MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “job”

The sound of gloom

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There was a poor person in the metro the other day playing a famous song on his guitar. He was dressed decently. Wasn’t begging really. His voice was imbued with feeling. He sounded almost professional. He sang from the heart and that was evident. It made you want to give him something. Some change to show your appreciation for the way he was striving to make a living.

Perhaps he could have searched for a ‘regular’ job. But everyone knows these are hard to find in a country where ‘crisis’ has become an everyday term.

At least he was giving melody to a train ride. And you could see the passengers actually stop looking at their phones for a minute and letting their mind wander at his tune.

You were almost mesmerised to give him spare change. Coins whose possession to you may not have made a difference. Perhaps it was the cost of your daily cup of coffee. But to him it was a measure of appreciation. Of the fact that there were people out there who liked what he offered and who were willing to grant a helping hand.

There are many people who leave aside their dignity and in their despair decided to ask strangers for help. There are the ones who feel outcast from society. Whom we look at demeaningly and most often choose simply to ignore. There are the ones who cause controversial discussions of whether they are worth our pity or our ignorance, of whether they are choosing the easy road of begging instead of searching for a ‘real job’.

Everyone we meet carries their own story, their own burdens, their own heavy loads. But it is people like these that make you realise all that you have and how little you appreciate how lucky you in fact are. Because what you perceive as obvious and ‘normal’ is not so for many others.

Earning what you’re worth

http://beyoubegreat.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/keep.jpgThere is a perception that certain professions have a much higher pay than they actually do. And there is the widespread belief that some others pay more than what they are actually worth. For example, some public service employees (also known as “civil servants”) in certain countries who are paid much more than even private employees, yet work half the time and can hardly justify what they do as “work”.

There is the perception in life that you don’t always get what you give.

But that doesn’t mean you should give up. Life has a strange way of turning around and presenting you with the exact opportunities you deserve at the time when you’re ready. And karma takes care of everything else – all those who did not believe in you, who even mocked you or spoke badly of you.

There is a place for everyone and in the end, everyone gets what they deserve.

Just have faith and acknowledge the fact that even if you don’t earn what you’re worth, all that truly matters is that you know what you can do and those who matter will realise it eventually.

“It’s not about how fast you go…it’s about how long you stay there”.

Contractual Obligations

http://worldartsme.com/images/people-signing-papers-clipart-1.jpgWhen the first beam of morning light hit his face, Oliver sprung out of bed. He was excited. Today was his interview. He had been searching for a job for months now and could not even remember how many CVs he had sent out, let alone to whom. Just a few days ago, he had finally received a positive response after so many courteously phrased rejections.

So, he put on his smart-yet-not-too-casual clothes and set off for what he believed was a great opportunity. If he landed this job, it would be a stepping stone to advance into something greater. At least that is how he perceived it in his mind, given all he had read about the said company. Even if it did not work out, however, he still thought it would be a good chance to learn from it and become better, even if it was just at the interview part.

But Oliver could never have imagined what followed.

The minute he walked into the office, the secretary did not even raise her eyes to meet his. She looked at him almost demeaningly and simply grunted when she was to accompany him in to the office of the company’s CEOs.

In turn, these two men stared at him, as if trying to sting his entire body with invisible beams of fire launched from their eyes. Oliver already felt the sweat beginning to form. He sat down timidly without saying a word.

Then the CEOs did something that seemed entirely out of their nature; it was too obvious to miss: they smiled.

It is easy to detect a fake smile, especially when it is so forced upon a person you can see them cringe.

Oliver kept a blank expression. He thought it would be best.

He was asked to briefly introduce himself, which he did. And then he had to listen for 40 minutes, while both CEOs outlined the contractual obligations he would be committed to once he entered the specific company.

Not once was he asked why he wanted to work there. He had prepared an answer for that, as it was a common interview question.

Nor was he ever told what the company could offer him.

Instead, he was bombarded with a list of obligations he would consent to, not least being punctual and succumbing to anything his superiors would ask him to do. Worst of all, he was to provide a monthly subscription to the company for the space he occupied there. In plain: he would pay them to work for them.

Asked if he was clear with the terms, Oliver nodded vacantly. He was then handed an 18-page contract, titled “agreement”, which he was to sign and return by the next morning.

What he did not comprehend, was that he was never expected to read it. Because that would be considered “paranoid”. That was what the CEOs described it as in the reply email they sent him when he kindly declined their offer. Because to them, the simple fact that he attended their meeting was a verbal commitment that he was on board with everything they threw his way.

