Better, bigger, faster

               I’ve told you my closely-guarded secret – I’m the reverse Banner, I’m never truly angry. I may curse, appear angry or froth at the mouth (not a pretty sight, I know) but the real god’s truth is it’s all an act, I really don’t give a shit. I have, for far too long, and it’s made me sick. Like really sick, the start taking heart pills and never stopping ever again sick. I know anxiety, I know that bowling-ball-in-belly feeling, and I’m quite familiar with sudden hits of stomach-rumbling brain-squeezing fear. O yea, we know each other in the biblical sense. I’ve been there, done that. I’ve had so much shit piled up in my brain I’ve been experiencing what in computer terms is called “fragmentation”. Like everything else, I eventually found it’s a case of mistaken importance ranking. Yep, I had too many programs open on my neural taskbar.

               You know what works for me? What makes me optimal when I do things? Something school and parents never taught me – order, discipline. When I was younger, multitasking was my favorite way of doing things. Only idiots need order, genius work wonders in chaos. So there. Unfortunately, chaos just hit me over the head with a brick. Yea, that’s a big “don’t do it again moron” sign, if you’re wondering.

               For years I had many things going on at once, working like three and getting paid like one, juggling tasks and wagging my tail whenever I was praised. 14-16 hour days at work was fun fun fun. Which is why I found Besson’s “The fifth element” particularly funny and quite hilarious – like being hit on the head with your own medal. The absolute worst thing you can do to a good employee is to promote him or make him want to be promoted when he isn’t ready for it. Results don’t matter. His or her results are good for you, but not for him or her. Shit happens, what can I tell you. However, going like that will have bad consequences on your personal (what’s that, you say?) life. You’ll bring your problems home, and if you have a family, you’ll hurt them when you start yelling for no reason. And if you don’t have a family by now, well shit, sit down here sonny lemme tell you something – you’re not going to have one either, if you keep at it like this.

               I can understand the reasons companies demand so much from their employees. They need profit and have come to the right conclusion: people are stupid and can be programmed the way one would program a computer. Computers, automation, that’s the future. Limit human action to stuff you can teach a uni graduate to do in a few days, tops, and let the network do the rest. Promote just one or two people to big time jobs, those that come with status and respect – and use them to keep an eye on the work of peasants while showing those peasants what all work and no play can make you. But rotate them on account of results they most of the time have no control over – why do you think there are so few CEO-s or VP-s doing the same thing for more than a decade? Also, to keep profits high, fire the peasants when they’re too experienced or not willing to work for crumbs anymore. Hire new wide-eyed bushy-tailed inexperienced peasants from the pool of students and graduates and what you don’t call internship (where you pay nothing) you’ll call entry-level career and pay 30 pence to the pound. They will welcome the experience to work for free or the respect they get for being paid barely enough to scrap a meal and buy a beer every two weeks at the local pub while living on a monthly check from mom and pop. Experienced folks get the shaft while the company makes money off low-salary workforce and automation (computers really need only electricity and one or two good IT guys, which fortunately they can outsource). Collect profits. That’s why everything to do with sales has such a high turnover rate. Thankfully, there’s engineering for you but now they kinda want to make the engineers sell the shit they make, because they figure engineers have in-depth knowledge of things. Hell, they want to make everything a part of sales. Ever wonder why?

               Young people don’t know and aren’t taught in school or at home that time comes in two categories: paid and not free. If you’re working for free to learn things, you better learn and not just bring coffee in between facebook posts. Sure, it pads your curriculum vitae, but really, is that it? If something you get is free (milk, vodka, whiskey, work experience), then you are the product being sold and not what they give you. I’m all about starting early in life, make your mistakes when you’re still able to get up after fucking up badly. Yes, finally, the f word. In this context, it fits like a glove. Everything has a price tag on it, time being very pricey – if you don’t find a price on something consider yourself as a its price. You dig?

               I’ve seen people who think they’re gods walking on corpses. That may get you where you want to be, but you have to keep moving otherwise you become the corpse. The second you stop, a faster moving “god” steps on you and you’re history. That one ain’t for me, I’m too damn slow and not so eager anymore to climb over people. I’ve seen people work harder and better than all their co-workers only to be shuffled aside when it came to promotions because they were impossible to replace. That’s an actual quote from a manager – nobody else can do the work you do so well. Well crap, how about a raise then? Some of those people (those who actually say they want more than a pat on the back and a vigorous handshake) are tempted with more money to forget – but only enough money to keep them there and not a penny more. There isn’t and won’t ever be a fixed individual results to paycheck ratio with no strings attached – they’ll wrap it with “team performance”, “three way feedback”, “customer satisfaction” and other bullshit designed for keeping payments low. There’s a rule hidden around here, somewhere, and it ain’t what you think. It’s like that thing when you ask your girlfriend to tell you something to make you both happy and angry at the same time and she says: “You’ve got a bigger penis than any of your friends”. Well crap, I had to ask, didn’t I?

