28.12.04

"We're taking a moment ... "

I was in the office for the last time today --- swiped my pass card for access one last time --- bundled everything up in giant Mango plastic bags --- heaved it all out by the end of the day.

These are the lists I've been working on for the past couple of months:

What I'll miss about this job

1. Waking up after sunrise.
2. Going to work with the morning crowd, not before they even wake up.
3. Having the slight flexibility to show up for work, oh, some time between 8:30 and 9 am, and enough leeway that I don't need to panic if once in a while I show up only at 9:30 am.
4. Having lunch with people I don't work with.
5. Being in an airconditioned environment almost the entire day.
6. Bosses whom I can randomly drop in on, brainstorm with, bounce ideas off, tease, whine to and SMS about work and/or silliness.
7. Having my own phone line, which I can choose not to answer.
8. Having my own computer, which no one else will use and inadvertently stumble across all the blogs in my internet browser's history.
9. Having a cellphone that I don't have to pay the bill for.
10. Having a 50 MB email quota (and then some).
11. A fine laser colour printer, perfect for churning out Stila calendar sheets for Ondine.
12. Walking to Holland Village for lunch three times a week if I want to.
13. Stopping in town on the way home to have dinner, shop or pick up groceries if I want to.
14. Being close enough to my former place of work to still meet ex-colleagues for lunch.
15. Meeting interesting people from the private sector who come do projects with us.
16. Having interesting people buy me lunch or coffee because I'm the client.
17. Whining loudly when shit hits the fan and having colleagues who immediately spring up to commiserate.
18. Two-hour lunches, to make up for days with no lunch.
19. No marking on the weekends.
20. Playing music at my cubicle without having to use earphones.
21. Wearing tanktops to work.
22. Last-minute situations, when the adrenaline's pumping and the ideas are snapping and there's no time to quibble over commas.
23. Being able to take weekdays off, once in a blue moon.
24. Being able to take advantage of off-peak vacation deals and travel when the airport isn't clogged with schoolchildren and their parents (even though we only did this once).
25. The view from the rooftop --- all the way south to the refinery islands, west to the gray miasma of distant Jurong, north to the nature reserve and east to downtown.
26. The way work totally eases off in the weeks before Xmas because half the people in the building are on leave.
27. Because of the lull, taking a long lunch break to go for the annual Mango sale (okay, I also only did this once).

Before I get too soppy about this, here's what I won't miss:
1. Having to keep the cellphone on all the time, and having to field calls even on weekends and public holidays.
2. The tediousness of VPN connections.
3. Being stricken with panic every time an email from He Who Must Not Be Named materialised in my Inbox.
4. Witnessing firsthand the application of the Peter Principle.
5. Being stuck in a meeting while people argue over the placement of a comma.
6. Having to cancel or postpone lunch or dinner plans because "something urgent just came up" or "I need to settle this before I can go".
7. Consecutive days with no time for lunch.
8. Corporate jargon: "paradigm", "relook", "deliverables", "framework", "dimensions", "learning points", and the impeccable "changing the context".
9. Being harassed by the security guards if I forget my security pass, even though they recognise me and know I work in the building.
10. All the goddamned acronyms and abbreviations. I can conduct entire conversations or meetings in caps now.
11. Civil service-ese in email: "revert" wrongly used instead of "respond", "pl speak" oddly used instead of "let's discuss this", and "fair" archaically used instead of "proofread" or "check for errors". As in:
"Pl speak. The proposal is incomplete. On the other paper, pl fair before sending to the next level for clearance.
Separately, inputs needed from your team on next month's workshop. Pl revert to So-and-so by Monday."
12. The bureaucracy.
13. The bureaucrats.

I tried to make the latter list longer, but I really couldn't come up with that many things I really, truly loathed about my last three years.
"We're taking a moment ... and we're done."
--- Oz, of graduating high school, in "Becoming Part Two", Buffy the Vampire Slayer

7 Comments:

At 12/31/2004 1:09 pm , Blogger Agagooga said...

Wah.

Then one wonders why you left at all ;)

 
At 1/02/2005 10:32 pm , Blogger Tym said...

Agagooga --- points 3, 5, 6, 7 and 13 from the second list pretty much nail it. I need to go find my life again...

 
At 1/03/2005 3:01 pm , Blogger Terz said...

That's ok. I don't think I'll ever miss the nights you're at the office til 8 or 9.

 
At 1/03/2005 4:09 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

From one civil servant to another...

Don't forget also the much loved (and ungrammatical)
"For your consideration, please."

And "For your approval, please.

And "At the end of the day..."

 
At 1/03/2005 4:37 pm , Blogger yj said...

Great post. Got here from mrbrown.com, and I stand eerily close to beginning a similar career (I start at NIE in July). Why the move from MOE HQ, if that's where you were at?

 
At 1/04/2005 10:10 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i totally feel you, am in the civil service too, or well rather, stat board.

 
At 1/07/2005 2:04 pm , Blogger AcidFlask said...

5. Lynn Truss is of the opinion that the Boer War was initiated because of a misplaced comma. On the other hand it is highly ironic that such quibbles occur in a country where the Provost of a University was quoted to have said "crème of the crop".

12. Did you ever get "Pl RSVP" for e-mails describing functions/parties/dinners? I find it highly amusing for its redundancy.

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

 
-->