Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Notes from the Ground Zero at Corporate Hell (Part I)

This post has been a long time in coming as I have some workplace beefs that have been weighing down on me like a two ton Philly Cheese Steak, and if I don’t get the opportunity to vent some of these legitimate pentup workplace grievances I’m going to be in need of an emergency angioplasty to survive another work week. Unfortunately, there are particular confidentiality issues surrounding the nature of my employment that prohibit me from being openly specific about the job I currently slave at and the environment in which I slave. But what the hell, fuck it. If you’re one of my work peers or just happen to be a regular visitor to my little realm of insanity here, then you’re in for a rare treat. If you happen to be one of my managers reading this, then I’ll be waiting tomorrow morning in the Human Resource office with my pants down around my ankles and a lit cigar eagerly awaiting my “Oral” * corrective action like a man.

Determining which workplace gripe I’d like to bitch about first is like trying to decide which wall of a burning building I’d like to nail my penis to. Inevitably, it’s going to hurt and ultimately, I'm going to get burned as the end result. For the past two years, I have stared at a blank wall with a huge projection screen on it displaying the current dialing pools in which we are laboring.

Each day, I keep waiting for expressionless researchers in white lab coats to prop open my eyelids with surgical clamps and record my reactions on clipboards as part of some mad ‘Clockwork Orange’ socio-experiment. All that is missing from this corporate wasteland is a daily flogging and anal probe by my Operations Managers to complete the day. Honestly, the place has all the warm and inviting charm of a Radiation clinic. Sometimes I get lost in my own misery and imagine Team Leaders goose-stepping up and down the aisles behind me, urging me on with a riding crop as a wretched bald man in a fur loincloth bangs out a cadence on a drum in the corner to work to.

Conditions have gotten marginally better since those not-so-long-ago days. I wonder if the management powers-that-be consulted a corporate feng shui specialist before considering these new floor plans? “Yes, the disgruntled single mother must always face east, and anyone with less than 85 percent work efficiency should have their cubicles aligned directly with the planet Mars.” Now, I am located near a window with see-through shade blinds that give the kind of impression of being in a Peep Show when they are drawn up and down throughout the day. All I can do sometimes is to resist the urge to seek out a coin slot in the wall somewhere to pump in my loonies like a manic-depressive feverishly popping his Prozac pills after a screening of ‘Remains of the Day’ each time a female walks by in the hopes that she will instantly begin performing some lewd and exotic Lambada dance of seduction a la ‘9 ½ Weeks’...but I digress.

In actuality, I have a view of a parking lot and the dumpster behind ‘Boston Pizza’ so that I can keep close tabs on the indigenous varieties of local fauna that frequent the back of the restaurant for their regular feedings and to hump like rabbits in heat. By the time I end my current employment, I expect to have completed a Masters Degree thesis paper on the “Effects of Urbanization on the Feeding and Mating Habits of Indigenous Vermin”. Marlon Perkins will be green with envy.

Also while I’m on the topic of corporate decor, the wall near me now is tastefully decorated with motivational posters proudly displaying such positive power words as “Optimism”, “Improvise”, “Believe & Succeed”, and one that mysteriously looks like an Impressionist depiction of a set of breasts. What its particular message is happens to elude me each time I look at it. I think it’s ironic that these posters are portraying phrases that are the least indicative to that of the corporate call center Hell in which I work. Other such posters like “Performance” ** and “Endurance” would have been more appropriate on the lobby walls of a Mazda dealership.

Of course, there are other aspects of my workplace ambiance that serve to further grind me down like a 10 cent butter knife. For example, the basic lowbrow rube that is normally hired by our astute management usually leaves much to be desired. Least of my worries is the kindly older gentleman that regularly sits beside me and works with all the generated enthusiasm of a sloth on Quaaludes. Sometimes, it’s all I can do to keep myself from falling asleep each time he leaves an answering machine message. It’s like working beside Snuffeluffagus. Either that, or my unconsciousness is triggered into an automatic acid flashback each time he speaks and makes my day feel like I’m working inside some weird David Lynch movie; that is, until he hawks up another phlegm lugie the size of a basketball and brings the whole dream-state crashing down back to reality like a house of cards. All that is missing is some droning industrial band playing in the background and a midget in a top hat reciting poetry backwards. As if this environment wasn’t surreal enough!

But this place, like any other of it's kind, has it’s usual quota of freaks and misfits to adhere to as per very specific governmental guidelines regarding the hiring of psychotic menaces. At the rate we hire and fire these social undesirables, I wonder how long it is before we have to begin bussing them in from the surrounding big cities so that the company can maintain their precious quota of employed schitzo’s, weirdo’s, and wackjob’s. Once, I worked in a cubicle that was located near a fellow employee whose personal resemblance and mannerisms were not so unlike that of psychotic master criminal Charlie Manson; same greasy hair, same evil helter-skelter look in his eyes. I sincerely believed that he was a powder keg ready to blow at any moment and that one day I would find myself staring down the barrel of an AK-47 attack rifle because somebody had dared suggest that he "have a nice day" ***. Albeit it was a bit exciting to find oneself working in a possible "Kill Zone", I would certainly have taken an immediate Sick Day if Charlie had ever arrived at work with a Swastika drawn on his forehead or an inverted Pentagram carved into the palm of his hand, as no doubt I would have been in the direct line of fire and among the first victims he'd take out with the initial volley's of rifle fire.

