Sunday, April 29

Killing yourself to live

Hello. I won't say "I'm back!" since I never left. Still, its been a month and something since I last posted, so its nice to greet anyone who is still faithfully visiting the site. It has been a torrid April and I don't just mean weather-wise, although most Indians will shrug at that last sentiment and ask - So what's new? Not only is summer officially here, it has arrived with some maha vengeance. Bombay is steaming, and the only way to escape the heat is to get to work dreadfully early and leave well after sunset. 

Funnily enough, my work over the past month has meant exactly that. In fact, the workload at the new place has conditioned me into thinking there's something very wrong on the oft chance that I do leave the office whilst the last shreds of daylight linger on. I've been contributing to some biggie product+brand launch project, so this is the first weekend in 5 that I've not gone to work on a Saturday or Sunday. Yea, it was like that. 

Anyway, let us get to the theme of this post, which is, surprise-surprise, work-related. After weeks of slogging it out, I was feeling slightly relaxed and pleased with myself on Friday morning. One phone call from my boss changed that completely. It was, without exaggeration, the worst professional conversation I have ever had. Actually, wait. Conversation implies that I said something, which would be false. In 5 years, I've never had anyone speak to me like that at work. Ever. I was excoriated. Now, I'm sincere when it comes to the quality of my work i.e. I can't be accused of being lazy when proof-reading or providing copy. I take pride in my work, so letting shabby stuff go out is not my thing. And when I commit a mistake, I put my hand up, accept it and take whatever is dished out. 

The Friday incident had almost nothing to do with me. Since I work in a team, I can accept having to share the responsibility and cop some flak. But, to get that kind of a phone call and have my faculties and attitude questioned, without any chance of providing any defence that would be accepted, is not something I can accept easily. Okay, so I can already see a boat-load of experienced pros shrug and say they've seen and experienced worse. That's your problem, frankly, because this is not a competition. I have a problem with being made the fall-guy. And in an industry, where we're the vendors for clients who barely respect/believe in what we do and have no problems airing it, this is more than I need to take. 

The thing I have a problem with most of all is - I can't win here. Maybe some of you can identify with what I'm trying to say. No matter what logical precept I give, it is guaranteed to get shot down by a fusillade of accusations and dismissals. So let me just say here what I (and probably anyone else who's in similar shoes) can never say to Management's face. 

I am human. I make mistakes. I cannot be on the mark and perfect 100% of the time. If you can, good for you, because you're the only one on the planet who thinks so. I try my hardest to do my work sincerely. No, I'm not obliged to take the fall for someone else's incompetence, nincompoopery and lack of professionalism. Like teams are supposed to take responsibility, so are individuals. No, I don't give a flying fuck about business development; I have a work title and I live up to it. So should you. You want me to care about the company? Its a two-way street. Do not make mountains out of molehills. Customers/Clients are NEVER satisfied. I know it. You know it. So, stop wasting your breath trying to convince me otherwise. And while we're on the subject - Customers & clients - Just like you do your job without me advising you on how to do it, let me do mine without you telling me how. You may know English, but you don't know and can't do what I do. If you could, you would be doing it. You can't believe in the fact that I give my best? Re-visit your fuck-all deadlines. Do not think I will ever be okay with working on weekends. Believe me, it will reflect in the work eventually, because much as I like what I do, it is still work. And another thing - there is no such thing as perfect content/copy. I am not you. I cannot think like you. Ergo, I will never come up with the same phrase that is in your head. 

I can and do try to get better at my work. All the time. You don't buy that? Your loss.

I don't understand why Management would think using negative reinforcement is a good way to run a company and a team. If you are not happy with someone's work, either tell them to improve or leave. Berating them and/or insulting them constantly is not a solution. 

A war of attrition will only lead to a Pyrrhic victory - Me. 

I like my job. I like coming in to work. For now.

Song for the moment: Sister - The Black Keys