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Archive for the ‘HR’ Category

The Biggest Ponzi Scheme in the World

In Big Brother, Christmas, HR, humor, Motivation, Wage Slaves on December 24, 2016 at 08:39
Nietzsche proclaimed ‘God is dead’ in 1882. But HR is keeping Him alive for KRA purposes.
From Rangoli competitions to Secret Santa, no festival, tradition or tribal mating ritual will be left behind. Selfies will be clicked, forms will be ticked and camaraderie will be faked.
IMG-20161224-WA0000.jpg
All in the name of that modern and universal measure of human relations – engagement. Engagement is just the kind of cashless-paperless-soulless term corporations like to employ to make complicated responsibilities seem manageable.
If only 4 AM philosophising could get you far in life, you wouldn’t have to wonder what to get Rozy for her last Christmas in the galleys before she begins her long but terminal affair with pension. What could you get her that she has not seen in three decades of salaried existence and nearly six decades of attracting gravity in general? Where does being a compliant slave stop and being a nice person in general begin? Is Jizas watching us all the time? Doesn’t he take a day off? Not even on his birthday? Does anyone give a flying Rudolph about any of it?
Not really. Not when you consider that the primary purpose of any system is its own perpetuity, be it the Anglican Church or Acme Corp. And the whole thing started as an ad campaign anyway. The whole Santa thing, not Church. And it only took you three Wikipedia pages to come to that conclusion.
So you decide to gift Rozy a frame. She can put her granddaughter’s drawings in it, her own photos or just leave it empty and call it art. Of course, you had to assume that she has a granddaughter…who likes to draw. But you’ve already alloted more brainwaves to this act of corporate Karma that it merits.
Secret Santa must be the biggest Ponzi scheme in the world. And the house always wins. The best you can do is engage, keep your head down and quit while you are ahead.
– Punit Pania

Secret Santa

In HR, Office humor, SlavesInc on December 25, 2014 at 05:07

Both secrets and good deeds have been conspicuously absent from your life thus far. So a good deed carried out secretly would be against the run of play indeed. To say that the chances of such a thing happening to you or by you are low would be an understatement.

Secret Santa
Yet here you are at the mall at lunch time looking specifically for trinkets for a lady who until recently was not specified in your life. You underestimated the power of peer pressure once again. And now you have to sift through piles of overpriced diaries and yearly planners instead of chasing killer year-end deadlines.
Even the most painful of ordeals can become that much more bearable with company. Several fellow slaves you avoid eye contact with are exchanging knowing glances at the book store. A flimsy diary that costs 500 bucks for no apparent reason other than fact that it’s close to X’mas speaks to everyone’s inner arsonist.
secret-santa-office-rulessecret-santa-office-rules 2secret-santa-office-rules 3
There are other other ridiculous gifting options too including a 2-inch plastic fish that apparently swims in water and will set you back by only 565 bucks. The only item fitting your budget is gift wrapping paper. To be honest, your budget is rather low given inflation and the general trend towards consuming like there is no tomorrow. To be even more honest, your budget is set by the gift you received from your secretly assigned corporate Santa. In a world of random reciprocity, it seemed fair to assume that you should pay in kind.
Secret Santa Gift Fish
Holiday Spirit Conan
Yet; with some more effort, you finally settle for a set of curiosities that strike the right balance between novelty and economy.
Secret Santa Trinkets
Holiday Spirit Meme
You even feel good about yourself for a while. But the feeling vanishes before it turns into the rumored ‘holiday spirit.’ You did do better than the gift your own Secret Santa gave you: a pack of sugary biscuits. But true satisfaction can only come from deeds of free will. And that; is no secret.
– J.

We Have a Policy for That

In HR, Office Romance, Policy, SlavesInc on November 8, 2014 at 20:21

If you had a dime for every time you heard that, you would need another policy. With every passing year and revised battery of policies, it becomes harder to discern if you have slipped into more ethically grey waters or you simply have a mild case of amnesia.

As rules come and go and metamorphose, it is hard to tell if you are a criminal waiting to be caught or if you were born that way.

keep-calm-and-call-corporate-policy

‘I still remember the first time we met, right there at the water cooler,’ Rita says as if lost in Sam’s eyes. A random story of how their first meeting was both funny and memorable follows but you have learnt to tune out FYI details a long time ago.

You blank out for almost five minutes. When you come to, Rita is still sharing, ‘And that’s the first time Sam said…’

Sam is also standing by your desk trying hard to hold a smile on his face. ‘I remember seeing you guys together all the time last December when you used to work at the office in phase A,’ you say.

‘No no,’ Rita says suddenly defensive, ‘that must have been this year.’

‘No, I distinctly remember X’mas decorations. I may even have a photo,’ you say taking out your phone. It’s almost like she tipped your patience over.

