Back to works
It’s Monday once more and a new week will start among the labyrinth of cubicles that constitutes my workplace. If I could take a slice of the tower that is hosting me, among another couple of thousands of colleagues, take a picture and just slightly enhance the contrasts with Photoshop, I would have a perfect wallpaper for my screen. It’s just like that Jacques Tati’s movie, where the curious aesthetics of a modern office is so well depicted as a caricature. I however also enjoy the movie for the clean aseptic lines of those bright walls built with glass and marble. Although that film dates back to fifty years ago, nothing has changed a lot meanwhile.
A flat screen or a wireless mouse are not shaping the overall appearance of the desks. There’s always enough useful papers mixed with old books and memorabilia to restrict the operative surface. Some items are just left untouched because the legitimate owner is unknown. With total lack of sense of humour, a large and big lady, dressed with the style of a 1970s public employee, regularly patrols the area to count the number of chairs and complain about the mess created by the few unsocially minded white collars. The most usual crime involves a bunch of bottles abandoned on the table, while particularly outrageous postcards do not seem to concern her.
Perhaps she does not even care to give a look at the jokes on the postcards, it would violate the privacy guidelines. If two chairs are placed around the same desks, that is on the contrary the ground for a serious reprimand. It is not respectful towards the colleagues, that is the usual refrain. Although most of my mates don’t give a brass farthing unless their life is seriously jeopardized. That happens if anyone coughs or speaks too loudly. They however rarely deliver an official complain. They prefer a face to face discussion, although absurd, some impolite words and, if nothing else works, a meeting to judge the culprit among peers.
For most of us, such a trial is part of good civic attitudes applied to defend the rights of every worker. To me, it appears not a better way to undermine the public image of an individual, carefully isolate him and strike. A technique successfully applied during the 1970s, where so declared public enemies were chased in the universities and, if enough restitant, physically terminated by the intervention of the People’s Protection Brigades. However we still live in a democracy, where absolutism and socialism have been put aside.
I prefer not to think too much about committees and other similar habits that recollect me of the collectivized world I have left behind me. Perhaps I lack the fierce character to face the mob and eventually conquer her heart. The same General Bonaparte complained of the King of France, unable to issue the riot at the Tuileries and suppress the fury of the revolution by addressing an enchanting speech to his own people. It is on the other side comfortable that I am not living in Versailles and colleagues’ gossip is hardly a serious menace here. My mates hardly communicate each other, and if they do it, they limit themselves to mention the places they have spent their last holidays. Just the name of the places and few other brief information. Sometimes I even doubt about their QI, since I can hardly imagine that the account of a travel could be synthesized in a couple of lines.
Politics, indeed a taboo, is seldom discussed. However seldom does not mean never and there is some way to make your opinion well known even to those who do not care at all. It is a way to alleviate social pressure and censorship to those who are not fully conforming, a sort of free speech policy. Strong enough that I hardly think to any other tasks than those officially assigned to me and an 8 hours day is usually enough not to miss a deadline.
Focus, productivity, effective and tangible results are the only requirements for a successful career in the free market. I leave the place at 5:30 pm, enjoying the last minutes of daylight.