A Bohemian Writer Amidst Corporate Figures

A few weeks ago, Eizwan had some errands to run in KL. Being the dutiful wife (or more like scheming opportunist) I decided to tag along with him. “Go forth and run your errands, husband, whilst I await your return faithfully and loyally at <<insert bohemian café>>’ I said.

Well, the conversation did not actually go like that. In reality, I have been cooped up working from home that I was beginning to question my sanity. It’s one thing to talk to your cats (which we all know, everyone does), but apparently it is not fine to talk to your onions and tomatoes. God knows the produce deserves a talking to – they’ve been going bad far too quickly and I abhor going on a grocery run before grocery run time.

But I digress. I have also, ahem, started writing again. Anyone who follows  my twitter would know that since I whine about it constantly since I began. And I thought what better way than to sit down at my favourite café in KLCC than to write. I would channel my inner JK Rowling and write my stories and in the future, when I’m famous (ahahahahaha), I will regale this tale of how I wrote my stories, just like JK Rowling – in a café. The café will become famous.

I always love how delusional I can become.

I picked San Francisco coffee as my place to sit down to write. I’ve had fond memories of the place, I used to frequent there when I worked in KLCC, so I think I wanted to recreate those moments of feeling sophisticated (I said feeling, I did not say I was). Plus, San Francisco Coffee is Malaysian, so, support local businesses *check*, and they actually serve decent coffee. By decent, I mean it tastes better than the scrapings of the tarmac added to water that Coffee Bean calls coffee.

Of course, two minutes with my hot chocolate (I rave about the coffee and what do I do? Order hot chocolate) seated at SFC, I realize it was a big mistake. Firstly, I don’t do long-hand. I write faster on my PC and writing on paper may be romantic but it was certainly boring. Secondly, there was a reason why SFC was popular when I worked. It’s popular amongst office workers.

In my attempts to be a bohemian writer, instead I was caught up with all the various business gossips around me. I’ve left the corporate world twice now and still do plenty of work for them – so despite my attempts of becoming properly ‘bohemian’, I still have the stink of the corporate world on me. And the insane addiction to gossip that can only come from working there.

So the chaps next to me were talking about real estate and the stock market. It’s only natural that they speak about doom and gloom – I’ve never known anyone to speak positively about the stock market despite making bucket loads of money from it.

But it was the people in front of me that caught my attention. All suited up, there was a person who was your stereotyped “corporate figure” in front of me. He sat down with his, I’m guessing either Armani or Boss suit and he was having a very serious conversation with a young woman, probably in her early twenties. She had an American accent, American educated I presume. Smartly dressed and thanks to the tag she was wearing, they were both from the same office.

At first I was hoping that it’d be something deliciously scandalous, like an affair. Unfortunately, no such luck – it was one of those bosses who thought by doing his staff’s yearly assessment outside in a relaxed environment would somehow alleviate the fact he is an asshole. So I watched him berate his staff, one by one, saying vague things like ‘thinking out of the box’ to improve their capabilities as a worker. Really now, how many of us profess to thinking within the box on a day to day basis. And he did not even have the decency of buying them coffee! One of the kids during the assessment looked like she was about to cry and struggled to stop her voice from shaking.

I’ve heard stories of heads of departments bullying fresh graduates – makes me wonder, what happened? I mean, they were young once, weren’t they? To forget all that and to take out their vast experience on a fresh graduate – but why?

I don’t miss the corporate world, more so when I see experienced asshats doing a Simon Cowell on young people. This isn’t reality TV, we’re meant to be professionals and being professional doesn’t mean being mean and vague to someone who intends to learn. When the Harvard Business Review advocates mentoring and motivating your staff, more frequently I see bosses who are unnecessarily aggressive and nasty. Perhaps fresh graduates ought to pick up a copy of HBR and question prospective employers on their management styles.

*End rant*

Well, did not write much in the end, I blame the environment not being bohemian enough. But I did manage to catch up with SW. A lovely break that was desperately needed in these two crazy weeks. It’s not over yet however, the writing has been a great reprieve during these stressful three weeks.  And though I must remain vague, let’s hope Eizwan and I get through this week in one piece.

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