03 October 2008

Most office workers would be better off in prison

I have gotta say that I rarely cut and past full articles of things that I find on the Internet.

This is not because of copyright (although perhaps I should be more conscious of this) but because it is not usually the case I need the whole piece to illustrate a point.

This "opinion" piece is written by Nury Vittachi. Nury is the writer of the "Travellers' Tales" column in the Far Eastern Economic Review (or at least was at one time).

This particular opinion piece was published in the Jakarta Post

The whole opinion piece sounds like a sociological study waiting to happen. My view is that Nury should volunteer to spend a couple of weeks or a month in prison. This would give him a valuable insight to what prison is really like.

He then could write a follow-up piece titled, "Why Office Workers Are Better Off Not in Prison".

My guess is that if a prisoner is waving at you through the bars and giving you the full salute with something other than his hand then this is likely not something that is indicative of happiness but a gentlemen with no other outlets to express himself. Although, Nury states that looking through the bars helped to put his life into perspective. I am hoping that perspective is that no matter how much working in an office might suck, it sure as hell beats doing a stint in prison.

Nope, I somehow doubt that as an office worker I would prefer to be in prison.

Anyway, my view is that this Nury taking the piss, a tongue in cheek look at the things he hates about his office. Nevertheless, it is called an opinion piece and it follows here in full:

I used to live near a prison. There was a guy on the top floor who used to wave his hand at me through the bars. Actually, it wasn't just his hand.

But the thing that struck me was that he always looked so happy. For some reason, this annoyed me intensely. I wanted to shout:you: Stop being happy." But then I realized that I would sound like my former employers, who were always hollering that at me.

Looking through the barred windows as I walked past, I absorbed numerous lessons which helped me put my life into perspective.

In prison, he spends most of his time confined to a space measuring three meters by three metres.

At the office, I spend most of my time confined to a cubicle measuring 1.5 meters by 1.5 meters.

In prison, he gets a healthy, early night every night.

At the office, I work late so often I'll probably end up with an ulcer.

In prison, he gets time off for good behavior.

At the office, I get extra work assignments for good behavior.

In prison, he gets all the food and drink he needs prepared for him by trained catering staff, three times a day, seven days a week.

At the office, I can help myself to free water from the water cooler.

In prison, he can watch television and read through a library of books.

At the office, I'll get sacked if I get caught watching a clip on YouTube.

In prison, he'll spend a lot of time in quiet contemplation about the important things in life.

In the office, mindless inconsequential activity fills my every second.

In prison, he gets a toilet to himself.

At the office, I share a toilet with a building-full of people less toilet-trained than my pets.

At the office, I spend more money than I can afford making sure my clothing matches that of my colleagues.

In prison, everyone gets free, color co-ordinated outfits.

In prison, there are sadistic, evil creatures called warders who will torment him.

In office life, there are sadistic, evil creatures called employers who torment me.

In prison, one's working days are short and sweet.

In my working life, I arrive at the office before the sun has risen and leave after it's dark.

In prison, he doesn't have to take work home with him.

In my job, I arrive every morning with a fat briefcase and leave with a fatter one.

In prison, he never has to worry about paying bills for utilities and other things.

In the life of a modern office-worker, I worry about paying bills all the time.

At the office, I spend hours every day wading through a sea of spam.

In prison, he just gets one small square of Spam a week, on Tuesdays, with a side salad.

In my work life, I pay a fortune for a gym membership, but never have time to go.

In prison, the gym is free and he has plenty of incentive to keep himself in good shape, especially when taking a shower.

In my office life, I often feel pressured to be in three different places at once.

In prison, this is probably not really an issue.

The writer is a journalist and columnist. He can be reached at www.vittachi.com


rima fauzi said...

i saw this a coupla days ago in jp. have u seen the comments there made by all those people with no sense of humor? jeez.. it's supposed to be funny but some ppl are just too stiff..

Anonymous said...

I saw this in the JP as well and had quite a chuckle!

Rob Baiton said...


Sense of humor is subjective. People find different things funny.

I also had a chuckle but in that "you gotta be kidding me kinda of a way".

Work might suck and our work spaces are forever getting smaller and the demands greater but it sure as hell beats jail.


Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I think the above comment applies...

Generally though, I guess it is a case of different strokes for different folks :D