Cog, an abnormal Alphabet-CSE

Did Cog afford you wise options?

Digging the Corporate Dirt: A Day in the Life at a Global Conglomerate

It had come to be almost one hour before midnight. Immersed in the cold of a winter night that was reaching full strength, I sat in the dark, in a small spec of space not penetrated by the continuous movement of blue disco lights all around, and participated in card game with a heterogeneous group of men of varying ages and personal backgrounds, some of them known and others familiarly unknown. Heightening the overpowering atmosphere, the reverberations of the latest dance numbers bombarded not only our ears but our entire bodies. This, however, wasn't a nightclub.

This was routine, part of the ride I had to take for my daily commute from the office to my bed. A commonplace affair, the company sent a mini-bus to transport its employees, and this was the natural result. Our young bus driver sped recklessly through the streets, ignoring the painted lanes for the most part just so he might, if at all possible, grab enough sleep before he had to wake up to do it all over again for the employees of the next shift.

The chaos mesmerized me into an introspected state of deep thinking. I tried analyzing my newly embarked journey as a finance professional, a small cog within one of the largest conglomerates that has ever existed. Armed with two postgraduate degrees, I had entered the job market with an energetic hope as well as very high expectations. As the months evaporated before my eyes noticed, I became painfully aware that this reality did not resemble even a tiny fraction of what I had envisioned when I had graduated. And, to be frank, it had taken its toll on me, both physically and mentally. Exhausted, absorbed, and unfulfilled, a monotonous lifestyle had already overpowered me, as if with the commanding attraction of a siren. I could barely visualize a worthwhile future for myself anymore. How had I become a shell, a husk, a body moving asleep; how did it occur so quickly and without warning?

A coworker and I used to share the last row of the bus, perhaps in an unwitting attempt to hide, flee, or resist the overpowering ambiance within the mini-bus in order to preserve some peace of mind as our days came to a close. A senior professional, he had spent more than a decade in a similar industry. Perhaps strangely, we never spoke much, only chitchat related to our daily card game, a game which I initially hesitated to become involved in as I had never played earlier and I find that type of indulgence to be a waste of time. Our relation to one another had an alienated character, and on this particular day we were just having a short-lived chat about work. He was surprised to learn about my credentials and the kind of jobs I had had in the past. As our conversation moved along, I gradually opened up, sharing the misery that had been fermenting inside because, in part, the feeling that the day-to-day activity simply did not meet my expectations. Possessing only the hope of being listened to, to my surprise he countered with a short story that I shall remember until the day I die.

He began plainly enough by asking—"Have you seen a chicken?" Taken aback by the silly question, suddenly a feeling of being the object of mockery sunk in. Nevertheless, having been ambushed and considering his experience and age, the naive reply—"Yes, who hasn't?"—became all I could utter. He again asked me—"Have you ever noticed what they eat?" I was in disbelief, cursing myself for not keeping my mouth shut like always. Unwillingly, I replied again—"No. But they eat grains, I believe." He said—"Exactly! A chicken on a farm has access to free movement, and you would find it always moving around places you may consider unhygienic for a human. But these chickens, no matter where they wander, even if it has to be a pile of dirt, would end up consuming the grains from the dirt."

Chicken digs through dirt to find nourishment
A rooster pecks at the dirt in the hopes that some grains
may be found so that it may nourish itself,

Perplexed, my mind wondered aimlessly yet determined to find sense in something so senseless. He must have noticed.

"This world is a large playground where you will encounter people of all kinds, opportunities of all types and situations of all difficulty levels. They will try to test you and get you thinking. But you need to realize that not all people you encounter would be your friends, not all opportunities you see might lead to a gold mine, and not all situations that you might encounter would be in your favor. You need to realize that you will always be offered a pile of dirt with gems hidden somewhere within that might fulfill your demands. But the real challenge is that you have to keep looking in this pile of dirt."

The world will offer this unhealthy dung heap every time, yet I can't help but feel that not every pile contains gems, no matter how much one struggles inside these to find them.

Some birds do best when they stop searching in circles and move on to look elsewhere. I no longer work there.

Still, even though I feel that I lost a part of my life, of myself, riding that minivan and struggling at what is to all eyes the ideal first job in the private sector, I learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes you dig deeper; sometimes you jump elsewhere. Success doesn't lie in the eyes of others. It is of utmost importance to struggle harder, so long as you don't lose your health and happiness in the process since losing either invariably leads to losing the other. This world has infinite grains and millions of gems, but you won't ever live this present again. Make sure you live it first.

Some rooster may end up living a long life where they get to breed and explore their surroundings. Other roosters end up with another, less fortunate fate.

A packet to make spicy cock flavored soup
Sold all over the English speaking Antilles,
Grace's cock flavoured soup mix comes in many
forms, the above being spicy.

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