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






Staying Unconnected

I have practically lived in a cocoon these past 3 weeks strapped to a bed with a white ceiling and a whirring fan for company, if I don’t count my family, the reliable i-pad and books.

Cut off from the outside world the internet was my gateway to the world since the daily paper brought with it the daily dose of rape and mayhem, corruption and petty politicking.

Predictably, I have piled on the pounds.

I have also been hit by the need to know, a child-like curiosity about everything.

How the concept of time came to be?

Why is it I remember anything related to movies but nothing with maths?

Why do kites come out only between 10 and 1?

Why is it that my neighbor’s baby quietens when it is wrapped in her bosom and starts yodeling when he goes to his dad?

How technology has evolved? Where once I used to dial in to numbers whirling the numbers around the phone now I touch a contact and the dear one is on the other end, both audio and visual and as live as virtual gets?

Why Linkedin brings better job openings than a monster does?

How a chip inserted into the skin can track and monitor your vitals? A boon, considering that we will in less than 2 decades become a fast aging population and geriatric care will be the need of the hour. Scary, if this same chip can trace my every move; know my DNA structure; the number of times I have donated blood or visited hospitals for illnesses; the mind boggles at the possibilities.

How children staying in very remote areas can still get access to quality teachers thanks to initiatives like Skype in a Classroom and Coursera? Surprisingly, high speed connections are not even required!

How is it that initiative not experience lets you surpass your current economic or social limitations?

How the world is filled with infinite possibilities?

How the world is limitless?

And it all starts in your mind……..


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.