The posting that inspired the biggest reaction recently was a relatively simple one about a banker who was thinking about retraining as a teacher.
I saw the gentleman in question at the weekend and the idea of becoming a teacher no longer seems so attractive to him!
But the comment posted by Karuna Menon about teachers' salaries also triggered a lot of reaction. He pointed to a survey which said a senior primary school teacher gets more than HK$50,000 a month, which is US$6,400 a month, or US$80,000 a year!
One teacher emailed in this explanation: "In primary schools, 'senior teacher' is the term used for 'head of department' in a secondary school, or 'dean' in a university, or 'divisional director' in a business. So please don't assume that little Ms Chan who teaches art to your little angel is earning a fortune. She isn't. The good salaries are reserved for members of the management team. They may deserve it. After all, they are running a massive organization AND they have come up the hard way, through the classrooms."
Lots of teachers talked about the satisfaction in their jobs. This contrasts greatly with the anonymous paper-shuffling that constitutes most office jobs, rightfully known as "cube farms".
Last week we talked about diets. I think one of the reasons why office workers need to go on diets is that we sit for 10 hours a day at computers in cubicles.
One of the mysteries of modern life is this: Just at the time that "out of the box" becomes the top catchphrase for organizations, bosses put us into cubicles to work. How can we think out of the box when we're IN boxes all day?
I asked a furniture designer for an answer. She replied that cubicles replaced open desks to give office workers more privacy.
Rubbish. The opposite is true. Cubicles destroy the ambient noise that used to fill offices, so now we work in silence and are forced to eavesdrop on our colleagues' personal calls.
I once sat opposite a guy whose love-life was so complicated that I did no work. I spent all my time working on a flow chart of his affairs. It was like a wiring chart for a jumbo jet, only more complex.
I currently have one irritating workmate who sneaks to the entrance of my cubicle and reads out loud whatever he can see on my screen over my shoulder.
"Working on a novel?" he said yesterday.
"No," I replied. "I am emailing the hit man I hired to get rid of you, telling him to hurry up."
He didn't get the joke. This led to me decide that perhaps it shouldn't be a joke. What with the economic downturn, even contract killers are probably now within the range of affordability for ordinary people. Hey, every cloud DOES have a silver lining.
This murderous meditation on cubicle life was inspired by a letter from a reader named Wanda Cheng who shared with me her list, probably partly stolen from the Internet, which she calls:
The Ten Worst Things About Working in Cubicles
1. The feeling that I am in an experiment and thousands of unseen people are watching me sleep at my desk.
2. The lack of roof beams, which is a clear design fault. Where can I hang my noose?
3. The fabric walls, which offer no protection from gunfire.
4. The fact that the walls are too close together for a hammock to hang correctly.
5. The fact that there is only one socket but I have eight things to plug in.
6. The fact that prison cells are not only bigger, but have beds.
7. The fact that I can never open email attachments from my boyfriend without checking behind me that no one is passing.
8. The fact that when visitors tour the office, we feel like interesting zoo animals to stare at.
9. The fact that when visitors don't tour the office, we feel like boring zoo animals no one wants to stare at.
10. There's no door I can shut to stop people interrupting my work, okay, my sleep.
And of course, Wanda, the worst thing of all is that there is no door to slam when you finally quit and walk out.
I left my last job quietly. And I took the wiring diagram with me, heh-heh.