Friday, December 16, 2011
It was another typical Monday. Rows of cubicles were filled with sounds of feverish typing on the keyboards. It was a busy day at the office and there was lots of work to be done. Everyone was working hard. Everyone… except Charumathi. She was busy whining as usual... about the traffic, about the weather, about 'all the work' she has to do, about just about everything.
Her managers, Venkat and Santosh, were fuming, trying hard to keep their cool. Even the usually calm Venkat was visibly upset.
"We’ve got a real problem here, Venkat. We have to do something!"
"We will, we will. Calm down." said Venkat, trying hard to console Santosh.
"When? This has been going on for too long already. She spends all day complaining, gets other people to do her work for her, and then complains that she has too much to do. This is getting to be too much!"
"I know, I know. We’ll come up with something. (short pause) Tell you what, let’s set up a meeting with her next week, and we’ll get to the bottom of this, ok?"
"Alright, fine" said Santosh begrudgingly. No one hated "Charu the Complainer" the more than he did. He despised her carelessness, her incompetence, her indifferent arrogance, pretty much everything about her. He’s not one to be impressed with just a pretty face. He labored on the rest of the week, fixated on the meeting to come, when could he finally Charumathi have it!
The following Monday arrived and it was business as usual. But something was different. There was an eerie silence in the office. There were no sounds of complaints screeching mercilessly through the air. Finding this development rather strange, Venkat and Santosh instinctively headed straight to Charumathi’s cubicle, only to find her missing. They searched for her all around the office and inquired everyone about her whereabouts but no one had seen or heard from her. Both Venkat and Santosh were totally perplexed. Finally they went to the HR office and spoke to the representative there. The representative gave them the shock of their professional lives!
"Miss Charumathi has left the company."
"What?!?!" said Santosh and Venkat almost simultaneously. Both were totally exasperated.
"Yes, here are her papers. She turned them in last week."
How could she just leave without saying a word?!?!, they both were saying to themselves. But they carried on with business as usual, chalking up this unfortunate event to be a blessing in disguise. If nothing else, they wouldn't have to put up with Charumathi's constant whining.
The next Monday rolled forward. As Venkat and Santosh began the weekday, they both got an even bigger shock than before. Charumathi was back at her desk! Santosh went directly there, looking totally confused. I must be hallucinating, he was thinking.
"What are you doing here?!?!"
"What does it look like? I’m working, of course" said Charumathi arrogantly.
"I can see that. But why?"
"Because it’s my job"
"Since when?!?! We all thought you left the company already!"
"I didn’t leave. I just went on vacation for one week."
"Yes" said Charumathi, looking at Santosh like he was an incompetent fool.
"If you were going on vacation, don’t you think you should inform someone beforehand?!" asked Santosh. He was totally pissed off and exasperated by her attitude.
"I did. I turned in my AVR form two weeks ago to HR."
Santosh just couldn't believe that she didn't inform her teammates or him or Venkat beforehand. He was about to go off on Charumathi, but suddenly held back. It was at that moment that he realized what had happened. He dashed straight to Venkat’s office. As the two men chatted, loud roars of laughter came from them both, which lasted several minutes. After they regained their composure, they headed for Charumathi’s cubicle.
"Charu, you need to know something. The ‘VR’ in AVR doesn’t stand for ‘vacation request’" said Venkat, barely able to control his laughter.
"It doesn’t?!" asked Charumathi, clearly looking worried.
"Nope. Take a closer look" said Santosh, also grinning. He showed her the form she filled out and pointed to the bottom of the page.
Charumathi looked at it nonchalantly at first, but then noticed a crucial detail she had previously missed. The words she dreaded stared back at her: Application for Voluntary Retirement!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
The Corporate world is full of jargon, artificial-sounding buzzwords and inane catch-phrases, often rolled into one. As an IT Software developer who’s been in the industry for many years, I have been the recipient of many of these. They say one thing but it means something totally different. I can’t help but roll my eyes every time I hear them. Some of these may sound familiar -- check it out:
What they say: I need someone who can hit the ground running.
What it really means: It really means "I’m totally screwed. I desperately need someone to bail my sorry ass out of trouble." No one can hit the ground running -- you need time to at least assess what race you're in and who else is running.
What they say: Do you have the bandwidth?
What it really means: "You seem like your brain is fried. Can you pull yourself together to do this for me?"
What they say: Let's hit a home run.
What it really means: "I'm desperate to look good. It's the only thing that'll save me." (closely related to "hit the ground running").
What they say: You and I are not on the same page.
What it really means: "Get on my page. Your page is messed up."
What they say: Let's run the numbers and see how they look.
What it really means: "I know they look bad on first blush. But the true use of Excel is to keep changing the formulas until you find a format that makes the numbers look good."
What they say: My plate is full
What it really means: "Help I'm drowning with work" or "I would kill rather kill myself than to work on your project."
What they say: Let's close the loop
What it really means: "Let me make sure I'm not going to get into trouble for this one."
What they say: Let's touch base next week.
What it really means: "I don't want to talk to you now," or "You are on a short leash and you need to report back to me."
What they say: Keep this on your radar
What it really means: "This will come back to bite you...or me. So keep an eye on it."
What they say: Push the needle.
What it really means: "Take things to the next level"
What they say: Let’s Leverage what we can for this project.
What it really means: Lets recycle previous work as much as possible.
What they say: We always follows the best practices in the industry.
What it really means: We always do it how everyone else is doing it.
What they say: We truly believe that Project X will add value to the organization.
What it really means: We’re trying to come up with as many reasons as possible to justify our program's existence.
What they say: We believe our product will impact bottom line in a positive way
What it really means: Our program is going to make money for the company.
If you’re an IT coolie... oops, sorry I meant IT Software professional... like me, you’ve surely heard most (or all) of these. If you have any more good ones like this, pass it on to me.... if you have the bandwidth! ;-)