A doll or figure controlled by a person so that it appears to be moving on its own. A puppet can be fun, but if you feel like a puppet, it seems like someone is controlling you. Not fun.
Hand puppets' arms are controlled by the puppeteer's fingers, while marionettes have many more nuances of movement due to the strings attached to various parts of their bodies. These complex puppets can appear very human-like. Sometimes puppet means someone who is controlled by others: "He was president, but he was just a puppet for his political party."https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/puppet
Just a few weeks ago on May 27, 2018 at 7:40 am, I was catching a ride with a co-worker Nigel, a fellow expat teacher such as myself. I sold my car, a 2015 Kia Optima two months ago in preparation for my return to life in the United States, after living in a foreign country since 2014. I hopped in his small SUV and as I always do, I buckled my seat belt, turned around and said hello to his bright and happy little girls in the back seat, both of elementary age.
As the vehicle began to move, I looked at my colleague from Zimbabwe and I noticed that he was not wearing his glasses, but he was driving in his normal purposeful manor. I looked at him and as if he knew I was going to ask, he offered me a quick explanation. “I left my glasses on the kitchen counter this morning,” he admitted in a flustered tone. I had to ask him if he was near sighted or far sighted. He assured me he could see where he was driving, as his vision was only impaired by objects that are very close to him. I felt a little better, but I could not help but wonder, how a 38 year old man with children could leave his glasses at home, especially when he needs them to see, to function during the course of the day? That seemed very irresponsible, even silly to me.
As we approached the main road leading to the area where at least 20 private schools were located, he nervously began to talk about the “rumors” that were circulating amongst social media groups inhabited by the local expat teachers. I inhaled and exhaled slowly as I looked out of the passenger side window. Before he could finish, I already knew that whatever those people had to share was not going to be anything good, a bunch of bullshit to be exact.
I based my thought on years of hearing about “rumors” circulating on social media about this is going to happen to the job status of expats or that. Most of the so called information has mostly proven to not be true. Yet, I can sort of understand the constant circulation of the rumor mill, because the company we work for has shown a behavior pattern for not being completely upfront with its intentions and plans, with regard to its effects on expat employees. I have always maintained a positive and intentional state of mind, which has always worked aka universal law state of mind.
Yet, sure enough, he began to discuss how several teachers were emailed termination letters from the school system. He explained that teachers vented their anger and frustrations relentlessly over the weekend. The anger and fear explained by the people online with reckless abandon, apparently was very captivating to him.
“Did you get a termination letter,” he nervously asked me. I calmly and confidently reminded him that I resigned from the company two months ago. “I have no need to receive a termination letter, I’m leaving on my own terms,” I coolly replied. “Well…you should check…they may have sent you one anyway!” This is when I started to get irritated, “Look, I resigned, I am waiting for the process to go through the proper procedures and once it has, I am going to receive my letter of confirmation through email.” I further explained that they cannot suddenly change their mind and decide to fire me. I did my best to keep my composure, as I was getting irritated with the conversation and his nervous energy. Nevertheless, he had to mention that one of his best friends at the school where we work and several other teachers there, were terminated yesterday. I thought to myself “Wow, that’s low.”
My colleague dropped off his daughters as he began to drive towards our place of employment. I asked, “Did these guys receive any advance notice of possible termination?” “No, they were not told anything,” Nigel answered. I did my best to give him an educated response, “You know, the proper way to do things, is to tell someone what they are doing wrong and then work with them to correct the issue. If the problem doesn’t change, then I could understand if the company decides to take action,” I answered. “That is the professional way to do things but this is not a professional company,” Nigel replied.
In that moment, I understood why he left his glasses at his home. He was nervous as hell about receiving a termination letter, so much so, that the man left his glasses at home and may not have slept all night for all I know. I also thought to myself “Why does he want me to be fired? Why I gotta be scared and checking my email?”
We arrived at the school a short time later and since we are towards the end of the school year and since the country we work in celebrates and takes part in the tradition of the Holy Month of Ramadan, very few students had been present at the school within the last few days of this last school term. Thus, many teachers have been catching up on work or catching up on conversation. I went to this one teacher’s classroom where I and six other teachers were talking just the day before. The minute I got into that same room now 24 hours later, one of Nigel’s best friends, Emanuel a teacher from Nigeria, extended his hand and regretfully said “Jassir, I too will be leaving, I received a termination letter yesterday afternoon. It has been good working with you.” I didn’t really know what to say.Just yesterday he was asking me how he could lose the small pot belly he developed and how he has been exercising more lately. He had expressed a plan to stay four more years and how he like his children attending school here. Then just like that his plans were changed. I uttered an “I’m sorry to hear that,” as another teacher began to show concern for the brother’s story as well.