Rita does the only thing left to do, says she needs to check her mail and bails. Sam stays on biting his nails.

‘Policy?’ you finally ask him.

‘Yea man,’ he says, ‘one month’s salary as bonus for both husband and wife.’

‘That’s enough to sponsor your honeymoon,’ you suggest.

‘Exactly but…’

‘But?’

‘Only if the couple met while in employment here.’

‘Really?’

‘Really.’

‘Policy?’

‘Policy.’

‘Amen,’ you say.

Sam gets up to go. You can’t help but ask how the company makes sure if the parties in question were in employment when cupid struck.

‘I don’t know,’ he says, ‘Rita wants to go on a EuroTrip so I am playing along, please don’t tell anyone.’

Internet Policy

Policies may range from the no-brainers to the ludicrous, the only constant is unquestioned compliance.

As rules come and go and metamorphose, honesty continues to be what you do when no one is looking.

– J.

Property Dispute

In Head Slave, Hiearchy, HR, Office humor on August 14, 2013 at 04:40

Some words are married to each other. No matter how hard they try and how traumatic their relationship, they still end up staying stuck together. Like terminal and illness, Herculean and task, company and policy, property and dispute.

Some of these words have been married so long they don’t remember how life was before they tied the knot. It is true that wherever there is property there is bound to be dispute. There is not much evidence but in all probability, the first word man ever said was, ‘Mine!’
space-odyssey-apes

 

You have to remind yourself of this and the minimalist approach you want to take to life when faced with an encroachment. You have to remind yourself that all ownership is assumed. And the lesser one assumes, greater the chances of him avoiding disappointments.

Matrix minimalist poster

‘There’

‘This one?’

‘Yeah, that cubicle looks fine.’

‘But he sits there.’

‘Oh that’s alright. We will shift him to the new office near the train station.’

You; off course, have an ‘I am sitting right here!’ expression on your face. But it is lost on your HR colleague’s fascist sensibilities.

So you verbalize the feeling. But it has little effect.

‘One of our VPs wants to move to this office. We need to build a cabin for him. You will be shifted to our new office near the train station.’

Well, now that is pretty straightforward. Insensitive maybe. But it definitely leaves no room for ambiguity. Got to appreciate that. Perhaps this guy should try another profession where his skills could be better utilized. Like an announcer at a train station or crowd control at a religious event or slave driver at a Puma sweatshop in Bangladesh. But with your squatting rights being quashed you find it difficult to be benevolent enough to give the HR person these suggestions.

sweatshop just do it

You do go to Head Slave though, as soon as he is back from his Mediterranean holiday/business trip. He listens patiently and assures you that no such relocation is as yet confirmed. And if at all it is, everyone will move together.

Sweat shop Simpsons

 

There is not much you can further protest to. But you do put in a kind word for HR and their landlording.

The word together sticks with you. Even if you were to be shifted to a warehouse or a far off hanger, would you want to see the same tired faces every single day? Like the nth rerun of Wonder Years or Home Improvement.

Couch Potato

 

As you proceed back to your cubicle, memories of blurry, bad and bearable times you have had here flash before you. You realise you are assuming too much again. One thing you need not assume is the inevitability of disappointments. And if you are to endure them, facing newer ones would be less painful than courting the same ones again and again.

challengeaccepted– J.

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.

Prisoner

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?’

‘70-****-million?’

‘Maybe he can hire us now.’

‘Is he married?’

WinningTicket

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.

Rock_Paper_Scissors__Hitler

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.

Her-assment

In HR, humor, Office humor, Policy on June 26, 2012 at 03:28

‘So when we do not like a co-worker’s gaze, what is the appropriate course of action?’

‘Complain to…’

‘No, we do not complain. We…warn the gazer twice in a polite but firm manner. 3rd time, we report him to…HR’

Pauses to prod the audience into participation are not working.

Judge Judy continues…

If we want to compliment a co-worker on his or her outfit, what is the best option?’

‘Keep it simple’

‘Only above the belt’

‘No, the best option is: don’t. Compliments are best saved for friends, not co-workers.’

That last one actually made sense, in a SlavesInc. sort of way. But in an otherwise bleak session, it is not much of a life-saver. Every year, the company cleanses itself of all wrong doing by making you; the slave, sign on mutually overlapping and collectively exhaustive Commandments.

It you want your daily bread and monthly salary; you have to swallow this and other hoopla. And is it you or does the presenter on Sexual Harassment policy seem to wearing an exceptionally taut blouse? Not only can you not gaze at her, you can’t compliment her outfit either.  So you look down most of the time, trying not to drift off into Neverland. You are feeling like a pervert already.

Moving on, ‘What do you do when you find a co-worker browsing sexually explicit images on his screen?’

