I signed up for a Friendster account last night, after 17 million people had already signed up for one. I did that because I found someone's blog and I wanted to add a comment. Dumb thing won't let me comment unless I was a member. Great sales gimmick; good thing membership is free.
It's really sad as a new member. As I set up my account, the counter reminds me how pathetic my life is. It reads, "You have (0) friends." So I edit my profile, recalling bits of my life, interests and hobbies hoping to attract the attention of other people who might share my wavelength. Maybe that counter would rise a little higher if so.
I also search around a bit to find names of people I know. Not many names appear, at least for my age group (ancient) so it's either my contemporaries are far and few between or they're just not net savvy enough. Nonetheless, I do find a few names, and coincidentally, they're the people I hang out with on campus and off anyway. So I "invite" them to be my Friendster friends and await a favourable reply.
Thing is, as I search through millions of names and faces wondering who and where my friends are, I flash back to an unrelated piece of info someone divulged a couple of days ago. There is another bunch of staff leaving either for greener pastures or the service altogether. It's an annual cycle and of course the industry is a bit concerned about its annual turnover rate. I might have been a statistic, myself. My intention was to fulfill my 3-year contract and leave to rejoin MU (not Manchester United) full-time. Nearly 6 years later, I'm still keeping my tab running.
Part of the reason is that I need the money, but if that was the only reason I'd be the saddest sod on the planet. The workload and responsibilities keep piling up year after year, and the restrictions get tighter and tighter. It's not the kids who keep me around, though they have their charm and their ability to keep the place interesting and challenging.
What's really keeping me around are my fellows in the staff room. The people we can discuss work with but, more often than not, anything other than work. Having meals is riotous with insults thrown around, insinuations made, aspersions cast, characters defamed and having generally unwholesome talk around the table. We compete hard with each other in our games, we celebrate our happy events and we chill out after hours. We even get in trouble together, occasionally receiving the same 'gentle' reminders in our email inboxes.
In a workplace that's crazy but pretends to be sane, it's great to be able to gather a few people together with whom we can be sane but pretend to be crazy. Thanks, guys!