You Know What Sh!ts Me?: Office Politics!

Can I get a like out there from everybody who has ever had to deal with a douchebag of a manager? A manager who makes your already crappy day at work, crappier.

Come now, don’t be shy. I can guarantee that at some point in EVERY person’s life, they’ve encountered a manager who micro manages them, acts like a creep, does absolutely nothing but takes credit for EVERYTHING, or is in a management position because they’re the world’s biggest kiss ass and not because they’ve earnt it, which is more often than not the case.

If this is you after work, you get the feels. (SOURCE: PSY Gangnam Style)

If this is you after work, you get the feels. (SOURCE: PSY Gangnam Style, edited accordingly)

You come into work on any given morning, say hello to everyone and sit down at your desk with a cup of coffee, a smile on your face, and you’re ready to give the day a good hard go. Then it happens. You peer over the top of your desk (or cubicle) ever so slightly, unable to control the desire that’s festering inside you, forcing you to look over at your manager to see what they’re doing… that’s when you see it. They’ve got their mobile in hand, food in the other and their feet are crossed upon their desk. They’re clearly working so very hard.

No matter what you do, or how hard you try and concentrate on your task at hand, your eyes continuously watch. It’s like a train wreck. You can’t help but stare despite the fact that the more you see, the more your insides burn. You continue to watch on to see what unfolds. Now they’re lighting candles, their wireless ear piece attached, pacing their office whilst they’re no doubt conducting a “business” call… yeah right.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

Slowly but surely the day continues on. You’ve shaken away the bad thoughts and given yourself the little motivational speech that you need to make it through your day – “I’m here to work. I cannot worry about what everyone else is doing. I have a job to do and I’m going to do it to the best of my ability and someday I will be manager, and when that day comes I won’t be like them”.

Hahaha. You idiot. Who are you even trying to kid right now? Yourself? No one else is being fooled. Everyone else knows that you’ll never get there, you’re just hoping and dreaming – which by the way there is nothing wrong with – everyone needs a little hope in their life. But you my friend, you will never rank higher that the office slave. Why you ask? Because you’re too good at what you do. Whether your boss asks you to make them a coffee, file their paperwork or even proof read one of their emails, you do it to the best of your ability. Why the hell would anyone pay you more to be in a higher up position when they can continue to pay you abysmally knowing that you’re still going to perform?

As if you couldn’t possibly feel any worse, your manager then pops up like a ninja behind you. “Melissa, what are you doing there? Are you writing and email about me?” (that was totally just my personal input there because I’m sitting at work whilst writing this article and on total ninja patrol). But seriously, out of nowhere your manager appears asking 21 questions:

What are you doing?
Has this been done yet?
When will that be finished?
That one will be on my desk before you go, yes?
Why did such and such call me?

GIVE ME A BREAK WOULD YOU?! Your task list will be completed promptly and efficiently, alongside my own tasks that I’m making no progress on. Don’t worry though, I’ll work back if I have to and not at all be recognised for it, or compensated. It’s totally cool. I don’t have a life at all outside of work, so please, run along and enjoy a beer on me while I work through all this bullshit!

It’s absolutely ridiculous. You seriously do question how these people get their jobs, but how can we? Every one of us who actually goes to work and does their job are enabling this. We’re all enablers. Isn’t it great? How does it feel knowing that whilst you’re sitting there working your butt off, your Manager is off texting their significant other, painting their nails or having a snooze, all at your expense. Heck, they might as well take daily yoga classes on you.

What makes it worse thought is when your employer thinks it’ll be fantastic rearranging your seating positions on a regular. Seating you next to the office slob, or someone you cannot stand because their personality clashes with yours. You try and try to keep a level head, but no matter what you do, the very sound of their voice sets you on edge. They rock up to work dolled up, eager to talk about what their after work plans are, not concerned in their slightest about work, while you sit there, insides burning envisioning the fan above their head falling down on top of them. You wouldn’t wish anything bad upon them of course, it’s just a subconscious thought that makes listening to their shit bearable. This all takes a toll on your performance.

Do people not realise that productivity levels will only increase if we’re working in a happy place?

Don’t sit me next to the bimbo who would jump the boss for a raise if she could. Don’t sit me opposite the girl who reports EVERYTHING and ANYTHING to HR, even the name of your cat, because it’s apparently offensive, and definitely don’t sit me next to the office sleaze. I will not work like that. I WILL however make my discomforts known.

Please employers… make your employees happy. Studies show that if you’re working in a happy environment, productivity will soar. That means that you’re overworked, underpaid, non-recognised employees will continue to work harmoniously while you continue to sit on your butt and make an absolute fortune. What’s to lose?

– by Melissa Tonitto

Kindle… Schmindle

I don’t trust you Kindle users. I’ve seen you around and to be honest, I look at you askance. Askance, and with something akin to pity in my eyes. Or maybe it’s just thinly veiled contempt.

