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Archive for the ‘Office Romance’ Category

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.

Elevator Pitch

In Office humor, Office Romance on June 22, 2013 at 05:20

Life is a series of slots, some memorable, many forgettable but most repetitive and largely uninspiring. Like your sister’s music collection or your uncle’s wardrobe.  So is the case with your elevator buddies.

24wallpaper

This is the crowd that seems to clock exactly the same twenty four hours as you. You see them every day. Same time, same elevator. There is the grumpy aunty, the almost hot secretary,  the fat guy seen perpetually with a coffee mug and the guy who is always digging his nose. Then there is you. Staring at the floor number flashing.  Wondering where the hell the last twenty four hours went. The ring of the bell snaps you out of it and you are primed for yet another shift. Office Elevator But it has not been working for the past week. Not since she joined your elevator group.  You can’t call her buddy, not yet. You have not managed to get her name.  But she should suffice for now. She stands out of the elevator crowd like those stock images. A kind face in a raging mob. A stray ray of sun in a coal mine. She has the right mix of assertion and girl-next-doorness to elicit your attention.

Umbrella ray of hope

You have been trying to inch closer to this ray of hope every day. But there is not much give in a rush hour elevator. It is still something to look forward to…the little adventures in life… All this talk about elevators has got you thinking about an elevator pitch. A project manager from the head office has been cited recently in your premises.  But he is too chic to give you five minutes face time. The elevator is the only place to throw him a curve ball. You ought to have a pitch for her too. But that is a whole different skill set. On a fateful Monday, both candidates are within pitching distance.  The project manager actually recognises you and asks you what you wanted to see him about. You are about to start your routine when 7th floor arrives. The usual suspects are holding up the elevator for their friends to budge in. The resulting squabble throws you off mark. She seems disturbed too. You tell the manager you will send him an e-mail. He seems disappointed as he walks out at the eight floor. ‘Quite a racket over a couple of minutes,’ her first words to you. “If time were money, we would all be kings,” is your not so bad reply. She smiles. The elevator door closes. A Monday rises above average. Image Life is a series of slots, some memorable, many forgettable but most repetitive and largely uninspiring. You have to make the inspiring ones count. – J.

Ctrl+S

In frayed ends of sanity, humor, Office Romance, work stress on March 25, 2013 at 03:12

Life is all about second chances. If it weren’t we wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t be here to talk about it, boast even. Show off; on bumper stickers, fridge magnets and wallpapers.

Dexter Hannah quote

Learnt, borrowed or forwarded, wisdom is everywhere these days. From a blonde girl’s t-shirt to your boss’s e-mail sign-off, from a coffee mug to a random tweet. Even fellow slaves have caught the message bug, their mundane cubicles proclaiming life’s profound truths. ‘Success always hugs you in private but failure always slaps you in public’ says one. ‘To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people merely exist,’ says another. Then there are the outright rebellious kinds: ‘Silence does not always mean yes. It means…

bizarro-priorities-burgers

You have always been suspicious of anything that is in abundance from credit cards to carbohydrates. So you have kept your rowing station practical and without frills. But some wisdom would have helped today, even a tit-bit. For you sure feel stupid today.

You ought not to. Today was a day you got more work than on most days. Concurrently, today also turned out to be a day you questioned your existence the least. It sure took a lot of tunnel vision to finally finish that confidentiality agreement that looked like it would never end. It took that and a lot of saying no. No to taking coffee breaks, no to seeing that funny video everybody has been forwarding and no to answering the perpetually blinking phone. And it would have all been worth it too. All the effort would have been worth it if you had only pressed one small button. But you didn’t. And now it’s all gone. Into a black hole of disappointments never to return.

I didn't save

Relieved that you had finally wrestled the document to the ground and annoyed at the number of different versions you had created in the process, you go on a deleting spree, saying ‘Do not save’ to anything that pops up, including your day’s work. It takes some time for the stupidity of it all to sink in. When it does, you are so cross you kick everything in sight. You come to close to smashing the computer too. But if you were that impulsive, you wouldn’t have lasted this long in this job.

