Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ask the Management Guru - II

Welcome back to your favorite agony column - Ask the Management Guru. Today our focus will be on behavioral issues, social issues, interpersonal issues, issues of etiquette, adult entertainment - ok, not adult entertainment - and general issues not directly related to work.

Recent research indicates that such issues constitute 97 percent of everything happening in the typical organization. So kindly listen up.

Q. My boss uses a pink cellphone, waxes his chest and giggles in meetings. Is he gay? Will he make a pass at me? - Concerned Male Management Trainee, San Francisco

Dear Concerned:
Please understand that gay people are humans too, and as normal as you and me. Just as a heterosexual man would not grab at every passing female, unless of course he is W. J. Clinton of Little Rock, Arkansas, a gay man will not be trying to pinch your buns. Unless you have very cute buns, in which case it will be wise to wear baggy trousers to work and avoid bending over to pick up things when in his office.

Also, please note that merely carrying pink cellphones and giggling in meetings does not mean that he his gay. Even if he waxes his chest. If you really want to find out if he's gay, here's a good test. It's called the "Love-bite test". If he has love bites on his chest, he is straight. If he has love bites on his back, chances are he is gay. Unfortunately, to run this test, you have to get him to take his clothes off, in which case you'll probably find out in more direct ways if he is gay. Ha Ha Ha.

Q. Is it ok to burp at board meetings? - "Gas" Ramachandran, Chennai

Dear "Gas" - It is alright as long as you don't wake anyone up. Also, try to burp in C-major as research indicates that it is conducive to milk production in cattle.

Q. Is it alright to fall in love with an internal auditor? Ms. "Romance" Sharma, Delhi

Dear "Romance". It is NOT alright! How do you know how many unsuspecting women he has already audited internally? How do you he wont audit every pretty face he comes across? Unless he promises to stick to external audits, I think you should stay far away from this species of shark.

Q. I have just been elevated to Vice President in our company and suddenly, all I seem to be doing is playing golf. Is this a waste of time? Conscientious, Mumbai

Dear Conscientious
Which dweeb selected you for the position of Vice President, I should like to know. Waste of time, forsooth! At least you had the sense to conceal your real name, because otherwise, you would have been demoted to Assistant Sales Manager right away. Unless you work for an American company, in which case Vice President is probably the entry level position and your promotion would be to Assistant Sales Manager. Golf, dear Conscientious, is the reason why companies are incorporated and funds raised from the public. Now don't go around asking questions like this. Improve your handicap instead.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is this for real?

A little bird tells us that Apple is commissioning W.J. Clinton of Little Rock, Arkansas, to write his real, unabridged and completely candid memoirs on the condition that he calls it "I Pawed.."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Friday Night in Juhu

I don't normally write about, or even mention the word "sex" in my blog. I mean, why talk about something you don't understand too well? But today, I break that self imposed rule. This blog, today, will descend from its high Gandhian ideals to Hugh Hefner class. We will mention the 'S' word! So excuse me while I shed a silent tear. My only excuse it that I found it funny and had to report it.

"What is it, you silly old buffer? Cut to the chase!" I hear you asking, with a "Senile bum!" as an aside to your alter ego. Patience, patience, you shall hear all.

Well, last night we went out to dinner with a couple of friends from old college days. One of these I meet frequently - he stays ten minutes away and we share a deep interest in the fermentation process. The other guy, I'll call him AM, is here on vacation. He works for General Motors. I suppose he will have to continue doing that till he can find a specific motor to work for. Not my concern.

What he was telling me about was how his American boss is a funny guy. He, AM, was asking him, the American boss, about his day, and how he schedules it. And the guy gave him the low down with a dead pan face. Wake up at 6.00 am, office by 7.30 and so on and finally says

"I usually sleep by 11.30".
And his wife adds, with an equally dead pan face, "Unless we're having sex, in which case he sleeps by 11.35"
"Right", still looking like they're attending a religious ceremony.
He, AM, tells me that those were the 10 most difficult minutes in his life, because he had to keep a straight face. Gave him a hernia, that effort.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's Exam Time at Chez Shenoy!

Ah, what chaos! Mother and son are yelling away at each other. Mother is trying to reason with son that writing is essential. How is the teacher going to figure out how smart you are? Why can't you write things neatly? Tell me, what are Apogee and Perigee? (Son nearly gets a grievous injury because of smart aleck answer "They are sons of Gandhiji"). And so on.

Son is a thinking man. He evades as long as possible but when things start looking threatening (mother is moving a motion to ban going downstairs and playing football), decides that it is better to lose a battle than the war. Ok, Ok, I'll write, he says. What should I write now?

A formal invitation.

He writes one

The Management and Staff of Blah Blah School
cordially invite you to
the investiture ceremony of Blah Blah as School Prefect
Mr. Albert Einstein,
CEO of Chandrakant Textiles Pvt. Ltd.
has kindly agreed to preside over the function.
Time 3:00 pm Date 26 January 1925

Mother shows it to me. I trip over the "Chandrakant Textiles"! Where in the world did you get that name? And why do they need Einstein to be their CEO? I ask him, but he is too busy arguing a technical point with Mother that he doesn't have to practice the diagrams because they're not going to be asked in the exam.

