​When they say ‘Why’, Ask them ‘How’

A series of Office Psychology discussions about how people behave at your workplace and how you can handle those situations.

This particular discussion is about those cases where your superior starts getting upset about your particular decision (say unplanned leave or even planned leave in some cases).

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Many a times, at our workplace we find that other people start getting upset with our particular official decision. When we communicate that decision to them, they get scared, start making different types of arguments and conclusions and get us scared too.

If we do not handle that situation properly, possibility is that you may end up ruining your relations with that person or may end up canceling / reverting your decision, which is often disheartening to yourself and often your family.

And when you look back at your decision of reverting your decision in the past, you see it very clearly that there was no need to revert the decision and the situation could’ve been handled very easily, even with the decision that you made. That you got scared unnecessarily. That your colleague meddled with your mind in his fright.

So, what to do when we are in such situation?

The answer is simple – Ask questions. Yes, as simple as that.

Asking questions to your superior or questioning his conclusions is a good thing. Don’t get scared of him. And if he’s that type that he’ll make your office life hell if you raise your voice, why haven’t you left him already! You didn’t sign up for slavery, did you?

Let us discuss this with a very simple example – say taking a half-day / leaving office early than the usual time.

Obviously, your manager will get upset on hearing this 90% of the time. Sometimes, his getting upset would be valid, but still there’s hardly a possibility that your absence can’t be managed with other resources.

So when he starts telling you irresponsible on taking this decision or sharing your possibility of taking this decision with him, ask him questions. Ask him what are all the assignments which are due that day or in near future, and discuss with him how your absence for that period will affect those deliverables. Discuss the meaning of ‘Urgent’ status that they give to each and every assignment on hand. See to it that that urgent status is actually urgent, and not just superficially made by your boss.

Many a times, it will be the case that when you ask him the question, he will start faltering. He will lack on substantial evidence or explanation as to how your presence is actually required. He will not be able to justify his concern about your leave and thus, you’ll have your dilemma cleared to make that decision.

This is valid in various other scenarios, apart from taking a leave. Even in official decisions taken by you in your power can be questioned by your colleagues. The best way to tackle such oppositions is through asking questions without seeing their position.

After all, a lower rank on the grade doesn’t mean that you are dump compared to a higher rank person. The worst thing will be him giving out proper justification, and that will obviously teach you for good.

Go on, try this out in the next opportunity you get at your workplace.

Till then, hope you have fun working your but-t out.

From Backpack to Backache

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I parked my bike and went inside the rusty building. As soon as I entered through the front gate, the smell of hospital made me feel sick. I remembered the mild back pain, which I had since last two months. I had almost forgot that pain while driving.

I had a small backpack with me, which contained nothing but a few papers and a other usual accessories. But still that was a burden for me…

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I jumped out of the School bus, skipping two steps at a time. I ran towards the entrance gate. I had to reach the first class on time and sit on the best bench possible besides a cool company. And for all that I had to reach the new class on time.

The heavy load, heavier than my own weight felt nothing to me. It was part of me at the school. Elders used to feel pity for us to have such a heavy load in our backpack, but I felt it was just a bag – with my favourite cartoon character on it.

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I walked towards the doctor’s cabin and was feeling a little weird. A huge age difference was visible in front of me if I compared other patients with me. At the age of just 24, I was suffering from backache. I couldn’t ask for more, but my dad also recently had the same issue after sitting 40 years on a desk. And he laughed at me when I said that I am having this problem after sitting just 1 year, 9 months, 3 days behind my desk!

I wondered what went wrong! My lifestyle had not changed totally and I followed all the ergonomic guidelines at workplace. Further, I used to move around every hour. So what exactly went wrong…!?

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It was a hectic day! My friend was miffed, my teacher caught my mischief and I didn’t get any thing in that day’s English lecture about some sort of poem. And that day breakfast was not so intriguing. So, in all the day wasn’t really good.

I entered the bus after everyone was inside. I sat on my favouite spot – just next to the driver. From there, I could see everyone in the bus, and it also made sure that I would get a sitting place. I talked driver into playing my favourite tracks, even when exams were going on. And I would watch him drive past different vehicles with ease.

That day, I saw her. She was sitting directly on the straight line drawn from me towards the end of the bus. She also glanced back at me at times. And then shied away. That made my day. 😛

I got off the bus and went home. My mother hugged me and then realized – “Where’s your backpack?”

‘Oops!’ was my reaction. 😀

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Doctor said that there are many reasons that I got this backache at young age. The most probable being that I had a sitting job and that I was a little too thin for my height.

