Songs and work

Starbucks is currently playing famous pop songs that I usually associate with the shop that I work at (name of shop not written for privacy reasons, not that anyone actually reads this wordpress.)

I’m reminded of how a week ago, I wanted to write a letter-to-the-boss, which would have gone something like this:

Dear Boss,
Can you please make up your mind as to whether you are going to fire me? I honestly don’t mind not working. I also don’t mind helping the managers cover shifts when they ask me personally. But I guess if you want to fire me, can you just make sure your managers are on the same page as you, so that they won’t ask me to cover shifts that you don’t want me to cover? If you want to fire me, I will not work. Yet, if the managers ask me to cover shifts, I will work. So when both scenario happen at the same time – you not asking me for my availability AND the managers asking me to work – what do you expect me to do? Should I tell them, “oh I THINK I’m fired, do you not know about that? I mean, if he wanted me to work, he would’ve asked me for my availability, right? Particularly when you guys are short-handed.”
And if, somehow, you actually don’t want to fire me, you are not doing a very good job of expressing that. If I had seen you last week, I would have asked you point-blank, “oh hi! Are you going to fire me? Because you needn’t be so indirect, y’know. You can just tell me straight in my face instead of not asking me for my availability. Oh, and by the way, I would love to know the reason why you’re firing me when I haven’t done anything wrong. Or, even if I have, I haven’t done a worse job than some (read: most) people. And you can also stop sending me fake-smileys when sending me schedules that you did not ask me for, because I’ve stopped falling for that.”

Okay so yeah, that. As I’ve said recently, I’m no longer emotionally affected by this. I’m just rather amused and astounded by how people can be so two-faced in such a blatant manner. But then I rationalise, and come to a conclusion that he’s just being the businessman that he is. I shouldn’t be placing any value judgment on anyone’s occupation, but I just find it pitiful how genuine, human relationships can be rendered meaningless and trivial once they are commodified into things that contain ‘value’. It’s a pity, isn’t it?

In Baxter’s view the care for external goods should only lie on the shoulders of the “saint like a light cloak, which can be thrown aside at any moment.” But fate decreed that the cloak should become an iron cage.

There are times when I find MST relevant to my life, and this is one of them. Consider the Marxist view on ‘value’ and ‘commodities’, and also Weber’s idea of an ‘iron cage’, and I guess they just remind me of why I don’t find much meaning in profit-making business. (Oh on that note, I just recalled how said-boss once told me that the Chinese translation for ‘business’ – 生意 – can mean producing meaning in the work. (Like, 生 (produce) 意义 (meaning)) After that, when I Google-searched, I found another explanation for the translation: life’s meaning (生活 (的) 意义) In light of recent revelations and understandings, I kinda miss those moments and wish I could go back to the days where I had naively believed him to be Mr Nice Guy… I would have asked him what he thinks of the ‘meaning’ in his work then. Though I think that would just further irritate him, right?) In any case, I’m just keeping my distance from everything shop-related. I don’t foresee myself needing the job anyway – not now, nor in the long-term future. /edit (04/12/16): such moments where I get to peer into the minds of ‘successful’ (however one might define success) people is what makes me really excited. I love talking to people who are clear about what they want and the direction that they are pursuing and find out what made them who they are, and what makes them interested in what they are interested in, to talk to them about their passions and see their eyes light up and their incessant rambling as they talk about what they enjoy…)

I don’t regret having stayed/ staying, though. I’ve learnt much about human relations over the past year, and these are crucial lessons that I ought to learn early when stakes are low. (Ah, that’s right, the best thing that trivial, low-wage part-time jobs can offer is the opportunity to make mistakes and grow in the process, right?)


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