THE ONE YEAR ITCH


I sit in my cosy little office with its bright LED lights that cause my eyes to flinch and flicker too many times than I would have liked and I slowly begin to ponder over my journey to getting here. I purposefully chose to sit at the desk adjacent to the radiator with a window above it. My body temperature tends to be on the colder side of the thermometer so I need to keep warm at all times.

The window on the other hand serves a dual purpose. During the rare occasions where my body is too warm or there is too much bodily heat generating in the office than the small room can take the window serves as a ventilation. Its second purpose and perhaps one of more pertinence than the first is using it as a portal of escape. Too often in my 9-5 I find myself languorously starring at the window and dreaming of pastures new.

Lately those pastures concentrated on the acquisition of new employment elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong it is not as if though I dislike my current employment but rather like everything in life ,the grass is somehow always a tad bit greener on the other side (with a lesser need for pesticides I would imagine). I have fear of being too content that I would let thirty years go by with me being in this very same position. My colleagues are a constant reminder and an embodiment of that last affirmation.

The one year itch is seemingly gripping more workers at the beginning of their career ladder than it ever did. Take me for example; I have been in my current employment for just over a year. To begin with I found it fascinating, challenging and on par with what I studied and where I want to go with my career. But as I reached the six months mark I started becoming disillusioned with what this employment had to offer or the lack of it. Come the one year anniversary and I had mastered the knack of it all.

I was the go-to person for all the tricks of the trade – you know the type of stuff that they don’t put in the employee’s handbook. Such as which direction should envelopes/ labels be fed into the printers? It wasn’t long before I also mastered the dark art that is practised within the walls of every office across the globe: how to look busy when caught up in tedious bureaucracy that doesn’t and SHOULD NOT require a whole team to spend all day doing what a child (okay maybe not a child because we don’t want insurance and social services on our case too) one adult can do in a minute or so. David Graeber’s analysis of bullshit jobs comes to mind.

It’s a Sisyphean ordeal consisting of bureaucratic shambles and narcissistic co-workers with endless delusions of grandeur that I had to tolerate in the past year which triggered it all for me. The job in itself is fine but the people I cross paths with on a daily basis not so. If someone gave me a dime for every time I uttered the word “shambolic” in this past year to describe this situation I would have been well-heeled . To my amusement and bemusement alike the word started trending in the office, so much so that it even made it into one or two resignation letters. Unbeknown to me I started a spring of the descriptive word format to conjure up the organizational tyranny we were experiencing! Who needs bombs to start a revolution when you have brilliant words like “shambolic”, eh? Words are always cheaper ammunition. I digress.

What is wrong with being content I hear you ask? I mean there is nothing wrong with being content. But when contentment becomes synonymous with “just fine” then it makes you want to naturally (and maybe not so naturally because some of us need a shove every now and then) strive for more than just fine, something of the highest possible excellence lavished with superlatives. However, if “just fine” is what you are happy with then by all means that is fine.

One job for life’ is now well and truly something of the past. And that is not because we are any more ambitious than those of yester years. If anything holding on to the same job till retirement takes a lot of commitment and will. The obvious recession debacle that we find ourselves in makes it hard for people like me and my contemporaries to protract the same job for that lengthy period of time. For starters you would be lucky to find a job, FULL STOP and when you do do then it is a struggle to find any organisation that would want your services (skilled or otherwise) for any longer than six to twelve months.

A friend of mine said to me not long ago that he is struggling to keep his resume succinct. Thanks to the numerous contracted jobs he had to do over the course of the last year alone his resume is now in the danger of spilling over into the no go zone, frowned upon three/four page territory. And trust me no employer has the time to be looking at a resume that long. Not to mention the fact that having that many short contracted jobs gives a potential employer the incorrect impression that you have commitment issues. Problems of a first world country! To quote a colleague “It is decadence”!

Even when some of us land a job that would put up with us for infinite years of employment, we soon start looking elsewhere. Already unsatisfied and thirsty for more we start the job application process before the coffee stains and the biscuit crumbs had a chance to settle on our desks and keyboards.

