Archive for February, 2013|Monthly archive page

That Blonde Moment

In Appraisal, Boss, Office humor on February 25, 2013 at 12:23

You have always felt a pressing need, almost a compulsion to think before you act, look before you leap and aim before you shoot. There are no points for improvisation, much less for spontaneity. It does not sound like happy camping but that is the way the world goes around. At least the part that makes money anyway.

Kantha Langot

And these are only ordinary Mondays. Special days require an even greater effort at formality. You thought with the appraisal filed away, such days were gone along with best and worst they had to offer. But you had conveniently forgotten that while in employment there is always next year to plan for, to yearn for and earn for.

And this begins with goal setting. You may continue to be as misguided and random in your personal life as possible. But during office hours, everything is planned to manicured perfection. It has taken you five hours already to draft five areas that will serve as your goals. You have weighed your words more painstakingly than a miserly jeweler.  You have redone your script more times than a reclusive author with a drug problem. And you are still not sure.

The sun is about to set now. It is almost time for your alter-ego, Non-Formal Man to moonlight.


You would really like to let go, let your hair down, put your windows down and your speakers up.  But you can’t. Not as a slave. Not during office hours. Not under video surveillance. Not yet.

You have got to get this out of the way. A check with Head Slave’s Sec reveals that he will be leaving in half an hour only to return after a week.

It is now or never. With one last spell check, you are about to hit print when you realize you missed one section altogether:

Personal Goals: ­­­________________________________________________________

You stare at it for some time. Then you tilt your head and stare at it some more. Could this be a joke? Personal? Here? In the galley? Why would they possibly want to know the awfully pedestrian goals of your suburban existence?

These are tough questions. Given the paucity of time, you scribble out the first thing that comes to your mind and head for the HS’ den.

He has almost made it through the printout without as much as a batted eyelid or raised eyebrow. All the obsessing over the wordsmiting seems to have been worth it. Then, HS suddenly stops right at the end and looks up at you in bewilderment. You return the favor.

He reads out:

‘My personal goals are to put the punching bag I bought last X’mas to good use and stay off the carbs.’

SpongeBob Boxing Bag and glovesSpongeBob Yoga

And he bursts out laughing. A hideous all absorbing guffaw the likes of which you have never heard before. On several occasions he tries to explain: ‘When we say personal goals we mean…’ but he is too cracked up to finish the sentence.

Legally Blonde Frigid Bitch

To think all the obsessive compulsion that lead to that blonde moment is in the least bit, bemusing, if not an outright daze. There is a little blonde in all of us. She refuses to go down no matter how hard we try to wise up. And we are all the more human for it.

– J.


In Appraisal, Boss, nine to five, Office humor, SlavesInc on February 21, 2013 at 23:21

Whoever said fate is in our hands never had an appraisal. He never had the good fortune of knowing Head Slave either. It is almost a religious experience as the Maker’s hand randomly does and undoes your exploits of the past 12 months, 4 quarters and 3 seasons on a single A4 printout.

Creation of Adam

You stopped putting up a fight some five minutes ago. But HS seems especially spirited today. You don’t recall having ever had as much face time with him during your entire tenure.

The third time HS asks, you are moved out of your trance.

“What about this Kaizen project sport? I haven’t heard anything about it.”

Neither have you. In fact, the last you heard about it was in last year’s appraisal. You try desperately to remember what your answer was back then. It couldn’t have been anything convincing.

Since you are already two strikes down, you shoot out the following:

“You know boss, the Kaizen project was always on my radar. But looking at our priorities, I had to let it go. I knew it would mess up my KRAs, but it was the right thing to do for the company.”

A few moments of silence follows as HS looks at you with his glasses lowered. That was some inspired hooplah!

“Tell you what sport, we still have a week to go before closing the appraisals. Why don’t you do a quick pilot on Kaizen and we will discuss again?”

Dilbert Kaizen

Now you look at him with your glasses lowered. This is not exactly a SlavesInc. moment but you decide to go for it for the novelty of it.

The next week is spent looking high and low for anything that can pass off as Kaizen and more importantly, for something that can be rounded up in one working week. You settle for an area you know most about: attendance rolls.

Login sessions reveal that an average Slave spends three to five percent of his official time on checking, plotting and in general obsessing over his attendance records. This is more than the time expected to be allotted to real work including ‘generating new ideas’.


Being a clone of the system yourself, you know that correcting the names of the slaves on payroll can cut down much of this time. It would also mean fewer loop holes for clock-watching colleagues. But you can’t please them all.



Project in bag, it is now time for another appraisal session with HS. For once he likes what he sees:

“Nicely done sport. We are through for this year. What was that line you said…’the right thing to do for the company?’ – Brilliant! I used it myself with the man upstairs. Kaizen was part of my KRAs too you know…”

Ghost Rider Contract

HS walks out with a pat on your shoulder and a wink in his eye. He leaves you with a higher KRA score and fewer friends than you have ever had before. Whoever said we make our own destiny was never bound by KRAs.

– J.

Textually Speaking

In Communication, Interpersonal, Office humor on February 11, 2013 at 13:21

Though no one has ever accused you of being a grandpa, in some ways, you are what one would call old fashioned. For you jeans will always be blue, tea will always be black and formal will always equal no fun.

Homer Blue Pants Headvertising

But that’s you. Natalie is different. She is geographically distant and dispositionally far-off. She is occupied with the person and oblivious to dictionary. She uses more exclamation marks in a week than you would have come across in a life time of reading. Time seems to be treating her well and auto-spell is her bitch.

Bee Girl

A routine e-mail from Natalie reads as follows:


how have u been ??!?

Looong taime

Hey, can you send the MoM of last night’s call?

Thanks a million buddy!

C ya soooon!!


What do you say to that? You have never used an exclamation mark in a formal mail and you want to keep it that way. You come close though as you feel compelled to return the rare joviality or at least acknowledge it.

What gets to you is the consistency. You may have bad days, mood swings and paper cuts. Natalie seems to be on one continuous acid trip. The same chirpiness, the same exclamation marks and the same devil may read the dictionary syntax. You have come close to slipping in a smiley in your replies. But you fear straying into an emoticon binge and check yourself.


Other times you come close to sending the following replies:

‘I am doing the same as yesterday, just like you’

‘You don’t like spell check, do you?’


‘On Prozac, are we?’

When the day finally arrives to talk to Natalie you are surprised to find yourself looking forward to it. You hold the receiver some distance away from your ear to buffer the sharp cries you are expecting from the other end. Instead, you hear nothing. You bring the receiver closer.

‘Hello, Natalie? Can you hear me?’

‘…yes. He…hello,’ comes a murmur in reply.

‘How are you? Its good to finally talk to you.’

‘Ye…yes. I am…good, I am good.’

What follows is one of the most queasy conversations of your life. You regret having made the call. The world seemed a better place with crazies like Natalie. Now, its just a place where typing a thought is better than living it.

joker smiley

She has gone back to her vibrant e-mails. But in person, she always comes across as a shadow of her inbox avatar. Now that you know the effort that can go into a putting up a smile, you will never ignore a kind word again.

– J.