• Anarchist Milk Collective

Volunteering for the task

Gideon abhorred his former self for brashly volunteering himself for a task that he had little comprehension of or interest in. He was now sitting in the stuffy office, staring blankly at an excel spreadsheet, full of numbers and letters, impossible to decipher and going on for seemingly infinite rows.

He had no idea what the ask had been, and was incredibly confused as to what he was actually supposed to do with these numbers and letters, in neat little grids that stared blankly back at him.

He thought back to that meeting with the rest of his team, searching vainly for a clue as to what it was he was supposed to do. The team leader had asked for a volunteer to take on whatever this task was. Gideon, who had not been listening at the time, had had no intention of volunteering for this particular mission, confident was he in its pointlessness and triviality.

Indeed, his thoughts had been entirely elsewhere as he stared out of the window, watching the clouds drift lazily across the sunny sky, attempting to burst them with his imaginary mental powers. The question had brought his attention firmly back down to earth with a bump, and he glanced back round at the team, who were all looking very pragmatic and very serious.

He noticed, in particular, his line manager glaring at him rather pointedly. It was only a few days ago that Gideon had been told he should be more proactive. The line manager in question had reprimanded Gideon for his lack of focus and had suggested that Gideon take some initiative in volunteering for projects rather than simply being told to do them.

Gideon took this insidious glare as a firm reminder of their conversation and a signal that this was exactly the kind of initiative-showing task that he should be signing up for. Gideon was not overtly keen on showing that he had initiative, but was less keen on another ticking off.

With a knowing nod in the direction of his line manager, Gideon sat upright in his chair, smiled casually at the rest of the room to let them know that he had this and raised his hand, and stammered “Yeah, sure, I guess I can do this.”

The room reeled around to look at him in astonishment. Gideon grinned, “Yeah that’s right. I have initiative,” he thought to himself.

“Really?” asked the team lead.

“Sure, why not?” Gideon responded coolly.

“Well, it’s just very complicated work, and you might not be up to it. But you listened to the brief, and you think you can do it?”

“Of course, of course,” Gideon affirmed smuggly, instantly regretting those words as he realised that he had already forgotten what account this meeting had originally been for.

Nonetheless, he glanced proudly back at his line manager who was still glaring at him. Gideon was a little offended, and then his heart sank as he realised his line manager had in fact been squinting as a result of the sunlight that was streaming in through the windows.

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