Now that is a tough one. Something tells you the two warning principle applies here too. Do it once, you get the benefit of the doubt and a polite but firm warning. Do it twice and you are a paedophile! Off the record, you would probably walk up to the adventurous co-worker in question and ask for the URL that is immune to the Firewall. Thank God you did not say that out loud.

‘To recap, can you; Mr. J, tell us the appropriate course of action in case of…?’

‘You know, one could be browsing explicit images for official work!’

The ensuing silence tells you that you did say that one out loud.

Oops!

5 seconds pass and no one has given you a polite but firm warning yet. So you continue, ‘He could be a product manager for one of our vitality pills, for example.’

The audience of potential sexual offenders laughs out in unison. The taut bloused presenter laughs out too. But she checks herself and continues. She ends the session with a detailed account of the consequences awaiting offenders.

That was a close one. You will have to practice not thinking out loud. Now that you have signed the Commandments, you are already guilty until proven innocent. The time when you will need a contract just to say hello to someone is not far away. You had better save your smiles and your friendship for those outside office.

– J.

The Letter of Your Dreams

In Appraisal, HR, humor, Office humor on April 24, 2012 at 01:52

‘If you don’t act on life, life has a habit of acting on you.’

That is just the kind of misnomer of an insight you want to start your day with. The new vendor for your intranet sites is still in his show-off stage. Hence, a daily dose of dumb-down wisdom (‘Quote of the day’) greets you every time you sign in to view your salary slip (a depressing exercise in itself).

But it does get your attention. There are bald guys out there making a killing with the verbal equivalents of stick figure stock photos and you are just sitting there in your cube…reading them! What is with this inertia?

You put it down to lack of motivation/provocation.

With appraisal season upon you, the creature that is your loyalty is getting wings again. ‘Once the letter in my hands, this little birdie will fly, fly away!’ said Mr. Anders, a fellow slave and 10 year veteran.

‘Didn’t he say that last year?’

‘I think so, but in a less delirious way.’

You don’t know whether to laugh at a grown man doing a birdie flutter motion or to be scared by the wild glee in his eyes. You choose to take the scissor out of his reach when he is not looking.

One by one, nine to fivers are being called into the fateful glass cabin of Head Slave. The whole thing has a very Big Boss feel to it. One healthy year of your mortal existence condensed in a couple of pages of type…the letter of your dreams. Much of the type, off course; is legal spells. Just in case any of the laborers get any bright ideas. You are surprised HS does not have security, a Rottweiler perhaps, to stand by him in case the letter triggers a slave to go Spartacus on his ass!

It has all gone uneventfully, if not amicably till now. Mr. Anders is up next. Slaves awaiting their turn line up at an angle to the cabin to get a peek of the silent drama across the glass, much against the secretary’s assertions. It is like seeing a silent movie without the subtitles and a background music that is only playing in your head.

Into the third minute, Anders has not done his birdie dance yet. You expect the worse. He comes out a couple of minutes later, walks slowly to his desk and goes about randomly clicking icons. You walk up to him, more out of solidarity than wanting to know.

‘What is one more year huh?’ he says not looking up from his screen. An implosion can be a dangerous thing. Good thing you took the scissors away.

You strike lack of motivation/provocation off your list of reasons to stay back.

No one stopped smoking overnight. And Mr. Taleb has said: ‘The three most dangerous addictions in the world are heroin, carbohydrates and a monthly salary.’

Now that is your kind of quote.

–          J.

Parking Spot

In Commute, Flexi Timings, HR, humor, Monday, Office humor, Routine on March 27, 2012 at 01:22

They say routine kills the man. But you can’t go renegade in a suit. And you can’t go bar hopping on weekdays…especially if you need to punch in 8 hours of solid rowing to earn your bread. So you build a routine for yourself to keep sane and healthy. It is like your own personal boot camp. It is designed to keep you compliant for now and fit for later, when your grand early retirement plans unfold (more on that later).

The great thing about routine is that it builds on itself. More and more days spent in the same manner with only a date to tell them apart. But let’s not get negative now. We need to think happy thoughts first thing in the morning.

You have left early and beat the morning rush, as planned. If you stay discrete, you will be able to utilize flexi timings, leave early and beat the rush in the evening again! A perfect Monday, who would have thought such a thing existed?

As you drive in, you almost bite your black tongue. The lot looks different, the entrance is ajar and your parking spot taken. You feel the kind of dread one does when the hero realizes a double-cross right before intermission.

Your sweet parking spot is taken. This early in the morning. Who could it be? Most colleagues and HS must still be in bed or cursing their alarm clocks. You hover around the Van that has taken your place. You ask the guard as you get down to inspect the violating vehicle up close.

