|'Catch on fire and people will come for miles to see you burn' (John Wesley)|
I want you to visualize the day your retire from your corporate career.
You work in a flashy office block, a place in which for decades of your life you laughed at the right jokes, held doors open for the right people and offered yourself up for sacrifice for the good of the company.
Well, today is your retirement day and you will make the ultimate sacrifice.
Your boss has invited you to a 'Retire before 40.' ceremony, You've never heard about it and it's no where to be found in the company' personnel manual.
When the boss spoke these words on the phone, he sounded uncomfortable and odd.
Regardless, like a good corporate drone, you obey your bosses command and arrive at the agreed time. Your whole department are sitting behind their desks wearing black masks with small slits for eyes. Their mouths and noses lay hidden behind the dark cloth. They are typing, click clicking away, heads still and staring at their glaring screens.
I can see it now, you in your black suit, shoes reflecting the goodness of the day, traipsing, limply, towards the company's dark alter, a wooden pyre, set up the corner of the office.
You feel irresistibly drawn to it as if by an invisible force.
Draped across your body, a decorative sash adorned with frivolous motivational quotes flaps noiselessly as you pass though a cold blast of air conditioning.
'Don't stop when you are tired. Stop when you are done!'
'Expect problems and eat them for breakfast!'
Your boss used to make you stand up and chant these during 'Motivational Sessions' every week.
As you make your way down the thin blue carpet, you notice standing on either side of the sacrificial pyre Steve and Nick.
These are the two bastards you hate the most.
Steve has been stealing your clients for years and somehow getting away with it; while Nick tried it on with your wife in the reception area of the Candlenut during the department's 'Business with Pleasure' evening. And here they both are now banging ornate wooden drums as you approach.
They leer disgustingly at you, their eyes flashing and ghastly. Boom, boom, boom goes their rhythm, and a deep death wheeze ushers from their dry lips as they exhale in unison.
'Can this really be the end of my corporate life? Am I really going to lie down on the alter and strike the match?'
You reach the pyre, eardrums popping, head pounding. It towers over you menacing and imperious. You look up and at the edifice, and, tied securely, is a life-sized portrait photo of you the day you started with the company.
Innocent eyes, watery, like those of a child, peer down. A smile as wide as an Amazon confluence stretches each side of your mouth to snapping point.
You remember the day this picture was taken.
Your first day in the corporate battlefield, and you glowed with pride.
Fresh out of university and into the 'Real World' as your father called it.
'Work separates the men from the boys son. Get in there. Show them what you are made of and remember... always please your boss!'
Your father spoke these very words, his glasses balancing on the tip of his pink, veiny snout. He uttered them with such sincerity as if announcing some maxim that would change the course of history.
That was then and this is now.
The drums continue their monotony and sky turns scarlet and blue outside the window.
The air reeks of gasoline.
It is time.
You take one last glance up at the picture of your former self, sit down on some dry kindling in between Steve and Nick and flick a match high into the air. It seems to take an eternity to come back down, but when it lands, you are engulfed in a inferno of corporate hell fire.
This is the end of your corporate self.
Now you may begin afresh.
The time for living has come.