As I was drawing this morning I was reflecting on a conversation I had had recently with my grandmother and Lena about work. We were watching Office Space and The main character had entered a small conference room to attend a meeting he had been summoned to. (He is a small cog in a larger and very impersonal corporate machine.) There were water and cups, and the character (Pete?) poured himself some and sat down. My wife and grandmother both began laughing uproariously. Later, Lena even pointed out the water-pouring scene as a touch she particularly enjoyed, along with the acknowledgment that I probably didn’t understand it.
It seems that when you are called to a meeting and there is water there, that water, no matter how many cups are present, is not for you. Water is only for The Boss. Lena comes from a corporate background (she left it, much to our mutual bliss) and Grandma worked for the Labor Department, which is apparently the same thing. The two of them understood the intricacies of the politically charged corporate environment better than I, which frankly I think is kinda sad.
Now my take on an office environment is apparently a little different than some folks. I believe that my paycheck is an incentive to keep me there, not a favor given out by those gracious enough to suffer my presence. I am paid because my work is valuable, and I make money for those for whom I work. If my boss is overly tiresome, or dishonest, or somehow otherwise unworthy of having me as an employee, I can easily replace both him, and the company for which I work. He has to place ads, interview, and train, while all I have to do is drive somewhere else in the morning.
In a company, everyone is supposed to have a job. My job may be on the computer, someone else’s job might be in a truck, but we are all all equal human beings. The guy in charge is no more or less than I am, his job is simply to be the boss. He steers the ship, we take direction. If someone is not performing, he makes whatever adjustments are necessary, as a boss should. What he should NOT do is act as if he is somehow superior to those in his charge. As if he is a better human, he is not, he is simply a boss, who can be replaced by any of those under him.
This of course explains perfectly well why I have been forced into freelance work and drawing web-comics. Although it makes sense (to me) that getting a seniority promotion does not equate with “I am faster/smarter/better looking/and closer to God than you are,” that is almost invariably how it is interpreted. People given power inevitably will abuse it. I don’t think they can even help themselves, it’s just the nature of people. I myself have ended up in charge of shifts, crews, and departments at many of the jobs I have held, and have still been unable to deal with those above me. (I of course am the SOLE exception to this rule as I was always perfectly honest, decent, and respectful to EVERYONE at ALL times.) My therapist says I have authority issues stemming from my less-than-perfect relationship with my father, but he’s just stupid.