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Archive for the ‘Boss’ Category

That‘s a lot of fat people

In Boss, Head Slave, humor, Office, SlavesInc, Wage Slaves on October 17, 2011 at 00:01

You never liked too much preparation. Right from science projects in school to your first date and now, slavery solicitations. It has always seemed uncalled for; deceptive even, to build an Ark every time it drizzles. If ‘awareness’ was as high as it is now, you would have probably been diagnosed with ADD in your childhood. Sure stand-ups and musicians prepare copiously to look like they are improvising. But there is a big difference, they don’t hate their jobs.

“Do it like your lives depend on it!” was Head Slave’s unimaginative attempt at pep talk. You wish you had come up with a better response than a stifled yawn. But it could have been worse; you could have let loose a knee-jerk chuckle. It is the latest version of ‘the big presentation’ that needs working on. Post 5th revision, it has gone from big to morbidly obese. You have been paddling for too many years to let a little pep talk motivate you. So you let the new pair of hands on the deck carry the load. Unfortunately, you cannot send them out to bat. You have been bestowed with that honor/led out to slaughter when SIC visits.

As rapture draws near, you willy-nilly get sucked into the paranoia. Sleep is the first victim of this boot camp routine, weekly offs are the last. When you are finally up against the audience on D-day, you feel like a doomed gladiator under the scope of a heavy-breathing audience. You feel more pressure than an ethnic student in a spelling bee final. All you can think of is: ‘Where is an out-of-body experience when you need one?’

You do manage to make it almost to the end of your Bible-sized presentation without questions, queries or quotations. It is the closest thing to a spiritual experience you will ever go through. That is when the sound of a fellow human grinds you to a halt like a hand brake. SIC has finally spoken. You did not get what he said but going by his gestures, another look at the previous slide on obesity demographics is what he wanted.

So you flip back and wait nervously. As SIC ‘hmms’ and ‘ahhs’, the meeting room seems caught in a never-ending final slowmo sequence of a tiring baseball movie. He finally says:

“Well, that ‘s a lot of fat people!”

.

.

.

It is the kind of silence that can only end with a well timed laugh or a lot of nodding. Luckily it is the former. What follows is a wave of banter, chit-chat and small-talk as SIC disappears into a Sudoku of handshakes. It is almost as if he vanished into smoke. You would say he was beamed up but you are not a fan of body suits. Both SIC and the topic of the ‘big presentation’ have not been seen or heard from since…

…until the next drill.

J.

Super Me

In Boss, Dick Cheney, Goats on the Farm, Head Slave, humor, Office, Technology, Two Syllables on August 7, 2011 at 23:19

You: John who?

JY: John Yan

You: You changed your name?

JY: No, John Yan is my username.

You: Who will use it?

You know what he means but you still want to be sure. Maybe paraphrasing it will convince him of its ridiculousness.

But John is convinced that despite his high BMI, adding two syllables and a consonant to his common last name will bestow him with uncommon coolness.

Online, everyone is Boss

 JY: ”You know, like Jackie Chan or Jet Lee. It is exotic…yet familiar.”

John Yan paused for effect; he was acting like a star already!

On a different yet predictable weekday, you learn another taxonomic quirk:

When your boss signed off mails simply as ‘- BS’, you always thought he was telling you not to waste on your time on it…coz it is BS!

But when others start addressing you in their syntax-starved mails as AD, you realize that BS is not what you think it is. It is Head Slave‘s initials!

You don’t know whether to feel stupid or scoff at their typographical terseness.

It is clear to you that your Pan Card name will just not cut it in the virtual world of augmented reality!

Over time, you get used to getting updates such as:

Hellzangel adores her two baby goats on the farm

Handsomedevilfromhell wants you to share his booty, click here

And

Dear AD,

Thank you for the appreciation letter. Looking forward to more – BS

You start referring to these savvy individuals by their nuked names with a badly disguised genuineness. It is like addressing Dick Cheney with his lawful Christian first name. At least you can afford a chuckle every time you get pinged.

