The Shuffle

>> Sunday, May 6, 2007

Tonight I got out of the office at 9:30. Before, I would've felt guilty leaving my post while the boss is still around. But now, I don't care. The office has been a crazy place since the very start. Its lack of organization or even the simplest system results to disgruntled employees (yes, including me--surprise surprise ey?) who can't wait to get away permanently or temporarily. That's why it was a good decision to walk to a distant cake shop to get sapid sweets while listening to Orange W (for future reference, this is what I'm calling the Walkman phone from now on or better yet, OW). OW was on shuffle mode and it got me thinking, how does shuffle work? What brilliant technology is behind it? Is its randomness an act of fate or simple mathematics? Then, back to reality where our own shuffle in the office has happened yet again.

I've been a victim of the famous iBoss Shuffle a few times and I know how it feels. Without any advance notice he'd just tell me to go to the internet cafe and take the shift there. His employees are just songs on an iPod, play, pause, skip, stop. Tonight though it was somebody else. And I feel sorry for this Nepali guy, our office boy, because he gets shuffled just cause some smart a$5 at the internet cafe needed some detention.

Yep, the office also doubles as a boot camp. Got some staff that needs spanking? Send them to us, free of charge. We'll even send our best office boy in place of your man while he cleans toilets in our office. The shuffle lasts for a week or a month depending on the damage done by said staff. And while the boss thinks he's got it all figured out by taking disciplinary action, we get our schedules disturbed and tasks doubled because we need to "train" the piss-offs.

When I got back to the office, the boss had left and I found the next-door PC guy (guy who works at the computer shop next door) lounging on our side of the court. Two nights straight now I would find him sitting in my comfort zone so I had to ask. "I'm working here now" he said. See? The office's "system" is so random that you never expect what's going to happen next--a secretary goes AWOL, a PC guy gets recruited--and the boss doesn't even bother to explain the turn of events. We figure it out for ourselves.

Then PC guy told me the whole story, from his whole miserable year under PC Boss to how my boss saved his career two days ago by offering him a job here in our office. "So how's your boss as a boss?" he asked me finally. I had a lot to say but didn't. I didn't want to spoil his fantasy job. And besides, my story needs a case of beer and sizzling sisig and PC guy, being Muslim, won't even tolerate a Non-Alcoholic Bud much more a minced pig's head on a hot plate.

"I noticed that you like to read, yani, so what do you like to read in, yani, particular?" PC guy said nodding at the book I was holding. I know where it's headed, he's going to convert me, he wants me to read the Quran instead, I thought. But I'm glad I was holding the right book, one that has a deceivingly friendly title but with an attitude: Love and Other Near Death Experiences. I almost laughed when I showed and read the title to him.

He talked a little bit more but in my mind I already pressed the mute button and spaced out. If the boss can do it, so can I. I watched PC guy's mouth move but there was no sound or maybe I refused to accept any sound. Tonight, it's my shuffle working. Stop, play, pause, skip.

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