Archive for the ‘HR’ Category

Mr. Motivation

In HR, humor, Office humor, SlavesInc, Training, Wage Slaves on February 13, 2012 at 02:44

‘This carpet is a magic carpet! You are flying 3000 feet above the ground. Your mission is to invert the magic carpet without falling off. Don’t look down now. If you fall, there is 3000 feet of air followed by a 3000 feet deep valley. At the bottom of the valley are 3000 year old alligators who are hungry and are waiting for you!’

…all you could give in return to this pitch was a blank stare of disappointment. If you haven’t realized it yet, you are in process of being motivated by a professional motivator. It is the company outbound meet and attendance is compulsory.

There are 10 other slaves besides you garbed in ‘smart casuals’ scurrying not to fall off the magic carpet. You don’t know about them but standing with a bunch of grown-ups on a discount blanket in the middle of a grass lawn does not get you motivated.

At this stage, the only thing that can motivate you is wrapping Mr. Motivation in the magic carpet and kicking the fake high pitched drawl out of his mouth. The French Revolution in your mind is disturbed by a sharp sound in your immediate vicinity.

The ‘trainer’ claps in your direction as if to say ‘chop-chop’. Words finally escape your irritated conscience. ‘I feel like a fool,’ you say. The smiley on your company-branded t-shirt flutters in the outdoor wind, seemingly unaware of your frown.

Mr. M walks up to you, not willing to give up on a difficult student, not as a motivator he can’t. ‘You need to understand the rules of the game,’ he opines expertly. ‘What rules?’ you ask, ‘We have been randomly doing activities Kindergartners would deem lame.’

A couple of rounds of bargaining later it dawns on you that besides the motivation hoopla, this is also fertile ground for evaluation of slavery quotients. You put up your hands mid-sentence to say, ‘Alright, let’s do this!’ At the end of the outbound, you even get congratulated by Mr. Motivation on your leadership skills displayed on the grass-bound magic carpet.

You may have betrayed your inner Spartacus on the grass but on paper, you let it rip. A scathing feedback is all Mr. M is going get from you.


Salary Slip

In Hopsquatch, HR, humor, nine to five, Office humor, Wage Slaves on October 10, 2011 at 03:58

Here it is, in black and white. It would be in shades but you know how expensive color printing is. There is something about seeing your remuneration (hope I spelt that correctly) in utter specifics. The surrealism of the experience contrasts with the placid demeanor of the numbers. You are, of course, face-to-face with your salary slip (sic).

This is it. Five days a week (sometimes six), nine hours a day (sometimes twelve) and unquantifiable brain damage gets you only this much. How can one make a decent living on this? More importantly, would you know a decent living if it you in the Bahamas?

Long repressed panic is finally setting in. You should do something about this, but what? Should you start a twitter campaign or a facebook page? Seems juvenile. Should you take it up with HR (seriously)? You signed the deal yourself. You would only be making a (bigger) fool of yourself if you raise a query.


Damn those lawyers who draft employment contracts with the ‘fine print’. They must be part of Lucifer’s Legions; for God has surely stopped residing in the details. Maybe you should groom your son to be a lawyer to take revenge on the world/society.

You want to tear, crumple and other wise mangle the salary slip. But printing is at a premium and you remember something about a ‘Save trees’ campaign you had to sign recently.

The thought of the last bus out of town departing in another ten minutes re-introduces you with gravity. Momentary rage having been tamed like a prison riot, you carefully fold and keep the salary slip in a folder. Three consecutive proofs of bondage are required to change galleys.

– J.

Work Life Balance (sic)

In budget holiday, colored font, HR, humor, Office, planning a budget, practical joke, Wage Slaves, work life balance on September 10, 2011 at 23:02

The phrase Work Life Balance contains three assumptions:

  1. You actually work
  2. You have a life and
  3. The myth of balance


It is a phrase that was born in cliché` and mires in it to this day. But it is still used, heavily. ‘Don’t smirk, you know what we mean. We are concerned you know?’ is what you feel they are saying when the practical joke called WLB comes up.

You do not view any communication from HR without suspicion. The first line of a friendly mail from this great department reads: ‘We want you to strike work-life balanse…’ (yes, they misspelt balance and hyphenated work and life). You look around for snipers and try to hide the look on your face that says ‘Ha!’


After the first line of forced small talk, they quickly get down to business. The next couple of paragraphs in colored font are predictably forgettable. The words ‘policy’, ‘new rule’, ‘accrued’ and ‘lapse’ litter the landscape. Excluding the ‘herewiths’ and ‘forthrights’, the mail basically says:

‘Why are you chipmunks not having the bananas (privilege leaves) lawfully granted to you? You can’t store them forever you know? To keep you from going crazy and to avoid lawsuits, we are going to confiscate your bananas!

So use them while you can (before the next calendar year begins), do not complain later. Power to the people!

Peace out!’

You sure feel simian right about now don’t you? You realize life is one big never ending school routine with rules and supervision governing everything from yawning to bowel movements. But you have to make the most of it. So you immediately start planning a budget holiday to save your 10 remaining bananas that are now in danger. Your only consolation is, you are doing it on office time.


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.


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.

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.

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.


