Work Ethics

The earliest memories of my demure, 5’4″ mosima (grandmother) are always associated with sunrises, woody smoke, cotton sarees and the fragrance of Charmis cream. 

I’m nearly five I think, my summer holidays have just started and I burrow myself deeper into the thick blanket mosima has wrapped around me.

No books to be bundled inside my canvas bag, no homework to be checked by a hawkish uncle, no poems to be learnt by rote and no tests around the corner.  I will away the chirping of the sparrows, the woody smoke from the kitchen and the  morning light I knew awaited me. The chill of the morning along with the rhythmic snoring of my grandpa was enough to make me glide back to sleep where I knew I would dream of books piled high along with hot samosas and Boost.

But rain or shine, holidays or school my dearest would be up before the cock crowed. Yes, we had roosters at every corner in Bangalore then along with cowsheds. My city was truly a garden city. My road was lined with yellow and orange champa trees, their fragrance intoxicating and heady in summers; gulmohars in resplendent red during the monsoons and always, mosima pottering around the house like a goddess. She was omnipresent.

In the kitchen, making breakfast and packing lunch for a family of 8 that sometimes expanded to 15 and more. In the garden, watering her beloved papayas, pomegranates, banana, jasmine, hibiscus and all the other myriad bushes and trees that dotted our small plot. In the veranda giving a bowl of egg and milk to a stray dog we had adopted. She wasn’t a dog lover but there was just no way she could refuse to care for yet another creature. To her all of God’s creatures were to be loved and nurtured. She would be in the backyard serving coffee to the old lady who helped with cleaning vessels and washing clothes. To the market she would go with her cloth bag and me in tow. At times, I would accompany her on a 6 km hike to our ration shop to buy the monthly groceries of rice, dal, oil, sugar and wheat.

Till the day she was admitted to the hospital where she breathed her last my dearest never wearied of fulfilling her duties to her family, her neighbors and the ones she cared for. 

Always the first one to wake up and the last to sleep. Non-complaining, ever-smiling, quick with a hug and a patient ear. Non-judgmental and driven, to be the best she could for us, her thankless brood. 

Now as I pour over management books and read articles galore I realise my dearest had the traits of a successful entrepreneur and an inspiring leader.

  1. She worked harder than the rest of us, whom she united as family
  2. She never asked but gave willing of herself and commanded us with a gentle smile, never a tear or a threat
  3. She was always willing to give a second chance and yet another chance till proven wrong
  4. She was driven by an inner moral compass and higher principles
  5. She never advised without being sought
  6. She never sat on judgement but stood by your side to pull you up and get you going

As I look around me at  papers piled high, clothes strewn around, empty bottles of water and the clock ticking by I see a sweet lady pick up and arrange with nay, a murmur nor a rebuke.I hear her sing, cook and clean with never a care for her aching body or thankless brood (smaller though it be) and I think to myself, I can’t go wrong. For my mother carries on where mosima left off.

I have a long way to go but I know the work ethics I have imbibed from the women in my family run deep within me.

As I trace my career,  adventures in living, challenges and triumphs I realise it is my mosima I look to for inner strength and retaining my authencity of who I am and being the best I can be; of staying true to myself and bouncing back every time I fall.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be gorgeous, brilliant, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. …As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love






Awake Asleep Awake……..

It’s been 10 days since I logged out of Facebook.

Quitting the stub was easier I think.

Tempted to go back and re-log, not to stay connected but to be a voyeur.

All the people I’m truly connected to stay on. I’m back to calls and starting to meet folks I haven’t met in ages. I was too busy trawling  to comment on a feed or a photo they were tagged in.

How long will I stay off? Your guess is as good as mine.

I have never been the truly fortunate who multitask and accomplish much. I do one thing at one time and try to do it well. I would describe myself as mediocre at best. I thrive on my mediocrity.

I know if I die tomorrow and an obit is sent I will have 2 handfuls of friends who may shed a tear and sport a smile. High hopes?!

Am I rambling on?

Mayhap yes. But here is my list of accomplishments during the FB-off phase.