So you sit back, take deep breaths and try to figure out why you were born. Colleagues drop by, some sympathize with your sob story; others can’t stop laughing, especially after looking at the harrowed look on your face. You know you should sleep over it to keep yourself from killing someone. And if you can’t laugh at yourself, you should at least take some positive out of this guffaw. So you take a size-40 font print-out to finally join the message band-wagon. It says:

Ctrl+S

To err is human, to save is divine

Ctrl+S to err is human

–          J.

Are you motivated yet?

In humor, Motivation, Office Romance on August 6, 2012 at 01:09

You remember how it all started. You also remember the time before it started. But you are not sure if any else does.

To think a simple thing like that could be so addictive and so dangerous. They are everywhere now. You don’t know how you did without them.

Motivational posters are what we are talking about. Its a freaking arms race out there. Every cubicle has one, for starters. Then there are the mugs, the printed T-shirts, e-mail sign-offs and more. Oh how you hate the e-mail sign-offs!

And to think it all started with an e-mail, a forward rather by none other than HS. 

Motivational posters have always had the opposite of their intended effect on you. Perhaps you take life too seriously; perhaps you are extra allergic to phoniness. Either way; you could laugh it off and spam the damn chain mails. But now, it’s like your whole life is an e-mail forward. Your most polite mails are being responded with smiley infested replies. You can’t have a coffee break without someone taking you off-guard with a high-five. The only motivation you are getting here is to leave this mad house.

If you had been inert to inertia, you wouldn’t have been a slave in the first place. So you drudge along. You return the fake smiles with one of your own, avoid high-fives when you can. You know it has really gotten out of hand when a motivational poster campaign is announced!

3 days is all you’ve got to pimp up your rowing station. HS will come around on Monday to adjudge the most motivating motivational poster (sic). This is going to be the ultimate test of your undercover skills. Taking a leave won’t help. The non-bling nature of your cubicle will give you away even in your absence.

So you put your head down and do what everyone else is doing; Google search. You could also search your trash mail folder. But that seems too against principle. Being creative when asked to is the toughest thing. So you keep putting it off.

It is the day of assessment and you have nothing. Zilch. HS has started doing his rounds too. When he is about two cubicles away, you remember an image a similarly reluctant friend had sent you. It says: ‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.’

You print it out and pin it up quickly. 

‘Hmm…,’ starts HS. He keeps looking at your print-out. It ain’t that long a sentence. But you don’t want to disturb him. He even rubs his chin, deep in thought. The whole thing is so ridiculous; you can’t help but smile a little.

‘I like it,’ he says. ‘I…like to keep it simple, Sir,’ is your honest reply.

Maybe, deep down, HS has decent taste, maybe even a sense of humor. Maybe he just does what he does out of bondage to KRAs. In a phony eat phony world, you will never know.

As for your comfort zone, you will need someone to kick you out of it.

– J.

The Weekend Mafia

In Boss, dust bin, humor, Interpersonal, Office Romance, work life balance, Working on Weekends on February 22, 2012 at 01:01

With the lights dim and the garb loose, an air of comfort may creep in. But you guard against it. The empty chairs are reminiscent of the theater you visited to catch yet another ‘romantic comedy’ last week. There are very few humans around you. The few in your immediate surroundings seem more inviting than on a Monday. The tapping of keyboards and ringing of phones also seems subdued. But you try to look busy.

You finally relent when you are invited a fourth time to a cuppa. As co-worker small talk ensues, you feel like disappearing. You are; off course, working on a Saturday. Part of a slaving elite. But you don’t want to remind yourself of it. If you work fast enough and push out, you probably won’t even notice the weekend was shorter, right?

You manage to pass an offer of a cancer stick. But that is as far as you want to go in this huddle. The machine-spouted coffee tastes like sweetened Styrofoam. You can’t prolong it any longer.  You dump it in the dust bin and excuse yourself.

As you hurry back to your rowing station, you are intercepted by Head Slave himself. You did notice a figure approaching casually but didn’t take it to be HS. Else you would have ducked.