The fellow teacher who showed concern David, began to tell me a story about another expat teacher, as Emanuel walked away. “I know a fellow teacher from South Africa who was originally assigned to (I will just say city A). Headquarters called her and told her it was a mistake and she needed to be reassigned, after she had already bought new furniture for her place. She was told she needed to move here (I will just say city B) for a reassignment last October. She had to move on her own dime and what do you know she received a termination email yesterday as well. This place is so unprofessional.” I was simply trying to process the story as I was shaking my head.
Later on that day, I thought about how I was sitting in a classroom yesterday morning with six guys talking and laughing about students, sports and sharing stories about our home countries. Represented in that classroom was New Zealand, Africa and the United States, thus the stories, insights and comparisons were endless. Guys were talking about their plans for the summer and how much longer they planned on staying in this country to work and ideas or plans of pursuing another educational degree. Ideas of after-school activities for their children were shared as well.
Then in a span of a few hours of that same afternoon, grown men were forced to completely reevaluate their entire life and plans on a whim. Suddenly a household was thrown into chaos and complete uncertainty of the future or present. I could not help but to think of the timing of such news, during the Holy Month of Ramadan when the followers of Islam are supposed to be more observant and carrying about the needs and welfare of their fellow man and woman. Being more holy in thought and action and yet here you have a company that without a second thought, were turning the lives of people and their families in their country, upside down.
Over the next few days I would be pulled into this conversation of “Did such and such receive a termination letter?” I heard all of the people in the science department were terminated,” “I heard all of the expat administration will be terminated.” Just the worse topics of conversation. I recall standing around with five of my co-workers and one guy was saying he was moving his family to China were he would be working as a teacher and all of the wonderful benefits that were associated with the new job. Another guy was talking about his need to find a new job and how he has three babies under the age of 3 and a wife to take care of, in addition to his desire to not go back to South Africa. Another guy, a P.E. teacher walked up to our “circle” and was somewhat bragging about how all of the native P.E. teachers were fired and he is the only one who still has his job. Then that same asshole, asked the teacher from South Africa, “Hey, I heard you were fired is that true?”
I just looked at this MF, however the brother from South Africa confirmed his misfortune. Such a lame and insensitive character and such a ridiculous conversation to be involved with. Inevitably, the conversation turned to me and I once again had to confirm that I had already resigned two months ago and I am following the procedures to leave the country and go back to the United States. Once again, I was thinking “Why does someone want me to be fired?” Man, misery loves company, well I ain’t down with that, misery will be a lonely “Mutha Fickey” messing around with me.
On the fourth day of the five-day work week and the “week of tears,” I walked into the lobby of the school and most of the teachers that work there were sitting around. I was wondering what was going on and if there was a meeting of some type that I had not heard about through email or text message, which is a routine occurrence here at the school. A meeting can just spring up out of nowhere. Nigel did say that this company is very unprofessional, I didn’t disagree or try to defend it.
I witnessed guys sitting around looking frustrated, uneasy and nervous. Within a span of two minutes as I stood around with fellow teachers looking around the room, I kept hearing the same thing, “Is there a meeting?” and “No I didn’t hear anything.” I witnessed guys consistently checking their phones for text messages or SMS, checking their work email. I could not help but to think of how sad this scene was. After so many within this room having their lives turned upside down, they still were so diligent about being on time and wanting to be sure to be present at a meeting, that may or may not actually happen, the source of its supposed happening, probably yet another “rumor.”
In my twisting way of seeing things and thinking, I just looked at these guys, these men and thought of how they are being treated as children. In this country, only men are allowed to teach boys, only women are allowed to teach girls, thus I work with men only. Yet, these men are absolutely living at the whim of someone else. Not only that, but all of us in that room were from other countries, various places around the world and yet most of people in the roomed were wrapped in the same uncomfortable situation, irregardless of native language. Nonetheless, I being the rebel, resigned and thus found myself in a completely different state of mind than everyone else.
