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Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

One Page CV

In Communication, creativity, curriculum vitae, cv, humor, Interview on March 21, 2017 at 18:26
After your blood test your CV is the most telling document on how you have lived your life.
You have been starring at it for ten minutes now and even the cursor seems reluctant to blink. It’s all there, bad decisions, regrets, denials, stress injuries and battle scars, all there in black and white. Neatly tucked into two pages.
CV
But it seems like a lot. And not in the least because you want to save paper. But you feel two pages is too pompous for the train wreck you call a career.
Freshers are all over the place with their 4 objectives, 6 strength areas and 11 hobbies. No one really cares coz as a fresher you are a commodity. But with age comes clarity. This clarity can either be liberating in the infinite possibilities free will presents or debilitating in the inevitable mediocrity most of us statistically end up in.
Internship
You have managed to find yourself in the middle of these two extremes once again. Juggling ambition and realism is a loosing battle. The least you can do is be benign about it.
So you start throwing all the excess baggage overboard. Some of it is quite embarrassing; high school competition certificates and ‘basic computer skills’ need to RIP with the 90s. Fluency in secondary and regional languages is redundant in the 140 character world. And hobbies…Where do you even start with those condolences? You have only really gone hiking once and even that trip was cut short after you sprained your ankle at the base camp itself. Your guitar strings broke from rust. And you hate driving so much that you prefer commuting in cattle class over haggling for parking spots. It’s down to sketching, reading and blogs now. And even these hobbies are on life support.
Getting Paid
And they always will be till you keep calling them hobbies. Always looked down upon as guilty pleasures. As an artist the desire to perform always exceeds the desire to get paid. For some reason, businessmen do not suffer from such afflictions. Or may be you are looking at the world upside down. You have to give it to your present and future employers though, they made making money their hobby. And now their visiting card is itself their CV. Till you can do the same, one page is enough to sell your slavery.
Visiting Card
– Punit Pania

Being Polite is the Slowest Way to Die

In Communication, Organisation, work life balance, work stress on March 5, 2017 at 15:39
‘Being polite is the slowest way to die!’ you had heard in a motivational workshop. But that was for sales guys.
Now you are in an air-conditioned office where interactions can be more hostile but language always has to be civil to the point of flippancy. Words like help start losing weight and assume a life of their own. And some words are hunted to extinction. Like the sweet and simple No.
Image may contain: 1 person, standing
No is decisive, firm and has gravitas. No doesn’t wait for regret to seep in, No moves on, No has a life. Which is why it has no space left in corporate life. ‘I’ll get back to you’ has taken its place in perpetuity. Because with enough euphemisms, we will all be immortal one day.
And in the midst of this nihilism you have ended up saying yes to another stinker of a project. Coz it came in the garb of help. Help; a word so versatile it can never go extinct. It’s scale is quantum but it’s demeanor is benign. You can keep helping blind old ladies cross the road remembering that Jesus too once helped us by taking one for the team.
Image result for jesus brb
As you now type away into the wee hours of the evening instead of being home with your family of online subscriptions, you begin to wonder is it that difficult to say no? You wonder how all the succesful VPs and up-and-comers get through the muck of life and come out clean and gleaming. You wonder how people can get away by simply saying ‘I need your help’ instead of ‘I know you hate doing it but there is no way I am going to do this myself so we are in this together now’?
Image result for shawn michaels suck it
But it is difficult to say No. Increasingly so, in the minefield of power structures, dotted line reporting and 360° appraisals. And beyond the niceties and tea parties, No has to come from a very real place deep inside your hollowed conscience, beneath all the layers of conditioning and anxiety. Do it when you are ready, when there is no looking back and there is no regret. Life in the wild can be brutal but life in climate control is excruciating.
– Punit Pania

OUT OF OFFICE

In Communication, e-mail, humor, Office humor, Resignation on May 19, 2014 at 03:56

Courtesy is a form of formality. And formality is; in most cases, imposed. At least you find it so. This adds to the tedium of being in an office for the major part of your waking day.