Books come in all shapes and sizes, they have nice covers, you can flick through them and even write in them. Unless it’s a library book… you can’t write in a library book. Book rhymes with “nook” and “cook” and “rook” unless you happen to hail from Yorkshire in which case it rhymes with gobbledygook.

Kindle… dwindle… swindle… schmindle.

The word Kindle, meaning “to set light to” or “to set on fire” seems an ominous sort of  name. Are they suggesting some metaphorical book burning is in order to clear the way for their electronic witchcraft? I remember another chap who didn’t like books and in fact used them as kindling for other books and by all accounts he couldn’t write worth a shit either.

There are books out there I have searched for years to find and to no avail. I’ve trawled through bookstores and op-shops with the vain hope that I might find a second-hand copy of some Kurt Vonnegut title or other. And when I found it, away I would steal, like Roald Dahl’s BFG off to the Land of Dreams… Surely you’ve seen the Quentin Blake illustration of the famous giant? Ah, you read it on a Kindle. Tough titties.

'You is never doing anything unless you tries' BFG (SOURCE: Global Panorama's Flickr photostream)

‘You is never doing anything unless you tries’ BFG (SOURCE: Global Panorama’s Flickr photostream)

When I arrive home with my brown paper bag crinkling against my tweed weskit I slide my papyrus trophy to nestle against her fellow brothers and sisters of the printing press. And there may she wait in silent, bookish contemplation until finally reanimated by human curiosity.

“Do you accept Kindle’s terms and conditions before you continue?’

“Nay, damn you I accept neither. Nor your right to demand any such acceptance, you swine.”

You may laugh at me moving house, weeping with the effort of dragging box after box of words. Me, forcing the unyielding bastards into the back of the car, whilst you charge your Kindle with the cigarette-lighter in the front. Your laughter will turn to bitterest tears when your flimsy Kindle is trapped between a box of my literary heavy weights and a George Foreman grill (he’s so proud of it he put his name on it).

Have you even considered the humble librarian? Proud literary custodians since days of yore. Where’s your sense of mystery, your sense of occasion? Where’s your sense of common human decency? Have you even considered the librarian at all? For shame…

The librarian is a bibliophile first and foremost. They care for all the books from Douglas Adams to Markus Zusak (who wrote The Book Thief not “The Kindle Swindler”). They care for them all without passion or prejudice whether it be Jane Eyre or Edward Cullen, Harry Potter or Beatrix Potter, Dorian Grey or Christian Grey. The librarian abides. However I like to think that when the stoic chronicler is confronted with the image of you squinting at Dan Brown on that spineless auto-cue you call an “e-book”, they shed a single tear. What was it J.M Barrie said? “Every time a child reads a Kindle there is a little librarian somewhere that falls down dead.” Something along those lines anyway.

Before you try to get smart with me, I wrote this on a type-writer before sending it by pigeon to an alchemist who transformed it into this format. You may well call me a Luddite and  I very well may be but were I alive in the days of Neil Ludd I’d be on the side of the workers and you’d be a “Fat Cat” trampling us and starving our families in the name of profit and progress. You’d probably have gout.

Bloody kindles…

– by James Andrews

You Know What Sh!ts Me?: Seek and you MAY find

We’ve all been there or know someone who has… the job hunt!

It’s 8:30pm on a Friday night and while your friends are all getting ready, painting on their faces and slipping on some heels, you’re at home hitting up seek.com.au.

You’re sitting there smacking your keyboard and mouse in frustration, scrolling through the thousands of jobs they have listed there and hoping something stands out… and then from nowhere you come across your perfect job. Smiling and clicking the link to read more about the position on offer, you can’t help but think “Oh yeah, looks like I’m going out partying after all”.

If this shot is your regular friend, you will understand the pain. (SOURCE: Screenshot from Seek website)

If this shot is your regular friend, you will understand the pain. (SOURCE: Screenshot from Seek website)

You start reading through the job, matching your skill sets to the desired attributes of the employer and of course your skills match. You’re capable of doing everything on their list, you have your own license and you’re well groomed. You’ve got this one in the bag! You attach your resume to the advertisement and email off your CV, closing the browser contented by the fact you’ll be starting a new job in a couple of days. There’s no way in the world that you haven’t got this.

The weekend passes, Monday comes and goes, Tuesday flies by and before you know it you’re staring Wednesday in the face wondering where in the world your phone call for an interview is. Surely it doesn’t take that long to read someone’s resume and find them perfect for the job. You sit down at the computer, open up your email and surprisingly you have an email reply regarding your application. You click on the email, your heart racing a million miles an hour and you read the top line (the only line);

Thank you for your application. Unfortunately you do not have the experience required for this position.