Oliver knew differently, however. This is not what companies were expected to do. And contracts existed for a reason. To be read and understood before being signed.  If these people were so afraid of revealing the exact terms outlined in a so-called agreement, then something was wrong with it. And if they felt so insanely insecure about everything they said and did, that they desperately needed to conceal it all, then there was definitely something that was not right.

Oliver realized that in time to get away. And he was glad he did. Because sometimes, the greatest lessons you learn are from the places you least expect it. They are concealed behind facades that tempt you otherwise.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Conceal

Living off a passion

do-what-you-loveIt’s a great feeling being passionate. To have this incessant energy to do more, to want more, to want better. In everything. For every part of your life. The problem comes when you feel the compelling need to make a living out of this passion.

Everyone will try to convince you that doing what you love is all that matters. So you try to do that. But then you will soon come to realise that what truly matters is being able to live off what you do. So you will have to compromise. To reach for things that you didn’t think of previously, but at which you are good at no matter if they simply please you, rather than enthuse you. That is how you learn that elaborating on your passion will sometimes be restricted to something you do for you, to maintain that pure emotion of loving what it is that you do, that you are talented at, and that you enjoy.

It would be great if we could all do what we love most and get paid for it so much that we needn’t do anything else. But unfortunately, you will soon come to realise that that is not how the world works.

Many have argued for or against “finding what you love and making this your work”, but there is a distinct difference between doing something for the pleasure of it, and doing something because you must in order to get compensated for it. The notion alone clarifies the distinction.

Some have even argued that “the goal shouldn’t be to find your passion—as if it has been there, undiscovered, from the beginning—but to create one”. There is an underlying truth in that, because the reality is, whatever it is you do, you should like it even just a little bit. Because otherwise, it is no longer work, but a chore. And there is a whole other definition for that too.

So in essence, you shouldn’t give up on your passion, just don’t expect that it will be easy or entirely satisfying to make a living out of it. Because once money is involved, you always know that the commercialization of this world means that someone else also profits of you. Sometimes without them even doing anything. And then that becomes exploitation. Especially if you’re so adept on exploring the opportunities offered through your passion that you’re willing to do it for free, in the hope that once out there, someone will notice you and come calling. You just need to be careful and aware that certain distinctions in life are made to be kept. Not everything is as easy or as blissful as it seems in theory.

Things you never tell

confidentialEveryone – no matter age, gender, social background, or political beliefs – has things they always want to say but never do. Things are just left boiling up inside of us, yet are never uttered. No matter the instance or the person, there are similarities we all share. Here are a few:

– I dislike rude people. Even more so when they work at service desks, either in person or over the phone. Also hypocrites. They are possibly worse.

– I cannot stand people who think they are so important that everyone must set out the red carpet whenever they simply show up. Self-interest, self-prioritisation and greed are possibly the worst of humanity’s greatest evils.

– I am deeply disappointed by people who so boldly state that they will always be there when you need them, but are nowhere to be seen when that time actually comes. Equally despicable are those who pretend to listen but never do.

– I despair with the fact that I cannot get paid for the work I produce, which is doing something that I love.

– I hate that another so easily manages to engage in doing exactly what I am still striving to achieve. I hate it more because I envy them. Yet, some are now doing what they previously scolded me for pursuing so ardently.

– I love what my work allows me to do, but I am opposed to sending my work out with someone else’s credentials, simply because they cannot produce the work they so proudly proclaim they can do.

– I get irritated by people who think they are educated simply because they graduated from a university, but cannot correctly compose a simple text, while they have difficulty even in articulating a few words.

– I despise the fact that money may not be everything but it definitely helps in getting you everywhere faster.

– I resent the truth in the saying “do good constantly and you will never be remembered, do wrong once and you will never be forgotten”.

– I am heartbroken that things never turn out the way you want them, no matter how hard you try, and you always have to settle for the next best thing. Unless you’re the guy next door. Because it seems for the neighbor, everything is always so much easier.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Break the Silence

Meltdown

Are you living your dreamIt’s always there in the shadows. Looming in the cupboard and in the drawers. In the places you least expect it to be. It takes the slightest bit for it to sneak up on you. But when it does, it covers you tighter than the black cape that wraps Batman in the midst of the night. Some find it after the second bottle of wine, some after a nervous breakdown, others during a breakup, but more often than not, it is there in the simplest and smallest of things, waiting to be noticed.

Parker was a quite boy. He was the smartest in his class all through college. He grew up to become a charming young successful professional, and career-wise he had a lot of potential. He lived up to and beyond the expectations of his superiors and everyone praised the fantastic work he did.

Then he went home.

