2002 by Faraz Iqbal
The clock slowly ticked away. Today was Thursday another day in the life of most people. They were privileged enough to be part of a group that could spend their time under the watchful of a supervisor. They could associate with other co-workers so they could find solace in criticizing their boss. They had a bi-weekly check to look forward to by which they could spend on essential amenities and little luxuries. In addition, most of them would have to resort to plastic to meet the marketing ploys of major corporations. They were the soldiers of corporate America’s materialistic temptations. And if you are a CEO you have the company bank account at your disposal. You are rewarded with stock options, expense accounts, company car and other pleasures that the common white collar can only imagine.
I also enjoyed other benefits. I did not have a high-pressure deadlines, nor the anguish and pain of paperwork. Nor did I have to attend boring and monotonous meetings. These meetings were a great opportunity to mingle and of course suck-up to higher officials. They were also an opportunity to save the company more money and more ways that the company can have a fatter bottom line. Of course, there were Christmas parties that presented opportunities to make a fool of yourself in front of your co-workers. Maybe the Christmas party can be a chance to hit on a fellow co-worker that one had a crush on. Alcohol is a great source of inspiration as it helps people to do things they would not even think of. As well, I was also lucky enough to have a vacation day everyday. I did not have to worry about an authorization form. I did not have to worry that my vacation would be cancelled due to a lack of staff.
I wanted to change teams. The ranks of the unemployed have countless benefits but I hoped to change my destiny. I wanted to enjoy the benefits that being employed offered. If nothing else the psychological benefits would be reason enough.
I have been unemployed for the past 2 months. I was fortunate enough to be part of the dot.com meltdown. Initially when I was hired I enjoyed benefits that exceeded the average benefit that the average white collar receives. I was tempted with a higher salary, stock options, an office, an impressive title and workload. For a 24-year old university graduate, I was hired in the IT department. I was a programmer. My office overlooked a beautiful view of the city. The well-designed buildings gave me a sense of the success and riches that the industrial world enjoyed.
My first assignment was due April 18. I was given a laptop to ensure that I could work at home to meet deadlines, so I was told. As the deadline approached, my boss came over, “Listen Andrew, the April 18 deadline will be delayed, QA and Research and Developed are in a disagreement over how the project should be structured. So take it easy you still have some time. Why don’t you take go home and enjoy the week-end.” It was not even noon, but of course who was arguing. As I was passing by the cubicles to leave the office I noticed many people I did not even recognize. I did not even know what their names were. They were the new hires. I could not keep up with all the new people it seemed liked everyday a new person was hired.
As I remember my dot.com days, I must come back to reality. My crisp white shirt and blue docker pants lay on the pant. They were painstakingly ironed to make sure that no crease would be visible. “Dress to kill,” this is what my human resources counselor taught me. I had read every piece of material there was on finding a job. I had to dress perfectly. I had to look like a million dollars. I had the solace of knowing that most employers know whether they will hire the employee just by the first glance. It was reassuring since my short and chubby build would definitely entice the interviewee. The handshake had to be perfect. Employers can reject new potential employees based on the handshake. Once again I was very reassured because when I am nervous my hands will sweat. I had practiced every possible interview question. I sat for hours with family and friends so that they could drill me on every possible question. I also learned how to answer illegal questions. I just love it when interviewers ask me my age, or my marital status. What’s the point anyway? I mean what do they care whether I am 30 or 50 years old. Does it make a difference whether I am married or single? Do they care want me to be accessible on all hours of day? This way I could generate more revenues for the CEO, so he could enjoy more wealth.
I took the 148 bus, I timed myself, and it would take me 20 minutes to get my destination. Then I would have to cross the street. Then I would have to take the elevator to the 20th floor. Behind the glassed door lied a valuable prospect. I was asked by the secretary to sit down and fill out a long application. “It is all on my CV, sir we would need you to fill out the details so we could your name to the database.” I painstakingly answered every question making sure I could not miss my chance.
A tall and attractive woman greeted me. “I hope you were not waiting long.” I answered politely, “I just finished my application.”
She asked the usual questions.
Tell me about yourself.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Yata, yata, yata, what do you want from me, I thought in my heart. You are only paying me $8 an hour.
The tall attractive woman gave me the usual response; we will get back to you if we choose you as one of our candidates.
“Thank you and have a Nice Day.”
Another day in the life of an unemployed man.
My name is Faraz Iqbal. I am a new writer. I am in the process of writing a novel. I am presently studying Management Information System at university. I enjoy reading, going to the gym and of course writing.
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