Skip to main content

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             


Gobri said…
Whoa! That is a lot of venting.

"A war of attrition will only lead to a Pyrrhic victory". I can tell you from personal experience that this is 100% true.
G said…
@ Gobri - We know it & I'm quite sure Management knows it too. Sadly, it never makes a difference to them, since we can always be replaced. And then, they have the nerve to talk about loyalty and integrity.

Popular posts from this blog

Night Boat

I usually don't write honest pieces. They're true to facts but I tend to lather my emotions and thoughts with a heavy dose of attempted humour or misdirection. This post deserves some raw emotional honesty, though.

Yesterday, 29th August, a Tuesday (or should I say, another Tuesday) was about me making choices. It was raining quite heavily when I left for office, sheeted down the windows of the train throughout the 1-hour journey to Churchgate and kept going with renewed intensity by the time I made it to the entrance, looking verily like something that had drowned in a gutter and lain there a while before being discovered by a cat and dragged in. I made the choice to go to work as I suspected my boss would be there and not because I wanted to go.

I was right about my boss but that cardiac fizz of being right flattened out rather rapidly once I realised, around 11:30 am, that no one else from my team of 20 had bothered to make a similar effort. And, some of these guys live 5 …

Last of my kind

(This post hasn't come out as well as I wanted. But I'm still pissed off, so.)

Why do we have heroes? What is it about someone that triggers a decision to nail our colours to their mast? I don't have a neat answer so what you read from here on is both an explanation and an exploration. In a post-modern world driven by counter-points, certainty is a luxury.

I missed the boat when it came to India's ODI cricket madness. We moved abroad in the late 80s. When I left, my friends and I wanted to be Kapil, Kris or Sunil. When I returned, god was getting comfortable on his heavenly couch and all was right with a world I did not recognise. I had missed Sachin's opening batsman debut against New Zealand, the hullabaloo of the Hero Cup and other notable moments. So, I was interested in cricket, not any particular sportsman. Not even during the '96 World Cup. When India muffed it against Sri Lanka, I hurt for the team, not for a player.

Then came Dravid. And, personally, …

Let her go

Have you noticed how we throw things out a lot more than before? Of course, city-dwellers like us have more, now that disposable incomes are the norm. Does it also allow us to dispose of things so easily? I was the object of much mirth/ridicule at work today because I wanted to get a golf umbrella repaired. One colleague wondered if it was worth the effort, another asked why I did not just buy a different one while others chuckled when they realised neither of these thoughts had occurred to me. I trudged off, wondering if they were right. What exactly was driving me to take the trouble?

I think back to to the 80s and living in my Thatha's (grandpa) house. Today's 'use-and-throw' culture would have shocked him to the core. The man was the epitome of prudence. Since we weren't exactly floating in doubloons, the family followed suit. Thatha wore the same watch for over 50 years. A small umbrella, bought by my mother with her first salary, was well on its way to becom…