– J.

Putting it Down

In Boss, Hopsquatch, HR, humor, Office, Resignation on July 27, 2011 at 13:55

You are feeling strangely skippy today, like gravity took the day off! You greet people with a smile that is not plastic but recyclable. If you were not in a centrally air-conditioned enclosure, you are sure you would hear birds chirping outside.

Yes!

This rare combination of light-headedness and firm-footedness is befitting the occasion. For today, you shall have the following conversation:

You: I am leaving

Him: (barely looks up)

You: I…I am leaving, for good

Him: (now looks up with a quizzical expression, it is still not worthy of him opening his mouth)

You: (not expecting any better) I need you to sign these papers.

Him: What is this? (Holding up the papers of separation)

You: (having prepared for this day and moment) As I said, I am leaving and these papers will make it official

Him: But why…how?

You: (wanting to savor the moment, take a long pause)

Him: (…after a flabbergasted interlude) please sit down

You: (with rehearsed precision) I want this Friday to be my last here

.

.

.

He; off course, is your boss and the papers are those of your resignation.

Head Slave (HS) is at a loss for words, as is very common with him. But today he is also fumbling. The word leverage suddenly makes more sense to you.

Watching HS go through all 5 stages of grief in expedited fashion makes it worth all the waiting. He throws predictions, promises and the odd apology at you. His persuasion goes from hard logic to soft appeals, the most amusing being, ”Stay back for me!”

‘Hah!’ you go in your head. But on the outside you stay strangely calm, like a seasoned Lama. All the ‘funny’ resignation letters and cartoons you’ve seen on the net seem childish to you now.

You feel neither the need nor the obligation to explain, clarify or confess. You don’t want to give him the satisfaction.

”I appreciate the offer sir but I have made up my mind. Now if you will excuse me, I will send across a soft copy of the letter. Thank you.”

In utter civility you find a befitting rebuke.

You walk out with the tune to “I will survive” ringing in your head.

– J.

Casual Day

In Boss, humor, Office, Wage Slaves on July 17, 2011 at 07:15

You know you have seen this guy before. You just know it. Yet, you greet him like a stranger. Eveyrone infact, looks oddly unfamiliar. You are either in the ‘Twilight Zone’ or on a reality show with a Deja Vu’ theme. Just as you are about to settle into the ignorance, your boss’s ill-fitting jeans hits you in the face.

It is…casual day.

Yes, C-Day, the one day in the week when…you work, but…you can try to look more hip, at your own risk. And most people do. But not you. You don’t think much of C-day. You think it is fleeting and make-believe, like X’mas in prison.

As in most ideological debates, you are in the minority. As with most minorities, you feel looked down and sneered upon. All you want to do is to look like you had showed up to work and not to deliver pizza. Also, you want to avoid looking like you spent half an hour in the morning to wriggle into your jeans.

Over several dull weeks, you learn to live with this phenomenon. The jeans genre thinks you are trying too hard. You think they are trying too little. C-day does remind you of people’s names though: same shirt Sam, too tight Tim, bright and burly Bridget and  loose-fit Larry.

On an otherwise forgettable C-day, you happen to be in SIC‘s cabin at an opportune moment. Your presence there is random, for a signature. But when IT engineer ‘Bob’ enters SIC’s cabin, the randomness gives way to providence. Bubble Boy Bob (BBB) has always been on the way side of even the jeans genre. Just as he clears the niggle on SIC’s computron, he can’t help but pop a bubble with the gum he is chewing.

An eerie silence ensues…

Even BBB knows that was faux pas.

‘Thank you,’ says SIC, his voice betraying his murderous intentions.

As soon as the door closes on BBB’s hurried retreat, SIC calls his deputy, Head Slave (HS): ‘I didn’t know circus outfits were allowed in this office’ he spits into the receiver, following it up with strict Nazi dress code instructions.