  • Unpacked my books, indexed them and stacked them in the library
  • Opened P Sainath’s Everybody Loves a Good Drought and Roald Dahl’s Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Half way through the first and almost done with the second)
  • Started my driving classes
  • Seldom log on to the laptop once I’m home
  • Miss my dog constantly, make up by picking fights with my mom (at least I’m starting to communicate)
  • I call up random friends, who send me snide, sarcy messages for remembering them finally, and oh yea, did I want something? (I deserve that I guess)
  • I have learnt to say no (lying actually but starting to say No when I mean No)
  • Taking care of myself (You detect the I-me-my pattern right?!)
  • I call up folks I care about more often (Sure I don’t get browny points for this but heh, you love me so better put up with this)
  • I’m sporting a smile and humming a song (I actually mouth lyrics these days, a huge WOW for me)
  • I hope to catch that interactive theatre my friend has been telling me about
  • Organised my wardrobe and my bills and my closet and gave away gunny-bag full of clothes and books (Oh yes, I’m wasteful but trying not to be)
  • I text friends (again, greeted by snide remarks, sarcy messages, etc etc..)
  • Dusted my dictionaries and my french notes (no, not the ones which says 1001 ways to french kiss but the legit stuff)
  • Cleaning up the workspace
  • I have 2 guppies that have survived in a fish bowl placed on the table at the work bay and a money plant that gave its first lil’ leaf (Thank you God, I love you)

Well, I think that’s enuf. I didn’t realise I actually managed to do so much till I started writing down this post. So Awake I’m. Trying to make the most of the 14-hour day. Yes, yes I still haven’t given up on sleep.

P.S: Rocksta I came back to Greyzed. Finally decided this suits me the most. And yes, we must meet. Let me know if next weekend works for you.

Underpaid + Unappreciated

This is the third attempt at writing the post. Perhaps because the title affects me on an extremely personal level.

Left an organisation for the second part, left another for the first, seen a few good friends leave for both parts while some are hanging on by a thread of sanity for want of anything better. UNDERPAID + UNAPPRECIATED – the recession helped companies/individuals to spread this knell along. StOP already.

A word of appreciation or a letter of commendation in front of people who matter is not that difficult a task. Value your Employees and They WILL STAY, and even if they don’t, you have built a positive network who may help you sometime.

A friend said my posts are angsty. Had to refer to a dictionary first!! , and here is what I got.

angst – an acute but unspecific feeling of anxiety; usually reserved for philosophical anxiety about the world or about personal freedom

Bang on.

Why is it difficult for corporates to get rid of corporategiri and why do normal people live up to the adage Nothing Corrupts Like Absolute Power.

Over the span of a decade I have been mentored and groomed by some amazing professionals, some did it intentionally and some unknowingly. I have learnt to:

Be professional at work=Don’t carry a baggage and your kitchen sink to work; Stay focused; Don’t Take your work home=prioritise work/ Make a list of Things to Do/ Work at Getting Things Done on Time or Well Before

Don’t Overpromise & Under-deliver = Walk the talk. If you can, you can. If not YOU CAN’T. Don’t Commit yourself if you do not have the specifics and Do not know what is required. DO YOUR HOMEWORK always.

LEARN– Constantly upgrade your skills. Spread yourself and learn. Teach yourself if you can’t be taught. Never be afraid to ASK even if it means you make a fool of yourself. BE OPEN to receiving.

DON’T UNDERPRICE – yourself and the work you do. Find out the market value for the services you offer. After all, you are the product and undervaluing and underestimating yourself will amount to a Huge LOSS and possible bankruptcy. I learnt this the hard way when I offered to write an article for 100 bucks a piece, and found that the market rate was five times that. WHICH ALSO MEANS when it is appraisal time do not be afraid to ask for a hike and that promotion you deserve.

SHOW YOU CARE– Whether you Start Green Horns, a green initiative, like a few friends did, and they even went on to win an award for their documentary OR you are just saying Thank You to the lady at the reception who goes out of her way to make Life easy for you OR your young colleague who shares his insights into the workings of your organisation.

DE-CLUTTER – How can you get work done if your desktop is filled with a zillion icons and redundant folder or your table strewn with paper and chocolate wrappers or your mind anxious about the upcoming appraisal when you actually have a looming deadline waiting to be completed. Take one thing at a Time.

