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The lie of equal opportunities, and meritocracy in IT

By @magicvanillacloud

Starting the long commuting routine

Finally, the day had come that I was going to start my new job at Bundocks.

After about three months of unemployment, this felt like the mechanisms of my life were set back in motion.


I started taking my 1st long ride, down to Oxford, and then into Milton.

The commute was something out of a Londoner’s nightmare.

I had to spend around 8 hours on the bus daily.

For the 1st three months, I wouldn’t have any time to myself during the week.

Even though it sounds bad, the experience in itself wasn’t. The countryside was very pretty on the way there, and I got to wait for the second bus in jolly Oxford.

Some cities have a certain magic to them.

Every day, I would get to wait to see the big shark over the fish and chips place at the margins of Oxford. They had some sort of gigantic plastic shark installed over the place, and it looked very realistic.

Sometimes during these rides, I would get to make a small nap if I laid my head on my hat, and I would look around to see a whole load of new faces, when I woke up.

During one of these rides, I managed to almost finish Inferno by Dan Brown. Contrary to what many people think, I don’t think it was such a bad book. The whole reading experience made me wish I would be able to make a trip to Florence, and visit the whole itinerary of the book’s protagonists.

The book also taught me how to make a bellini cocktail, so I guess this is another pro-argument for the book.

When it comes to the whole argument why Dan Brown’s Inferno might be misogynistic or sexist, I would say that in order to create social change for the better, these changes need to be implemented gradually, and the defects of both sides in an argument should be explored.


My manager, Bob, was really worried about my long commute times, since I refused to tell him how much time I was spending on the bus each day. He did, however, give me a really cool tip, that I could set Google Keep to remind me to buy things when I approached shops, if I had my mobile data turned on. I thought this was a cool feature.


On my 1st day, I got to meet Jakub. He was a guy with severe weight, and skin problems whos entire demeanor inspired intelligence, and adaptability. Later in the story, it would be easy to confuse Jakub for a bad-guy when in fact he was just playing the game, and doing what was necessary to survive. Pity, because in another life it would have been interesting to be Jakub’s friend, even though he had a very thick firewall.


He started showing me a bunch of really easy work tasks on his monitor, and telling me more about the job. I struggled to retain everything, but Jakub did say that I don’t need to worry if I need to repeat a question. This was a good sign that the team was somewhat friendly.


One should note that during this time I was feeling really awkward and shy, trying to cling to every small opportunity to make a good impression, and be helpful.


Jakub said that he was going to go for a quick smoke, and I awkwardly asked to come along even though I was not a smoker. This may have been seen as weird, and this was the last thing that I wanted to appear as, but his whole persona kind of intrigued me.


We went outside, and he was giving me slightly wicked looks. This is the type of look that someone who thinks that they are superior, but not overly-nefarious gives someone. I have seen looks like that before. It didn’t bother me, and I guess that the lack of competitiveness on my part, may have been part of the disasters that followed. However, as you will see later, there wasn’t a shortage of contributions on my part.


Me and Jakub went back upstairs, and Jakub had a call with Bob.

This bit is kind of amusing, because Jakub had a cheerful chat with Bob, while having a cheerful conversation next to me while saying that “he has the personality of an 18 year old”.

Looking back and knowing all the nasty things that Jakub said about people in general, this was actually not so bad.

During the rest of the day, I got to know the teams in other departments as well.

Even though I was new, I did get the sensation that a feeling of overall cheerfulness was building up around me. Oddly enough people started to like me, and the time spent during the commute, the focus and the grooming had a slight payoff.

Given these facts, taking the cold bus-ride back home wasn’t even that bad, and the Oxford lights and Oxford feeling seemed to make it better still, even though I was feeling like a bit of a societal bottom scrounger.

I never cared about that. I was happy with my life, and who I was.


On the bus, I had all sorts of interesting and cool experiences, and got to see and hear small glimpses of other people’s life’s/journeys.

I can’t wait to tell you what happened next.

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