Thursday, 20 June 2013

I am a bottom feeder

An article I read recently dwelt on how bloggers earn their daily bread by influencing our thinking, our opinions, and actions with a focus on non-edifying aspects.  The article placed as at the bottom of the food chain and labeled us “bottom feeders”, for gobbling up the vileness that social media and gossip blogs dish out. 

I looked up bottom feeders, and would encourage you to do the same.  In this context, there is really no definition I feel most comfortable with.  Imagine being “someone who profits from things cast off or left over by others.” or “an opportunist who profits from the misfortunes of others”, or “an objectionable and unimpressive person or thing”.

Are you a bottom feeder?  Do you gobble up others’ rubbish?  Do you gain from other people’s ill fortune?  Are you an objectionable person?  Are you really that low?  That vile?  Am I?  Am I vile?

Yes I am.  It is true.  I admit it.  I am a bottom feeder.

At some level yes – I love crap.  I love what’s at the bottom of the pool.  It is deliciously stinky and juicy - so yummy.  The dirtier, filthier and viler the crap is, the more I gobble it up.  The people feeding me with crap, to make their daily bread, know this about me.  I love those people too - because they feed me what I love.  I gobble up their crap as I earn them money.  We are in a mutually beneficially crappy relationship.  How delicious.  How gluttonously symbiotic. 
Which brings me to the next self reflective question – why do I love this crap?  Am I just by nature low?  Created nasty, sinful and mean?  Uncivilised and selfish?  And the person who was to teach me better - mamake or ulimwengu - never did teach me better?

Why do I “hate on” people so much?  Why do I love to pull people down?  Anyone who I perceive to be better than I in any aspect – fame, beauty, wealth, brilliance, generosity, influence, selflessness?
Does the miserable life I live, the broken home and immoral rotten society I come from, and the crap I take in everyday from every facet facing my life, the poverty, the selfishness that fuels me, have an impact on who I am.  Does this make it hard for me to be benevolent, kind, uplifting, edifying or virtuous?  Does anyone teach me virtue?  Has anyone ever bothered?  Even by word alone and not deed?  Did they ever tell me “do as I say and not as I do”?

No one taught me.  No one bothered with me.  My parents failed me and gone are the days when a child was brought up by the village.  Society has failed me.  Society reinforces sin and evil, and virtue and kindness are mocked.  Sainthood is abhorrent, and Satan rules!

If one person tries to rise above me, above us, we beat him down!  How can we allow anyone to become better than us, better than me?  What we so secretly desire to be or unconsciously wish we could be.  How can we allow others to achieve a measure that I cannot achieve?  Hell never!!

Remember the saying - We measure ourselves by those who measure themselves against us. Which means that I measure myself by those who measure themselves against me.  So the more that are measuring ourselves with me, the better I feel.  The virtuous are very few, so do I want to have a few measure themselves against me, or rather the majority.  I would like to be first amongst many, thus I choose to wallow with the majority.  And if it so happens that there is no one leader in the seething vileness at the bottom of the pond – who cares?  "Majority rules" needs no leader anyway.

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Work environment a, b, c.....

Lets talk about your work environment.

Environment A:  Organisation where your freedom and responsibility is zero, and authority given to you the employee, is only over people attempting to steal from the company, the arrangement of stock on the shelves or over the cockroaches and other such like pests in the premises.  Your opinion does not matter.  You should be seen hard at work and have no idle moments.  You continually wipe and shine the table and glass doors.  You only answer when spoken to.  You should do only what you are told to do,  You should not think, let alone tell yourself to do anything.  Instruction are bellowed at you especially if there is any change in normal operations or any special request to fulfill a customer request .  "Wewe - LETA LETA KITU HAPA.  CHAP CHAP SONGA.  PANA LALA"!  Drudgery and slavery - thy face is this!

Environment B:  An organistions where the mantra is freedom and responsibility - with freedom comes responsibility, and none can come or go without the other.  Coupled with this you receive little pieces of authority.  Thinking is allowed, but has to be primarily self censored least you speak something that will offend the freedoms and sensibilities of those around or next to you.  If self censorship does not occur - the others will "gently" guide you to speak, act, talk, walk, behave, work in the collegial manner.  Decision making happens - after the collegial brain has psycho-analysed, socio-analysed, micro and macro-analysed, digi-analysed, swotted, caused and effected; all these and more from fundamental, technical and sentimental and any other view necessary.  Action will finally take place, or never, depending on the collegial mood.  Mental, physical and emotional fatigue coupled with severe frustration are common emotions you will experience.  At night you dream of irresponsible freedom!

