marko susla – burnt out



Burnt Out; a State of Affairs by Marko Sulsa


I would love to write you a short little essay to accompany this photograph. But, you see, the thing is that my co-worker was laid off just before the Holidays. The day before to be precise. It was part of right sizing, workforce reduction, organizational realignment to maintain corporate competitiveness, or what ever you wish to call it. Some big expensive consulting group came in and reduced us to little plastic soulless pawns on a Monopoly board and knocked us off as they pleased to fit their game strategy, scattering us all over the floor without any regard to our true value or long term strategic planning. Only what fit their current perception of corporate reality. Now I have to do the work of two people. It is an unwritten, unspoken addendum to my job description. By the time I get home, the wife is in bed and the kids are all asleep. The dog is curled up in his bed because the kids already played him out and the cat is curled up in a warm spot hiding somewhere in the kid’s room not wanting to be bothered. All I can do is to eat my cold dinner, watch the late night news, and worry if I will have a job at the end of this quarter.


51 Responses to “marko susla – burnt out”

  • Holy shit! And I thought my MacBook got a little hot sometimes.

  • I find this photo tough to respond to. its a constructive way of letting some angry energy out. powerful image and powerful words. Look for the hidden blessings in this mess of a situation, the future is uncertain and holds in it the possibility of good as well as bad.

  • I don’t mind seeing this photograph Marko; just as long as the laptop belongs to the “Company”. I too have worked in the Corporate Sector. Glad I’m out. If it happens to you, think of it as an opportunity. I imagine Akaky will have something to say about this one.

    Best wishes, good fortune,


  • Talking about Macbooks; my granddaughter called her daddy’s laptop a “Muckbook Hair”! Classic.


  • What an apt metaphor for these times. All our irrational exhuberance, all our speculating and crushing of virtual numbers, all our 401k’s and investments with the Madoffs of the world, lost…it speaks to the sheer unreality of the cybernetic financial world that we have constructed, which is now melting beneath our feet. Everything has been reduced to zeros and ones, stuffed inside machines that are all too fallible.

    Not that we should stuff our money under the mattress because even paper money is virtual, but MAKE PRINTS of any photo you deem important. Don’t trust the cyber-world:)

    Anybody see John Stewart last night tear a new one into the whole finance industry?

  • Great multiple metaphor. Soulless, empty, burnt out, a slave to technology and to “stuff” and to the system that is firmly in place to make people live to work, to buy more stuff so people can work to buy more stuff, to feed the machine, to have debt, to be slaves. Why? Where in this equation are we human?

    Burn it.

  • The story more interesting to me than the photo, one of hundreds I can stupidly google, anytime. Dozens of documentary people photos would illustrate the story better.

  • as a pic, doesnt do anything for me….as Stoop as eloquently written, …now, as part of another conceptual project (the burning of u and I), I’d have to see that….but as a pic itself…even for Mr. always-positive, i doesnt burn me….

    but this looks like my head after a day of writing on Burn ;))))))…

    for me, only 1 good (if u can call it good) think that this mess creates: perspective….that we HAVE computers to burn means we are ridiculously wealthy compared with most of the world…i try to keep that in mind…

  • like out of a diary…pretty depressing !

  • bobblack writes,
    “but this looks like my head after a day of writing on Burn ;))))))…”

    Clearly the left side represents some exchanges with Jim :>))

  • STOOP….BOB….

    i did not think it a particularly “good” photo either…for some reason just seemed appropriate for the mood i was in …one of those bad/good photos…liked the story….will not hang long…just a break from all the post production chat that seemed to have run its course…

  • Marko – attempt to switch to a company that buys ThinkPads instead. This is not a sarcasm. Thinkpads are descriptive of a sturdiness – both the machine and the company.
    Instead your company chose to go with sony battery loaded dell and has no IT department to follow up with a recall and exchange the explosive device. run away, man.

    I get feisty when people talk about lay offs. No one is secure, but the inner security is what makes the dinner warm and the sun orange between hours of 5 and 6pm your time. Do your homework, get secure.

    Portrait of the victim is alright. I’d prefer this version though
    At least there is a substantial reason to get fired.

    The photo worked, DAH, didn’t it?


  • Not to be unsympathetic, since we’re living in unique times, but I would advise not getting comfortable anywhere. Our long term well being will always be best served by personal ingenuity, not by care from corporations or government.

    “The social responsibility of business is to increase profits” or so says notable economist Milton Friedman.

    I’m out for the rest of the day – sorry I can’t comment more.

