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Posts Tagged ‘Work_Politics’

All in a day’s work…

When I worked for an IT major, I always thought my manager had it easy. We were 42 people under him in 5 different teams. As far as I knew, all he had to do was

1)    Take up weekly status calls with the client who’d ask a million questions (none of which would be answerable unless you are either God or the Solaris box on which the product is running) and get insulted in the most polished polite manner possible.

2)    Call for team status meetings and transfer some of the scalding he got to the team. If the team didn’t take him seriously enough (which is almost always), start using menacing terms like ‘mitigation’. ‘productive competence’, ‘recessive trends’etc.

3)    Make up elaborate AI’s and ETA’s which never, repeat NEVER, are met on time.

4)    Make up excuses as to why the AI’s and ETA’s are never met on time.

5)    Draw up totally incomprehensible bar charts and pie charts in Excel and make PowerPoint presentations with notes copy pasted from Word. Yes, the three technologies my manager had totally mastered were Excel, PowerPoint and Word. Nobody could ever beat him at it.

6)    Take the Client out for coffee and discuss world politics and oil price in Kazakhstan with him for hours so that he’d be too confused and distracted to notice that the latest build we released has a thousand bugs which would never, repeat NEVER, be fixed up.

7)    Take the Client out for lunch to Mainland China and feed him up to his throat. Don’t forget to bill him for the food. Don’t forget to keep all project review meetings ONLY after the massive lunch every day.

8)    Make you work like crazy for 6 months sweet talking about ‘Outstanding’ appraisals and then give you a ‘Meets Expectation’ stating ‘wrong attitude towards work’ and ‘does not gel with the team ’

9)    Join the gang for lunch (reconfirming the belief that God never really listens to sinners’ prayers) and talking nonstop for 45 minutes about all that we despise in the world (stock markets, railway budgets, SEZ, yawn!!!). At the end of lunch we are usually left with neck sprains from all the heavy duty nodding.

10)   Power nap on in the cubicle leaving the rest of us yearning for some sleep but forcing eyes to continue staring at the monitor however bleary it may get.

Now after having such horrid notions about managers (which are almost always true), imagine my consternation when P told me that I’ll be working mostly in a ‘managerial’ capacity when I joined his company!!! An alien work place and culture, a field I was totally unfamiliar with and on top of that a job I know nothing about. I’m constantly interacting with people within the business and outside of it, making decisions, telling people what to do what not to (!!) and now I painfully acknowledge it’s not as easy as I thought it was. It was a zillion times easier working with that piece of overused machinery (read computer) than working with people because

1)    The machine doesn’t talk back. You ask what 2+2 is and it says 4. It doesn’t say nonchalantly  “Depends on where both the 2’s came from” or  whisper conspiratorily “Ummm.. don’t believe 2. It isn’t what it seems to be”. It simply treats facts as facts and doesn’t attach human elements to everything unlike human beings.

2)    The machine does not point fingers at others. Again in the 2+2 scenario, it doesn’t say, “Hell, I’m not the accountant. That’s not my job.” It just does what it’s told to do.

3)    The machine most importantly does not play work place politics which I find is on par with what is played by Mayawati, Mamata and the others at the national level.  You ask the machine what 2+2 is and it doesn’t say, “I always told you that 2 was more attached to 3. If you put 2 with another 2 they’ll start bitching about each other and you can never total it up. What about 3 and 6 instead. They’re very sweet” Or it doesn’t whine, “Why am I always asked to do all this difficult addition and she gets all the easy subtraction. This is not fair.” Or it doesn’t retort, “I can’t work with 2. I HATE it” It doesn’t cry to you saying 3 treats it badly or it needs more pay to sum up to 4. The machine simply adds the two numbers. People do everything else but that. By the end you finish dealing with all the politics and dynamics of who has to what job, who can work/can’t work with who, who can be/can’t be trusted with the job, you end up forgetting what the job was. Like I always do.

4)    The machine does not give you a you-are-out-to-make-my-life-miserable-look every time you look at it.

5)    The machine doesn’t smile sweetly at you and pass nasty comments once you are out of sight. In short, the machine doesn’t bitch.

And the machine doesn’t do a million other unnecessary things that people do. It only does its job. Probably this is exactly how my previous manager felt too but even now I feel managers in the IT field have it a bit easier when it comes to dealing with employees since in IT, there is at least no public cat fighting or open bitching. People at least pretend to like and be nice to each other. Any animosity is not taken up to the managerial levels and is just left to cool off by itself. When asked what 2+2 is, they do all the fighting and bitching among themselves and only tell the manager that it is 4. He is spared of the means! The rest of the world isn’t so hunky-dory and I face new challenges and pressures every day. It’s been a great experience to be fair and I’m NOT hating it. I love playing the ‘Naataamai’ and love discovering new aspects about my work and the people each day. All I want is to hang around and see if that wonderful day when 2+2=4, without any other strings attached, will ever arrive. Hoping it does. SOON!!

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