‘It is that new lady in HR, sir’, says the guard sounding like he is unveiling a major development in a pot boiler.

‘The whole lot is empty, why does she have to park here?’ you ask rhetorically. Off course she will park here, it is right next to the exit.

Before the guard can answer, you shoot another rhetorical, ‘She brings her baby to the office?’ You are going by the most rage-inducing sticker in auto history that is stuck on her van:

‘Baby on Board’

‘I don’t know sir, but she does bring a rather large bag with her.’

You think of parking in such a way that she can’t move out without you backing out first. But your inner gentleman holds you back, ‘Not yet’ he whispers. You spend the rest of the day feeling uneasy, like an OCD patient forced to play scrabble in Russian!

What if this Van-driving early rising lady doesn’t change her routine? Worse, what if she asks you to car pool with her? To get up any earlier, you would have to brush while driving and shave in office. There is only one thing left to do.

She is not the only one who can let a sticker announce her disposition:

Yours will say:

Kill me, I am going to work!

–          J.

Pipe Music

In Casual Day, Friday, HR, humor, music system, Office humor, SlavesInc, work stress on March 22, 2012 at 17:38

It startles you out of your trance-like working state. A sound mellow in nature but sudden in occurrence spreads through your shackled surroundings. You look around at similarly dumb-founded fellow slaves. You look up at the heavens, Noah like, but are only greeted with the piercing fluorescent lamp and a security camera. Once you get over your initial queasiness, the sound which can almost be called music seems strangely déjà vu –ish.

This could only mean one thing:

It is pipe music day

(The horror!)

As if garish clothes courtesy casual day were not enough, you ears have to suffer too, via mass announced generic tunes.

More cheesy than elevator music, more awkward than a loo at a 5 star hotel and more pedestrian than a gimmicky restaurant, office pipe music will strain your ear for music, if you have one. Touted as having a positive effect on ‘employee productivity’, pipe music is as cutting edge as it gets in HR practices.

For the reluctant rower such as yourself, it is one more reason to have jangled nerves. To the more imaginative, it may even seem like subliminal mind control. By noon, you are so bugged that you are ready to believe ‘It’s a wonderful world’ played backwards’ sounds like Death to all Mankind or Type faster ye slave!

You know they are never going to play Hard Rock or even Reggae. But you do try slipping a CD to the Admin guy disguised as an engaged employee. His reluctance makes it clear that the ambience is just another chore for him. It is as routine as music on – music off for him, just like the lights, AC and server.

You have tried everything including shutting yourself off in the loo. But a faint chiming of spastic music still reaches you. Sitting on the commode with your palms over your head, you feel like a difficult student at a pre-school for autistic children. Once again, you have forgotten to carry your own music on this difficult day. With nothing to drown out the tranquilizing ‘instrumentals’, all you can do is suck it up and keep a straight face.

The day does have its moments:

Head Slave pleading with his secretary over a MIDI version of ‘Bryan Adam’s ‘Everything I do…’

Your neighbor straining to hear over the phone to Lionel Ritchie’s ‘Hello’

The anorexic new marketing manager gesturing with her hands wide in a meeting room with Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart will go on’

 

Grateful for still being able to find humor in the ordinary, you get through your 9 hours with a note in your calendar for next week:

Friday: Get iPod or stay at home!

–          J.

Fit to Slave

In HR, humor, Interpersonal, Interview, Office humor, SlavesInc on March 6, 2012 at 03:33

‘I am a fun-loving person who likes to talk to people.’

‘I like to work in a challenging environment with dynamic growth opportunities.’

‘I like travelling and listening to music.’

Who doesn’t? (you finally intervene)

‘…in my free time’

You: (a look that says ”D’uh”)

This is what a typical slave round-up interview recruitment process goes like. And it is not very different from when you were recruited.

Now that you are on the other side of the table, your expression has changed. It has changed from mock eagerness to mock contempt.

As yet another candidate walks out post a volley of niceties, you and your fellow adjudicators can’t help but exhange weary looks and snide remarks. There is a definite Idol vibe going on. You are not sure if you are immitating TV or interviewers everywhere can’t help but be this way!

When it is finally time to come out with the results, you are caught between two worlds. One warns you of falling for personal prejudices and gut feel. The other reasons that you have done your best to be fair under the time restraint. It is not like you are assessing someone for marriage!

Your inner rebel finally breaks through and vouches for a candidate who doesn’t exactly ‘fit the bill’. With this candidate, Intelligence is not a question; willingness to get hands dirty is.

And sure enough, your dark horse disappoints you. She backs out at the first mention of fieldwork. You remember George Clooney’s Ryan Bingham in Up in the Air:

‘I’m like my mother, I stereotype. It’s faster.’

At least you tried.

– J.