  • David McG..
    Totally agree.. Nobody should feel secure
    This is the american reality George W B. Created…

    I also agree with Haik..
    “security” should be worked more on our minds..
    “Everything flows” the ancient Greeks used to teach..
    and I’m glad that BUDDHA agreed..

    ..but Haik.. Don’t you think that the “fish”
    should keep things humid??
    Ohhhh now I see..
    The ELECTRIC FISH caused a “short”…
    My oh my…
    I’m not gonna open that photo again…
    I only have one laptop left..

  • … And I was about to say..
    That’s not a MacBook !!!!
    It’s a Dell!!!:(

  • Marko, I’ll chip in for the gas to burn the other half.

  • i agree. this picture does not do much. BUT i like it for some reason. looking at what bob posted…. the point of having computers when most cannot afford some. in some way… this image holds something of its own… maybe i am crazy… interesting post. nice shift!

  • I loved that photo..
    Let me be “Jim” for a moment..
    I loved it .. Plus this photo can
    be sold in “stock”.. And sell more
    Than all of our essays here..combined
    ( trying not to laugh..)
    But yep.. That’s the “sad” reality..

    But the reason I find this photo
    Successful is because it really made
    me feel.. I felt “bad”..
    I remembered that day that my laptop
    Battery was recalled..
    The day that I realized that I could
    have set the whole house on fire..
    There is another “symbolic” side on this
    photo ..
    Death to all post proccessing..
    ( just kiddin’ again ALL welcome to 2009 )
    Y’all know how much I love computers..

    Anyways.. I’m so happy that I’m BURNing right now..
    Because I’m trying to get out of my
    Current reality..
    I’m in the EMERGENCY ROOM..
    It’s not me the “patient” this time..
    Sorry if I’m disappointing y’all ..
    It’s Freida that’s hurting..
    Anyway .. I hate hospitals..
    I’m hypocondriac to the fullest..
    I’m afraid of IV’s
    Needles.. Tests.. this and that..
    Freida is asleep.. And I’m freaking out..
    I feel pains all over my body .
    I feel like quitting smoking today..
    I feel like quitting everything today..
    Ok… I need to keep it together..
    Sorry if I’m gonna be a little cranky today..:(

  • Panos wrote,
    “I’m afraid of IV’s”

    There must be a pill for that :>))

    Seriously,though. best of luck to Freida.
    As a diversion from your anxieties (and if it doesn’t get you kicked from the hospital)
    why don’t you shoot what’s going on around you,there. In the last dozen lines of your post
    you laid out about 8 excellent image ideas.

  • I’m trying.. To shoot with the iPhone though..
    I just can’t detach my mind from the “event”..
    Though.. I got sucked into her pain..
    I don’t know how to do it..
    I’m shaking.. I will never be
    NACHTWEY.. but I think that’s
    fine.. We have a Nachtwey already..
    Question to ALL..
    How do you detach?? From someones pain?
    Especially someone you love ??
    Don’t ask me.

  • panos, have you ever expressed/represented your political views through your photography?

  • Robert,
    Amazing photo…
    I was always “afraid” to express my political views through photography!
    but you just gave me a great idea…
    thank you!

  • Panos, “How do you detach?? From someones pain?” – hopefully you never do.

    The usual motive given is that, in showing the pain of others, the photographer hopes to do some good; perhaps not for the subject of the photograph but for others who may suffer: either that or that it shows the Human Condition. It’s a complex multi-faceted minefield of a subject. My own take is that, if it feels awkward, don’t shoot. Usually, don’t shoot.

    Henri Cartier Bresson (HCB) is credited with saying that there are only two things that we should not photograph: the moment of birth and the moment of death. I suppose it comes down to respect. Hope Freida is o.k.


  • panos,

    you brought me back from the dead. rafal’s writeup killed me.

    so “how do you detach from someone’s pain? especially someone you love? ”

    take this from someone who’s afraid of IVs and has put in so many: YOU DONT. you dont love her any less, you love her even more. you hold her hand and you become one. the pain will not be as intense because she knows you’re there. but you do have to be strong and you carry her through this. pain is only physical. being alone through physicalities can kill. you touch her more, you tell her you love her and say it out loud.

    this is not necessarily a tangent from this specific image. these times are hard. your (panos’) struggle is about everybody else’s today. know you are not alone.

    to freida: there is tomorrow and ice cream will be 2 for $5 at the supermarket. so i hope panos will get you some of that.

    luvs and prayers

  • Gracie, Mike R, Haik, Robert, ALL..
    THANK U for the support and “keeping me busy”…
    i dont feel alone anymore…
    Im out of the E.R. right now… for an hour…
    ( doctors order )… i will be back soonest…
    again thank all… means a lot.. even to a cynic like me :(

  • Interesting image, I would love to see it ablaze and then smoldering but it does fit the story.