He went home to an empty house. Not even the cat would stay there because it was so cold, as he was at work all day. He ordered in food or picked it up on the way home, never having the time or energy to cook something on his own. He was in a town where there was nothing much to do either and all his college friends where someplace else. He was the only one who had returned to his hometown. And he disliked this, more than he hated the burnt mushrooms on his pizza.

Parker’s life had become nothing more than work and home. And although he enjoyed the flexibility of sometimes working from home, he chose not to. Because no matter how many electronic messages he exchanged with tens of colleagues, not leaving the house meant he had absolutely no physical contact with anyone. Not even the aforementioned cat. The isolation he already had was more than enough.

His job was that of a copywriter. And that did not mean copying other people’s writing. It meant coming up with inspiring and unique ideas that could be used in, for example, advertising a company or product. And Parker was great at that. He had a creative mind, mainly because he dreamt a lot, and could find inspiration in the slightest of things. To him doing this was as easy as breathing. Until it stopped. Being easy that is.

Because it hit him.

It came when he least expected it. It was triggered by the tiredness, the spying on others through their social media accounts, the exasperation of being stuck here when everyone else was seemingly living their lives and doing the things he wanted to do, the not having anyone to follow away, the not being able to fully indulge in a head-over-heels love affair, the simple realization that he had not accomplished half the things he had dreamt of doing by now.

That is when the meltdown hit him. And it struck hard. This time was worse than when he finished college and didn’t know what to do. It was worse than running out of Nutella at midnight on a weekday while studying for a midterm, and even worse than the sobbing that ensues a depressing Gilmore Girls episode. This time it was painful. Because, this time Parker did not want to do anything. At all. He did not leave his home for two weeks, at least. The cat was forced to come over and see if he still existed.

And that is when he realized he would do something to change things. Because he realized that even his cat had moved on, when he saw that someone else had put a collar on it. That was the trigger to get up and do something.

He packed up a suitcase and left.

He would go to the airport and fly out on the first attractive destination he would find. He saw it done in movies so many times. Thinking practical and realistic all this time never got him anywhere anyway, so why not take a risk?

He would start afresh somewhere new. All he had to do was accept the challenge. And he was more than ready to do so.

What point was there anyway to keep on dreaming, if he would never even try to accomplish them? Otherwise, they would just remain that. Dreams. Unfulfilled.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: All Grown Up

Saying ‘yes’ to ‘no’

Very busy manIt’s nice to be nice. But how nice is nice? Lost? Everyone wants to be appreciated and thought of kindly. And for this, many choose to act as such too. Often it leads to doing things over and above your limits or endurance. It means going out of your way to please other people, sometimes at the expense of your very self. But sometimes, all you have to do is simply say ‘no’.

It’s not easy, but sometimes it is necessary.

Trying to please everyone and be on top of everything, controlling as much as you can, because of the popular belief that ‘if not done by you, it won’t be done right’, will at one point of other result in more than just a perpetual state of “busyness”. It will lead to burnout. And then, being nice is no longer an option. It simply does not exist.

Like this amazing article explains, “burnout happens when you’ve been experiencing chronic stress for so long that your body and your emotional system have begun to shut down and are operating in survival mode.” It leads you into a state where you are unsure about everything, cannot make decisions, do not want to do anything, and have no desire to snap out of it either. It is close to depression, but with the added exhaustion, both physical and mental.

We tend to live in societies where being available 24/7 is seen as advantage but feels like the exact opposite. We need to feel the constant vibrations of phone calls, or hear the constant bleeps of emails and messages arriving to feel important. That’s why we spend most of our day with our faces stuck in a screen, to the point where we even fall asleep with these still in hand.

Somewhere along the line of technological development, we forgot that we are human beings, and transformed into “human doings”. We are the ones who created this “disease of being busy”. And we now occupy a world in which “we have more and more and more to do, with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?”

We have become so wired up, that it actually feels strange when we have nothing to do. As if it is a sin to not run around constantly. Life coaches themselves state that we need to allow ourselves a little break every now and then; to say “yes” to life by saying “no” a little more often. To allow ourselves to wonder at the marvels around us, to enjoy the small pleasures of life, to actually live.

We cannot please everyone. And no matter how hard we try, we never will. So why don’t we all just try to do the best we can, and enjoy the little time we have in this world. It all starts with two letters: “no”. Sometimes it’s all it takes. And if said as nicely as possible, you won’t lose face. You will just be seen as a person who knows and admits to their limits. And that takes more courage than struggling to do everything.

 

No one is too busy in this world. It’s all about priorities”.

Turn away and slam the door

halloween-cupcakes-e1288184827127Melody was a bit of a hippie at times. She had days were she would only listen to country, and then others when she would abruptly switch to rock – it was exactly like that song said. But mood swings are apparently fitting to every woman, so that wasn’t strange. What truly suffocated Melody though, was the fact that some days she did not feel like singing at all.

