Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page


In Health, HR, humor, Office on March 21, 2011 at 17:57

Soft music is playing in the background. It is like pipe music, only more gay. You lay on the ground. You are awkward about the fact that you can’t remember the last time you felt more comfortable. An impressive but slightly jarring voice commands you to feel various parts of your body. As you try to let go of your inhibitions, you are faintly aware of the communal scheme of things around you.

Just as you are drifting into suspension, a gathering vibration pulls you back into gravity. It is probably a random message selling you packaged tours on your cell phone. You look at the clock, the official photographer and relatively limp bodies of recent acquaintances that are littered around you.

This could only mean one thing: an HR-sponsored time-eater!

Names can range from the Mythological (Rejuvenation) to the pedestrian (Training Programme.) Claims can be even loftier.

Enlightened Detachment

You hate ‘motivational talk’ and formal turn-by-turn introductions as much as the next guy. But there are up-sides to look forward to:

>> You are away from your desk and you are being paid for it.

>> Slightly better caffeinated drinks than office.

>> The food looks more expensive than canteen food and will taste different, if not better.

>> Some of the activities might actually be fun, eg; paintball. You can finally aim for that bald spot on your boss’s head (all for building team spirit off cousre).

>> Not falling asleep in this set-up would be a new challenge and can enhance your skills.

>> Meeting a cross-section of the organization’s talent sloppily out of their element may make you feel good about yourself.

Sure there are is an organized sanctimony about the whole event. As grown men sing songs, hold hands and struggle with craft items, you feel like you are in an orgy with Robin Sharma, Shiv Khera and Oprah!  The natural response off course is revulsion. The positive energy being exuded by the ‘trainer’ makes you feel so warm inside that you want to puke!

But you will only make it harder for yourself if you go with your natural response. Do the opposite. In most cases, the opposite is what the organization wants. So just give in to the packaged motivation.

To the Trainer: “Mr. Sequeira, sorry, Bob…I think we should also share the meaning of the poems we have written.”

In the feedback form: “I have learnt so much. I can’t wait to get back to work to implement all this. I propose HR follow up every week to document the positive changes this session will bring about.”

To participative co-workers: “I agree.” and “Could you elaborate more?” every two minutes.

To all participants:  “Can we hold hands for a little longer?”


“Let’s do that again!”

Being politically correct can be fun when the audience knows you don’t mean it. This way, whatever memories you have of another day earning your bread will be almost pleasant.


That Sporty Feeling

In Health, HR, humor, Office on March 12, 2011 at 19:41

Doctors advise it, jobs preclude it and you need it. It is touted as fun, hip and healthy. But you probably find it to be exactly the opposite. Yes, we are talking about (don’t finch) EXERCISE. Physical activity, outdoor excursions and…walking.

Cavemen did not do many of the things we do today, like…exercise. And they got by pretty alright. Think about it: they did not have arthritis, credit swaps and PTSD. Modern-day humans (specially the professional variety) have evolved into organisms that survive using minimum of their God-given morphology. Basically, we use our fingertips and eyes more than our calves.

Screen Time

But worse than not being able to exercise is keeping the illusion of trying. I’m talking about taking the stairs to your second floor apartment, participating in corporate sponsored marathons and annual sports days.

What a sham!

1-2 days out of 365…on a weekend. I mean, who are we trying to fool?

What is that…?

It is meant to be a social gathering for family and colleagues you say?

Why would you want to bring together two groups of people you are involuntarily stuck with in a communal setting? Add to that ill-fitting, bulk-procured garishly colored ‘sportswear’ and you have one very forgettable occasion.

More than the physical activity in an uncontrolled environment, you will find other experiences more stimulating, such as:

>> Realizing Mr. Sal actually has a fully functional body. Having never seen him detached from his desk, it is strange to actually see him walk!

>> Realizing almost everybody in office is obese. Even the rather-hot sales-admin lady you fancied can’t contain her modesty in the aforementioned ‘sportswear’. What a heart-breaker…

>> Some of the forced frolic you do end up participating in will remind you of why you dreaded the gym class in school; viz embarrassing clothes, performance anxiety and bullies.

Yet, such events perpetuate, year after year. You surrender your attendance as required, trying to fake the glee. You downgrade your participation from 100 meters to spoon-and-egg to carom. You still get mildly excited when an inadvertent picture of you makes its way to the corporate magazine.

Exercise...not for everyone

If you are a life-timer, not showing up for sports day would be about as empty a rebellion as a used can rolling along on a remote highway. So wear those cheap outfits, give your attendance but don’t have too much of the ‘juice’ being offered at the ‘volunteer-manned’ refreshment stalls. And don’t even think of it as recreation, you would only be fooling yourself.

However, if you are not a home-bound pensioner-in-waiting, rebellion is for you! But make no mistake about it, the days of bad-ass protests are gone with the communists. You need to be smart now, stealthy, guerrilla almost. Use your right brain. You’ve been giving it step-motherly treatment for too long, even if you are in a marketing job. Come up with never-heard-before-no-chance-for-a-comeback alibis for not attending sports-day:

>> I pulled a hamstring while performing my morning duties

>> I need to be present at a reading of a distant relative’s will; I may be in for some inheritance. (Later, off course, you sadly inform people that you were cheated out of it by an evil cousin)

>> I’m helping a friend elope; he has sworn me to secrecy.

–          J.

Berry Boys

In humor, Office, Technology on March 5, 2011 at 17:22

Seriously, which straight guy would like to be associated with a fruity-sounding group like that? Why would you want to tag along in any vain corporate gimmick for that matter? If you do not have an identity of your own, can’t you build one? You may not be a case study-worthy personality but at least you won’t be a fruity boy.

Companies bestow this fine piece of technology on the hierarchical few whose time, words and actions are at a premium. If they do not appear so, perhaps the device can help project things thus. So the company pays for the hardware, the software and the extravagant services. Fine. Go ahead, be a Berry Boy. You’ve earned it!

But people who procure the device out of pocket…common. Even if you finch and pay for the services, you ain’t gonna get access to your company account on your modesty. Your designation ain’t man enough, yet. Sorry. You sling it around your waist like a tumor or hang it around your neck like a ghastly ornament; you will look like a twerp either way. Not only are you a sub-privileged fruity boy, you had to pay for it!

Technology may be a lot of things but it can’t be a prosthetic for your lack of confidence or vain ambitions. There are always options though, like diesel cars and open source software. So I stick with an earthier and less fruity ‘smart phone’ or as I like to call it: ‘Poor Man’s Berry!’

–          J.