In Health, HR, humor, Office on March 21, 2011 at 17:57

Soft music is playing in the background. It is like pipe music, only more gay. You lay on the ground. You are awkward about the fact that you can’t remember the last time you felt more comfortable. An impressive but slightly jarring voice commands you to feel various parts of your body. As you try to let go of your inhibitions, you are faintly aware of the communal scheme of things around you.

Just as you are drifting into suspension, a gathering vibration pulls you back into gravity. It is probably a random message selling you packaged tours on your cell phone. You look at the clock, the official photographer and relatively limp bodies of recent acquaintances that are littered around you.

This could only mean one thing: an HR-sponsored time-eater!

Names can range from the Mythological (Rejuvenation) to the pedestrian (Training Programme.) Claims can be even loftier.

Enlightened Detachment

You hate ‘motivational talk’ and formal turn-by-turn introductions as much as the next guy. But there are up-sides to look forward to:

>> You are away from your desk and you are being paid for it.

>> Slightly better caffeinated drinks than office.

>> The food looks more expensive than canteen food and will taste different, if not better.

>> Some of the activities might actually be fun, eg; paintball. You can finally aim for that bald spot on your boss’s head (all for building team spirit off cousre).

>> Not falling asleep in this set-up would be a new challenge and can enhance your skills.

>> Meeting a cross-section of the organization’s talent sloppily out of their element may make you feel good about yourself.

Sure there are is an organized sanctimony about the whole event. As grown men sing songs, hold hands and struggle with craft items, you feel like you are in an orgy with Robin Sharma, Shiv Khera and Oprah!  The natural response off course is revulsion. The positive energy being exuded by the ‘trainer’ makes you feel so warm inside that you want to puke!

But you will only make it harder for yourself if you go with your natural response. Do the opposite. In most cases, the opposite is what the organization wants. So just give in to the packaged motivation.

To the Trainer: “Mr. Sequeira, sorry, Bob…I think we should also share the meaning of the poems we have written.”

In the feedback form: “I have learnt so much. I can’t wait to get back to work to implement all this. I propose HR follow up every week to document the positive changes this session will bring about.”

To participative co-workers: “I agree.” and “Could you elaborate more?” every two minutes.

To all participants:  “Can we hold hands for a little longer?”


“Let’s do that again!”

Being politically correct can be fun when the audience knows you don’t mean it. This way, whatever memories you have of another day earning your bread will be almost pleasant.


That Sporty Feeling

In Health, HR, humor, Office on March 12, 2011 at 19:41

Doctors advise it, jobs preclude it and you need it. It is touted as fun, hip and healthy. But you probably find it to be exactly the opposite. Yes, we are talking about (don’t finch) EXERCISE. Physical activity, outdoor excursions and…walking.

Cavemen did not do many of the things we do today, like…exercise. And they got by pretty alright. Think about it: they did not have arthritis, credit swaps and PTSD. Modern-day humans (specially the professional variety) have evolved into organisms that survive using minimum of their God-given morphology. Basically, we use our fingertips and eyes more than our calves.

Screen Time

But worse than not being able to exercise is keeping the illusion of trying. I’m talking about taking the stairs to your second floor apartment, participating in corporate sponsored marathons and annual sports days.

What a sham!

1-2 days out of 365…on a weekend. I mean, who are we trying to fool?

What is that…?

It is meant to be a social gathering for family and colleagues you say?

Why would you want to bring together two groups of people you are involuntarily stuck with in a communal setting? Add to that ill-fitting, bulk-procured garishly colored ‘sportswear’ and you have one very forgettable occasion.

More than the physical activity in an uncontrolled environment, you will find other experiences more stimulating, such as:

>> Realizing Mr. Sal actually has a fully functional body. Having never seen him detached from his desk, it is strange to actually see him walk!

>> Realizing almost everybody in office is obese. Even the rather-hot sales-admin lady you fancied can’t contain her modesty in the aforementioned ‘sportswear’. What a heart-breaker…

>> Some of the forced frolic you do end up participating in will remind you of why you dreaded the gym class in school; viz embarrassing clothes, performance anxiety and bullies.

Yet, such events perpetuate, year after year. You surrender your attendance as required, trying to fake the glee. You downgrade your participation from 100 meters to spoon-and-egg to carom. You still get mildly excited when an inadvertent picture of you makes its way to the corporate magazine.

Exercise...not for everyone

If you are a life-timer, not showing up for sports day would be about as empty a rebellion as a used can rolling along on a remote highway. So wear those cheap outfits, give your attendance but don’t have too much of the ‘juice’ being offered at the ‘volunteer-manned’ refreshment stalls. And don’t even think of it as recreation, you would only be fooling yourself.

However, if you are not a home-bound pensioner-in-waiting, rebellion is for you! But make no mistake about it, the days of bad-ass protests are gone with the communists. You need to be smart now, stealthy, guerrilla almost. Use your right brain. You’ve been giving it step-motherly treatment for too long, even if you are in a marketing job. Come up with never-heard-before-no-chance-for-a-comeback alibis for not attending sports-day:

>> I pulled a hamstring while performing my morning duties

>> I need to be present at a reading of a distant relative’s will; I may be in for some inheritance. (Later, off course, you sadly inform people that you were cheated out of it by an evil cousin)

>> I’m helping a friend elope; he has sworn me to secrecy.

–          J.