Keep calm Courtesy

Till your major jail break takes shape, outdoor duty is the only gasp of fresh air you can take. But this too is fraught with formality starting with: ‘Out of Office’ replies. There are ready formats available ranging from the apologetic: ‘I will have infrequent access to emails. In case of urgency, I can be reached at…’ to the whacky: ‘You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn’t have received anything at all.’ Then there is the high flier who says the same thing in 5 foreign languages in case his long lost Czech friend finally decides to add him on Pinterest

Out of Office Beach

But none suits your style. This is because your style would be to leave no automated reply at all. You can’t imagine anyone’s life depending on your responding to a mail on the same day. But invariably, when you are out of office, some unfortunate soul’s life does land the misfortune of doing so.

Office emergency

There is no escaping formality. So you decide to go through ‘OUT OF OFFICE’ replies that you have received in recent months for inspiration. And there are quite a few of them. A lot of people seem to be gasping for air. One in particular catches your attention for its sheer length:

‘I am out of office right now…

Since you are still reading, might as well make it worth your time. This is a little story about a young girl who had joined us last year. After months of neglect and taking photo copies, she finally left voluntarily. This is the resignation letter she tendered: When I had joined last fall, I felt truly happy after a very long job search. Being a management trainee with this organization would be the perfect start to what I want to be a long career, I thought. The stipend wouldn’t hurt either. In fact, if I commuted by bus, it would help pay off some of my student loan. But after 9 months of only taking photo copies for pretty much everyone in office except the other management trainees, I feel guilty. The pay as I said; doesn’t hurt. Not that I have not eagerly asked for work from anyone who would listen but you guys seem to have everything pretty much covered. An office boy in more dire need of employment could do my work. The only consolation is; the coffee was good!

The letter does not seem to have affected HR much but I thought it would be better than a Plain Jane auto-reply. Thank you for your e-mail. I will get back to you as soon as I rejoin.’

Well, you don’t remember reading this yourself though it lies very much in your inbox. You do believe that rebellion no matter how ill-fated never goes to waste. But you also believe that you should save your energy for those who care and for a time that matters.

Resignation Letter - Cake

For now, you stick to the bare minimum: ‘I am out of office, I will return on the 29th,

And to liven the mood, you add: ‘In case of emergency, dial 911.’

 

– J.

Proof Of Existence

In Communication, Office humor, SlavesInc on April 8, 2013 at 12:34

Dear client, life is for living. Add life to the life of your customers by living up to…

You just can’t take any more of this drivel. But you have to. That is what employment is all about. Getting people to do the kind of things that no one would do unless he is paid for it.

Happy Donkey

If you were a beast of burden you could expect the numbness of repetition to help you as an anaesthetic. But unlike a quarry, a desk job can throw anything your way. The only constant is your compensation, for lack of a better word. Today, this anything is proof-reading. It has landed out of nowhere on your desk. And nowhere is precisely where you are getting with it.

Fellow slaves and Head slave himself reinforce the criticality of the task that has been assigned to you:

‘You know these documents are going to travel half way across the world?’

‘That thing is gonna go aaaaall the way to the top!’

‘It’s all up to you now champ.’

…and a couple of other salvos aimed at you do little to prepare you for the blitz ahead. Sure you can take one for the team. But the word one is oft abused, from ‘it will only take one minute’ to ‘just give me one more chance’.

i-dont-give-a-rats-ass

The onslaught on your senses is overwhelming. It is not only the grammar and syntax but also the who gives a rat’s ass attitude towards alignment and downright lack of imagination that gets to you:

‘…is now available in delicious international taste’

‘…so that you have a sleep at nighttime’

and

‘Say yes to life! Again and again.’

School Fail BACK-TO-SCHOOL-FAIL

You can’t be paid enough for this. If you had a dime for every time you have said that, you would have taken an early retirement. But unfortunately, dimes are not easy to come by. Only your monthly salary is. And it comes regardless of the amount of brain damage incurred. So it makes sense to get by with minimum cognitive impairment.

eats-shoots-and-leaves-front cover

Punctuation Repair Kit

 

 

 

It is a big step to take. You have to convince the purist inside you that is ok to let sub-standard work pass from your inbox as long as it is approvable. That the world won’t end if you lower your standards to the level of your remuneration. That pretty much no one might notice. That the only person you need to convince is yourself.

You take a deep breath, say your prayers, ask forgiveness of Dickens, your fifth grade English teacher and the Queen, you hit spell check and call it a day.

Jhonny Jhonny

Life is definitely for living. It is the means of livelihood that are a killer.

– 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:

hiiiii

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.

game_stress_ball

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?’

And

‘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.