He gave me medication and suggested physical training to help ease the pain. I wanted to kick his ass, so I paid him and went away.

When I got the bill, all I saw for the next few days was that ‘Total’.

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At such tender age, we start lifting huge backpacks and go to schools. Most of the schools in our country do not have locker system or promote education through screen. So heavy books were bound to make our backpacks heavy.

But those backpacks for 12 long years couldn’t give us any kind of backache or physical pain, which this office desk gave just in a year.

I wondered where was my life heading… I wondered how would be my life 10 years, 20 years, 30 years from now. I wondered – “Am I living to die?”

——–

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Well, it is the truth. Sitting at your desk may earn you money right now, but it is surely gonna kill you painfully.

As they say it, “sitting is the new smoking“.

Doesn’t matter if you exercise, doesn’t matter if you follow the ergonomic guidelines, no matter what you do, it is killing you slowly.

So what is the solution?

Ditch the damn chair! … I’m serious.

There are many options:
1. Use combination of sitting chair and treadmill chair or cycling chair

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2. Sit in proper position and then take a walk in a ratio of 1:5. That means every 10 minutes of sitting, take 50 minutes of physical activity during the day.

3. Avoid sitting with sloth, totally. (Like in the first image)

4. Use a combination of cardiovascular, stretching and weight exercises at home and at office too.

5. Eat healthy, if you can, at least try or fake it.

6. Kick that boss who tells you to sit all day and work.

7. Change that office policy which requires more sitting than doing work.

Can we do any of this?

See This for more info and stats:
1. Info-graphic showing illl-effects of chair
http://www.diygenius.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/truth-about-sitting-down-infographic.jpg
2. Article showing statistical data for sitting
http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/21/health/sitting-will-kill-you/

It’s a sin to be Sincere!

“Be sincere in your efforts!”
“Be sincere to your work!”
“Be sincere to your parents!”
“Be sincere to your friends!”
“Be sincere to your partner!”
“Be sincere… Be sincere…”

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You all would have heard such advices from various people in your life (assuming you’re not already a sincere person…) So how many of you agree with me that after being sincere, all you got was dissatisfaction? And would the other group argue (out of habit) that what I say is not totally baseless?

Just a few days back, I was talking to my friend who was going to complete one year of his first job. I asked him to share his feelings and experience with me; after all, I was going to be in his shoes in a few months from now.

He started with the usual – “It was a new experience… Different people, different background, different age and different mentality… Rules without logic… Learnt how to handle pressure… Learnt how to work in team… Learnt how to get things done from people… Learnt not to be sincere at work…”

There were many others in his list of experiences and learning, but I was stuck at this particular one! “Learnt not to be sincere at work…” I instantly asked him to elaborate that one. He went on…

*****

Every office has a system of hierarchy. People are supposed to follow that hierarchy. The flow of work delegation goes from top to bottom and the flow of reporting goes from bottom to top. If the organization is strict in its values, people won’t be misusing their roles and posts. But this is hardly a reality! People twist and turn the rules and authority as per their wish to get their personal benefits. They use people, whom they call ‘friends’ rather than colleagues, to get them move upwards in the hierarchy or at least to earn more rewards, which they themselves do not deserve!

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I was shocked to hear that! Because, all my life, I had heard the same story from about hundreds of people, that if we want to get results, we must put in our efforts sincerely! But here the dish called ‘reality’ that was being served to me was completely opposite!

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Late sittings, skipping meals, working on holidays only gained temporary appreciation. When it came to reciprocate by giving extra pay, long leaves and free time, the organization didn’t do its part. And that made him sad.

While he always adhered to the office timings and priorities, keeping his personal priorities to next level, he was shocked at the reply from his manager for one of his request for leave.

He had an emergency at his home, his dad was sick and he had to take his father to the hospital. But his boss gave him an assignment which required him to go out of town. He requested his boss that better send some other eligible person on this project, because he has family issues to deal with. And the boss replied “Your family is your problem! Office should not suffer due to your personal problems.” That was the time he first realized that being sincere gets him nothing but temporary praise.

Not that his boss was a total jerk, but also he had created his impression of a sincere person. And now, if he resists, he sends out a message that he is changing. Instead, if he had balanced his work and personal life from the start itself, his denial for this outstation assignment wouldn’t have raised so many eyebrows.

 

*****

While he was saying how he went from being sincere to not being so, I wondered, how can an organization benefit from such behavior with its employees! The organizations were themselves reducing the efficiency of its employees. They themselves forced their employees to work with zero motivation and innovation. They killed the employees’ creativity.