Like hell you don’t! Pulling out your resume once again, you run your index finger down your resume, silently cross checking your listed skills with the requirements for this position… got them all. As you sit there puzzled, scratching your head you think “Oh… I’m applying for an Executive Assistant job, but I’ve only ever worked Reception. My bad.” Oddly enough however, the tasks you completed on a Reception desk are pretty much identical to the ones you’d complete as an EA, but how could you be so silly. No one is going to hire you if you’ve never once held the title they’re advertising for. You’re completely capable and you know you’d be great at the job, but unfortunately you cannot show the employer experience within the position. Sorry about that champ!

Following this is the frustration. How the hell can you ever climb a career ladder if no one is willing to give you a chance? Everyone’s all about the “Experience essential” component of a job application, but who out there is ever going to give you a crack at that position? You can’t exactly gain experience in something if no one is ever willing to give you the experience.

Who are employers these days actually kidding? The employment rate in Australia is at it’s highest in a decade, but hey, let’s be picky about who we’re going to hire. What ever happened to taking a chance on someone? Putting them through a gauntlet of difficult work place tasks to see if they’ve got the backbone to work the position on offer. Take my grandfather for example; runs his own business, needs bodies on a regular and rather than turning people away who don’t fit his criteria, he’ll have them mop the floors, clean the toilets and make coffees. Sure you might feel inadequate for a day or two, but when he’s done with you, you’ll have full time employment.

If people are willing to push themselves to the limit in order to prove that they can do something, then why not let them? Worst case scenario is that they don’t work out and you need to advertise again, but best case, you’ve earnt yourself an employee who is willing to go to hell and back for you.

Australia, give our unemployed a good hard go. Take a chance on someone. You never know what might happen.

– by Melissa Tonitto

You Know What Sh!ts Me?: Not Everything is “Glamorising”

This will all make sense by the end of this article.

It seems that nowadays one can’t do anything in the spotlight without someone having something negative to say about it. Kim Kardashian, for example – as much as I personally dislike her – cannot blink without someone attacking her on social media, calling her a range of insults from “fat” to “blimp-like hussy”. The unfortunate truth for a celebrity is that while they are relevant, they will always be attacked no matter what.

More recently, however, it seems that there are more and more complaints coming from individuals that seem to have absolutely no social or work life at all. These are the ones that criticise any movie, TV show, book or any other creative work for “glamorising” a bad issue.

Glamorising DVD covers since 2003. (SOURCE: Anna's Flickr photostream)

Glamorising DVD covers since 2003. (SOURCE: Anna’s Flickr photostream)

One of my recent favourite TV shows (that was criminally cut short) is Secret Diary of a Call Girl, featuring Billie Piper *COUGH* Rose Tyler *COUGH* as the main character, Hannah Baxter/Belle du Jour as an escort. It features her daily and nightly shenanigans as Hannah by day and Belle by night. Regardless, it is one hell of an entertaining show and one which I successfully referred to a friend who also loved the series.

What did the critics have to say about this? “Glamorising being a prostitute”.

Um. No.

Actually it is just showing the life of an escort in a witty and entertaining way… based on the real life of a real escort who kept her identity hidden from the world for so long probably for this very reason. A feminist who wrote for the Daily Mail stated that she couldn’t imagine that any escort would enter the profession out of free choice. Well, actually, I can; people were born and raised differently and are therefore very different from one another. While one enjoys having sex and getting paid for it, the other is equally content saving herself until marriage. And there is nothing wrong with either of them. Hello, if you wanted an example of “people being very different from one another”, just watch the show and you will see that some people even enjoy roleplaying as babies while someone else takes care of them as their parent/guardian.

Secret Diary of a Call Girl isn’t the only show to face this pointless, unnecessary fire from bored critics.

Breaking Bad? Glamorising meth.

Dexter? Glamorising serial killing.

Prisonbreak? Glamorising committing a crime and then breaking out of jail.

Fifty Shades of Grey? Glamorising rough S&M.

Stan by Eminem? Glamorising being a psycho-stalker fan and committing suicide.

A friend of mine, who was a big follower of the Breaking Bad TV series, clearly stated that if you properly watched the show, it would turn you off from doing meth. Oh really? And if not made apparent by the highly anti-climatic ending of Dexter, the show did not glamorise serial killing one bit. Just look at how royally fucked his life was because of his choice in alternative hobby.

To those people who think that every creative work has some ulterior motive to ruin today’s generation: buy some Kleenex or build a bridge.

Hell, you might as well say that Doctor Who is glamorising picking up your whole life and leaving with a mad man and his blue box, or that Pokemon is glamorising leaving your family at a young age to explore the world with creatures that speak their name.

This whole pointless glamorising has gotten on my last nerve.

My advice? Watch that TV series and enjoy it. Sit through that movie and enjoy it. Read that book and enjoy it. Listen to that album and enjoy it. But leave it at that. The artists in the world who put their blood, sweat and tears in these works are wasting their time if people are just going to complain and create problems that aren’t even there.

There. I said it.

– by Noah La’ulu