But such is the nature of the Corporate Beast as all us non-professional, basic-skilled schlups line up and obediently leap into the corporate meat-grinder with a complacent smile on our face and a non-responsive look in our eyes like cows to the slaughter; "All in all you're just another brick in the wall". They could probably wallpaper the entire cafeteria with the wasted University degrees of all the employees currently slaving away mindlessly in their cubicles.

Given these particular employee profiles, I suggest we go one step further and just initiate a work release program with the local penitentiary where inmates can serve out portions of their sentences chained to a cubicle desk to make collection calls. Besides fulfilling the corporate requirements of employed psychotics, I believe this will have a two-fold effect for the company. 1) This would no doubt immediately increase the total dollars collected, as inevitably the collection techniques employed by the work release inmates will generate an immediate fear and response in the average delinquent deadbeat on the other end of the headset: “Hello, Ms. Soukabong? My name is “Chains” Johnson, how are you today madam? Good. I’m calling in regards to your outstanding account balance of $34.69 and I’m calling to assist you with payment by debit card, credit card, or check so I don’t kill you, rape your dog, or burn down your house. How would like to make that payment today?” And, 2) the performance statistics of the other employees is bound to improve when working around the inmate’s as they will be more focused and concentrating on their jobs. How can my idle time NOT improve when all I have to chat to between calls is someone who is likely to to stab me to death with a plastic cafeteria fork if they happen to disagree with my sentiments regarding the previous evenings episode of ‘The Bachelor’. Likewise, any and all Human Resource issues, personal disputes, or disagreements between co-workers at the workplace will likely decline to a minimum due to the fact that they could now make us eligible to receive a good ‘ol fashioned cell block beat down. Imagine if poor disgruntled 57 year old Esmerelda Gonzalez gets pissed off that part-time blue-haired student Johnny Rottencrotch keeps moving her kitten calendar and doodles in her ‘Jumbo Crosswords’ book and hires inmate co-workers Vinnie and Spider to pay him a friendly visit after work and they in turn introduce Johnny’s legs to a woodchipper. How about if overly competitive Henry Gooch decides he wants to make a serious bid for being on the collections “Power Team” and arranges through the inmate employees to have the Team’s current star collector mysteriously disappear one day only to turn tits up in Henley Pond weeks later. The plus side of all this is that everyone would be practically guaranteed 100 per cent Quality scores on their calls for fear that they will end up in pieces stashed in Glad Bags in the dumpster behind KFC.

Why don’t we just hire homeless people and pay them in ‘Kibbles n’ Bits’ and use the saved revenue to purchase air fresheners to prevent the rest of us from being gassed to death on the overwhelming stench of body odor?

To be continued…

* And just in case this post alone isn’t enough to instigate an oral warning from a specialized team of Human Resource fluffers, then perhaps I will drop a few un-PC racial epitaphs on poor immigrant worker Manjoula Manjahar that works in the cubicle beside me to kick start the whole process. "Hey Manjoula, how many Packi's does it take to change a light bulb?"

** Which also includes in smaller script at the bottom: “Unless you’re riding on top of the wave, you’ll be left riding underneath it”. Philosophical redundancy aside, considering some of the tedious the days I am prone to have at work from time to time, this actually doesn’t sound like too bad an option. Neither does a syringe of battery acid.

*** I think what ultimately tipped me off to the whole possible mass murderer scenario was the creepy black squiggle drawings of clown-like figures he proudly displayed at his desk. Didn't John Wayne Gacy have a clown fetish?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey how bout when they took our paper and pens away? i thought for sure they were gonna take our shoelaces away next for fear we would kill ourselves

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahaha...i like to call them "quart"icles, as apparently we are not statically perfect enough to deserve a real work space, or arms on our chairs for that matter...

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having served a small part of my life sentence in the same section of Auschwitz as the illustrious CTRMan, I am happy to report that my TM, MS Mengele (don't dare say Mrs to her), has continued to add to my wonderful time here in Gestapoland with yet another wonderful experiment. Instead of insulting me to my face she has now taken to doing it during the morning warm-ups in front of everyone. It's nice to be loved.

I especially love the day-to-day training we get there: "Remember what i said to do yesterday? Well, forget it. Do it completely opposite today. Oh, by the way, this change was in effect yesterday so you failed your Quality mark this morning because I wanted to see you squirm rather than let you know ahead of time. Dance little puppet, dance."

Whoever said change is good must have worked here and is still receiving therapy for it. I can not describe the exhiliration I feel when they increase our stats then make it harder for us to collect. While CTRMan enjoys Bald Bob and his Magical Drumkit, I have the distinct pleasure of Psycho Witch and her Tongue o' Ninetails. Sorry to run on at the keys like this dude, but it's good to vent a little.

Your partner in grime,

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It insulting to our character by making us enter the building through the back entrance conveniently located in the Brick garbage dumpster and then seating us in rows tethered to our desks on 3 foot leashes. On top of that, those of us that are lucky enough get to peer through the glass doors into our well decorated front lobby(the only place other than OP's offices lucky enough to have chairs adorned with arms on them)which we are not allowed to go into. Sorry, only prospective employees are allowed to use the front entrance. Back to the chair issue, I find it especially insulting that the chairs come with instruction booklets...but for the next model up in the line. A tease to us bored monkeys fidgeting to kill time....look at what you don't have. I recall at one time the whole floor was pulled for an instructional seminar to learn proper use of our chairs due to many work related accidents(only by one person that I recall and that was a manager who shall remain nameless). I also am completely convinced that the temperature is controlled by a menopausal woman, and that security is equipped with the power to drain the life force out of you as you walk by their desk.

3:55 PM  

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