Wednesday, April 05, 2017

D for Downturns

My first year in the big bad professional world was a downturn year. I joined work in 2008, the year of the great Lehman debacle. And spent another year or two listening to how I should be glad and grateful to have my job when so many of my batchmates didn't. Yes, that's the reason people who still held their jobs were given for not being given bonuses and hikes.

It takes a downturn year for you to understand what cost cutting really means. Suddenly, notepads and pens become scarce with the stationery department designing a detailed form to be filled in by the requesters of notepads and pens. That might still be manageable, for one just has to give one of these myriad reasons - doodling, tearing pages into bits and strewing them around, drinking the ink in the pen because of lack of money to buy and drink anything else etc. But, what does one do about toilet papers? No, not as bad as you think. The toilet doesn't convert to a BYOTP (Bring Your Own Toilet Paper) model overnight, though the quality of the paper becomes so bad that you wish you were in a BYOTP model, to begin with. And, to top it all the AC is surreptitiously switched off for an hour each day, actually for more than an hour if a sizeable number of the population doesn't notice and get up to complain to admin.

But, all that is still handle-able. 

What is unpardonable is the denial of the most basic of human rights - coffees and conversations. Suddenly, the coffee machine is out of work much more often than usual, tea bags don't get replenished more than once a day, sugar is no longer in petite packets but sits in a lump in a bottle that has not understood the concept of being airtight, coffee cups run out by 11 in the morning. Without the drink, how do you have the conversation? How do you exchange office gossip, b**ch about your frenemies, exchange notes on bosses, crib about the economy and in general feel bad and drive yourself to a miserable state of desperation? You can't really hang about near the coffee machine without a cup in your hand and do all that, can you? Though everyone knows what people do at the coffee machine, no one wants to be caught empty handed (literally) and red-handed (figuratively) at it after all.

So, yeah, I do know a thing or two about downturns now and their impact on the common man and woman who haven't been directly impacted with job losses. That doesn't mean I am prepared for the next downturn myself. I sure as hell freak out when the coffee machine is under repair for a little over an hour, or the pantry boy says that we have run out of hot chocolate sachets. Is there a bankruptcy going on somewhere in the world that I have missed out on?

P. S. This post is the fourth in the A-Z blogging challenge series for April. 

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