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Archive for the ‘Office’ Category

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.

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.

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.

‘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.

The Artiste` and the Doodler

In humor, Office, Wage Slaves on June 12, 2011 at 04:54

How come when I do it’s a doddle and when ‘they’ do it, its art?

…is a question one often asks one’s non-artistic self.

‘Some people are born artistes’ (hope I spelt that correctly) is another annoying preclusive phrase one comes across. If you believe otherwise, would it not make sense to go to great lengths to become an artiste or some such? The recent demise of M. F. Hussain and press it got doodled this post in my head.

A Doodle of the Artiste'

Just consider the benefits:

»      No fixed timings

»      No groveling for approvals

»      You get to choose your co-workers, if any

»      No shaving

»      You can wear sandals and a ragged excuse for clothing and still look hip

»      You can wear sunglasses and hats indoors without anyone cracking a lame-ass joke

»      You can buy Ferrari’s on down payment, no petty EMI business

»      And to top it all…tax breaks!

All these USPs are besides great pay, obscene margins, discounts at pubs and hobnob buddies who look decades better than the hottest chick in your office.

There must be reasons why some artiste’s make a killing with their two pence while others blog in obscurity with their five dollars. You are tempted to make fate the prime suspect. Circumstance; fate’s rural cousin, can be co-accused.

Fooling oneself is a luxury most of us afford ourselves. The truth is; artistes may be hooked on coke or worse, but you and I, are hooked on a monthly salary. Albeit, it shouldn’t keep you from noticing the art in everyday life:

»      The way you prop up the Monitor with just the right number and thickness of old files

»      The way can give Chopin a run for his money on the keyboard when you are in Excel mode

»      The way you renew your ‘action plans’ every month by merely re-ordering the same words

Created by an industrious fellow wage slave

If you can do all this and still doodle for a living, who cares about Sotheby’s, right?

– 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.

Why everyday life is like a Video game

In humor, Office, Wage Slaves on May 23, 2011 at 01:41

24 hours to the day, 5 working days and 7 days of creation. These are the co-ordinates that are eating up your life, systematically and without reprieve. Off course you want to go sky diving in New Zealand and on other days, sleep till the Sun is high. But you need to take care of some hygiene factors first. These include, apart from the actual hygiene, going to work, commuting, cooking, eating etc. By the time you are done, it is time to rest so that come tomorrow, you can do this all over again. Sounds insane, doesn’t it?

This is your routine and it is killing you, one day at a time. It is distracting enough though, to keep you going. You even begin to enjoy it at times, trying repeatedly to get better at it. It can be frustrating too but you just can’t let go. Sounds very much like a Video game doesn’t it?

Life is like a Video Game

Super Mario ducks rockets, flies over valleys and zaps monsters. But they just keep coming. The momentary joy finishing level I is immediately followed by the dread of level II. The rockets are faster, valleys deeper and monsters meaner. But the lure of what lies at the end of level two eggs you on. You will get better at it. You just need to keep on trying, again and again. To make it easier, Super Mario always has a smile on his face as if defying gravity and running perpetually was what he was born to do!

The pain can be excruciating. You know you need a break. You know level two is not the end but only the begining of an even more painful level three. But you keep going as if you were hard wired to do so.

As compelled as you may feel to finish the Video/computer game, to conquer it through its own absurd rules and limitations, you forget that you are the one who should be in control. All you need to do is pull the plug.

– J.