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Power trippin’

November 22, 2009

Noun: power trip
1. a self-aggrandizing action undertaken simply for the pleasure of exercising control over other people.

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed recently, it’s that more and more people in crappy jobs seem to be power tripping. In other words, exploiting what little responsibility they have in order to seem more important or more influential than they actually are. The reasons for embarking on a power trip are varied: boredom, resentment, or perhaps most commonly (and disturbingly), an actual belief that what they do matters and is of vital importance to society. Thus I present a list of occupations with a disposition towards power tripping.

Metcops
A no-brainer really. Everyone’s favourite wannabe Gestapo, the Metcop (ab)uses his authority with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Roving in trench coat-clad packs, they prowl public transportation convinced they are walking amongst criminals. With a flash of a badge (his most treasured possession), the Metcop will sternly demand to see your ticket and scrutinise it for longer than necessary before grudgingly handing it back to you, all the while wishing he had a night stick he could beat you with (just like a real cop!). Worse still are their undercover counterparts. I was on a train once in an almost empty carriage when four guys jumped up and started flashing their badges like they were John yippee-ki-yay motherfucking McClane. Unfortunately for them, I was the only passenger in the carriage who wasn’t a Metcop and so the theatrics went unappreciated. For fun, act scared and hesitant when asked to show your ticket and then wipe the victorious smile off their faces with a casual “Oh, here it is!”

Low-level supervisors
Next to Metcops, low-level supervisors are right up there when it comes to power tripping. Prominent examples include McDonalds managers and retail supervisors. That $17 an hour really can go straight to your head. I’ve been given a life ban from a McDonalds because I didn’t put my rubbish in the bin. And don’t get me started on “appearance at work” lectures. I really don’t think a customer is not going to buy a TV because they didn’t factor in my shirt being untucked. I find the whole “professional appearance” rhetoric more bullshit than Howard’s refugee rhetoric (and that’s fucking bullshit). I work at a Target. Professional shouldn’t come into that equation because a) it’s retail, the career that could, and b) it’s Target! Professional involves things like a university education, offices and large salaries, not slaving away as a trainee manager in a department store for years on end hoping to become a full manager so you can earn that $40k a year.

Lollipop ladies
Ah yes, the humble lollipop lady. On paper they seem nice: helping small children cross the road safely while fending off  soccer mum-containing four-wheel drives. However, try and cross the road on their patch without pressing the button and all hell will break loose. I was scolded (there’s no other word for it) by a lollipop lady once for pushing the button and crossing before the light had turned red. Evidently the lollipop lady handbook has a section on road crossing ownership, as a lollipop lady will defend to the death her right to push the button, tell you when to cross, and make you cringe with embarrassingly bad small talk. To really yank their chain, blatantly jaywalk a metre from the crossing…without checking for traffic. The nerve!

Arrogant students
With an aura of perceived perfection, the arrogant student is perhaps the worst offender. While not a power trip per se, the arrogant student will compile a list of things that annoy him, mock various professions, and ridicule people who probably make more money than he does. He will then indulge in some self-deprecating material because he really has no idea how else to end such a list. A conclusion? Some final remarks? No. The arrogant student believes he doesn’t need such things. Instead, he is content to leave it up in the air because there is simply no way his piece could possibly be improved. Typical.

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