I’ve used the office printer for personal prints, occasionally stopped at the grocery or babysitter’s while using the company’s car, frequently use the work laptop for blogging or personal mails… but that about sums up the extent to which I abuse official services/stuff.
Then I see all around me people who are so unashamedly sticky fingered with office goods.
Growing up I was constantly angry at my father for making me top up my short pencil stubs with old Reynold’s shells, to make it last longer; this after he has made the pencil last longer than it ideally would have with regular use of sharpener — pencils at home where always sharpened with a special blade/knife. Every piece of paper was recycled, and if I wanted doodle pads it was always on waste typewriter sheets that were blessed enough to escape double-side typing.
Whittled down crayons and colour pencils, sketch pens that were crying to be retired.
Sagging socks that were held up with store-bought rubber bands that cut into your calf, but apparently also ‘built character’.
Really cruel, considering he had unrestricted access to his office stationery that included nylon rubber bands.
On the rarest of times that the office car found its way home, we were never allowed to get into it. Even if he was going the same way as one of us, we never got a lift to the market or the school.
Then there were the privileged kids who had an uninterrupted supply of fresh stationery, which they proudly announced were from their dad’s office; the office drivers that dropped and picked up the kids, and carried lunch for them; the peons who polished the school shoes; the secretaries who helped them with the school projects – it all sounded so dreamlike. A fairytale world I wish I could inhabit, in which my father was a benign being who put all his official apparatuses at my disposal.
I knew we were not rich and I knew we were not poor. I also knew my father was one miserly person who was only willingly to spend money on courses, books, libraries and annual holidays, but never on clothes and other paraphernalia.
I had a slightly less-deprived childhood and teenage than my sisters, because they were all working and married by then, and willing to pamper me.
A good 18 years after I passed out of school, I see the same stories all over.
I’ve heard of people who put chart papers and markers (required for school projects) on company account! Living in the Gulf, you can’t get cheaper than that.
I see spouses who use company services for domestic needs – including drivers, cars, stationery, cleaners and other services.
If you can’t afford the use of these things, then you should learn to live without.
And if you can afford it, then employ paid services, call a cab, get your own car, or whatever; don’t bum off the husband/wife’s company.
I understand when there is an emergency, but not when it’s a matter of routine.
This is corruption.
Yes, there is no actual cash changing hands. But all of these services/personnel/goods have a cash value.
Like most things these day, for me everything boils down to a parenting issue.
It’s really of concern, because children grow up without realising the difference between right, wrong and grey. How will they learn the importance of earning and paying for stuff they use, and being responsible for it?
It will start with erasers from amma’s office, pencils from appa’s, office driver running around for your activities, the peon cleaning your room and then what else?
Am I being hyper or is anyone else bothered?