Whilst I confess that I don’t particularly have any scientific explanation as to why this may be, however, I get the inkling that we are pre conditioned to being too dissatisfied too quickly. This consumerist attitude has now seeped into the wonderful world of work. It is no longer about what you can bring to a job it is more about what you can get out of it; what extra life perks can it give you so you would not be itching to get out of it sooner than you got in.

Free business trips, various gadgets that begin with the first person pronoun (hint: it is the ninth alphabet of the English language), 24 hours gym on site, flexible hours. Scrap that how about working from home, hmm? Actually scrap that too how about zero hour contract?

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Weekly Writing Challenge: Three Ways To Go Gonzo


I don’t know your name but excuse me miss, why do you blog?

“In a nutshell…to stay literate”, I said bluntly to the six foot something, dark eyed enquirer as he tossed away stray strands of mousy blonde mid length tresses away from his face.

He looked confused, scratched the nape of his neck, made a few inaudible grunts and remarked “but you don’t strike me as an illiterate, care to explain further..?!”

I smiled at his nonplussed expression and I joked “don’t let those geeky glasses fool you, love”.

I watched him as he eased himself further into his seat, lifted up the armrest separating him from the seat next to him and slowly loosen his tie. A stripy silver and white skinny tie which camouflaged with the silver striped shirt that served as its backdrop beneath the navy blue pin striped suit ensemble. I couldn’t help but think what possessed the guy to adorn this many violent concussions of stripe and silver. Each to their own and that, I quickly reminded myself.

He gazed at me pensively, a look I was all too familiar with. So I decided to put him out of his misery. I too shuffled myself further into my seat and rested my head against the window to mirror his languid disposition.

After pausing to allow the conductor to announce few housekeeping rules on the train and pointing out to the passengers the obvious: “smoking isn’t permitted on this train” in case they missed the various preposterous and piercing signs displayed throughout the four carriages of the train; and apologising profusely for the delay; I began explaining to this friendly stranger sat opposite of me on the now VERY delayed 20:35 train from London to York, my thought processes. Yes, train commutes are perhaps one of the more bizarre places to be digesting blogging quandary.

I took a deep somewhat exaggerated breath, maybe to make my new found audience understand the gravity of what I was about to unleash on him. I explained that “George Orwell prophesised the current situation that I, YOU and many others find ourselves in today. Newspeak he called it and that was in 1964. Sixty five years after he made that assertion, my friend, he might just be vindicated”.

I paused for a moment, to check that I haven’t bored and consequently lost the poor fella. To my astonishment, it turned out he was all ears and thus instructed me “to carry on” with my synthesis.

So I began my soliloquy, or rather monologue because my audience was now hooked on my every word.

“We are now well and truly caught up in a never ending vortex of Bad English that Orwell foretold. I find myself in the dilemma that is pretentious diction in my 9-5 and urban slang in my 24/7. This is a catch 22 and I don’t want to upset the apple cart, but let’s face it the chickens are finally coming home to roost. I mean why are we catching the number 22, and why on God’s good green earth would a cart bursting with fruits be upset with me. Idiom hell, if you ask me. I didn’t think I had it in me to be upsetting apples too and don’t get me started on the chicken; let’s just hope they aren’t coming to my home to roost or whatever else they intend to do.

Once I am done with idiomatic hell I enter slang-ville torture. Like mandem them ting tings ain’t cool like ya’ feel me init? Rah bruv they chattin’ bare breeze n’dat init!! I know I am going off on a tangent here, but seriously how can anyone with their cognitive abilities intact utter such gibberish or worst still inflict it on poor unassuming folks like me, hmm…?

Mind boggling stuff, my love, mind boggling stuff hence, why everyone needs to blog. To better their diction, which by the way should include fully spelt out words as opposed to giving me CBA for an answer. Because lovie, if you Can’t Be Asked, logic would tell you to not even bother texting an acronym denoting the very thing you are unable to do”!

“That is George Orwell apocalypse right there mate”!

Now, it was his turn to make a point with his breathing. He exhaled loudly as to mark the intake of all that malachi I just offloaded on him.

