I stared at my computer screen in disbelief and horror. A pay scale of $400 every fortnight! Unreal! I felt constrictions in my throat. My heartbeat sped up; tears stung my eyes. Conspiratorial forces rocked my sane world; feeling powerless, I struggled to comprehend what could have caused such an unreasonable pay cut. A reduction in wages alone cannot compensate for the country’s financial deficit caused by COVID.
‘Did I receive any warnings?’ I asked myself.
‘Or did I not sense the political act behind the manoeuvre?’
Indefinite torture, harassment and intimidation; I did not expect this juncture in my life. Humiliated, devalued, dethroned; words of negation plagued me. Recent years occurrences hurled me into an abyss of despair. Life underwent dramatic changes when I crossed the threshold of the education industry and forced my entry into the world of authoring first and then publishing.
Naïve to misinterpret an act of manipulation as an accidental slip, I knocked at the door of salaries demanding and requesting at once my previous wages’ restoration; the only pay scale befitting an educator with fifteen years of experience with innumerable opportunities to climb the ladder. Short-lived jubilation at sighting the deducted salary in my personal account of a reputed financial institution gave birth to false hope. Little did I realize that this deliberate act of deception would lead to a career trajectory; the aspirations’ cessation in an unrewarding and prejudiced industry where currymunchers could co-exist only if they maintain a low profile and don’t dream big; a fascination’s inception to embrace the GLAM industry for a profession.
‘What was I thinking?’ Soaring to heights, being exclusive only to the rednecks and the influential, I dared to venture into a forbidden realm, keen to ward off mediocrity. Multiculturalism, National Language Policy and cultural inclusions sounded impressive on paper.
Who shoulders the responsibility of implementing the existing policies to the spirit of the letter? Was it worth sacrificing my life at the altar of nepotism?
Voices screaming at me betrayed a sense of urgency, reverberating the warning, ‘it is now or never.’ Patience, a virtue, became a thing of the past. Servitude to conformity appeared unattractive and undesirable. What option do I have other than threaten with resignation to salvage my dignity?
Pushed from the pedestal of glory, and outnumbered by power whores, I shied away from stooping to conquer. Swindled, slandered and scandalized all my life, my capacities to tolerate injustice became questionable. My thoughts strayed; my vision registered on the NetBank page. $400 after the deductions. Endless fortnights of a role less and description less halved pay scale seemed uninviting and ominous. Reprimanded and demoted, resuming duty despite impermanency would be traumatic with jeers, insults and contemptuous expressions flung at me with an unfathomable deliberation. Misrepresentation of facts and constant sabotage nullified my achievements in the industry, confirming the absurdity of my existence.
Resign I did, separation from the industry that encouraged inequity followed. A life, tumultuous till then, came to a pause for a significant moment. A strange calm, despite the uncertainties overwhelmed me. The moment lapsed, and I rose to steer my life in a new direction to explore alternative possibilities. Come what may!