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Article Archive >> Community

Voices in my Head: Strange Similarities

Voices in my Head
Strange Similarities

I'm starting to see some similarities that are making me feel a bit uncomfortable. Maybe it's just a mid life crisis hitting me at the ripe old age of thirty seven but hear me out. This is not a cry for help...unless you're a technical recruiter.

I have a full time, nine-to-five job. I get up early in the morning because my alarm tells me it's time to get up. I go to work because my boss wants me there at a certain time or I will get punished. While at work I have to abide by an over abundant number of rules or I will be punished. I have to wear a certain style of clothes or I will be punished. I have to stay in my cube which is about six feet by six feet or I will be spoken to by my boss for doing too much socializing and not spending enough time doing my job. If I try to sneak out early I will get punished. I have to do this same routine every weekday for the next thirty years of my life.

If I had committed a heinous crime I would be imprisoned. At prison I would be awakened each day at a certain time by a guard who tells me it is time to get up. I would walk to the "yard" or the dining area when I was told to because the warden would want me at those locations at a certain time. I would be punished if I am not at those locations at the specified time. I would have to wear certain clothes in prison...most likely prison issued garments. If I did not wear the issued clothes I would be punished. I would be expected to abide by an over abundant number of rules that the prison has or I would be punished. If I tried to escape I would be punished. I would have to live this way for my entire sentence or I would be punished.

Several similarities between prison and working a nine-to-five job are easily apparent. Yet I have committed no crime (that you can prove).

Here are some of the differences I see. In prison my meals would be paid for and someone would prepare them for me. At work I have to pay for a prepared meal or prepare one myself, bring it in and run the risk of someone stealing it from the refrigerator before I get a chance to eat it. In prison I wouldn't have to pay for the clothes that they make me wear. If I'm going to have to dress in clothes that make me feel silly and aren't even remotely comfortable then someone else should be paying for them.

In prison my cell would be bigger than my cube at work, about three times the size. In prison they actually encourage taking time to get some exercise - at work I sit in front of a computer and they fill me with caffeine so I can stay awake longer.

At prison if I get in a fist fight people will respect me and want to hang with me. At work if I so much as call someone "the dumbest person I have ever met" I am labeled a loose cannon and nobody wants to work with me. (Trust me on that last one.)

In prison I get "private time" (okay, some people call it lock-down) but at work I am bombarded with constant interruptions.

I know prison is supposed to be a terrible place and this is in no way, shape, or form an essay on the advantages of going to prison. I just think maybe we should rethink our work environments so that the daily nine to five grind seems a little less like a sentence for a crime we didn't commit and more like a healthy career choice.

For example, in prison the inmates are allowed visitors. Why can't I have some friends come to work and visit me so we can hang out? Allowing conjugal visits at work? I bet nobody has even considered it which means people in prison are getting more action than me!

How about instead of our prisons being overcrowded with people who are idle and bored most of the day we make them do stuff like test software so I can be free to play with my kids and actually spend time with my wife?

Artie Leary can be reached at artieleary@gmail.com

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