Thursday, March 27, 2008

The brighter side of HR

It often causes me deep anguish to see how the HR department is always the butt of jokes for all IT professionals , how everyone likes to have a go at these poor souls who were responsible for hiring them at the first place.Although an engineer on bench might spend the entire day in the cafeteria , a HR guy ( HR is a very gender sensitive term ) doing the same will be called a parasite eating away into the company's resources. No drinking session between a group of IT professionals would be complete with everyone launching a diatribe against the HR department , with the most acerbic comments reserved for the most handsome HR guy.Infact I remember a comment made once by a friend " I am often confused which HR I hate most" ( the other HR being Himmesh Reshamiya) As I consider it my duty to support the underdog , I would like to highlight few of the rare talents that only the HR department can boast of.Although they are specific to my company, I am sure they are universal in nature :
1. You can blame the HR for lot of things , but you can never blame them of lacking ingenuity. The spirit of innovation runs in their blood. Once every year , all project managers in my organization gets an excel sheet with the names of all employees in the rows and their respective skills along the columns .The PMs , the team leaders and the entire clan called management spends precious hours rating all the employees in scales of 1 to 5.Once finished it is sent back to the HR department.Now if you think this is a trivial activity , you know nothing about HR practices.This yearly ritual is known as filling up the "Competency matrix"..who else but the HR department can come up with such a name for a humble excel sheet? Although most employees are currently clueless about the practicality of this elaborate ritual , speculation is rife that the values from all the competency matrices are combined and plotted in a graph to form the " competency parabola" ( the HR is extremely gifted in mathematics too).The area under the parabola is calculated using a secret formula taught in B-schools.The end result which is known as " competency surface area" is than compared and "benchmarked" against similiar figures from other organizations.After months of assiduous research , the HR department would come to the conclusion that we need to increase our " competency surface area " before we can even think of a pay hike.So here we arrive at the obvious truth , but with the HR department's effort this bitter pill is now sugarcoated with so much statistics that you very happily swallow it.

2.The other quality that makes the HR department so special is their literary prowess.Packed with a hectic schedule , they may not have the time to write novels ( or blogs as I do) , but their amazing knack of playing with words and coining new terms can often be observed in their daily communication. The way the HR officials can state the obvious in a roundabout fashion makes me feel that all HR officials are little Shiv Kheras and Robin Sharmas in the making who just need the right break to become bestselling authors.Add to that the older generation of HR officials also have a philosophical streak in them and hence can be future Paulo Coelhos.Imagine this situation: You want to go to the smoking zone to have a fag .After that you plan to spend some time loitering in the campus garden hoping to catch a glimpse of the new HR lady who has joined your company.So a member of the engineering species ( that horrible neanderthal tribe who embodies literary philistinism) would say something like this to his colleague " Kya re ... itna kaam karke kyun company ka culture kharab kar rahe ho..chal sutta marke aate hain". Loud , brash and uncouth.Same scenario imagine our young dashing HR manager..he would give a quick glance to his watch and tell his colleague in a serious professional tone "O.K I think we should now break for a NBS (nicotinatted brainstorming session) ..after that we shall meet in the garden for a OBS (outdoor bonding session)".It might sound like an exaggeration but trust me you will get to hear such lingo very soon in the corporate world.
3. Most importantly , those who are ambitious and want to climb up the corporate ladder ( ah! that terrible cliche) must follow the old maxim " Speak like the HR manager and thou shall rise".There is a very old saying in my mothertongue Assamese " kothat kota jai , kothat bota pai" which roughly translates to " words can get you beheaded , words can bring you laurels".So , speak as your HR manager does and very soon you will get only laurels and the heads of all your rivals will decorate your path to success ( my love for gore surfaces every now and then...more sensitive readers please ignore ).Here are a few examples of some killer words and expressions that will pave the way for success in the corporate world ( I bet Shiv Khera did'nt tell you this):
a) Always repeat words with same meaning to stress.It helps to show your sincerity.Eg -"We will most definetely look into the matter "
b) Always use sentences that leaves the listener confused and happy at the same time.Eg:" We are trying our best to streamline the process".
c) Use words that helps to momentarily boost the ego of your team members.Eg:" You are not just an employee , you are an asset to the company" ( however be careful while using the word asset with your female colleagues).
d) Most importantly , when you face a conflict situation that is beyond your ability to solve say " I am very sorry but these matters are decided at a higher level"
Remember these mantras and success will kiss your feet ( a translation of " kamyaabi aapki kadam chumegi")
So , to conclude , my dear friends , stop whining and learn to see the brighter side of everything .Remember what Paulo Coelho has said " In this infinite universe there are stars and there are black holes , but black holes are born by absorbing light.So get inside a black hole and you might find the soul of the universe" ( actually he has'nt written those lines till now but
I am sure he will write it very soon).