As he hangs up, he looks at you. Your formal demeaneur seems to provide some solace.

‘Workforce these days…’ he trails off.

You walk out with a deserved smugness on face, brownie points in bag.

– J.

Call Me Sam

In Boss, HR, humor, Interpersonal, Office on July 12, 2011 at 15:00

You wear Wal Mart shirts, Woodland shoes (sneakers on Fridays) and have Nescafe…or whatever is available. He wears Allen Solly forced fits, Red Tapes that thunder with each step and sips green tea. One would think you guys are at least from different neighborhoods if not a different geographies altogether. But actually, you practically grew up on the same street. He calls you Stan and insists you call him Sam. He was, at best, a slow starter. You were, on your worst day, above average. Or so you believed.

But a couple of promotions and one round of restructuring later, Sam-the Man has arrived. What he lacks in spunk and stature, he makes up with the length of this back rest and per day allowance while on tour. For Sam is now the General Manager…of support services…but GM none the less. You; are still ‘Chief Manager’, the Al Gore of managerial races. He calls you Stan in a way that is patronizing and condescending at the same time. You manage to call him ‘Sir’ and ‘Mr. Estello’ in a mixture of badly disguised defiance and resentment…which is why he insists you call him Sam. Sam is a background irritant. Overtime, you internalize it, learn toFore! tune him away. But when he calls you on a Sunday, you lose it. On a good Sunday, you play ping-pong. Sam called you from the luxury of his newly acquired Golf club membership. It is not a business call, not even a follow-up call. It is the worst kind of call of all, a ‘courtesy call’. Just in case you missed the news, the man yelling ‘Fore’ in the background puts all doubts to rest. You want to tell him to mind his golf club so it doesn’t stub his toe. But you don’t. You are just left to stare at your lonely ping-pong bat. That is when you know it’s time to upgrade Sam from an annoyance to a purgative, a motivation to get off your ass, a propellant to shake you out of your procrastination. In the long run, you will thank him.

– J.

Caffeine Clique

In Boss, Health, humor, Office, Organisation, Wage Slaves on June 27, 2011 at 13:40

In most Futuramas, everyone wears the same clothes, uniforms if you will. They also have the same asexual haircut and vitamin-D deficient facial expressions. That is because utopias are boring. Real world is not.

Social orders, stratifications and competition make the game worth playing. Unlike video games and competitive sports, we can’t have people walking around with jet packs and sashes. So we give them milder trophies. Like a shinier name plates, a costlier chair and better quality tea and coffee.

These everyday drinks, humble in their commonness are also stratifying in their variety. From your chicory-adulterated pedestrian cuppa to your boss’ Darjeeling organic to his boss’ ultra green, there is one to suit every palate and pocket. There are almost as many varieties as there are layers in your company’s organogram.

Placebo or enabler

You would think a ‘company with presence in over 100 countries’ can afford better coffee for its employees. But you may be missing the bigger picture. You realize this on a fateful day when your boss’ boss calls you to his cabin for the first time. Let us call him ‘Slave in Chief’ – SIC for convenience. SIC is known to be magnanimous in person but stingy over e-mail.

“Have some green tea, it’s organic.” So far, he has stuck to his profile.

He serves it to you without waiting for your reply. You awkwardly slump into the chair facing SIC’s ping-pong table-sized desk. Small talk ensues, mostly moderated by him. He is intermittently distracted by his phone that seems to be flashing something unpleasant.

“What is it?” he finally barks into the phone. This initial pleasantry is followed by long drawn silence, interspersed with nods.

Meanwhile, he motions you to add honey instead of sugar. Your village upbringing has already given itself away.

 'It's not a gift, I earned it.'

After the initial salutation, SIC does not manage to get one full sentence in:

“But I…

…wanted to…

Let me at least….

We will…

This Satur..

I prom..”

……………someone just hung up on your SIC.

