It is not unlikely that I shall be dismissed from the bank, sooner rather than later. At Morrisons, while the senior management team grew to despise me, my one saving grace was having worked there for 9 years (so not that easily gotten rid of) and, while I deliberately sabotaged the company in such a way as to be untraceable to me, I was very good at my job. Now I am in a very vulnerable position made worse by the recent resurgence of crippling depression. I wouldn't mind but about three weeks ago, in a period of irresponsibly compulsive spending, I took out another personal loan to pay for an antique bust, a set of 18th century Jansenist missals and several evenings at Rules. I am not overdrawn yet but the prospects of losing my job and having to repay a substantial loan are hardly...you see, my vocabulary for anything positive has run out.
I don't know what it will be. Incompetence? Gross misconduct? Perhaps the management team are tired of complaints from all those rich customers, one a Brazilian diplomat? At any rate "the squid," that is the branch manager, clearly hates me. She (yes, it's another woman...) was shocked last week to learn of my attitude to customers on the basic service (and that reticently expressed) and, after dealing with yet another complaint, said, as if to herself, "jeez, it's quiet! Have you scared all the customers away or what?" As was my instinct at Morrisons when dealing with comments of this sort, especially from young ambitious sycophants with an impeccable service record, I wrote down everything verbatim; the exact time, place, what I was doing, etc. It is the only weapon I have, being a renegade whom nobody likes. Unfortunately it has occurred to me too late. The writing is on the wall; the glowing reference I had from two customers on Friday notwithstanding. If I know managers, and I do, they remember nothing good and everything bad. Managers are invariably miserable bastards of the worst kind. They don't care one bit about your welfare, your personal life or your disposition to corporate mentality. They just want the work done and human life, to them, being expendable means that they would beat you with snooker cues until you were dead for want of entertainment. This particular manager is especially dangerous. She is 29 years old and so the bank, consumed with corporate greed and disregard for human life, has taken her in at a young age and filled her with itself. "Squid" was not a name given in idle fancy! There is nothing there but the bank and the customer, and she takes as axiomatic the manner in which she treats her line manager as the manner in which she treats every customer; with fawning sycophancy and agreement. As for members of staff, what are they but pawns on a chess board? To the extent that the pawns are as like to herself they are agreeable, so long as there is no relent. But where a member of staff shews himself to be an independent mind free of the bank then she moves to sting. He is a danger, a pernicious influence and utterly beyond comprehension. Why does he roll his eyes at the language we speak? Why is he not jovial to a fault in the propagation of our products and services? Why does he not treat the fat Saudi gentleman with the bulging eyes, uncouth mannerisms and obviously ill-gotten money with supremely royal deference?
Hatred is my chief problem; absolute hatred. Ever have I had the uttermost scorn for authority, especially that wielded by the young, and scarce can I conceal it. You might think that hatred would endear me to the kind of manager I have just described but here we touch upon something very personal. While I also think that human life is largely expendable (and would gladly dispense with large chunks of humanity) I cannot stand corporate mentality and, little though this woman and I have in common, even if we did share some characteristic it would more than likely repel me than attract me to her. I learned many years ago the golden rule of my life, at least my life in the workplace. Them and Us. You do well to cultivate what friendships you may (if friendship can be found in the workplace) among your colleagues in the same rank, but never form an alliance with a manager. The day you do that, you cease to be human.
So what is "corporate mentality?" It is a trite term and little understood by those who use it. Managers, prospective managers and the young are especially susceptible to it. But what is "it?" I suppose I can put it no clearer than to repeat what O'Brian said about the exercise of absolute power:
"Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing."
Can any of you deny that this woman has sacrificed her own mind for a different mentality, not her own? The Bank is master, the Bank is reality, to further the reach and prowess of the Bank is the sole purpose of life, of all life everywhere; everything else is an hindrance. Contrast this cold woman with the bestial teenagers on the bus the other week. But this is the future. The dichotomy betwixt the remorseless, ambitious types and the plebs. There will be no other type of person...well, except me, but what of me? My kind is extinct.
And I am alone. "Go to your GP," it was said. What of him? He doesn't know my name and the few times I have seen him in the last ten years he has just sat there typing at a computer. In and out in five minutes, with scarce any question about my physical or mental well being. "Do you have a therapist?" I did until she moved to Bath and she was, moreover, a specialist in psychosis, not autism. I manipulated her replacement into thinking I was "transgendered" and then stopped turning up for appointments. Five or six years ago she wrote to me saying that she had removed my name from her portfolio and that any subsequent treatment must come from a GP referral, and why would I go to him for help? "What about friends?" They are few and most of those I have offended or repelled in some way. "What about family?" What about them? My father is oblivious and never misses a chance to say, "well, when you find a place of your own..." My mother is stern and unsympathetic. I tell her as little as possible. "What about yourself?" Sigh, I fear that there is little there except profound hatred and wells of despair. The well may flicker, at whiles, with the present but most days it is a miracle I don't ring the Samaritans. Well, no that isn't entirely true. Having recourse to that kind of help would betray my lack of faith in those sorts of people. Watchdogs of publick safety, is there any lower form of life? I hate do-gooders almost as much as I hate Tolkien fans!
I am not "courageous" enough to commit suicide. It is not fear of eternal damnation that holds me back, it's the inability to find the quickest, most painless way of disposing of myself. If Hell is a dark room where the only company you get is yourself then it is a Paradise. Then there is the added worry about my things and my money, after I am gone. I should hate to imagine them being donated to some good cause or to some charity I held in contempt in waking life (that is when I was conscious enough to feel hatred). What of the dust and the filth with which I have insulated my room? What point is there in charity? Who wants to better themselves?
Well, it's Sunday night. I am going now to lie quietly in the dark and await the onset of another hopeless week.