ADOPT NEW MEDIA – You do not have to be on Facebook constantly to adopt new media. There are networking platforms aplenty to suit your requirements but a few that any professional is well-advised to adopt. Linkedin and Slideshare being a few. Most HR professionals these days check your Linkedin profile and use their network to check and evaluate you. Who knows New Media may be where your next paycheck comes from!!







Too much of Networking, and not enough working

While I admire (and at times envious of)  those who are able to quickly gather Friends/Likes on Facebook, there are times when Facebook rattles me and more so the people who spend all their waking hours on this Zuckerberg creation. A friend even said, “I seem to like people more on Facebook than when I interact with them on person.”

Should he see a shrink or the people he commented about?

And to add to my angst… here is an interesting read from the Irish Independent, the text of which is given below.

Joe O’Shea on the workers who said too much and paid the price

Unless you want to see your status change to “Just Got Sacked!”, it’s probably best to keep your work life and your social networking apart.

The online world is seeing a sharp increase in Facebook-related career catastrophes.

And it’s not just politicians and celebrities suffering from momentary brain-freeze who are getting caught out.

With the world and your boss’s granny now very much online 24/7, say anything at all about your terrible job, lazy colleagues or obnoxious customers and it is going to get around.

And the result could be an immediate and unplanned increase in the time you can devote to goofing around on the internet — at least until your broadband gets cut off.

All it takes is one dodgy photograph, one careless tweet or a couple of status updates mentioning your boss and his probable chances of staging a drinks party in a brewery.

You will get caught out, you may get fired and you could even end up facing criminal charges.

It can happen in a variety of ways and recent cases include:

The Bed-Surfing Banker

An employee of Nationale Suisse Bank called in sick, claiming that “she could not work in front of a computer as she needed to lie in the dark”.

When she was discovered to be surfing Facebook from home, she was fired. The woman maintained that she had used her iPhone to check her Facebook page. However, Nationale Suisse issued a statement saying that the incident “had destroyed its trust in the employee”.

Give Me A P! (45)

Caitlin Davis, an 18-year-old cheerleader with the New England Patriots, was fired over party photos she posted to Facebook.

The pictures showed Davis and a friend leaning over a passed-out boy whose entire face and body was covered in distasteful graffiti.

The face-graffiti included the word “Penis,” (accompanied by said phallic symbols), “I’m a Jew” and a couple of swastikas.

The Runaway-Mouth Juror

A juror in the UK was dismissed after she disclosed sensitive case information on her Facebook profile.

“I don’t know which way to go, so I’m holding a poll!” the juror wrote, asking her Facebook friends to weigh in on the case.

A concerned friend tipped off the police and the juror was off the trial and facing possible contempt of court charges.

The Snobby Stewards

Virgin Atlantic took disciplinary action against 13 crew members who participated in a Facebook discussion that trashed the airline’s safety standards and insulted passengers.

The crew posted messages on Facebook referring to passengers as “chavs”.

And as if that wasn’t enough — they joked that planes were full of cockroaches and claimed the airline’s jet engines were replaced four times in one year.

All 13 crew staff were sacked for “bringing the airline into disrepute”.

Tip-ping Is Not A City In China

A waitress in a US pizza parlour was sacked after her boss found out that she had complained on her Facebook account about customers who tipped too little.

Ashley Johnson, a former waitress at Brixx Pizzas in North Carolina, called her customers “cheap”.

But her bosses, after being shown the Facebook comment, decided she had violated company policy and showed her the door.

The Angry Mascot

Andrew Kurtz was fired from his job as a mascot for the US baseball team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, after he used his Facebook page to criticise the team’s management.

Kurtz had to hand in his giant potato-cake costume (they are local delicacies) after club bosses found out. But he was rehired when the club’s fans launched a Twitter campaign calling for him to get his job back.

An employee of the Philidelphia Eagles American football team wasn’t so lucky.

Eagles staffer Dan Leone was fired after he used his Facebook status update to call the team management “Retarded”.

The Facebook Six

Six Australian prison guards were fired after they set up a Facebook group that trashed their boss and a plan to privatise the prison service.

The corrections officers used the Facebook page to claim that the best way to make savings would be to fire incompetent managers.

