Finger on my lips

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

There's an unsaid idea of work culture that is as old as the idea of "work culture" itself. Joining the masses at work is said to be advantageous. If they laugh, you laugh. If your boss cracks a daddy joke and expects you to give a reaction that you reserve for when you see Dhinchak Pooja memes, by all means, give them that. Like a dead fish, you ought to go with the flow.

I can't say I've worked for too long, but the longest I've worked for at any place taught me this one thing. The only time you want to not be with the crowd is when you take a day off. If you're there, you participate. If by any chance, you decide to not want to do that, then god save you. 

In an organization full of slackers, if you work, that's going against the tide. If you make your own rules, that's going against the tide. 

If you ruffle feathers, when there's pin drop silence, you have made your own rules. There's going to be a tidal attack now. You know the drift. 

The thing about silence is, besides it being gold, it's also heavy. If you follow the news, you'll know our silence has cost the opposition. It's costing liberals our peace of mind. It's costing all of us our independence. Stripping us of choice of food, our freedom of speech and whether or not we'd like to show our nationalism on our arm- it's all a matter of exercising that right. Stripped away from you, you're left with silence. Loud, deafening and awful silence. 

Similarly, the thing with most of our populous is, we don't talk anymore. We've always just heard people tell us things. 

We've heard it from our grandparents, "Don't answer back."

Then our parents, "Don't you dare look me in the eye and tell me I'm wrong."

Followed by the regime at school, "NO TALKING. WHAT IS THIS? A FISHMARKET? AM I SPEAKING IN LATIN?"

Mildly referred to in college as well, "Girls, can you please behave yourselves. Some of us are trying to study here."

In Metro or shared transport, anyone who talks loudly is looked at, with disapproving eyes. How dare you spoil my zen? 

It comes to me as no surprise, this regime gets carried on in our organizations as well. Just when you think people are mature enough to carry out their tasks without being petty, they will name drop you and tell you, or anyone who will hear consciously, "I can't get any work done because you're talking". 

Now, I'd heard of "devastatingly beautiful" in context to things but using another person as your reason to not work is shameless. It's probably the lamest thing I've heard in my life. First of all, if you can't work when someone's talking then maybe you need noise cancelling earphones and a life. Second of all, what kind of monster slacks work and uses another person to blame? Answer: the kind who doesn't want to do work. 

If there's a rule of thumb I know about work, it's this- if you put your mind to something achievable, there's nothing or nobody stopping you. 

I know I did my MPhil in a house which was packed in cartons when I didn't have a bed to sleep on for over six months. I didn't have room to work out of. I didn't know where my books were kept.
Yet. I did it. I pulled out 60k original words and made sense out of them. 

Last December, I had chicken pox. The project I was working on required 5o women's participation, another 10 women photographers and some more annoyingly talented women. I coordinated the whole damn thing, without any experience of having done that, sitting at home with 102 fever and rash sprouting out of all parts of my body. How's vaginal rash filled with pus for an excuse to not do work?

Don't tell me about not being able to do things. Tell me about what you can achieve in adversity. 

And frankly, if two individuals talking to each other is your adversity, you're no better than the person who quit her job due to anxiety problem. How's that for privilege? 

That's the thing about human behaviour which baffles me. It'll bow down just when you threaten it with a needle, which can threaten to pierce their inflated ego. Never mind the 10 ml syringe filled with the hypocrisy that they will shove in your face during lunch break. 

Mental health is an important thing. I expect educated people to understand it. However, most don't. I am not denying that there aren't enough people who don't take shelter under the excuses. 

But the next time someone tells you that they quit job because their anxiety was out of control, look inwards and say, "Who am I to judge? I complained about these people "talking" at work."

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