Dec 20, 2012

Aproaching the End of.. the Work Year!

The countdown still goes on: two more day. Actually, at this point is more like one day and four hours. But am I doing a countdown on the End of the World, according to the Mayans? No, I'm making a Vacation Countdown! It's just 13 manhours and 36 man-minutes away from my vacations. And yes, I'm a woman and I have no problems with "manhours". Meres don't have problems with horse power either. ^_^ But read it as "workhours" and "workminutes" if it offends you so much. Hell, I'm in dire need of a coke or an adrenaline. Normally I would go to the cafeteria and get myself a can, but now I won't. Not because I'm cutting back my addiction - hell! it's what keeps me going! - but because it's quite close to lunch time, so I rather get it at lunch, but also because tomorrow is the last day  of work this year and I need to get to an end of my food stash. So instead I'm hitting a box of milk. ^_^

My actual office staples... depleted.
Wherever I am there's always a food stash, and it can't be otherwise: I just snack all the time. Chocolates, cookies (though usually crackers), and some sort of emergency food for lunch such as instant oatmeal or dry soups are around. Drinks such as cokes and energy drinks, as well as breakfast stuff such as cereals and bars are things that can also be found, but their rotation cycle is so fast that most of the time it looks like I never pack any of it. Well, though I was thinking about emptying the barns, it wasn't until yesterday that I realized that I had enough snacks and candy in there to survive a zombie apocalypse! Bags and bags of candy came out and I piled them up for anyone to take them away. People came and kept coming for candy - it was like a Halloween parade in here! - but the candy was like Mana and just didn't seem to disappear!

Stuff to Make the Office Pretty ^_^
Now, I'm not the only one to keep food in here as some actually have mini fridges where they pack loads and loads of food, so by these days and up to the last day, people would be cleaning them out to avoid coming back to rotten goodies, roaches, ants and stinky cubicles. Other stuff are also put away to avoid them getting sprayed with insecticide - fumigating during vacations is quite usual to keep buildings healthy - or stolen by loose fingered people who may have found their way into the building. Putting away files, decoration, taking home plants... the usual. For some of us - like me - actually cleaning out or barns is quite usefull as that's the place where we would stash all those things that normally remain outside to make the place less sterile and more... you. Of course, if it were about making it more me, you might wonder where on Earth is the full color White Collar poster, the witchbroom holder and whatever other weird knick-knacks you may associate me with (lots of green, peacock feathers, ribbons, tons of candles, etc.)? Well, this is what I have, and the office isn't your bedroom (I would certainly NOT hang a White Collar poster on the living room!). Would love to know what your offices and cubbies look like. ^_^

Anyway, as this takes place, in "this part of town", in other parts people is being laid off. They are emptying their barns and their cubbies for an entirely different reason. Acquintances of mine are currently living a very dire situation where friends and family - in some cases themselves - are being massively laid off by their employers as part of a "strategy" to clean up their croocked finances. It's been a hard couple of years for many in the economy, and while the public sector seeks to manage the staff and the costs in ways that are highly criticized by the private sector and the neoliberals as ineficient and just pushing the bulk from one shelve to another, the private sector takes the scissors and jabs into the staff, bleeding it out with much consideration. Right now families, homes, households are being left hanging from one income... or not even that, scrapping up if they were lucky enought to save, and seeing the end of the world as a threat come true if the only thing they collected while working was debt. Yes, let's be honest: some jobs actually demand more expending than what income they initially offer. Certain positions come with expectations about the car you should be driving, the clothes you should be wearing, the sports you should be practicing, the clubs you should join, the lunches and dinners you should have... and that costs money. Then you do all this effort to fit only to get a pink slip at the end of the day because someone rather throws you out so that they don't miss on the beluga.

I couldn't help but sadly smile to myself as I remembered some of these people trashing unions and the public sector, calling them all corrupts and lazy. As those who remain are forced not to take on the job of six of their former coworkers for the same wage, and told not to expect any of the raises, which are commanded and defined semestrally by law (yes, in Costa Rica you get by law two pay raises a year, and each time it's published how much the raise must be. It can be higher, but it can't be lower).

There's people packing to go home, with no expectations of getting a job, people who had bought into the promise, drank the kool-aid and not wake up with a headache and no wallet. There's people who woke up today heartbroken, looking forward to the festive season with a heavy spirit, feeling that there's notthing to celebrate and be merry for. There's people who woke up still with a job, and with fear, because they are not forced to do more, to go beyond their human capabilities, strain their emotional fibers and keep it together for a meager wage, not knowing where will their heads be on the chopping block.

Two lessons can be learned here: 1. Be grateful for what you have, and 2. Never, EVER underestimate the importance of the social and labour warranties that have been fought for decades ago. The work isn't finished yet, there's much to be done still, much to be fought for, so don't fall for the lie, fight.

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