Friday, March 7, 2008

What's in a name?

Variety is the spice of life and no one knows it better than people in Meghalaya.While parents in rest of India might spend years doing arduous research on names for christening their new-borns , people in Meghalaya seems to throw all conventions to the winds and christen their offsprings with anything that catches their fancy.This gives me just one more reason to love this beautiful state with its perenial wet clouds hanging over its rich pine forests and hills. The rest of the country might raise their collective eyebrows in disbelief when I say I had collegemates and acquaitances with names like Charity , Patience, Goodmorning and Morningstar.So for their benefit I would copy paste this election report from the Sentinel , a daily newspaper published form Guwahati:
Staff Correspondent
SHILLONG, March 6: In the wait for the Meghalaya Assembly election results tomorrow, Friday Lyngdoh (Congress) will definitely hope to see that the day (Friday) goes along with his name, Adolf Lu Hitler Marak (NCP) will be wishing to get back his lost domain — Rangsangkhona constituency, his son Preaching Shylla’s (independent) will have a bit of anxiety to see the Nongkrem electorate living by his sermons, while Frankenstein W Momin (Congress) wishing that the horror of the last election defeat does not surface this time.
Hopingstone Marsharing (LJP) and Hopingstone Lyngdoh (HSPDP) are not against hope in their quest for a seat in the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly whereas Darling Wavel Lamare (HSPDP) definitely desires to be the darling of the Nongbah-Wahejer electorate tomorrow. Oral Syngkli (BJP) will favour that his speeches turn into votes from Jirang constituency, an Assembly segment where former Chief Minister J Dringwell Rymbai (UDP) aspires to gulp the maximum number of votes for the fourth time. Laborious Manik Syiem’s (NCP) painstaking campaign is also expected not to be in vain.
Bison Paslein (KHNAM), a candidate locking horns with two other candidates, is expected to give a tough fight to the Congress and UDP nominees from Sutnga Shanpung constituency, while Comingone Ymbon (INC) prepares himself to come out successfully all alone after the election results.
CPI candidate Fasterwell Marbaninag has tough contenders from Nongspung but he prefers to be fast enough to edge out his rivals in the electoral race to be decided today. So is Forward Lyngdoh Mawlong (NCP) from Sohiong who is having a formidable political foe in Rain Augstine Lyngdoh (UDP) who expects that luck will shower on him.
Zenith Sangma (INC) aims to touch another political peak from Rangsangkhona, while Admiral Sangma of the NCP (not a member of the Armed Forces) hopes to command the maximum votes that has already been sealed in the EVMS.
Romeo Phira Ranee (HSPDP) will definitely want the voters’ love turned into concrete votes by tomorrow, even as Moses Ch Marak (UDP) awaits the results of his efforts to clear the road from the rough political seas. Arjun Kumar Hajong (Independent) hopes that his aims does not land on the wrong target, while Hilarious T Lyngdoh (LJP) from Laitumkharah and Hilarious Pohchen (NCP) from Nongkrem will hope that the outcome will not be comical after months of hard work in the political field.
Founder Strong Cajee (INC) from Mawlai found new strength to give him a chance to be a winner, but Process T Sawkmie (UDP) has been using the right procedures in the last ten years to ensure that no one takes away the Mawlai seat from him.
Budshell Marabniang (HSPDP) knows his strength, but Boldness L Nongum (INC) hopes that luck will not shy away from him in his courage to clamour for a second term from Mairang. Trying to live by his name, Dr Adviser Pariong (HSPDP) is eager to know the public mandate from Pariong to enable him to give his piece of thoughts in the Assembly.
Billy Kid Sangma (Independent) had fired all guns during his election campaign in his attempt to get another chance as a legislator from Tura, but Clever N Marak’s (Independent) wisdom to rope the electorates will only be known by tomorrow.

