Most people wish they had a great boss. Who is a good boss? Is it someone who is on your side, won’t you down, will help you rise, will give you holidays without questioning, will tell you it’s alright if you haven’t met your deadline by giving a smile. But what happens when you are your own boss. I have been free-lancing as a musician and a graphic-designer for a long while now and the only person who I am answerable to is ME.
It sounds like a cruise ship holiday sometimes, but it’s actually quite scary. Every day I have to wake up facing myself. It’s true that I don’t need to make lame excuses like …..I was stuck in traffic jam, or I was helping my old neighbours to the hospital if I get late for work. I don’t have to wait for my boss to leave office before I leave. See the deal is I can never be late for work, and there is no question of leaving office because my work can go on through the night. And if I don’t finish it there is no one to blame but me. No boss who will yell at me, but a boss who without yelling at me will make me feel and realize that I suck.
I don’t have to ask anyone if I need to take a holiday. It’s awesome if I chose, right now, today this very moment I can decide it’s a holiday. But wait I cannot do that…..if I leave I don’t get paid, and if I don’t get paid I can’t pay my bills. See it’s a perfect situation where I have endless holidays which I can’t really use. And when I am on vacation I am never really on vacation. I am always, working, because I cannot say no to a project when it comes.
And if I screw up I have no one to blame. I have only me staring back at me, telling me what an idiot I am.
But there are some things that are awesome, like if I am sleepy I don’t need to pretend to sleep with my eyes open trying to stare intelligently at a piece of paper, all the while trying to balance my head and everything else. I am sleepy I can take a power nap right there. And my boss doesn’t yell if I drink a beer at work. I don’t need to step out to smoke. And I don’t need to deal with collegues who are trying to suck up to the boss by putting me down. And I can chat on facebook without having to hide it. It’s pretty cool that way.
But this damn! boss, this stupid woman hasn’t given me a proper day off from work for the past 16 years. I can kill her, she works me like a dog, she buys me beer and think she can get away with it. But oh! how I hate her, when my friends take yearly vacations I can never go with them. Even if I want to take a day off, she reminds me of ‘responsibility’ , duty and work and then if I cry too much she say “Do what you want to, you don’t work you don’t get paid”. Yes I’ll never get fired from my job , but she can keep me without paying me. It’s as simple as that.
There should be a law banning homework. Seriously it’s like schools send work back to somehow torment and torture the parents further. It’s some sort of perverse pleasure they get. And this is after the poor parents are burdened with school fees that could fund a NASA project.
Now I don’t have kids of my own, but thanks to my niece and nephew I have not been able to escape every parent’s nightmare HOMEWORK.
When I reach home in the evening, what greets me is a battle field. School books strewn around, pencils everywhere, sleepy yawning dis-interested kids trying to listen to their mum ,( who is looking so distraught I am tempted to offer her rum). My sister-in-law informs me, that she has had a peg already how else is she supposed to survive this trauma. It’s like battered soldiers walking around, there is cannon ball smoke everywhere.
So I offer to help with my niece’s homework, but I realize it was a bad mistake.
1. Write 10 few things on communication and draw it. (How arbid is that, ten what things….that doesn’t make any sense.)
2. Print out a picture of Greek costumes….
3. Make a model of a train and submit it tomorrow.
4. Finish 4 pages in the Maths book.
In this day and age when the environment needs to be saved I cannot understand why people need print outs. Shouldn’t school be against wasting paper and electricity. What is the idea behind printing pictures kids can just see?
The printer is out of ink, Damn! I tell my niece she doesn’t need to submit this homework. Her eyes swell up with tears….’But Ma’am will scold me’
“But the earth needs to be saved tell Ma’am”
Her eyes melt me, I’ll just have save the earth later. But the fact is the printer is till out of ink. And it’s late to go to a shop and print it. I come up with a brilliant idea I ‘ll draw it for you. She looks at me horrified, I remind her I make comic books I can draw she finally agrees. So I start copying Greek costumes from the net. My niece tells me her favourite program is on TV now, she’ll go watch it while I draw.
“But you need to do Math”, I remind her.
“I cannot do it unless someone helps me”. I turn to see me sister-in-law struggle with my nephew and his HIndi homework. My brother hasn’t even returned from work.
“Ok go watch I’ll finish this and help you with Math later”. After 30 minutes of trying to draw costumes, we start working….no I start working on transport and communication.
“Read it from your text book” I order. My niece shows me the teachers note that says learn to look up facts from the net. This is what kids of this generation learn facts from the net. After a couple of years education will be restricted to just googling. My niece is just 8 she doesn’t know what to read and what to write..so I rush to help her while trying to cut a hard paper to make a train.
I mean is it school or craft class. While I multi-task cutting paper and figuring out facts about transport my niece springs off to drink water, then she is hungry so she needs to eat. I am still trying to gather facts and draw and cut paper. I realize its 9 already. The child is ready to sleep, but wait there is 4 pages of Math. But try making a sleeping child do Math. You might as well try to push a bison uphill, it might be simpler.
But homework is homework it has to be done. I sit with a pencil try and scrawl out answers in what should look like a child’s handwriting. Except I have no idea what fractions and common denominters are anymore. I mean come on I learnt this 5000 years back. How am I supposed to know all this now. It’s like trying to remember your past lives. I run around helplessly trying to go through 4 pages of Math. My little niece sleeps peacefully.
Finally around 11 everything is done, model train , Math pages, Greek costumes etc. I am proud of it all. I stand back to admire my work.
The following evening I come back home, rush straight to the kids room.
“What grade did you get for the model train”?
“What, is your teacher mad…6 only…. that was awesome…it was a 10/10 model”
“And Maths were your sums correct….
“No there were 3 mistakes”
“How is that possible, is your teacher crazy”
“And what about the Greek costumes thing”
“Yeah that my teacher liked, but she said next time I should just print it”
“WHAT!!!!! tell her we shouldn’t waste paper, we should not print stuff that is not needed…BLAH BLAH!!!!”
My niece looks at me and tells me “Calm down its okay it was just home work…
Oh !I have a lot of homework today as well, you need to help me please”.