When their boss found out about the page, he tried to have the guards, who became known as The Facebook Six, fired immediately.

After six months of legal wrangling, the six won their case against the NSW Corrective Services Department.

Boring? In That Case, You’re Fired

Teenager Kimberley Swann thought her job was “boring”. And said so on Facebook.

Her employer, Ivell Marketing and Logistics of Clacton, UK, gave her this update: “Following your comments made on Facebook about your job and the company we feel it is better that, as you are not happy and do not enjoy your work, we end your employment with Ivell Marketing & Logistics with immediate effect.”

Miss Swann later said: “I did not even put the company’s name, I just put that my job was boring. They were just being nosy, going through everything. I think it is really sad, it makes them look stupid that they are going to be so petty.”

Getting Fired In 140 Characters Or Less

Who needs Facebook when you can tweet your way out of a job before you have even started it?

The case of Twitter user “theconnor” started when a young US man got a sweet job with web giants Cisco Systems and tweeted; “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

It wasn’t long before a Cisco manager called Tim Levad spotted the tweet and shared this open response:

“Who is the hiring manager? I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

The man called “theconnor” immediately deleted all info from his page and set his Twitter account to private. But it was too late. Web sleuths revealed his real identity and the job offer was, according to reports, withdrawn.

The Other Side…. mayhap, the dark side to some

I have written a few times with weird bosses and the pain they can be, especially if you do not know how to deal with them. Came across this post on BNET, which I’m copying below that makes you stop and start again!! Read on..

How to Deal With a Bad Boss: Don’t!

By Steve Tobak | August 23, 2010

We spend an inordinate amount of time decrying and complaining about our bosses. Just looking at BNET posts alone, you’d think all bosses are complete idiots, dysfunctional jerks, micromanaging a-holes … or that they just plain suck.

Don’t get me wrong. Examining bad management behavior is the only way to improve it. And there are times when we can all use a little help learning to cope with a dysfunctional boss. That said, most blogs on bad bosses quickly deteriorate into whine-fests that sound remarkably like children crying about how their parents are mean and just don’t get it.

Well, I’ve got news for you. When you behave like a victim, wallow in self pity, or act like you’re entitled to something better, not only does it do you no good, but you may end up getting yourself fired or doing real harm to your career. To help you avoid that, here’s a dose of reality about dealing with problem bosses:

  • If you go head-to-head with your boss, you’ll lose. In What They Don’t Teach You in Harvard Business School, Mark McCormack describes a situation where an employee got into a heated exchange with his boss and got himself fired. “No matter how wrong or intemperate his boss might have been, that, unfortunately, was now a nonissue. The situation did not reflect well on this particular employee’s boss — but his boss still had a job.”
  • You actually have choices; exercise them. That’s right, you can’t pick your boss, but if you don’t like him, it’s a free country, you can quit. If you like or need your job, on the other hand, then get over yourself and suck it up. The choice is yours. But if you decide to go over your boss’s head or to HR, don’t be surprised if it ends badly for you. You may not want to hear this, but from the company’s viewpoint, you’re just a thin-skinned troublemaker who they’d just as soon not have to deal with.
  • Did it ever occur to you that it may be you? I’m not trying to burst your bubble here, but maybe you’re not god’s gift to bosses. Maybe the boss would be more relieved to get rid of you than you are to get rid of him. Sure, nobody thinks he’s a rotten employee, but they’re out there, and in far greater numbers than rotten bosses. So, if you actually like or need your job, you might want to take a long look in the mirror before you do anything drastic.
  • Burned bridges have a way of piling up. Maybe you’re young and carefree now, but the choices you make and the behavior you exhibit today will follow you throughout your career. More and more, employers are checking references you don’t provide, and a few little red flags can add up to one big red flag that says, “don’t hire this guy.” The truth is, if you burn enough bridges, you may very well find yourself all alone on an island somewhere with nobody else in sight. No bosses, and no jobs, either.

Bottom line: Look, I’ve had more than my fair share of dysfunctional and abusive bosses, so I don’t mean to appear insensitive to what employees of crappy bosses really go through every day. Still, if you act subjectively without gaining some perspective, you may end up making things even worse for yourself. Just remember, you always have a choice. You can always quit.