The rest of the meeting, post phone call, is vague and unproductive. However, two important things were learnt on this day:

  1. The wife doesn’t care two hoots what your visiting card says
  2. Organic Green tea tastes like expired cough medicine

High end caffeine drinks must be an acquired taste, like classical music. Weather they are an outcome of or means to enter inner circles…you will only know when you cross over.

– J.

Approval Pending

In Boss, humor, Office, Technology, Wage Slaves on June 6, 2011 at 04:07

You have been yearning for it for so long now that you’ve forgotten how it started. You are not sure that you want it any more, or even need it. But it has to be done. You can’t give up now, not after 90 days and 67 attempts. You may be the proverbial underdog and your adversary overpowering. But all you need is a moment of weakness…a temporary lapse of guard and/or reason.

What you are struggling for, off course, is a computer upgrade approval. Your adversary, off course, is your boss. On many occasions, you have not even had the opportunity to get a word in; your approval papers brushed aside like a foul smell. Other times, you have retreated, discouraged simply by the look on his face.

But today, things look promising. You have even heard the occasional laughter from the Head Slave’s (HS) cabin, a phenomenon as rare as a Big Foot sighting. Today, you will not take no, maybe or later for an answer. But you’ve dwelled on the mission for too long. HS is feeling so benevolent today that he is leaving. You make dash for it and intercept him right at his door.

No words are exchanged. You have a look that says, ‘you have to sign this, now!’ HS has a look that says, ‘No, maybe and later,’ at the same time. The guy is definitely talented. But you won’t back out this time. You are the only thing keeping him from his half-day, physically so. A faint smile flashes across his face and disappears just as quickly. He sits back on his chair and finally says, ‘Tell me.’

You pour your guts out. You put more into your pitch for a computer upgrade than you have in any business presentation. HS almost starts enjoying it. He starts scratching his back by inserting a stray innocent ruler through his loosened collar.

“Okay.”

“Okay?” you ask. (Making a note to yourself never to touch that ruler again)

“Yes. You won’t be requiring this upgrade.”

“I won’t?” you confirm trying not to think of the various reasons why this may be the case.

“Yes, I have asked for a laptop for you last month. It should be here soon.”

As HS walks out of the cabin and into his half day, you sit there perplexed, staring at the unfortunate ruler. The Galley works in mysterious ways.

–          J.

Having Arrived

In Boss, HR, humor, Office, Wage Slaves on May 30, 2011 at 02:21

They look at you differently. Routine interactions like the ones near the coffee machine suddenly become awkward. Ending conversations becomes difficult for lack of ways of addressing one another. No, you do not have a communicable disease. You; have been promoted. You are not a leper. You are, the Newly Crowned Prince (NCP). Saying Heir Apparent would be too self assuming.

You; have arrived. What you worked extra hard for, what you missed X’mas lunches for, what you cut down socializing for…is finally here. You get to live this uptight reality every day now. Lucky you!

Apart from the quarantine treatment dished out by your erstwhile peers, there are positive signs of your arrival in the big league:
• An enhanced stationary ration

• Re-enforced cubicle, separated by a cupboard instead of hollow modular partitions

• Long-distance calling facility

• And a fruity phone so work never leaves you, even when you are taking a loo break

More like corner workstation

The partial vantage of your new cubicular co-ordinates seems to be at an elevation. Or maybe, it is just your ego perched on a fluffy pedestal. You tell yourself to snap out of it. You do not want become like the bosses you despised. Albeit, you can’t help but notice the ant-like movements of the staff, your staff…putting various little tasks together with varying degree of skill and speed. All you have to do now is direct the traffic.

Neighbor's envy...

Instances of your boss’ worst behavior are already starting to make sense to you. It is a scary but devilishly empowering feeling. A contempt-full smile has quietly broken across your face as you ponder all this. Your hand, unknowingly stroking your new extra-large stapler, as a Pharao would stroke his favorite cat. It won’t be long now before the fringe benefits get to you.

– 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.