26. Time is money, money rules all

I arrived on time at the warehouse. A long list of packing orders and shipments awaited me. I scanned it and shook my head. The good-old racing and chasing… Sigh. I felt like chased game. For a moment, I was sick of this hasty countdown, the ever-ticking clock. Then I recalled the almighty paycheck. Right. The switch automatically flipped to work-mode. All pallets were ready after I’ve smashed it. The whole lot got loaded into the company van, everything was set and ready to go. Well… almost. I looked at the broken mounting of its side-mirror and cursed. It was still wrapped in duct tape. Amateurish crafts don’t work. In this case, the mirrors get shut at higher speeds. Inserting on a highway then becomes a kind of Russian roulette with heaps of honking and (nasty) hand gestures. For weeks, I addressed this dangerous situation at my supervisors. And for weeks, I got told that it would be fixed ‘as soon as possible’. Bloody hell, how hard can it be? I hit the road with an aching stomach. This is gonna end badly sooner or later…

After some speedy shipments, I head back towards headquarters. The highway was packed with traffic. A traffic jam unfolded, which the driver in front of me failed to notice (he got distracted by his satnav). He crashed into the car in front of him at full speed. I drove straight through the rain of glass, plastic and other debris. Being quite perplexed, I stopped on the emergency lane and ran to ground zero. The sight was instantly burned into my memory. The stunned driver sat in a bloody wreckage of total loss. He barely responded at anything. Panic sweat broke out. All sorts of well-meant impulses to help popped up. Fortunately, I realized that such spontaneous actions can do more harm than good. Pumped with adrenaline, I called 911 and described the accident in full detail. Then I got ‘rewarded’ by instructions on what to do, which I strictly follow. My full attention was on him until emergency services arrived. Only then I realized the endless line of rubberneckers that had emerged right behind me. I looked at the tribes that stared at me and got agitated. I shared my experience with the paramedics, thereby ending my civic duty. My van’s engine was still running, oops. I briefly inspected the vehicle and got the hell out of there.

I was half an hour too late. The supervisor wasn’t pleased with this waste of precious time and demanded an explanation. My story got interrupted multiple times. According to him, I should’ve kept on driving. I was told in a calculated manner that there was absolutely no time for this due to ‘our busy times.’ Zero fucks were given about the crashed man. The cold and heartless attitude sickened me. I was still pissed off about all the senseless onlookers, so his reaction fanned the flames. A heated argument commenced with constrained anger. Arguing with a bossy manager doesn’t fit within the big plan. A young punk – hence cheap and easily controlled – needs to know his place. Opposing is clearly a no-go, as is resistance. Too bad. I drew the line and refused to drive around any longer with a broken mirror. My brutality got rewarded: my dual role as courier-warehouseman was terminated immediately (a driver who keeps his mouth shut is desired). The transformation from a jack of all trades to a loyal watchdog was complete. I had to stay in the kennel and obey. Sit! Paw. Give paw! Good boy.

This response didn’t come out of the blue. Such trickery embodied that company, one where norms and laws were continuously breached. To be fair,  I took part in it as a young brat. Only to a certain extent though, but still. Balancing on the suspended fork of a forklift truck was quite something. Getting transported by sitting in the cargo hold amused me. The same goes for messing around with some fast machines. I embraced some excitement and sensation. Still, I became increasingly disturbed by such acts and some persistent (disrespectful) manners. This kind of nonsense is unacceptable, period. I raised my concerns several times, which was a waste of my time. The arrogant don’t listen, deaf ears can’t hear. They didn’t take me seriously, fine. But what really bothered me was the complete disregard for everyone’s well-being. The same mistakes happened over and over again. Prior predictions came true. I realized this current was too strong to swim against. Something snapped. Up to here and no further. Don’t make yourself nuts, this has gone far enough.

I got a great idea while doing a chore. Instead of going with the flow, I quit on the spot. I literally dropped the tool I was holding. Well, it was great fun… Bye! I walked towards the exit without looking back. A volcano of emotions erupted behind me. Flaming insults and mockery didn’t bother me. I walked on undisturbed, like a Zen master. The chief shouted at me that I couldn’t do this. I smiled, jumped on my bicycle and drove off. The mechanical noise, the dumb non-discussions and the bullshit: all the noise disappeared forever. Grazing bunnies and whistling birds took their place. Such lovely peace. Tomorrow I’ll sleep in and browse YouPorn. With anticipation, I thought of what was to come. It was obvious that my disobedience couldn’t remain unanswered. Surely I’ll receive a registered letter of resignation. It will state that refusal of work and ‘this course of action’ won’t be tolerated. Oh well. Getting sacked isn’t the end of the world. More like the start of new opportunities, or the space for much-needed change. Far out! They say there are ten others to take your place. Well, the same applies in the opposite direction. If this makes me look like an unreliable, unpredictable and selfish employee… so be it. After all, there are already plenty of soulless yes-men on this ‘civilized’ job-market. Fuck ‘em.

I’d rather be “unsuccessful” than a follower of the money-hungry gang of scoundrels.

> Click here for an overview if you’re eager for more stories <

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