               Everybody acts according to their own personal self-interest. The companies are interested of profits. The employees are into money (some of them, anyway). So how do you keep employees from demanding higher salary or leaving for better paying jobs? You change their interests. You raise barriers to keep them mushroom-like (now there’s an army joke most ex-chaps would get!). You make up “benefits”, like company car, company kindergarten, company gym, you make them believe they are their jobs (which is why even cleaning ladies are sometimes called “broom management”). You’ll want to make them believe they are privileged for working for you, even if it’s for free. You wave “industry average” when they ask for more money. Call it company branding, only for employees. It’s the same. Keep them low, keep them in the dark and feed them bullshit – this is what loyalty really is. The bonus part comes when one is not satisfied – the others will do your work for you, I’ve known one manager that wanted to leave to be with his family, to work something else but be happy – his family, friends, all piled up on him criticizing that decision by saying he’d lose social status. Of course he would lose status, but why is that important (to them) and why are they (but not him) concerned about it? I’ve also known a manager whose reward for two decades of hard work was a stroke that left him partially paralysed at 45. Wrap that one around your slogans.

               There are so many ways to con the weak minded, it’s almost funny. Oh yea. The big skull breaking hit is you already know you’re being conned. That’s what anxiety, depression, panic attacks and anger are, the way your brain reacts to your own bullshit. Bigger, better, faster – very nice slogans if you’re talking about steaks. Otherwise you’ll be on the guilt express going round and round from anxiety to fear and back again because they keep demanding more and you keep trying at it, even though your brain is busy screaming “stop you idiot, lemme out, I’ve had enough”. You are conned into feeling guilty for not being your job. I’d understand if you were an engineer, a doctor or something similar but why use that in sales? Or marketing? Why do you have to work 16 hour days as an accountant? Just to say you’re an auditor for the big 4? Or 5, or 6, or whatever..

               Let me share a wee bit of knowledge here. Time is relative, as mister with funny hair said. You have no idea how long a second is until you’re having trouble breathing or when you’re waiting for the doctor to give you the skinny. Or how short a second is when you’re looking at your wife’s forehead cut to the bone and you have no idea what to do, call an ambulance or look for something to stave off the blood. Or perhaps just hold her to see if she wakes up. Hell no, you have no idea. Time and health are the only limited resources for the average individual. Not money and not social status either, despite what those around you want you to think.

               There’s a paradox for the masses – the more you earn the more you’ll spend, and the less happy you’ll be. Ever think why celebrities with lots of money suicide? Ever think why most rich folks get divorced? Ever see Bill Gates looking like Trump? Or Warren Buffett dressed like the average celebrity? I hear he’s still eating hamburgers instead of foie-gras with beluga. We’re being conned into thinking status is something we need and to feel shame and guilt when we’re not what others think we are or should be or should look like.

               So here’s my thing – ask yourself what needs to be done today. Keep a record of it, written down, but as follows: things important and urgent go first, then urgent ones, then important ones and lastly those things that aren’t either important or urgent. Divide those into many tiny progress markers and after getting them done scratch them off the list with something red, something flashy. Celebrate with a glass of water, pat yourself on the back. Keep at it until your list is done, then turn off your email, computer or phone and go to the park (preferably with husband/wife and kids, if you have them). Do this for a year, I dare you.

               After a year of pushing myself, I found the simple act of ordering shit up into urgent, important and neither, made 90% of my worries go away. And by crossing accomplished things off the list I was finishing my work in half the time. So naturally, I was asked to do more, which I promptly refused and was then fired. Because to hell with logic. If I had done what they asked, I’d be miserable while they don’t care. Point here being I only improved myself because they asked me to do more work in the first place. So when I achieved the expected results, they asked for even more. Which is why I told them to go … away.

Post scriptum:

               The reward for work well done is more work. Which doesn’t necessarily come with increased salary. If they then ask you to work more and suggest you work overtime to achieve that, find ways to get a new job. You’re worth it and they’re not. It’s not your well being they’re worried about.

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