all it takes is a song at the right moment to break free.

Robin - You're right. That's how it is!

BPP - I don't know what's worse - it's that mentality that is making us robots.

lilbuttercup - robots are good workers, but lack passion, drive and REAL creativity...

Charlene - tell your friend to rip up his masters. I agree with you... still, if he is blind to what this capitalist system is doing he'll fare well...at goldman sachs maybe...

LJ - Wait... it's coming. I may not do it today... but trust me its broiling...

JJ said...

I found you through Robin's blog, which I love. I am now following this site, and I invite you to follow my blog as well.

The Disconnected Writer
http://thedisconnectedwriter.blogspot.com/

Sharon said...

Just know I care about you and hate your dilemma. When you have a family, I believe you only have one choice.

Purple Cow said...

double the work = half the pay is one choice or there's do double the work in half the time for full pay but half as well...

I guess I'll choose the latter...

Purple Cow said...

it's tough to do that though...cause I'm a perfectionist...

but I should cause I'm also an idealist.

Sandy, Sisters of Season said...

Hi Mary, So sorry to hear about your colleague. Times are tough, my oldest is unemployed also and believe me we feel it with Dave passing. We all wonder, what's going to happen here . . alot of people are definitely feeling it. You are blessed to have a job even if it means more work for you . . let gratitude fill your heart kiddo. Blessings, Sandy:O)

Purple Cow said...

We're all making compromises we would not otherwise accept because we know that for every person that quits, there are 20 willing and able to do our job for less. And this makes me feel powerless. I'm concerned what will happen as the situation and people get more desperate...

I want to resist this...but I don't know how...

Eliza said...

Just to let you know I enjoyed the Hating Game, I think you'd like the main character, she doesn't pull any punches :-)
I hope you feel better about your job soon.

LJ said...

has you Mooooojo arrived yet?????

lilbuttercup said...

Me again: Just letting you know that I changed name and URL of blog to onatreebyariver due to work issues. Hope you can still see it! (some couldn't) Lilbuttercup. :-)

Phoenix said...

Ugh. How awful. Not only are your colleagues disappearing, but Big Brother is indeed watching. I can't imagine much more soul crushing than that.

Hang in there and spend the weekends (and every minute you are not at work) replenishing your soul.