Saturday, May 1, 2010

Office Walla Absurdity: Rise of the Paperless Pushers

Contrary to perceptions about Pakistan’s unemployment numbers, majority of Pakistani’s work, if you are reading this, odds are that you are an elite member of the 100 million (PS: I made that number up) strong work force. You work, and if you are lucky (or unlucky depending on your orientation) you work in an office environment. Perhaps a local company, a Bank, Multi-National Corporation, call centre, government ‘office’ or a just a run of the mill office.

Congratulations, you are one of Pakistan’s elite Office Wallas. You have your own desk/cubicle, wear a tie to work and perhaps even comb your hair in the morning and if you are extremely lucky your office has air conditioning (temperature well below the recommended 26 degree Celsius) liberally supported with generators and UPS. In fact, if you are particularly important, your computer has its own UPS to combat the incessant load shedding.

People find your job respectable; even though odds are that they don’t understand from atom what it is you actually do. Note: There is a difference between the person who works in treasury and one who is a bank teller….but yes, they both deal with money and clients. 

You get free Chai/Tea. There is no perk more crucial to an Office Walla than getting free tea; It’s not about the money, it’s about status. An Office Walla without an adequate volume of Chai, coupled with a regular efficiently managed supply chain is like a one legged man without a crutch. Sugar and Caffeine Zindabad.

You have the printing privilege spanning into millions. Recycling paper is an alien concept because paper unlike money does in fact grow (via) on trees. Recycling is for ‘environmentally minded’ NGO’s and for cheap khokas/Eateries that can’t afford proper napkins.

You lament over sugar prices even though realistically you really can afford the extra five rupees per bag, but you feel highly qualified to lament on behalf of the majority of the population that will embark on a revolution based on the impact of pheeki chai/unsweet tea. We Pakistani’s are very serious about our chai. It’s opiumesque.  

Your title and job description have as much in common as chalia and chewing gum; Next to nothing, but a mild flirtation of substitution. A receptionist is duly given a business card that refers to her as the junior communications director. Enough said.

You think you are better than regular people. There I said it. People find the status of being in an office one step closer to God. And who said we didn’t carry over the caste system?

The day’s most vigorous well fought debates of the day aren’t on how to maximize the company’s revenue and cut costs, it’s on Politics, Zionists and how Karachi's very own Mustapha Kamal is an angel.  

You actually pay your taxes and passionately hate the people who spend it; It is one thing to support the nation’s impoverished destitutes, it’s quite another to subsidize government officials’ Lear jet. So how exactly was the IDP tax money spent? I want to see an audit dammit!...preferably Chinese ones. They’re cheaper.

We live in a society of complainers and blamers, and we like nothing better than to end of the day grimace how we had a tough day at the office, but we usually fail to provide details on a days activities (that spouses in particular are so keen for), for the fundamental reason that the only memorable parts are the office pranks, running jokes and general office buffoonery. Truth of the matter is that most people like the place they work, but Office Wallas love the money they make and the status they are accorded.

I am plagued with the question of what is life as an Office Walla? Is it a rampant black hole that slowly devours our short lives or is it closer in spirit to a pointless, gray existence, spotted with absurd moments of comedy throughout the day to alleviate general monotony? I don’t have the answer, but all I know is that I love the place I work, the people I work with and the time I have, end of the day, it’s all about attitude, you can have fun in the most corporate straight laced of work places. Be fun and you will have fun, at least that is my strategy if I fail in my quest to be a good person and wind up in hell. Solid Backup Plan I Think.  


IH said...

This blog is hilarious.. very spunky. Glad I discovered it through your commenting on Venture This.
- Insiya H.

Alpha Za said...

Thank you for your comment Insiya, glad you enjoyed it.