It was the days when she felt her frustration with the world mounting inside of her, like a volcano ready to erupt. And it was precisely for that reason that she loved Halloween. Because she could really let it all go.

This year she was invited at a friend’s house for a Halloween party. Costumes were mandatory, and the entire house and yard were decorated with scary face-pumpkins with little candles glowing inside, as well as cobwebs, witch brooms, skeletons and the like. People apparently really like to be scared.

So Melody put on her cowgirl shoes and a western-style hat, but added a touch of Halloween to her makeup – she painted a bullet hole on her left cheek, one that left blood dripping onto her shirt. It was something that left many people impressed at how real it looked. One person even offered to find the first aid box for her.

Melody had been fired from her job this week, finding out the truth behind the saying that even if you work perfectly for 364 days a year, the slip-up on that one day is all you will be remembered for. So tonight, Halloween marked a new beginning too. A time to stop being the good girl she had to be, and conceal her feelings. Staying frozen in one place for too long, would just allow others to strike harder, she thought. So tonight it was time to let it go, turn away and slam the door. And that is exactly what she did.

Halloween enabled her to let her hair down, wear exactly what she wanted and ignore everything that was simply not going her way. After all, tonight was about remembering all those that are no longer with us, and they certainly would not want her depressed about something she has no power over. For Melody, Halloween served as a reminder, that we should enjoy life in its fullest, because it really is too short.

So go on, treat yourself to a festive cupcake and let it all go.

Happy Halloween!

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: No Time to Waste

Forever is too long

Forever is a very long timeIt started when she was four. She told the doll her father brought her as a gift from his travels, that she would keep her and love her forever. But then she grew up, found new hobbies and left the doll behind, tidily tucked away on one of her bedroom shelves.

When she was a teenager, the hormones kicked in, and when she was upset – very often – she would believe that this situation would go on forever, that no one would ever understand her. She eventually calmed down when she moved to college.

There she fell in love – truly, madly and deeply. She told him that she would love him forever and they would be together through it all, forever and always. But something happened in the meantime. They fought, he lied, he cancelled plans they had been looking forward to for so long. And something broke. Forever just started to seem too long.

When she found her first job, she thought she would be stuck there forever. But then, unexpectedly, an opportunity arose, and she managed to gain a noteworthy position in a renowned company. Everything seemed great at first, but like almost everything, the excitement withered away, exhaustion set in, and it was not that fun anymore. But now it was much harder to find another job. Contingencies in the global labour market had ensured that. She thought she would be stuck there forever, doing something that she was no longer proud of, and no longer motivated her.

Networking at events is important even despite their boastful or narcissistic appearance. She realized that when during a certain event she met someone who had read her work, who appreciated and recognized her worth. He offered her a contract that would make all her aspirations come true. Nancy leaped at the opportunity. “Staying put never got you anywhere”, she thought. She would move around, every so often changing her dreams and plans, and living life as it came along.

Forever was just too long.

Is this really worth it?

heartbeatIt is strange how one single moment can affect your life in ways you could never imagine, or even expect. How one single blow, one missed heartbeat, one strain too many, can change your life forever. You don’t seem to realize this, until something happens and you receive a wake-up call. When you are shaken up and forced to change your perception on everything. On the way you live your life, on your priorities, on what you care about.

Seeing a loved one lying helpless and intubated in a hospital bed, does that to you. It shocks your system to the core and makes you re-examine every single thing in your life. You begin to wonder if everything or anything you are doing is really worth the trouble. If the long hours you work, the lack of holidays or any rest, the multitasking and the constant strive for top quality, are really worth it. Is it worth giving your all for so long without receiving any acknowledgement, recognition or gratitude, while you risk losing the only one thing that matters and keeps you alive – your health?

Maybe it is time to rethink about what really matters in life. Because in the end a job is just a job. And unless you own your own business, you will forever be treated as just another employee. So is it worth wasting away your time, health and energy for this? I used to believe that you should do your best under every circumstance and no matter what. Because that is what you have to show for yourself. But sometimes, that is not true. No matter what you do, your expectations (of others) are never met. And in the end, you are the one at fault on top of it all; simply because you cared too much.

I don’t like hospitals much. And I hate seeing people I care about lying helpless in a bed not knowing when they will be out of there. But these are the moments that get you thinking, that slap you up and awaken you, reminding you that your health is the most important thing of all. Isn’t that what we drink to anyway?

So, ask yourself this then: is this really worth it?

Also part of Daily Prompt: Ready, Set, Done

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