7/15/2009
Working by numbers

I know Kat had a figurative nose bleed when we first encountered this term during cultural studies class, but I'll launch it again, partly because it's slightly amusing to see Kat have a figurative nose bleed. Oh, please, don't make it a literal one.

Reification, according to Sir Bayot, began during the Industrial Revolution. Before that, we were something special. We had our own little abilities, and it's something we developed over time. With those abilities, we learned a lot of things, discovered a lot of others, and invented even a lot more. Thus, we found coal, we created the assembly line, and our productivity increased tenfold, maybe more. Well, there's something ironic with that statement, really: we produced more stuff, but we felt less productive, because we lost our jobs. As processes were streamlined, less people were needed to do certain things, and it became a cat fight of sorts. We became commodities.

Okay, Kat, here's your tissue if you need it.

I've learned not to be surprised with my conversations with Les. These things usually happen in the morning, preferably when I've finished most of my tasks waaay earlier than I should be. We'd talk about the deep stuff, the frustrating stuff, and occasionally wondered about where Steph has been. But, more usually, it's stuff about work. Or not specifically, but somewhere around that.

"I just hate the pressure, especially of the working world and how people you judge you based on your resume," she said, as I began watching True Blood for work. "If I quit my job and I don't get another one in a month, it's like a big sin!"

"This world is a slave driver," I answered. "They don't give a fuck about you, at all, despite 'corporate social responsibility' and 'employee motivation' and 'personal development' and all those buzzwords bullshit."

"Everything is bull," she simply replied.

Yesterday, I told her I apparently got a letter from DLSU, slightly excited that it's something that only a few people get. She told me she got a letter too, and then shattered my bubble: it's just the ITEO sending everyone a letter one year after our graduation, essentially asking us what we were up to since the beginning of the end of our lives. It's exactly what they do: survey after survey. Or, as I called it, "another way to shove down our asses the fact that life sucks after college."

Not exactly. I read that letter when I got home last night, and it was the usual questions. Did you go to work? Did you study again? Did you establish a business? It essentially went that way. The details weren't any special: just questions on where you went, how long you waited, and so on. But it still feels like another way to shove something down our something the something that something is something.

After all, life revolves around numbers. Sure, we wanted to return to comfortable college territory, but we all reached out for that 4.0 - or a 1.0, if you're deliberately aiming very low. When we worked on our resumes, we struggled with what to put where - "naaalala mo ba yung mga speakers sa Media Speakers Series?" - and striking that compromise between listing down all the impressive things we've done and keeping the whole thing to a maximum of three not-so-intimidating pages.

Right now? The set-up is, we all have to do a certain amount of articles in a day, which isn't a good idea if it's a particularly slow news day during the American summer. Then again, it doesn't make sense considering I finish most of them before lunch - and the rest I leave behind are commentaries. Thankfully, the folks at Seattle seem more impressed than usual with me, and have given me some degree of flexibility; it would've been worse if this was a year ago.

Bottom line is, our lives revolve around numbers, more so once we have to fend for ourselves, so we find ourselves strategizing with those numbers in mind. Act fast, never slow. My dad told me, a year ago, that it looks better on a resume if I got work closer to my graduation. I guess prospective employers will not buy it when you claim you traveled around the world after graduation, as a gift for yourself: you didn't find a job and that means you're a bad apple. It's worse if you have nothing to present - say, I didn't write for anything official until I got my present job, which doesn't look good if you're a media company looking for those who have "writing chops".

In a world powered by numbers, have slacked through the big wigs matters more than having slaved yourself for small fry.

So much for quality over quantity, for showing rather than telling, for all those things we learned back then, perhaps in an effort to make us feel good about our inability to do so many things. I think I should apologize for rushing this blog entry's ending - in the middle of writing this, some pretty big news broke out and I had to write it down for work. I was up for seven articles today. I did six because I took on something else. I ended up doing seven. I must look good now.

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