Hail to the Drones
“Change of plans,” the text message read. “Capitole in the morning, and at 4pm you go to Ghelamco Arena until 11.”
“K,” I texted back, and proceeded to oversleep like a bitch. They were not impressed.
The Ghelamco job was actually dual: There was a science fair in the office spaces of Ghent’s brand spanking new football stadium, while simultaneously a corporate reception was being held in the other end.. That thing’s got to rake in money, you see, and since it is the new “pride of Ghent” (excluding me, apparently), local companies are all too eager to have their little circle jerk inside its cheaply built bowels. Have fun with that mental image.
My employer’s estimate was unusually accurate, and we finished at 11pm sharp, while drunk Farys employees staggered out the back door.
Farys is the new TMVW, the Belgian distributor of tap water. It is state-owned (as, imho, it should be) and therefore, one of Belgium’s slowest, bureaucratic organizations. It has no room for growth and no interest in efficiency. It just does its thing with an unnecessary amount of employees until it is inevitably sold to our new, neo-capitalist system for scraps.
The reception came with a slide presentation of the company’s “vision” and “ideals”, and they had hired an artist to make one of those typographical presentations you see so often on YouTube. Their popularity worries me a little.
While I was tracing cables to find where I could unplug them, I stumbled across a big pile of little notes, and easily distracted as I am, started reading a few. They were from employees, and seemed to contain ideas of employees on how to make Farys a better company. From ‘not recuperating my overtime’ to ‘starting a think tank on my floor’, it seemed to me they were just ways to screw themselves into working more than what they were paid for.
One woman’s plan was particularly ambitious: She would single-handedly digitize the archives, now located on paper, in the corporation’s basement.
It was one one hand disturbingly ironic and on the other, entirely unsurprising that all these ideas of goodwill ended up backstage, discarded on the floor. No one had even bothered putting them in the trash, because no one was getting paid to forget about them- it just sort of happens. In this case, I took the liberty. And it felt good.
The typographical piece contained dozens of words like “inspiration” and “togetherness”, words that have fuck-all to do with either water or money. I don’t know why they bother, to be honest. Clearly the end goal is not to take the ideas to heart or even keep them- so let’s assume it was writing them. To motivate the little office drones into… working harder?
But if anno 2015, a company was even remotely interested in digitizing their backlog, wouldn’t they have done so decades ago? If they had even hired a single person responsible for modernizing their system, wouldn’t they have made this into a priority?
Also, who the fuck cares if Farys employees have their one little day when they feel that their dead-end, ungrateful job is more than the job description?
I am considering some graphic arts classes so I can make artworks like the one I dumped in recycling last thing that evening. It would look a little something like this:
DO YOUR FUCKING JOB
YOU CHOSE IT, YOU LIVE IT
IF YOU NEED JOB SATISFACTION SO MUCH
JUST THINK OF ALL THAT SWEET SWEET MONEY
AND ALL THE SHIT YOU WILL BURN IT ON
ON YOUR FEW PAID HOLIDAYS THIS YEAR
HUNGRY FOR MEANINGFUL CONTRIBUTION?
EAT MONEY, BITCH
THIRSTY FOR A NEW VISION?
DRINK SMALL CHANGE
YOU CHOSE IT, YOU LIVE IT
Why I’m not getting calls as we speak, is a mystery to me.
Seriously, though: These retarded little raindances offend me. How easy it is to find yourself awesome, especially when you’re not.
How about this: I get society’s little scraps during 25 hour shifts, 8 of which I got actually paid a minimum wage. 3 hours of sleep, a big-ass stage and a satisfied customer, all for around €75: You’re welcome.
I do this because it inspires me. Because I work with artists, social workers, multicultural organizations, a sense of -gasp- togetherness, if you will.
If you chose to burn that all for greed, guess what, you don’t get to have any of it. You get the bulk of the money, the unions, the big house, the fancy car. You don’t see us pretending to be entitled to any of that, do you?
Job satisfaction is not a hype. It’s not a modern thing, although modern western society allows for it more than any other in human history. If you have a full-time job, you see your colleagues more hours awake than your spouse or parents. You don’t work to live, your job is your life. I see people desperately reaching for retirement, coming home and when you ask them what they did that day, they shrug and say, “I worked.” Their day is one gray blur of misery that they undergo in order to pay for the things they enjoy, which they often couldn’t properly identify to save their lives.
I feel like I am the exception, enjoying my job. Looking forward to tomorrow after putting in 12 hours. Finding pride in working in service of my neighborhood.
What a shame. With all that life has to offer, they choose this, and now they need big words, put into attractive looking presentations, so they could feel useful and appreciated.
It annoys me because it feels like they’re trying to take the beauty of my job, while keeping all the benefits of theirs. Fat chance.
They get the money; I get the satisfaction, and we both work hard for it, though I dare say I work a little harder. The cynicism comes with the job, and I’ll gladly hog that too.