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Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

Personal Fortune and Private Profits

In humor, Office, Wage Slaves on April 25, 2011 at 03:33

A fortune is a subjective thing in relative terms. There is spiritual bliss and there is fool’s gold. But no matter what your disposition, the common theme is: you are always tailing it, never in the driver’s seat. And you can’t tell me the chase is better than the catch if neither of us has ever seen a catch, right?

It may turn out that we are not even on the right road or in the right vehicle. When words fail, numbers can illuminate. As we have already noted, statistics can be humbling. All assortments of career counselling and motivational hoopla can go out of the window in the light of a few honest numbers.

A recent PWC report says Indian firms make a profit of Re. 6 lacs per employee against an average salary of Re. 4.8 lacs. That is an unadulterated profit of Re. 15 per Re. 100 revenue generated per employee.
Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust
In other news, the recently departed/ascended Shri Sathya Sai Baba (from here on, referred to as SSSB) has left behind on earth a fortune of at least Re. 40,000 crores. That is 8 billion USD. Those of you in the pharmaceutical industry will be quick to note that this is almost as much as the revenue of the entire industry! So the revenue that lacs of us worker ants put together in a 12 month period is sitting pretty in this 1 fund. And to top it all, it is tax free! Technically, the SSSB fund can donate medicines for a year for the whole country and put many of us out of a livelihood.

This is being too simplistic but it puts the whole fortune thing into stark perspective. Seeing the disparity in fortune amongst God’s creatures, it would be feasible to pause, take a deep breath and look for course correction, maybe even a change in vehicle.

For those of you still reading, we can go a step further and define/re-define the very fortune we are chasing. Perhaps, as we chase a particular species of fortune, another drifts away. It is not all about fool’s gold you know?

– J.

Lunch Time!

In Boss, Health, humor, Office, Office Romance, Wage Slaves on April 17, 2011 at 17:28

It is past noon. You have willy-nilly worked-up the appetite for some calories. Yes, machine-dispensed caffeinated drinks and tobacco do give you the strength to go on. But even desk-bound organisms need some edible organic stuff every few hours.

Until a few generations back, food used to be a primary reason to work in the first place. Now, it is a lot more complicated. But we digress.

The point is; it is lunchtime. And you need to go to the canteen damn it. On holidays, when you have greater freedom as to what to do with your person, you eat late into the afternoon whilst recovering from the brunch. You let your mood decide when and what to consume. It can be a stressful process. Hence, some employers generously take this difficult call for you.

1.30 pm to 2.00 pm

Take it or leave it. And you don’t want to be the 3rd person to be waiting in line for the photo-copier machine on an empty stomach. Have you ever noticed how the last guy in front of you always seems to be Xeroxing a huge stack of papers, papers that can be bound together to rival the Bible (King James’s version)?

But we digress again. It is already past 1.40 pm. Any further delay and you will not get the dessert, again. You say, ‘Screw everything, I should eat!’ And you get up to storm out of your floor. A gut feeling slows you down. You know you shouldn’t look back but you just can’t help it, like a Slasher movie. And it happens.

Your phone, no. 653 on the speed dial, is ringing. The silhouette through the blinds and the generally deserted nature of the rest of the floor tells you it is probably the boss. He has evolved into an alternate life form, one that does not require proteins and carbs like you lowly amoebas. He probably just feeds on your brain waves! Come to the think of it, you have never seen him in the restroom either. He is too young to be on a catheter.

All this pondering has eaten into another couple of nutrition-less minutes. But the phone refuses to shut up. You pick it up but are too disgusted with yourself to say hello. “Where’s the file on Turkey?” utters a soulless voice at the other end. You look at the clock, unforgiving, detached and not hungry. If only you could be more like it. You sit down and start looking for the file with only yourself to blame.

You try to turn your apprehension in humanity into neutral detachment. You forge a smile as your co-workers trickle in, sub-standard food in belly. “Lucky you didn’t come for lunch, it was nasty! Grabbed a sandwich for you, here”, says Rita with a smile that is immaculate in conception.

Mini-miracles defy prediction. Detachment will have to wait.

–          J.

The Bell Curve

In humor, Office, Wage Slaves on April 9, 2011 at 14:14

Numbers are cold, sans personality and ruthlessly clear. They are essential for business. Then there is statistics, the trophy wife of numbers. Any information, no matter how subjective or multi-faceted, can be crammed into a neat-looking chart. It is convenient, looks intelligent and is accurate; well almost…more or less.

A graph of punch-in times would resemble the infamous bell curve. The crest of the bell off course would coincide with the last safe time to punch in. Leading up to the crest are the boring people who wake up needlessly early. They actually know what the milk man and newspaper guy look like! They probably have the same breakfast everyday and have a fixed shirt for every day of the week. At the crest are people who are not sure about who they are. They are trying to comply but are held by the frayed ends of sanity. They still try to enjoy evenings and weekends. But exhausting realisation will dawn on them soon.

...is not the brightest guy around

He is the Lowest Common Denominator

Then there are slaves on the far side of the hill, the junkies; the perpetual late comers. These are toy-gun slinging self-proclaimed cowboys-in-formals. They slip in the occasional sneaker with a formal trouser to convince themselves freedom exists somewhere on the horizon.

You would think it would be fun to see a below-the-crest guy lose it or an after-the-crest guy finally quit and go sky-diving. But nothing changes. From the way you brush your teeth to the route you take to work, not much changes. It can be plotted very neatly against other relative constants like salary and job satisfaction. You know you are different, you want to be different. Yet, there you are on the graph, neatly categorized like rats in a lab or bacteria on a Petri plate.

...in scary simplicity

If you believe you have a distinctive personality, you should have become an artiste (whatever that means). Uniformity and conformity saves money and makes money. You can see it every day from mass produced tea to one-size-fits-all campaign T-shirts.

If that ain’t purgative enough for you, maybe a dot in your name on a cold graph will be.

– J.

P.S.: Thanks to Mr. Dubey with whom I have lived the curve for the concept of this post.