‘There you are sport. Lunch is on me. We are going to that new joint by the curb. 2 pm. Look sharp now!’

It’s like HS has a twin brother who is only let out on Saturdays. The first thing that comes to your mind is: ‘What has he been smoking?’

An invitation to work on weekends is like a being admitted into a secret society. You have read enough pulp function to know such memberships are one-way traffic. It is also clear that not much work gets done on weekends. It is really only a long Friday, like never-ending purgatory. To be on the good side of the weekend mafia is to be one with them. To be on their bad side is to have one shot left at relative freedoms. It is up to you to decide.

J.

Cube and Cupid

In humor, Interpersonal, Office, Office Romance on July 3, 2011 at 17:59

The thing about bright spots is, they always appear if you look for them hard enough. They drive and motivate like no other incentive.

After months of futile attempts, you finally began to make it for the 8:15 am bus. Not through doggedness and ridiculously early alarms but because she takes the same bus. Yes, she the is one person you let cut in line at the photo copier. You never ask her to return the pens you lend her, even staplers, making her the only one with this privilege. You are the first one to notice if she is absent for a day. You momentarily resent the fact that she did not tell you about her plans yesterday only to slap yourself on the back of your head a minute later…

As obvious as an office romance

…you, my friend, have a case of  office crush.

I would say office romance but modesty is an art that has to be practiced forcefully. Sure there are stats about how common office romances are and how a large number of office romances end up in (gulp) marriage. Many others are lawsuits waiting to happen.

But you don’t give a rusted paper clip about that, do you? What you want to know is where she was a few months ago? Has she just returned from a ‘Get Gorgeous’ style ‘reality show’? Are you feeling the effects of the dearth of a social life? Is this what they call ‘The Mermaid Effect’? One thing is for sure, you do not want to look like a stupid college kid with a crush.

Office would be more boring without Amber

You purposely miss the 8:15 bus for the next couple of days. Things start looking as pedestrian as they were and as they really are. You miss the spring in your step. But you are happy to have realized that a routine life can be more than bearable with a bright spot. She…will probably not even notice you are gone.

– J.

‘What was your name again?’

In humor, Interpersonal, Office, Office Romance, Organisation on June 21, 2011 at 04:13

“You spoke with my boss, Mr. Doodlesberg?”

You know the guy mentioned some normal name but it just did not register.

“Yes”, you reply, “I’ll send that mail right away to…”

“I am Mr. Hanselboy.”

“Mister…?” – You want one more chance.

Mr. Hanselboy ,” he says matter-of-factly.

 Snapping finger while trying to remember something never seems to help

It has finally happened.

.

.

.

.

Your brain’s contact list has reached full capacity. To remember any more new names, you will have to delete some old ones.

Between online communities and syncing multiple devices, you can’t put a name to a face without it being on a screen. Staring at person’s chest to read his/her name off the ID card is not a good idea either. Memory tools like linking morphological and racial peculiarities to names is too much to handle for today’s hyper-propah environment. Adding them on FB is a scary thought.

When all fails, resort to pen and paper

Maybe, you could actually physically write down the names. If only, you could find a pen, and then, some paper, you could avoid situations such as:

“How could you lose the pen drive?”

“I did not lose it, I lent it to someone.”

“Someone who?”

“You know; the new guy with the eye thing.”

“No, I don’t know the new guy with the eye thing.”

“Well, there are so many of them…”

Pneumonics

The one with the glasses is called Bhavesh for ‘B” flipped 90 degrees looks like glasses!

Perhaps, you are not outgoing as they say. But how social can you be? With 400 employees and an attrition of 20%, you are looking at remembering 2 new names every working day for the rest of your career!

And if you are contributing to the attrition yourself, you have to learn an entirely new set of names. “This is Mr. X, this is Mr. Blah and that is Miss. Liz,” says your new boss as he debuts you at your new galley. “This is like a marriage reception, you just have to smile. Do not hope to remember any names,” he tells you on the side lines. ‘If only more people were memorable, like Liz,’ you tell your dreamy-eyed self.

– 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.