Do I need to say anything more?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Orkut and the Digital Ageing Syndrome

Its been 2 years and I am still stuck to the same social networking site.Call it being digitally challenged or whatever I am still hooked on to Orkut and no other site including Facebook seems to catch my fancy in the same way as Orkut does.The pleasures of Orkut are not just discovering your kindergarten crush ( still as cute as ever but happily married) or some long -lost cousin whom you never knew existed . Orkut scores over others because it provides one of the greatest pleasures known to man..the joy of voyeurism.Its the only place where you can follow the entire evolution of a romance from the tender " can I make friendship with you" to the ripened " he is my bestest friend" phase.It is also the place where you unearth gems like " If you wanna know me check my testis" or " I think your English is very week".It also makes you realise that 98.7% of women in this country are " cool, fun-loving and loves music".Now just at this moment when you start believing Orkut is all pleasure and no pain , think again. The forces of yin and yang must balance itself in this unreal world.The happy family in a Jitendra movie must have an evil daughter-in-law mixing poison in the milk at some point of time.The Indian team needing 30 runs to win of 60 balls must make the game trully worth the money for the audience and must lose 3 wickets in the span of one over.In other words every good thing must have its pitfalls and Orkut is no exception.So when Orkut decides to inflict pain , it does so in the form a syndrome which I have christened as the " Digital ageing syndrome".Its a mental disorder which makes you realise that your existence is a total anachronism to the present day world and that you are a pre-historic cave dweller born before the onset of the last Ice-age who for some mercy of nature have managed to see the digital age. I shall now elaborate on the symptoms of this disease with the following two examples:

1. You clearly remember this baby in your neighbourhood.She was plump and cute.On some ocassions you used to even take her in your lap.As`she grew up you remember once buying her a lollipop.But time passes and like most things , you slowly forget about her existence.Then one fine day you recieve a friendship request on Orkut.The baby in your neighbourhood has grown up to a nubile and almost desirable young lady ( now please don't frame a quiz question like " connect the writer of this blog with Michael Jackson ").She is already 16 and by current standards its a very orkuttable age.She already desribes her relationship status as committed though she recieves countless " can we make friendship" request.You hang your head in shame .You realise few years down the line you would be standing on a long queue for buying admission forms for liitle one who would by that time be old enough to join school.Your mind recoils in shock and horror and you logout form orkut or you may permanently delete your account.

2.Its a lazy winter evening and you as usual decide to take a lazy stroll along the bluish orkuttian landscape , smelling roses here and there in general appreciating the great beauty of humankind.So suddenly you come across this slightly familiar rose and you get a feeling of deja-vu..... " where have I seen her before".Your mind swiftly goes back to your high-school when she was your classmate.For a while you are transported to the misty memories of your early teens when this girl used to be a crush, though you didnt publicize it enough for somebody to scribble "X+Y" on the blackboard ( the alphabets have been chosen deliberately to prevent sowing of seeds into the fertile imagination of some of my readers).Slowly fragments of your memory join together to form the outline of her face , the length of her skirt and several other details.Almost delirous with joy you click at her profile and without a second thought visit her album.You see her first picture and there is no doubt its the same girl..she has obviously grown up and put on some weight , but the twinkle in her eye and the roundness of her face is still very much intact.With excitement mounting every passing second , you enter the album.In the very next photo you see her dangling from the arms of a robust young man, with the backdrop of a quickly scroll down to read the caption and it reads "Me with hubby Nilesh in'nt he cute?".Then you mutter to yourself.." yes he is cute..cho cho cute that I feel like !#@$#@!$@##%." In one single stroke of fate you realise the fleeting nature of time and how youth with all its colours are slowly fading away.In a few years time you too would be part of a similiar photograph with your overweight wife trying to dangle from your not so robust arms and you would suffer in silence not having the heart to tell her that your back aches ( you may say I am being too negative but I consider it my talent to spread gloom and darkness)

This brings us to the conclusion that as you go older your choice for social networking sites must also change.Its time for me now to understand the intricacies of Facebook and prevent myself from future shocks.