CHICAGO—Local resident Stephen Durkee's job at D&L; Media Solutions has become utterly dehumanizing in such small increments that he almost didn't even notice, the 32-year-old office manager told reporters Monday.
Durkee, who has worked at D&L; since 2002, said that dozens of minor policy changes, coupled with his easily cowed personality, have gradually served to make each work day an unbroken series of degrading humiliations.
"Now that I think about it, a lot of little things have sort of slowly added up, like when they reduced my lunch hour to 30 minutes last October," Durkee said while walking CFO Janice Dugan's poorly behaved English bulldog, Twombly, a task that cannot be found in Durkee's extensive job description. "In and of itself, I suppose that isn't really that terrible. Until you consider the five different job-title changes I've endured over the past two years and the fact that I had to buy my own computer for work."
"I guess it would be weird to complain about that stuff now, though," continued Durkee, tying up a plastic bag and slowly getting back up to his feet. "What are you gonna do?"
In addition to the single small raise he's received and the loss of various benefits that have almost imperceptibly contributed to his professional impotence, Durkee's good nature and work ethic have made him subject to domination by both his superiors and peers.
By his estimate, Durkee has been guilted or bullied into taking on 34 extra responsibilities on top of his regular duties.
"I don't actually remember how I got roped into handling the junior executives' expense reports," Durkee said. "It's another one of those things. Like how I have to pick up all of the mail in the lobby now instead of everyone just getting their own."
"Wait…I shouldn't have to do that, right?" Durkee added before looking around his poorly lit cubicle, the size of which has been reduced by an average of six inches per year to make room for—among other things—several dozen boxes of old tax records, unpaid interns, and a large coatrack that Durkee himself was forced to assemble. "Should I?"
Though Durkee has been stripped to little more than a neutered shell of his former self, he has reportedly started carrying out pathetic, completely unnoticed acts of rebellion in an effort to preserve some shred of what he believes to be his dignity.
"Sometimes, when I go to pick up [marketing vice president] Mr. [Louis] Ridge's dry- cleaning, I'll also stop at Starbucks for 20 minutes and then make up some excuse about why it took me so long," Durkee said with heartbreaking glee after lending senior media buyer Erik Sommers, who makes nearly triple his salary, $10 for lunch. "I know it's kind of silly and childish, but if I didn't have a little fun every now and then, I'd probably go nuts."
Despite Durkee's dim awareness that his job has become totally degrading on every conceivable level, he said that he currently has no plans to extricate himself from his subhuman existence.
"I know it's not an ideal situation, but I can't just up and quit. I still have all that debt from getting my MFA, and then of course the mortgage and car payments," Durkee said. "What am I supposed to do? I really need this job."
"Besides, I don't want my wife to call me a worthless faggot in front of my friends again," Durkee added.