All this is younger son, of course. He is in seventh grade. Elder son, in the ninth, is the picture of sincerity and has nose firmly inside book. This year I haven't even had to factorize anything for him. He did ask me something about prepositions but my evident ignorance about the subject led him to conduct his search for knowledge elsewhere. A textbook, to be precise.

Now Mother enters our bedroom. The kids have finally gone to sleep. She has the look of a General who is fighting against guerrillas. Harrassed. Weeps a little, then laughs when she remembers the apogee thing. Then weeps a little again, because she remembers the apogee thing. I do more or less the same thing that the UN does when things start going wrong in some country. Pat that country's leader on the head and make sympathetic clucking noises.

Somehow, that little sign of commiseration doesn't seem to be working.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ask the Management Guru - I

Inaugurating a popular series "Ask the Management Guru", where your most profound and disturbing questions on the vast field of management, economics, interpersonal relationships, organizational behaviour, adult entertainment - ok, not adult entertainment - and other related fields will be answered by our resident Management Guru

Q. Recently, in a meeting, an MBA from a premier B-School said something that sounded like "a reference point for commonality of paradigm shifts in six sigma and core competency, and the five pees of management". What does this mean? - (From "Confused", Mumbai)

A. Dear "Confused".
You are evidently not an MBA. Don't you know your five pees of management?
  • The first pee, at management trainee level, is the "I'm scared witless" pee
  • The second, at the assistant sales manager level, is the "I've been in the conference room for four hours and the a.c. is getting to me" pee.
  • The third, at profit-center head level, is the "I've had five beers at this business lunch and all five want to come out now" pee
  • The fourth, five years from retirement, is the "This diabetes is making me go to the loo every fifteen minutes" pee
  • And finally, for those who make it to the very top of the pole, the fifth pee is "Wow! That's my bonus?" pee.
Q. What is a paradigm? - (From "Jargonically Challenged", Patiala)
A. Dear "Jargonically Challenged".
No one knows for sure. Most of the gurus believe that the paradigm is a creature which looks like a horse but has a horn in the center of its forehead.

Q. But isn't that a unicorn?
A. What are you, a naive believer in fairy tales? Everyone knows the unicorn is mythical. Paradigms keep shifting and often solve problems in this fashion.

Q. Do you believe that the Ambani brothers were responsible for the recent stock market crash?(From "Stoke Mar Cate Ache Spurt", Rajkot)
A. Dear Stoke
No, that was God. The Ambani brothers were responsible for the stock market rise.

Please send in your questions pertaining to anything troubling you in the vast and wondrous world of management and economics. Our Guru will be happy to clarify the situation.

Monday, July 14, 2008

In which I am dragged kicking and screaming to a movie...

I had read OK's post on the movie Jaane Tu... and decided that I had to give it a miss. But I reckoned without the native cunning of the missus, who, on her day, can make General Rommel look like Mr. Bean.

Step 1 : She buys tickets.
Step 2 : She tells me she has bought 2 tickets
Step 3 : I tell her to go with my sister, because she is DYING to see the movie and has no one to go with
Step 4 : My well thought out strategy collapses because missus, displaying devilish cunning, asks sister if she really wants to go
Step 5 : Sis says no. She has seen it already. How did she like it? Well..... the songs were nice
Step 6 : I discover that FIVE tickets have been purchased. The boys and my mom are coming too:
Step 7 : I tell missus that I don't really want to come, because of this negative review I read.
Step 8 : Missus expresses her opinions on a wide range of topics of a somewhat personal nature, of which I am only allowed to report that it melted most of my earwax.
Step 9: I watch the movie.

Right, then. That's the story so far. And how did I like the movie, do you ask? Well, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can't for the life of me fathom why OK did not like it. Perhaps windows into prior life etc. My heart bleeds for him. But the movie was superb. Why? Well, let me count the ways

1. The story was written BEFORE the shooting started
2. Ditto the dialogue
3. No one named Kapoor, Chopra, Johar, Ghai or Roshan was even remotely involved in the making of the movie.
4. No one becomes hysterical in the movie.
5. There is no tearful prayer in song form to Krishna
6. No one overacts.
7. No one has a chest like the Himalayas lying on their side

Really enjoyed it, despite having to face a smug "I told you so" expression from the missus for the rest of the week.

Jokes apart, I found the movie fresh and charmingly ordinary. And very classy too. The only eyesore was that old ham, Paresh Rawal, who overacts just a little bit. Tragically, my countrymen love his brand of humor. Well, when they finally make me president, the first ordinance I will promulgate will be the statutory ban on all films in which Paresh Rawal makes an appearance.

In other news, I am on a soup and salad diet. My respect for Mahatma Gandhi has gone up many notches. He ran an entire freedom struggle on an empty stomach. I can barely run a coherent thought process.