“Work after work, and the priority never goes down below ‘high’! It seems like we are stuck in a never ending work cycle, where we are forced to skip all our living rights so that the organization can prosper. Who said that slavery is abolished! Look inside any ‘prosperous’ company…”

I read the above para somewhere on the internet. It so aptly describes the feelings of a ‘tormented employee’!

Fryday

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Today’s Friday. Oh Sorry! Fryday… Why “Fry”day? You’ll know in the end.

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I was going through my phone’s internal storage to clean-up unnecessary junk. In that I found a video of ‘How do we feel Fridays vs Mondays’. I laughed at that again.. It was damn funny! A penguin depicting a person going home fridays and a polar bear depicting a person coming to office on Mondays.

I replayed the video again and again. And slowly my laugh subsided. I saw that “Going home Friday” part repeatedly. And I couldn’t actually relate it to me. I too, like others, had Friday as the last working day in the week. I too, like others, went home at the day end. But, unlike others, I didn’t feel the way they did.

For me Fridays were Frydays… The day I would be so engraved in troubles that you wouldn’t find me smiling at all. All my weekdays would go in unnecessary ‘Stretches’ that my boss makes me do telling some or other ‘priority’ reason. Everyday, to complete some or other ‘urgent’ issue, we have to leave office early after late…

And then on Fridays, when we are waiting for the day to end and go back to our ‘actual’ ‘normal’ ‘our own personal’ life, we are fried with different oils in the frying pan called ‘office’!

… … …

I was getting ready for the office. Today we had a casual-wear day. I dressed up in my comfortable jeans. Just when I was about to leave for the office, I got a SMS from office. “Today, we may give a presentation to the client. So do the needful”

I changed back to formals and went out of the house, looking like an idiot!

… … …

I walked to the boss to give him the status report on the assignment he mailed me last night after office hours… When I enquired about today’s agenda, which he quickly shared with me, he even added “Why do you ask? I hope you are not planning to leave early today! ‘Cuz there’s a very important client meeting I need you to attend and conquor!” I wasn’t even dreaming to leave before 9 p.m. today, but just that I thought that may be, if I do not have too much work load, I’ll leave, may be, at 7 or 8 in the night… (FYI Official working hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
I shook my head and he sat back in his comfortable in satisfaction. I walked back to my desk, turned on the computer and saw the desktop background. It was a sunset at some random beach with beautiful natural scenery. So much in contrast with the real world!

… … …

After lunch, we and my fellow collegues, went on a walk, ‘cuz it was still a few minutes that the lunch break would be over. Mr. Fate send yet another boss to my way who asked me “Why are you not on your desk!?” I was about to say “Why aren’t you?” but my bloody mouth replied “It is break time, Sir!” the last word with utmost difficulty!
He gave me a disgusting look and left… I thought I’d have better replied the other statement, ‘cuz anyway the look he gave was the same!

… … …

I was working on something, when all of a sudden a shadow blocked the light falling on my desk. I knew who it was, so I continued working without moving my head around. It stayed there for a minute or so, then went away.
Instantly I received a call from the boss “In my cabin.. QUICK!” I went there, and he was ready to ‘ask that statement’ which I hate the most! My Fryday was ready…

“You are coming tomorrow, right?”

The question mark is only to make the grammer correct. Otherwise, it was a statement, for which I must reply in conformity!

I asked him instead “Sir, I don’t have any urgent work that I need to come on weekends!”

“You don’t decide urgency here! I do! I don’t want to hear anything more…”

I stood there for sometime, and then calculating my odds, went back to my desk to continue working…

… … …

I think, I’ve made my point, How my Fridays were Frydays for me!

I read a nice para somewhere-

“Love your job, but don’t love your company… Because you may not know when your company stops loving you.”

Always Leave Office On Time

1. Work is a never-ending process. It can never be completed.
2. Interest of a client is important, so is your family.
3. If you fail in your life, neither your boss nor client will offer you a helping hand; your family and friends will.
4. Life is not only about work, office and client. There is more to life. You need time to socialize, entertain, relax and exercise. Don’t let life be meaningless.
5. A person who stays late at the office is not a hardworking person. Instead he / she is a fool who does not know how to manage work within stipulated time. He / she is inefficient and incompetent in his work.
6. You did not study hard and struggle in life to become a machine.
7. If your boss forces you to work late, he / she may be ineffective and have a meaningless life too…

But it doesn’t give any way to tackle the blood-sucking boss…

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If you press a spring too much, it will break or will bounce back with higher force… – Some Great Man.