  • i agree with michael – i would have liked to have seen it ablaze. i definitely is appropriate for today…

  • So?

    This refers to both the story and the photo.


  • What is “IVs”?
    Panos, send my best wishes to Freida!
    I hear you! Try to calm down if possible.

  • Panos, try to calm down. I hear you!
    Kind regards and good luck to Freida!
    What is IVs?

  • Mark, sell everything, take the wife, the kids to Cambodia, or some place where they still grow rice by hand (and watch it grow!), build a little guest house, and relax. You will be poor and happy, it’s also called wise….

    Not kidding.

  • Reimar ,
    Thank u! IV.. is that cable that stick in a vain to
    feed someone unconscious etc..


    “How do you detach from someone’s pain?”

    You practice compassion (suffering with another) but stay clear within yourself that it is Freida’s body not yours that is in pain.

    You hold her hand and tell her you love her…over and over.

    If you’re Panos, you photograph what you are most afraid of.

    You take a break and go outside and smell the wind and listen to the birds.

    You do what you can to help take care of the kids.

    You try not to disappear into alcohol, dope or your iPhone.

    You know we’re there with you. You are not alone.

    You cry if you need to.

    warm hugs from

  • @Herve. And don’t forget to make sure the village shaman is well versed in manual dentistry. Other than that, rice farming is truly an awesome way to spend one’s stupid life, up to one’s ass in muck!

  • @Stupid. Thanks for reminding those who are growing rice that they have an awesome life. I am sure they must have forgotten.

    One question: are you eating rice from time to time?

  • PANOS…

    missed your comment on Frieda the first time around….please let me know if there is any way i can help…i am pretty far away to do you any real good from a logistical perspective….i guess all i can do is pretty much “second” Patricia’s missive….anyway, please call or text if the time is right….

    cheers, david

  • Yes… Thanks..
    I will sleep in the hospital tonight..
    Doctors are doing all kinds tests to find
    out what the hell is going on!!!
    Ok.. I gotta go..
    Sorry for bringing everybody down..

  • @John Vink. I wasn’t the one stupidly bringing rice growing as an alternative, supperior occupation into the discussion, but if you insist on knowing, yes, I eat whole grain rice on a regular basis. Doesn’t mean I think growing it is a better way to make a living than the stupid one I chose. Even if I were to lose it.

    be strong
    take care of yourself too…
    sending Freida and you
    And don’t think you will sleep in the hospital,
    they are not a place of relaxation…
    constant monitoring..
    she will be ok
    as will you

  • Stoop….!?!?!?!?……. I told Marko to build a guest house, not to grow rice. read again.

    Dental coverage, you think it’s universal to the american worker (even those over-stressed and fearing getting firing…)?

    I get my dental work done in Thailand, and not by a shaman. Saves a bundle.

    Panos, I am sorry, I missed something, on why you are in the hospital, next to a loved one. My thoughts are with the both of you.


    Sorry to hear about Freida. Drop me a line if you need anything.

  • @Herve. How in the world did we got all the way from flaming laptops to Cambodia, and then to Thailand for dental care? Got stupid global warming offsets for that, anyone!?

  • “Got stupid global warming offsets for that, anyone!?”

    Ya right next to my bag of fairy dust! :-)

  • Stupid..

    You are so funny!


    Not sure who Freida is exactly, or what’s wrong with her but i am sending you a big ole hug from a very far distance and best wishes for a swift recovery if that’s possible. I spent all night in ER two weeks ago when i very nearly lost two of my four immediate family members twenty minutes apart in two separate incidents involving a hit and run motorcycle accident and a random shooting. And we’re just a normal suburban family! But that’s life on a Friday night in an emerging third world country where rice might or might not be grown by hand somewhere in the hinterlands. So much for that fantasy, huh, Herve? But anyway, thankfully all is well. So, i am hopeful Panos that you will see the dawn tomorrow a tired man but with good news to report to very best to you and Freida and the rest of your family. Please let us know soonest, whatever you can tell us.


  • You’ve got fairy dust?

  • Terrific writting.

    sad reality

    pano perastika (don’t know how the hell they say that in english)

  • reminds me of the time i left a bag with a camera in it under a burning joss-stick in a shack and popped out to the garden for a smoke..
    the room survived the fire, although the film in the camera did not..

    so .. what happened to the laptop?

  • This photo reflects my feelings about corporate America, and how it makes me sad that people take on jobs that they loathe just to pay bills…and then work their asses off to get laid off at the end of the quarter. check out… that’s all I’m sayin’.

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