So much on my plate!

Another episode with my (fictional) grandpa (i.e., myself) where I’m worried about how to fit in all the variety of dishes available at a dinner party buffet in my single, limited spaced plate…

… …

I was on an unknown dinner party with people my family knew. I hated to meet those people as none of them really cared about my presence but still all of then would definitely ask me a series of question, almost predictable series, which I hate to answer.

So, I skipped through all the introduction and socializing hush-bush, and directly went for the reason I went there – dinner. I don’t really remember the occasion for which party was organized.

I was skipping through the tiles, jumping on the pattern, while ignoring all the people I’d bump into. I had hoped that they would just ignore me, consider me a psycho and would avoid talking to me. And till now, it had worked.

But then, my own Grandpa came to me and expressed a desire to talk.

Over the dinner, we talked about random topics from my life and he gave me advices in each one of them. I don’t actually remember any of those as they were not practical. They required me to be active, strong minded and willing to perform in my life, which was exactly the opposite kinda guy of what the school had made out of me.

The dinner was being served by the caterers and often a well-dressed waiter would come up and serve my plate with things that I didn’t want. Before I could say anything, he would just throw it all onto my plate. And then I’d be left staring at those things, thinking where to hide all this stash…

My Grandpa said “What happened, son? You look weird today… Not liking the food, are we?”

Me: *Shaking my head* “Nah… Nothing… No problem. I’m… I’m fine.”

“You don’t look like that, definitely…” And Grandpa resumed his dinner.

After a while, another waiter came and put things in my plate, and it was too late when I noticed that. He had already left.

“Would you mind? I hope not…” Grandpa said while putting a few bites from his plate to mine.

I shouted “No! I DO mind! My plate’s already full and you pushing things off your plate to me! No way I’m gonna complete this plate!”

Grandpa simply smiled.

I couldn’t bear it any longer and asked “Come on… Speak!”

Grandpa spoke with a bigger smile “Why is your plate full?”

“Because that waiter is serving out things without first confirming with me…”

“No.” Grandpa snapped in between.

“Yes! You look… Just in a minute. He’ll come back and put things in my plate without asking me anything! He’s just…” I tried to explain myself, rather poorly.

“You can always say ‘NO’… But for that you’d require to pay attention for his arrival” Grandpa explained.

He went on “Look son… In life, we are often bombarded with work, responsibilities and expectations. And sometimes, we feel that we are being pounded at from all the directions and that we cannot take it any longer. We wanna quit, we wanna leave the plate half-eaten. But that’s when you should understand – we can always foresee those servings and can always be ready to say NO to them.”

I looked at him, mouth half-opened. He found way of giving me life advice even at this diner!!

“But what if I couldn’t foresee the serving, and am left with extra food on my plate?” having a habit to argue at every point, I gave a poor defensive tilt.

Grandpa looked at me for a while and said “Is your plate really full then?”

Our dinner was complete, mine was a mess, but I had better things to do. I had to think upon my conversation with Grandpa, first of all understand what he meant by that last remark, and then use it in my daily life, where I always think that I am being barraged by tasks and that my plate is always full.

P.s.: Do tell if you happen to understand my grandpa’s advice…

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​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).

… …

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.

Life – A Dream you get to Live

Dream on

Life is a Dream… And not all dreams come true. But are we watching right dreams?

I woke up to see a morning of desolation. I was unhappy with my profession, had nothing to do over the weekend, and was perpetually bored with everything about my life.

I was sipping my sun-view-balcony-coffee when my grandpa came out. ‘Awkward’ was my first thought.

After few moments of silence, he said – “So how’s everything working out with you? Living your dream?”

“Huh! My life sucks. All my dreams are just my mind’s imagination. There’s no magical world in real life. There’s no ‘living your dream’…” I said sulkily.

“And doesn’t that provoke you to dump those dreams, and live for real, instead?” he said.

Me: *Blank face*

He continued “Stop imagining your journey, live it in real. But don’t stop dreaming about your destination. And there you go… Your life would be same as your dream. Sooner or later.”

Looking at my stumped face, he smiled and left. I stood there replaying his words over and over again in my mind.

What this taught me was to stop dreaming that things will work out themselves. If I know my destination, then taking the first step is not enough. I’ll have to take lots of steps, several leaps and jumps to cross the hurdles. And that is not something to dream about. That is something to “do”.

Remember, Life’s the only Dream you get to live…

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…”

*****

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!

*****

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!

*****

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.

… … …

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…

… … …

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

Social Solitude

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Offline

It has been a long time since last time that she spent a whole day without touching any electronic-social gadget. Ah, how badly she wanted a day off those silly social websites and those “always online” apps..! Irritated she was, with those beeps notifying a new message. And when she read that message, she couldn’t believe she wasted her time in reading that…

So finally, she decided to take a day off. She withdrawn from those apps, temporary,  at least for now. Hide her all other social accounts, that no one can find her. Put her mobile gadget on silent mode and put it sufficiently far from her that she couldn’t reach it at a hand’s stretch.

But one thing she wasn’t sure about – whether this solitude will give her peace? This was not a first time that she took a day off her social life, but it wasn’t the same feeling this time. She was not sure of the outcome that was, well, frequently proved by her experiments in life…

But she was firm to do it. She took the time to do what she does best. And filled her free time with family outings and visit a temple. It was very peaceful and she asked for blessings for her and family. She asked God a question that if he can’t take care of his creations (humans) why not stop the ample production he has so dearly approved? 

Her mind was fighting with her heart. She had double intentions. She was glad that she was in solitude.. But still she was in a rumble with herself. Her inner self was shouting back to stop this solitude. But she firmly kept balancing…

At home she read another book that made her feel her love for words.. The entangling beauty of architecturing words into amazing structures (called books) – her most amazing pass time – reading and writing (sometimes speaking even).

She practiced numbers for her future encounter with commercial world. She watched her favourite show on tv. She used fraction of a second so productively that she was happy at her decision to have left her social life at other side of the bay…

The day ended smoothly. She had done so many things, which earlier she took days to barely complete. Her decision was apt and maybe she will continue this practice for a longer time… 

What possibly can happen if she continues taking such breaks from social distraction..? On the positive side she used all her time in doing productive things. On the negative side, well it doesn’t matter. .

So what have we learned from this full page of blah blah blah.. Nothing.? Urgh..! We have learned that the social solitude maddens someone who wants to talk to you.. If you really want to do something productive, do it, but don’t put yourself at distant from people close to you.. Social media can very well be put away, but that doesn’t mean to put yourself inside a box and sit doing things you like to do! As someone has put it “The best time in our life is the time we have shared with other people!!” ;P