Posts Tagged ‘managers’

The Way to a Manager’s Heart…

In humor, Interpersonal, Office humor on July 20, 2014 at 19:48

As related by a friend and fellow slave

Managers are people too. This dawns on you from time to time. But in the interim, they just seem like a peculiar tribe slave to rigid practices and pointless ritual.

The-Office-Dance-OffRicky Grievas DancingDavid Brent Dancing
As your department’s pack forages on their usual slope, the new kid on the block stays on the side lines. Besides the one-off documentation and scheduling of meetings, the kid has little to do to keep herself busy. She does try though, her anxiety shows anyway. The veterans of the pack show no signs of even acknowledging her existence. You, as always, are the passive observer.

And as a good observer is wont to do, you survey from a distance without intruding, interacting or influencing the subjects of study in any way. It is a tough job but someone has to do it.

Austin Stevens

The pack almost seems to be trying too hard at times, going out of their way to look past the kid and act generally self-important. The posturing is led by their Head of Department, a man with a big face and a thin voice. He is also the Alpha Male by proxy.

On many an occasion you feel compelled to break in, break the ice and put the kid at ease. But with some effort, you convince yourself that nature has to run its course.

And it does until a day when the pack is feeling particularly restless and hungry, both feelings being often interconnected. They are pulled out if their lazing around into the mildly vigorous activity of looking for biscuits and half-eaten packs of chips in the foliage of files and half-open boxes of forgotten stuff.

The kid, startled at first, makes the bold move of offering her own reserve of nutrition bars and Oreos. It is an instant hit. One of the Oreos makes its way to Alpha for approval. You almost find yourself anxious waiting for his response. But guess what, the big man likes Oreos!
Cyanide Oreos

Over the next few days, banter increases in proportion with the kid’s supply of fodder. They still don’t know the kid’s name and her smile is still awkward. But there is progress…

The kid comes up to you once offering you the last Oreo lying at the bottom of her shallow lunch box. You offer her your pack of nutrition bars instead.

‘What’s your name?’

‘Kim!’ she says with a bright smile.

‘Glad to have you on board,’ you say.


Managers are people too and nature has to run its course. But you can always run your own.


– J.

Con Call

In Meeting, Office humor, Wage Slaves on June 24, 2013 at 02:28

There are 5 distinct voices, maybe six. And they all sound anxious.  Maybe not anxious. But definitely edgy. Each seems to be having an agenda at odds with the others. None sounds like it wants to be there. There is tension mounting but on the surface,  civility prevails.

Reservoir Dogs Poster 1

This is not a Tarantino movie. It’s just the latest in a string of cross-functional meetings. Offcourse, the word meeting is only notional.  The modern knowledge worker is not bound by trivialities like location or even gravity. All five cons on the con call are in different locations,  conditions and even time zones. You are the sixth one having assumed the safer role of chronicler with tempers flying high elsewhere.

Star Trek Delphi

Grumpy Con 1: “You are not getting the point.”

Grumpy Con 2: “No, you are not getting the point! ”

Reluctant project lead: “Can we summarise what we have agreed on till now?”

Grumpy Con 2: “No, we have not agreed on anything. ”

Reluctant project lead: “Can we atleast try?”

Suicidal Con 4: “Ok, but we would only be wasting more time.”

Somewhat sane Con 5: “I think we should take this from the start.”

(Collective sigh)

You: “Yeah, why not?”

And thus starts the second hour of this fruitful discussion. A large group of civilians are to be counselled at a health camp in the coming week as a CSR initiative. But one of your ‘channel partners’ has backed out citing unforseen circumstances. It is now up to you to call off the camp altogether or foot the bill from contingency funds.

The choice would be simple enough if customers were your priority as the textbooks will have you believe. But there too many managers and no ownership in the concoction of this broth. Everything from company image to Act of God is cited to call off the event and go into damage control mode. But nothing about the clueless souls who will line up next week as promised.

But we digress.  For the chronicler cannot afford emotion to creep in as bias. He should, he must report events and actions, or lack thereof as they happen,  no matter how uninspiring.

Dilbert Conference call

Deep into the second hour, energy levels of all cons are sapping, even con 3-the coffee junkie. Traffic,  crying babies and blaring speakers can be heard in the backgrounds of the various participants. Con 2’s voice is booming and echoing like a megalomaniac at the end of a tiresome Bond film. You must have spoken the least in the last hundred minutes but have enjoyed the melee the most. You have also managed to sqeeze in some light exercise,  tea and dinner along with newspaper skimming in this time.

simpsons phone-call

Grumpy Con 1: “Raj? Can we go ahead with these assumptions?”

Grumpy Con 2: “No, I don’t see how we can. But I leave it upto Raj.”

Grumpy Con 1: “Raj, what do you think? Surely we can…”

Grumpy Con 2: “Raj, can you hear us?”

Grumpy Con 1: “Raj you there? Hello?”

Raj, by the way, is the project lead and he seems to have bailed on this brain swarming session a long time ago. And no one even noticed. So impressed are you by this single decisive act that you decide to drop off the call yourself.

The Office Project-Manager

And nothing happens. No reminders or reprimands,  no contingencies or consequence. Too many managers, no ownership.  Too much progress, no contentment.

– J.