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TIME TO BURN

May 31, 2019

A handover document for the next team member at a student accomodation company.

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Time to Burn: Work

TIME TO BURN

Welcome to the exciting world of student accommodation!

If you are reading this, you are the new marketing specialist at University City, and I am, of course, no longer here. First of all, welcome to your new job and I hope you fare better than I did. I’ve collated an abridged handover document that will hopefully help somewhat. If you need advice, ask the water cooler or dishwasher.


Company Philosophy

The University City philosophy is to build the tallest buildings with the cheapest and smallest rooms humanly possible, then cram as many foreign students in as allows. 

The internal slogan is “We put bums in beds.” 


Role and responsibilities

Your role is part of the ‘marketing team’, a misnomer for two reasons. No one will make any attempt to embrace any marketing initiative and it won’t really operate in the traditional sense of a team. You will receive orders, handed down from the top and trickling down. No one checks what you do, no one cares. As long occupancy and retention rates hit their marks, your job is safe. An air of nonchalance permeates the office, so take advantage of it. The sound of clacking keyboard keys and apathy fills the floor, and the air-conditioner will either be too hot and stuffy, or way too cold. Saccharine pop drivel will spew from the speakers all day, and like me, you will memorise every inane, self-absorbed lyric, not by choice. No one has noticed the same playlist has been on repeat since last month, maybe you can fix it. There are no thought-provoking artworks or paintings, only giant canvases of the properties, AKA totems o super-rich old white men exploiting clueless, super-rich international student. They’ll throw around words like ‘spirit’ and ‘company culture’, but a broken ping pong table and UE Boom speaker does not an office make. There are no openable windows here. I can only assume this is to prevent workers from making a snap decision and deciding to commit suicide.


Day to day

There’s a point almost every single day when you’ll think about giving up altogether, the office does that. From soulless dead-eyed zombies at plain white rows of desks, to the artificial fluorescent madness washing over you from the ceiling, to the aforementioned windows with a view of a car park and several dumpsters. It’s not a wonderful life, but like your parents may have said, “It’s a living.” The best way to shut out the outside world is to plough ahead on your own work with a large set of black headphones wrapped around your head. No one knows what they’re doing, and everyone is faking it, so don’ worry. Sure, they perform their duties, but with the uninspiring detachment typical of the long-term office worker. You can refer to the three motivational slogans further down if you’re that type of person, I am not. The staff movements are as follows if you want to fit in; Buy a coffee first thing, go out for lunch at midday then eat at your desk, laugh at the jokes made by those with more seniority, cough and splutter, then slump in your ergonomic chair as the weight of the world crushes your spirit. 


Socialising and workplace motivation

As for socialising in the workplace; don’t worry, you won’t have to socialise with anyone because they’re all struggling to get through each day. Most of your colleagues will be hungover most of the time, and when they aren’t, they will be zonked on meds. You’ll get used to it after a month or so. They’re not all as bad as that really, but whatever you do, don’t touch them, they’re toxic. 


  • I have distilled conversation starters covering 99% of potential interpersonal interactions.

How was your weekend?

Monday’s ay?

It’s only Tuesday.

Hump day.

It’s Thursday, one day to go.

Thank God it’s Friday.

Have a good weekend.


  • Three motivational slogans I mentioned previously…

There’s nothing to hate about a job, only your attitude.

There’s plenty of positives if you look hard enough

Hang in their buddy.


Handy tips 

If you’re into fitness, you may enjoy running along the river at lunchtime, it usually made my day, but the Doctor said I’ve got shin splints, so I stopped. I’m sure you’ll do fine, I just don’t have the stamina for this anymore. This morning I sat down on a bench, smoking cigarette after cigarette as I watched people gridlocked in their metal coffins on their way to a life of boredom and drudgery. Do not people watch, you’ll only get depressed.


The elephant in the room

You’re probably wondering why I did what I did. For me, we’re sharing the past and future in your present. To me, as I write this, I haven’t done it yet.  My life is the life of millions more. It’s time for the drones to stand up and fight back, wage war on the tired and ordinary, raise the bar and destroy the status quo so the dead-eyed zombies can transform into creatives, like billions of grubs forming chrysalises to become beautifully tragic butterflies. I check my life insurance policy. It’s ironclad. I will miss her so much, but she deserves better.  I must spontaneously combust into dust and ashes to then rise like the proverbial phoenix. I pull the 5-litre can of aviation gas from my gym bag. The sweet smell of the fuel mixed with sweaty gym clothes is the smell of freedom, my last smell memory to be imprinted on my soul before ignition. I’ll print this, then I’ll unscrew the cap and douse myself in its contents. I’ve already tested on my hand. It burns and cools at the same time, yin and yang. After ignition, I will become the returned Tibetan monk protesting the government or society’s downfall or rising house prices or degenerative millennials or the so-called new and improved Big Mac, or something. 


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Good luck and Godspeed.

It’s time to burn.

John

Time to Burn: Text
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