Whilst he never interjected once and politely nodded intermittently, though I can’t help but think he might have been slightly relieved when the conductor announced that the train was slowly approaching its final stop in however many minutes it took. That wry smile he shot me was all but too revealing.

Once we arrived at our destination, we both concurred that at least this exercise in diatribe wasn’t lost in vain. It helped us with our respective late night commuting doldrums. At the very least we barely noticed the 2.5 hour train journey we just endured. As we departed the train we both laughed at this declaration, bid each other a good night; disappearing into the darkness of the night and returning to what we were, are total strangers!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/gonzo-writing-challenge/

A Nation of Poets and Bards


Poets and Bards

It has taken me an awfully long time to finally make a blog. Three years if memory serves me right. I never quite understood what it all entailed other than of course doing the obvious- blogging. Therefore, I have been doing a bit of scouring in the hope of understanding how to utilise this site and after a fair bit of searching and stumbling on few illustrious blogs, it dawned on me that I needed to ‘introduce myself to potential readers’. Thanks Daily Post for pointing that out to me, YAY!

Now how can I encapsulate what this blog is about in a nutshell …? Hmmm let’s give it a go.

So legend has it that I come from a nation with avid oral traditions – not in the kinky sense but rather in storytelling. So detailed and rich it is that a mere narration of trivia could give an acclaimed Steven Spielberg movie a run for its money and that isn’t hyperbole.

Growing up I often had the (dis) pleasure of receiving handwritten or tape recorded messages (yes folks I’m from the Walkman era and I have just given away my age bracket, shoot) from distant relatives to family friends and characters I have never met; where a simple hello turned into a poetical portent in itself. Sometimes it even made me wonder if these people were competing in a bardic poetry competition. Clearly their poetastery was lost on me then and naturally it took me a while to understand that this was a little more than an emotive grunting. More often than not these messages started with something along the lines of:

I give thou sincerest of greetings

One that stems out of the

Hollowest of thy muscular organs

Transported to thou through the air waves

That distance us

*Side note: if you are unfamiliar with the culture and such traditions you might be stunned when you find a long lost relative showering you in person with such elaborate romanticised, elongated passages, always accompanied by the continental and arduous four kisses on either cheeks. Perhaps even uncalled for if you are lacking a bit on the emotional side of things. Alas, the times I miss-calculated the number of kisses required or rather their timing and landed myself in the awkwardness that is kissing someone’s lips…YIKES… I know!! Oh the utter embarrassment. I better move along because that warrants mortifying memories to come forth.

So by not following this long line of traditions I feel as if though I’m betraying my ancestors and denying my heritage. I am not an oral person (again not in the kinky sense, so please do refrain from such connotations). I am more of a writer. I could never relay a diatribe, a discourse orally. I was never blessed with the “gift of the gab”. But I do have a way with words, or so I am told (hmmmm pauses to think this through. Really now isn’t the time to be doubting oneself).

I feel as if though I’m harbouring a defect gene, some kind of gremlin in my makeup for not having such gift/burden (depending on what angle you are looking at it from). I come from a family of talkers, a nation of story tellers. We weren’t dubbed “a nation of poets and bards” for no reason. I think Margaret Laurence was onto something when she gave us that title.

But in my defence poetry (or rather prose) doesn’t have to be limited to the spoken format. Hence, why I created this blog after much debate that is because I am a highly indecisive individual; as you will come to know throughout the course of this blog. And whilst we are on the subject of my inherent indecisiveness, I guess now is a good time (as any) to confess that due to this little idiosyncrasy of mine I wasn’t able to categorise this blog into one specific genre.  I mean why pigeon hole yourself..?! The possibilities are endless so why not explore whatever topic or put forward whatever idea/problem/ vituperation/ personal opines and otherwise, eh..?!

I am very aware that I have just given a long winded diatribe of an explanation to the question posed at the beginning of this blog post. I am not good at explaining things so I like to think that I have done a pretty darn good job at answering: what is this blog about..? Having said that, if you still feel that you are none the wiser then hey, stick around and maybe we will figure it out together, one day, fingers crossed.

And on that note…

Happy reading folks!