Archive for July, 2013|Monthly archive page

Retired / Absconding / Dead

In HR, Interview, Office humor, Retirement on July 22, 2013 at 17:08

* Resigned / Transferred / Promoted / Retired / Absconding / Dead

There they are staring at you through a pivot table. The universe of choices available to you the employee. Precise, clear, mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. But not very motivating.


Not that motivation was the intention anyway. You remind yourself that you have a tendency to look for motivation in all the wrong places. You need to concentrate on the task at hand. Classifying hundreds of exit interviews or lack thereof into neat non-threatening categories. It seemed at first an unenviable assignment. Your team is bent on churning out some graphs and hitting SEND. But you can’t help but read some of the responses out loud. Most are of the pedestrian ilk:

  • To pursue better avenues
  • Relocating
  • Mom is ill
  • Going for higher studies

But some are interesting, almost inspiring:

  • Going to Osho Ashram for a year to practice meditation
  • Starting a consultancy of my own, connect with me on…
  • Going back to look after father’s farm
  • Finally won a property dispute granting me 70 million!

Now we are talking!

‘Who is this guy?’


‘Maybe he can hire us now.’

‘Is he married?’


And similar chatter indicates your team is alive. Who would have thought records of slavery would serve as interesting reading. Seemingly sterile in aggregation, but brimming in isolation. Brimming with sound and poetry. With stories and potential, sunshine and possibilities…if only we decide to.

Decisions are often rued and seldom taken. They are deferred, deterred and pondered over. They bring great power but also attract a great deal of gravity. They seem easier in hindsight and impossible in the here and now. Leaders make decisions, managers execute them and slaves follow.

Obama Chair

Seeing so many of them together is a rather disorientating experience. Especially as these are decisions taken by the average voter. Decisions to leave this galley and move on. Move on to greener pastures, slimmer work hours and fatter pay cheques or at least one of the above. Anywhere but here.

Dealing with decisions is daunting. You would rather have it imposed than go through the ordeal of deciding yourself. This has dual benefits. Less taxation for the brain and you get someone to blame later.


You may have found some motivation after all, albeit in traces. You change the morose classification:

* Resigned / Transferred / Promoted / Retired / Absconding / Dead

to a lighter one:

Quit / Assisted / Concluded

At least, it will force your descendants to dig deeper.

You still need to make those graphs though.

– J.

I am a Straightforward Guy

In Interpersonal, Office humor on July 6, 2013 at 18:55

In a world of pretentions, a manager is the ideal citizen. He knows no cast, creed or compassion.  But he excels at compliance. He knows no fright, folly or free will. But he flatters the fraternity. In a social situation he may closely resemble the framework of a jerk. In a climate controlled environment, he is an ideal resource.


So when you get a call from the new project manager; let’s call him Skippy for the time being,  saying he needs to talk to you ‘man-to-man’, you are more amused than surprised and more eager than anxious.

You enter Skipppy’s cabin. He offers you a seat with a stoic look on his face and a stony look in his eye. Emotion; be it any kind, is a refreshing change in the galley.

‘Let me tell you I am a straightforward guy. I tell it like it is. Apolitical to the core. I have paid the price for it many times. But that is how I am…’

The unsolicited self-introduction goes on for another couple of minutes. Whenever three consecutive sentences begin with the all powerful ‘I’, you switch off. In this case you let Skippy’s mannerisms convey the broad message of his monologue while an Opera high note plays in your head. It is almost like he is shouting in slow motion; and on mute.

Publ. - (Diena, Nr.291, 5.lpp., 12/13/05)

He goes on to relate to you the tough times he has had in his life and how he has survived. To the manager, this is of little interest. To the sentiment being, it is mildly engaging. So you listen with a bemused smile on your face.

Skippy leans forward and grabs your knee with a ‘look into my eyes’ expression. You assure him that you are listening and are waiting for him to finish.


It turns out one of your emails made its way to his inbox as a backhanded commitment. The manager inside you wanted to tell him to express his displeasure over email. But you leave it offline with an assurance that your email was not meant for him and drew on a different context.


Several compliments and handshakes later you leave Skippy’s cabin. In a world of pretentions, Skippy may not be the ideal resource.  But you may have made for yourself one of those rare things, a new friend.

– J.