My eyes opened. Heart, pounding a million miles an hour – sweat, trickling from my brow. The air was humid, the rooms lone ceiling fan unable to keep up. “It’s okay,” I thought to myself in a vague effort to calm down – the symptoms of my harsh awakening pointing to the experience of a simple bad dream. A nightmare, if you will.

I sat up and collected my thoughts. Like encounters with the opposite sex that end well before the impact, so to speak, the nightmare felt somehow reminiscent of actual events. Entirely accurate events actually. This exact thing continues to happen.

Anyway, I pondered this damning solitude until I had a revelation: the nightmare was real. All of it.

The events of the preceding day had played out in a nightmarish execution of hit film “The Godfather”. All the pieces were there – the people merely substituted. Though in my version, Don Corleone is spared an assassination attempt and extended hospital stay (strangely), he merely steps back from his business gracefully. Underlings waiting in the wings, soon attempt a maneuver to the top of the family business.

Actual assassinations aside and carefully skirting any possible defamation suits, after many years of sterling service, I too find myself toppling over dead in the garden while playing with the kids.

Only the playground was my workplace – I’d been surrounded by the top brass at the fence and fired upon, while the rest of the family was none the wiser.

Michael-Corleone-1“Never ask me about my business”

The previously sickening notion of being unemployed has certainly been well embraced at this stage of my life, I can assure you. It’s that disenchantment with the condition of exit from my previous line of employ that has, in part, contributed to the extended holiday that I find myself taking. Who would want to go back to work after that? Vague rumblings of an unfortunate Japanese tsunami of sackings and possible nuclear fallout of unfair dismissal cases didn’t eventuate. I decided to wash my hands of the waste instead.

And while I can’t get the eight years back, I can at least take the friendships and good times from the dungeon of a place it’s become.

It’s these events that helped me realize something: Business is fucking terrible, and full of assholes. And I don’t just mean business in the conventional, “I’m selling you something” sense. The principles of business can be applied to everyday interactions with people – from the bully stealing your pocket money, to publicans running overpriced pubs doing the same some ten years later. Maybe the bullies become those thieving operators!? I digress;

Relationships you have with others where it’s more give than simple co-existence, are business. And business is oft a one-sided relationship. People are often willing to take more than they give, and that includes your boss and many, many companies. The results of these interactions are all still the same: there’s still an asshole involved somewhere in the equation.

Oil rag

Turns out old uniforms make for great rags.

As the saying goes, “money makes the world go ’round,” and research of this statement will reveal many a sordid case of backstabbing and betrayal. The ‘bottom-line’ isn’t just a statement of the overall financials of a company, it’s often running parallel to your own soul – are you good or bad in your dealings with others? Whether you’re knowingly selling a product at absurd profit margins, whether you’re a thief in a car stealing sense, or just a back-stabbing thief in a promotion stealing sense – the result is the same – your activity is merely a business transaction in someones eyes.

The ‘Don Corleone’ wins, while the poor soul previously in the spotlight gets dragged off into the shadows and bashed. Business is often about coercion, theft and betrayal.

Who can you step on en-route to the top? How low does your bottom-line go? As a classic American comedian once said, “The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” Real or fake, it’s your treatment of others in life that often reflects your personal bottom-line in reality. There’s a cold hard fact for you – and myself, having learnt from this experience. It’s funny how being treated like shit makes you do some re-evaluating.

This often positive, easy-going public image of people/companies setting out to do right by and respect others is a load of horse shit. From a personal to corporate level, everyone’s in it for themselves at the end of the day. Just look at insurance companies and flood definitions. Alot of the insurance money stayed with the fat-cats, while the people who made questionable investments in floodplain built homes were left out in the cold. They were meant to be insured against the results of that questionable judgement. A customers year(s) of loyalty mean zip if any kind of money returning to them becomes a central focus. They’re meant to take your money not give it back!

Some employers are no different. While your time is often compensated properly, any ‘freebies’ get abused to their advantage. In my experience, without compensation or even consideration when I was trapped in the guillotine. That’s business folks.

I feel this song is very appropriate.

The harsh reality is, relationships and business are one of the same: Life. And life is often a miserable fuck that needs to be dealt with. Shit people that do shit things will get their own justified outcomes one day. Karma’s a cold, hard bitch and will fuck you without a warmup – that much is a guarantee, and that guarantee is what keeps people going.

Sure, not all employers are soulless – but a healthy dose of scepticism never hurt anyone! Just like when you take a casual stroll through Fortitude Valley at night, always watch your back.

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