MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “responsibilities”

Jury duty

©Ted Strutz

What makes a person fit to judge? No matter how much evidence they assess and review, what really gives anyone the right to decide the fate of another?

These were her first thoughts when she received the letter for jury duty. She had to go or faced a heavy fine and someone else would judge her instead.

But really, what gave her the responsibility of criticising another?

In court, the defendant presented his case with a series of old black-and-white photos. Memories of another lifetime no-one else could imagine.

Yet, his outcome was now in the hands of complete strangers.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

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

Superpowers aren’t just for heroes

MagicPOOFWhen doing all these online quizzes (with which it’s so easy to procrastinate doing anything else), there is almost always one question that asks what superpower you would like to have – usual replies are: the ability to fly, to read other people’s thoughts or to be invisible. Between flying and invisible (because do you really want to read other people’s thoughts?) I would often choose invisibility. But unless it’s Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, what I would much rather would be to disappear.

There are some days more than others that you really do wish the earth would just open up and swallow you down. Well, maybe not while you’re in bed wearing your pyjamas, because if there is anything down there worth exploring, you would at least like to be decently dressed for it.

But the urge to disappear comes mainly due to all the things that are happening during that period. The constant running around, nothing going right, the countless responsibilities you have, the fact that there is not enough time in a day or even in a week to do them all, the lack of sleep, the insufficient food, and above all the immense tiredness that strikes your emotional chords leaving you close to a nervous wreck. And worse of it all, the fact that no-one understands this, or even cares about it all.

I admit there are days that I actually have to drag myself out of bed, after hitting the snooze button on my alarm clock – actually my phone – so many times that it automatically stops yelling at me. And then after I get up, I spend five minutes looking for my phone, only to find it hidden under the pillow.

It’s a problem being good and diligent at what you do. Because it doesn’t allow you any time to rest. You know, as well as all those who depend on you, that almost no-one can do it as well or as attentively as you. Without meaning to sound boastful, that is the perks of being a perfectionist. But it is also the curse of it. And although I actually like all the things I do, sometimes all I want is to simply disappear. Even if it is only for a while. I would like to see how all these things I do, and which to some may simply seem as though they magically appear to be done out of nowhere, how all of them would be done if I were gone.

Haven’t you ever wanted to disappear, even for just a little bit? For starters, you would be able to encompass the flying power with the ability to hear what other people were thinking / saying about you – well, at least in my head you would!

But it would also allow you to see the world without you, how your loved ones and the people you deal with every day would actually be affected by your disappearance. It might bring you further down, but if you really are the struggler you believe to be, what you would see would really bring you back up. Maybe in your absence they would actually express all the things they don’t in your presence. Maybe that would even get them to understand that some things should be said to others while they are still there – like how much they are appreciated and loved, and how much all that they do is recognized and acknowledged.

Disappearing is not just a magic act. It’s a wakeup call to everyone. Including yourself.

Sometimes you think you want to disappear, but all you really want is to be found.

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