By Maan “Maggie” Villar
The day the working class dreads the most is not the day the world ends, it is not the day where a dictator holds office in our democracy-loving country or the day when stock prices hit an all-time low. It is Monday. That day when you step inside the train and sleep deprived corporate animals are dozing off or checking their e-mails, where the person beside you in the bus is reading the headlines or stock prices or probably in his REM stages, when you get pushed and shoved by wage earners who need to clock-in 8:00 sharp and when you see pretty girls and handsome boys flinging their laptop carriers as they run around the street to get to their small cubicles on time and drag the day with documents, numbers, staplers and monitors they would love to swing with a baseball bat. When lunch time hits, it’s when you see the same people queuing up for a line in Family Mart, 7-Eleven or Mini Stop for a quick lunch, these convenience stores are like heaven to us, where we stop for a quick lunch, buy last minute groceries and toiletries and solve minute problems like a wardrobe malfunction that could make you raise hell and ruin the rest of the day. Monday when you see zombie-like personages who came from a long day at work walking slowly towards the train stations, terminals and bus stops as if in a dream or in a coma, dull eyed and even duller skinned with their unkempt hair, wrinkled polo shirts and sweaty necks.
Contrary to what the non-working persons or those who need not work believe, we do not wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed, we are awakened by the noise from two alarm clocks which we put on snooze mode just for five minutes more of valuable rest unlike the lucky ones who are awoke by the sunrise pouring in their windows and have the choice to either get up or sleep in until lunch time. For breakfast, we have cereals, an energy bar, a sandwich, coffee or maybe no breakfast at all – whatever takes less than five minutes to prepare. We wake up afraid of the cold water and worries of whether we get a bus on time or our shoes soiled by rain puddles outside, our shoes worth two days of work or a month’s bonus from our paycheck. They call us professionals, but we feel like robots. Our workspaces are designed for maximum efficiency, there is a science to how those tables and chairs are clumped together and ergonomically structured so that we could get the job done in milliseconds, it is similar to working in a sweatshop, and we just have air-conditioning, rolling chairs and higher wages.
We count the days by how many more days and hours more there are to the weekend. The weekends and holidays are the highlight of our lives, then we could let loose and regain our energy, our youth and our lives. Because the rest of the week is a drab, we would get constant invites from non-work friends to drink, watch a movie, shop and get some R&R but we resist the temptation and are the first ones to rain check all because we have to wake up early and sober for the next day. The energy starts low on a Monday and rises up as the weekends approach, you never start the week with high energy, it is not like high school or college days, it starts from point zero and goes up as the weekend approches, a direct relationship if you put it in an economic or mathematical analysis of a graph.
The corporate animal dates a fellow corporate rat, dating means a matching of lifestyles. It is irksome to date a bum or an heir to an empire as you would be lured into consuming all your leave credits, being absent or arriving tardy and getting a good scolding from your boss instead of fruits and cereals for breakfast. You date an architect from right across the street to your office or a research officer from two floors down, or someone within the same vicinity to save you from the hassles of travel time just so you could spend a few good two to three hours after a stressful day at the office. You see someone who would understand your valuable and limited time and who would not ask you for an hour more of your company because he or she knows that you need that hour for rest. See, even dating for the corporate world is all about efficiency and time management, this is true for those with families too. A family man working for a big conglomerate would rush out from the office, buy a plastic toy and a happy meal for his children and get the first train out. A mother would take home some bond paper and colored pens from the office for her child’s art assignment or maybe some tissue paper for the house and take a jeep, a bus and a tricycle or maybe just walk and take a bus and walk again whatever saves more money. It somewhat defines your life being in the corporate world, don’t you think?
But it does pay off, you can fund for good coffee from the best in the industry Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Bo’s Coffee and Tully’s, you can spend the weekends in water holes or fancy bars and drink until you black out, you can have a weekend getaway at the resorts and beaches down south or the cold mountain breeze up north, watch movies and go to a fancy restaurant for dinner, pay for a top line gym membership, pay for advanced classes because you want to get on top of the ladder, fund for your hobbies, play golf or tennis, send your kids to a good school, feed your wife and children three square meals in a day, buy the trendiest bags, clothes, shoes and accessories, invest in the stock market, have air conditioning in your house and weekly trips to the spas and salons in town. Whatever suits your fancies, it is your blood, sweat and tears for that money anyway, and yes IT IS HARD EARNED.
But let’s be realistic, most of your money would go to your rent, utility payments, auto loan, tuition and other bills and you have to hear your stomach grumble for the next two weeks until the next payday as it is ciphoned by all these. And yes, Monday would come along and you realize that it is not all glitz and glamour after all, you have to work and Monday is your constant friend to slap you in the face and send you to reality with the papers piled in your desk and your boss walking around the isles with that look of pure evil plastered on that highly compensated face and Prada shoes. You would cower and lower your head pretending to work again when your mind is really somewhere else far beyond the suffocating cubicle you are subjected to, thinking that you have to slave two more years for a higher salary grade and picture the rest of your life, is it going to be like this all throughout? Is that trip to Paris, that sports car or that big house with a big lawn in a suburban subdivision all just a pipedream? Well, think again corporate animal, fellow victim of the rat race, the answer is right in front of you, right in front of us. We are just afraid of change, adjustment and losing that constant promise of a constant pay every fifteen days. All it takes is will and that same bravado and ambition that got you in in the first place.