Environment C:  Unchained freedom is the common denominator.  Responsibilities are fluid and highly mobile.  Two to three of us will be assigned the same work at the same time.  Authorities overlap - it is up to you to sort out who will do what, where and when.  The lingua franca for all concerned - the unifying modus operandi, is freedom with no responsibility or accountability.  Strongly fermenting in lack of knowledge and feedback.  You do what you want, when you want, how you want.  Nobody cares.  Nobody knows what is supposed to happen.  Nobody checks.  At the end of the day, somehow - things happen, or do not happen.  Nobody sends you away.  No one gets fired.  You will one day not turn up to work - it will take a while for this to be noticed, but confusion simply tired you.

Environment D:  No freedom.  No responsibility.  No authority.  The only thing that can happen is BAU -business as usual.   Work is done the way it has always been done.  No one knows why it was done that way in the first place, but you cannot change anything.  Not because you do not want to change work processes or outputs but because you do not have the authority to assume said responsibility.  You cannot handle any change or unusual circumstances.  No one can.  Work is seen as group work - no one is responsible for any one process or output.  Unusual situations (incident A) are just ignored until they cannot be ignored any more.  Then a commission of inquiry led by the group and with no determined output is put in place.  Before the commission can produce its report on incident A, incident B will occur and the focus of inquiry shifts to B.  Sooner than later C will happen and the same scenario is replayed.  A backlog is formed.  No problem is ever diagnosed to root cause or preventive action status.  Two years down the line when A happens again one of two things will ensue - no will even remember it had ever previously occurred or someone will face the chopping block.  So, to ensure we never change and never improve, policing is key. No one can do anything without anyone overlooking their every action.  If you make a fault, the “investigation and the court case” will drag on forever, no sentencing or rehabilitation will ever take place.  You ensure you are never caught by making sure others are heading towards the chopping block before you.  At all time, you ensure you “see and tell” and meanwhile get the rest of the gang on your side, so that you can backstab then before they stab you.  Since you cannot grow upwards, we mire ourselves down, taking pot shots at everyone else and earning marks from whoever is dishing them out.  Blood and gore accompany every penny earned.

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Thursday, 6 June 2013

Searching for a new label

Once upon a time last year, I was searching for new label.  I was turning forty, and the need to find a forty-defining label overwhelmed me.

Here was a milestone; a major milestone.  I was forty.  I needed a label.  I have always had labels.  I was newborn, infant, toddler, youngster, adolescent, young adult.  I was girl, daughter, wife, mother.  I was Christian, educated, professional.  Each of these labels had a start date and an end date.

Even the most permanent looking labels had an end date.  I knew that I would remain a girl or daughter for as long as I lived, assuming that my death would mean the demise of my girlhood, the daughterhood, the female me.

What would be my label at forty?  Who gave out the labels at forty?  What would be the basis of the labeling at forty? Would they label me according to the years I had lived?  Or could it be based on achievements? What were my achievements? 

What about if I could give myself a label?  If so- what could it possibly be?  I pondered.  I thought.  I soul searched.  I asked myself “what is the meaning of my life?  I told someone I was thinking of having a breakdown.   Their response “you must be joking – get serious”.

Everyone else around me who was turning forty was having these big themed multi-thousand wedding-like parties, saying life begins at forty, forty is the new thirty. All those lovely lovely platitudes.  None of which rang my bell.

By accident, I did meet one woman who got it, who understood my dilemma.  She knew and empathised with exactly what I felt.  It was a conversation with a friend of a friend, which took a different turn.  It was now profound and personal. Apart from telling each other our life story, the one thing she told me was to stop searching for a label.  Not in so many words, but that is what she said.  And she told me, I would not find one.  And the desire to get the label, and stick it on myself, was what was fueling my angst.  

Who am I?  Who was I before forty?  What will I be after forty?  Who will I be after forty? So now that I am forty – what happens next?  Forty-one?  Is forty-one an issue too?  What is the next milestone expected of me?  What do I expect of myself?  What should I do?  How will I do it?  Will some maturity infuse my thoughts and actions now?  Oh goodness - was that a label.  Oh boy - I am a mature person!!  Headache. What does mature mean?  Wat does that mean for me?  What does that mean to me now, next year, and the year after?  What does that mean to me in the whole of my future?  Will I become more and more and more and more mature.  Heat infusing thoughts.  And OH MY GOODNESS – the future they talked about is here now truly really here now.

Breath in.  Breath out.  Relax.

What’s my label?  My now label?  My future label?