A Desk-Job: The Dementor’s Kiss

This daily prompt has managed to elicit in me more emotions than I’d thought possible by so mundane a topic as “How do you feel about your job?”

Now currently, I don’t have a job, and thank heavens for that! (yes it’s by choice, even though that’s something they all say, isn’t it?) I’m not going to go ahead and claim that I’m between jobs, looking for better opportunities to grow. Because that would be a blatant lie of sorts. The fact is that while I most certainly want an occupation, I don’t intend to find a job (and not to sound boastful, but with my qualifications, they’re fairly easy to come by).

What’s with the aversion you ask? (Or maybe not, but I’m going to go ahead and tell you anyways). However, before you get worried, let me take a sentence to assure you that this isn’t a rant.

I graduated from a posh University in the Queen’s backyard (better known as the British countryside), with a Masters in a fancy-sounding subject. This degree although, taught me a lot more than just what I went to learn. First and foremost, it became my security blanket, so I strutted back into my hometown sure about what I wanted. I wanted a first-class job in a first-class office, where I’d work my ass off and earn the company some money, and myself a name. In my mind self-employment was overrated.

‘Who wants to go through the trouble of thinking up a business idea, making a feasible business model and then actually ensuring its feasibility, while being worried about cash flow all the time’, I thought.

My first real job, which wasn’t an internship, was with an ex-professor of a posh Indian business school (honestly, there’s nothing really posh about any business school in India, once you’ve seen what lies outside the country), but being a patriotic little kid with a fancy degree from abroad, I didn’t want to appear snobbish so I pretended not to look down upon things that I actually looked down upon.

This employer, not to sound demeaning or rude, was an absolute idiot who didn’t know anything about doing business. He had spent more than a decade of his life teaching IT related subjects to business students, and had fashioned himself into a business-whiz for the purpose of introductions. On hindsight he wasn’t fooling anyone (funny I would say that, because I’d been fooled).

In this office there was either too much useless work altogether which always needed to be done on an urgent basis in an emergency, or there were days of lull spent staring aimlessly at the computer screen. Lunch breaks weren’t considered important and work-phones would ring in on my personal mobile as late as 11pm because “Hey this is a consultancy. We’re positioning ourselves as consultants to the Big 5 – McKinsey, BCG! We’re meta consultants!”

It was a consultancy that did no consulting, a provider with no takers, a business with no focus, and NO account-keeping at all. It functioned out of a cubby-hole, the expenses overshot the income, and while the self-styled meta consultant could see the problems, he was utterly incapable of coming up with solutions, and too egoistic to take suggestions. He alienated everyone.

Each morning I would squirm out of bed questioning the meaning of life, shower with a heavy rock on my heart, and reach the breakfast table with the grumpiest expression I could manage. I’d be to frustrated for conversation, and it never seemed worthwhile to spend on fuelling up my car to reach the office. Soon I began taking a rickshaw because it felt better than driving myself to that hell-hole every morning. When I wasn’t driving myself there, at least I could fool me into believing that the situation was not in my hands. My school was a strict sort of a place and while I loved meeting my friends there I hated studying and I abhorred sitting through classes forcefully. It was supposed to get better after studies were over, but this felt worse. I would walk up the stairs instead of taking the lift because that gave me more time to waste. I loved the days when my boss didn’t come to office when he was travelling ‘for business’ (what a joke).

His face gave me the heebie-jeebies, his expression made me want to beat the living daylights out of him, his accent killed the little bit of enthusiasm I’d muster up, and his unnecessary criticism that arose as a response to lack of business was utterly unwarranted. The sound of his voice and his interference in my huge bubble of personal space acted as constant sources of bother. My desk-job didn’t just destroy my soul, it sucked out my soul in slow, long drags. My desk-job was like a dementor’s kiss.

Now after this bad bad experience, I did try out another job, which was at a very good ad agency under a very good boss with very nice colleagues and a mouth-watering designation for a fresher, also good money, close to my house and cool-sounding.

I realized however, that being answerable to a “boss”, working by someone else’s methods to reach someone else’s goals, no matter how sound they are, and sitting in front of a desk with a computer screen staring back at me is not my idea of how I want to spend the rest of my life. The problem then is not so much a desk-job, as my compatibility with it.

A Word of Unsolicited Advise: Do not try this (throwing away a soul-sucking desk job impulsively) at home unless you have (a) a recession-proof business idea with funding, (b) a recession-proof country, OR (c) you’ve come into a massive inheritance.

Why did I do it then?


‘Cause I’m just a Pagal Banjaara…


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