The next day was more of the same, as I decided to show up to work in a black t-shirt, jeans and black and white addidas shell toes. I was semi protesting the unprofessionalism of the company. I was looked at as an oddball, as everyone else was still wearing dress pants, collared shirt, dress shoes or even a suit. I was getting the “stupid” look, like “How dare you not dress appropriately for work, this is a place of business and professionalism.” The shade I received was real, though no one said anything to me specifically about my clothes. Why do I mention this? Because, even with the stench of bad news in the air, guys were still trying to look “job ready.” Maybe they were hoping that the company would change their minds and such was even spoken by an expat administrator at our school of employment, who had recently received the hook.
However, after being told you no longer have a job and the future of yourself and your family, in particularly your children, being put in jeopardy, why would one even want to come back and work here? Why work for someone that truly has no value in you as a human being? Why work for anyone at all in 2018, in this technology and entrepreneurial driven society we live in?
I couldn’t help to observe and label this situation as PUPPETS ON A STRING. Its CRUEL or IS IT? I saw it as men willing to allow another man to play with their emotions, the lives of their family and their future, willingly. Not even a huge slap in the face, such as an unexpected termination email, could stop these guys from being willing to put their lives in the hands of this company again or another company or man’s hands. I have walked around this school in the days since my mini rebellion, saying hello, holding conversation as usual. Yet, in my mind I cannot help but wonder about the sanity of working for someone else in 2018. Hell, I have been guilty of it and up till now did not decide to make a change fully. The frustration of not doing what I enjoy and being involved with something that was only paying the bills while not being rewarding in the least, was too much for me. The compromising of my integrity for a check was too much as well. I apparently was the only one who felt that way.
But here you have it, the whole world has changed and with it, the ways to make money. The “Gig Economy” has steadily been in the news for several years. According to the website Investopedia it is defined as-temporary, flexible jobs that are commonplace and companies tending towards hiring independent contractors and freelancers, instead of full-time employees. A gig economy undermines the traditional economy of full-time workers who rarely change positions and instead focus on a lifetime career.
Read more: Gig Economy Definition | Investopedia https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/gig-economy.asp#ixzz5HYuRt7Fi
Furthermore Investopedia had this to add-Those who don't engage in using technological services such as the Internet tend to be left behind by the benefits of the gig economy. While not all employers tend toward hiring contracted employees, the gig economy trend often makes it harder for full-time employees to fully develop in their careers, since temporary employees are often cheaper to hire and more flexible in their availability. Additionally, computers have developed to the point that they can take the place of the jobs people previously held. In many cases, employers cannot afford to hire full-time employees to do all the work they need done, so they hire part-time or temporary employees to take care of busier times or specific projects. On the side of the employee, people often find that they need to move around or take more than one position in order to afford the lifestyle they want.
I will also add that even though universities and colleges continue to accept students, degrees are turning out to mean less and less and pile up more and more debt for students. A certificate or certification in a particular field, especially in the technology field, can be attained in a shorter period of time and for less money than the four year university a reap faster benefits in many cases. How many people working at Starbucks and Walmart have advanced degrees...shiiiit.
How many people are there, selling something online? How many people with a laptop, microphone and a camera are sharing their opinions without thinking about selling something? How many robots(AI) are being put in place to take over the job of a human?
I will take it further and touch one my favorite talking points, which is, how many people have found and are following their purpose? That is, if they know what it is. Your purpose is a guide and a tool for self analysis. Its that place at the fork in the road, were you can go left or right.
The world has changed and being at the mercy of a job is not the only move anymore. There are just too many opportunities and more importantly, it’s a time when living out purpose and being truly happy is the ultimate chess move. Check out my blog post "Their Way is not Your Way," if you need more motivation. https://www.jassirinassor.com/the-spiritual-satire/there-way-is-not-your-way-science-of-getting-rich
Many people are going to have to or be forced to make a decision, to either live life on their own terms or be a puppet on a string. What is the best choice for you?
By the way Nigel still has a job, but is he really at peace?
late 14c., "authoritative resolution of a matter," from Old French terminacion (13c.) and directly from Latin terminationem (nominative terminatio) "a fixing of boundaries, a bounding, determining," noun of action from past participle stem of terminare "to mark the end or boundary," from terminus "end, limit" (see terminus). Meaning "end of a person's employment" is recorded from 1961; sense of "assasination" is recorded from 1975.
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