Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Onsite Binsight

Some Project Managers have an amazing ability to sense out potential resignations in a project.Probably its taught as a part of the syllabus of PMP (Project Management Programme).

Typical examples are as follows:
PM Vijay- I can sense it...Yes Yes its such a strong one........40 degree 30'N and 94 degree 24'E..Its from the second last cubicle..Ah its Ramesh..I should have known. Damn I should not have given him a poor rating this year!
PM Vijay to Ramesh ---So whats up Ramesh?
Ramesh - (quickly closing the Orkut,naukri.com,blogger,Messenger windows)-Hi Vijay...nothing much,usual work , you know .
PM Vijay (yeah you moron..I know)--Yes its a busy time of the year isn't it ?
Ramesh (As if you care)-- Yes indeed.
PM Vijay- So what are your future plans Ramesh,
Ramesh -(Visibly disturbed..Does this bugger know ?)-- Ahem well, ..ahem...aheeem..
PM Vijay - You wouldn't be interested in an onsite opportunity for 6 months,would you?
Ramesh - Whoa !! What?? Are you serious ? I mean really ...actually ..because ..then..yes...I have to ...plans..where...?

And most often than not, this discussion leads Ramesh to promptly hold back his resignation.

This lure in our industry is coined Onsite Deputation where you get a chance to rake in some extra moolah and of course simultaneously give that degenerating ad in Shaadi.com a much needed facelift.

Now this concept of travelling to foreign shores however has never traditionally been extended to the faculty members of the training department whose job, I feel, is one among the toughest in this industry.
They are periodically given fresh packs of over enthusiastic engineer pass outs, a motley group, who could any day do more honours to the local zoo than a corporate office.
The task of moulding these individuals into entities which would quietly gel into the corporate lifestyle, taking orders from superiors and holding their bottoms on to one chair for close to eight hours a day, is certainly not an easy task.

Some scenes from the classrooms,given below are indicative of the reason why many faculty members resort to stress therapy classes after office hours.

Classroom A-
Faculty Member - "Today we are going to discuss the concept of Universal data access using ActiveX Data Objects or ADO."
"Radio ?? Sir why would we need to learn about radios in these age? Do we still have clients who sell radios...Ha ha ...Such losers!!! opines a back bencher with a minute hearing disability
Faculty Member ---We are ....
Barely awake Back Bencher 2 -- Thats fine Sir, Don't listen to him ..Radio is just cool! I always wanted to be a Radio Jockey. They are so in with chics man !!
Faculty Member - Excuse me , we are actually discu....
Back Bencher 3 ---Sir I still have an old radio in my house.I last used it to bang the head of my neighbour's dog...some incident da !! Its gone numb since then. Does the company reimburse the cost of repairing Radios Sir?
Faculty Member - What the $%$**$$...No the company does not and we are not talking radios here for Chrissake!!
Back Bencher 4 to BackBencher 2 -- Huh much ADO about nothing man ..We were just trying to know more about the company policies.

Classroom B
Faculty member to young recruits - Today we are going to talk about the PL-SQL.

Female Student 1- Sir if it's like the story of Luv-Kush then please excuse me from the class. I found the concept of twins fighting with their Daddy so repulsive..eeks ya!!
Female Student 2- On yeah,Well what would you then say about a father striking off the head of his son and replacing it with that of an Elephant's eh ?
Female Student 1 - (Swoons).
Faculty member (clears his throat and continues) Well Ahem, PL-SQL stands for Procedural Language-Structured Query Language and resembles closely to Pascal.
Back Bencher again- Sir I take serious offence at the language that you are using in the class. We may be freshers but you have no right to abuse us in this manner.
Faculty member -But I only said Pascal.
Back bencher 1-- Hear hear friends ,there he goes at it again !! Is this what you call corporate ethics...abusing a poor physically handicapped person like me...Sniff Sniff..
Faculty member- Calm Down..calm down, You need to concentrate in this lecture as you would need it in your ABAP programming.
Back Bencher-- Sir, Baap pe kyon jaate ho ? Yeh thik nahi ho raha hai !!!
Whole class rising in unison and walking out--Yes yes.. Down with insensitivity !! Down with corporate high-handedness, as all make their way to the office canteen to douse their hurt feeling with some Masala Dosas.

Coming back to the topic of onsite travel, a few months back, these members of the training department decided that enough was enough and that they too deserved a better life.(Read : The matrimonial was not cutting much ice)
When their initial demands for onsite travel were not addressed, they quietly floated a few pamphlets with some minor modifications to the official Code of conducts..

Some of the pamphlets read as follows:

Do's & Don't's

* The company is responsible for the health and safety of all its employees.Spitting of Guthkha and Smoking will not be allowed anywhere except within the office premises.
* Drug abuse will not be tolerated under any conditions but some exceptions may be made for employees who offer a joint or two to the security personnel of their floor.
* Employees should always be formally dressed and anyone wearing his underwear like Superman will be considered for immediate mid-year promotions.
* Camera phones are not allowed within the office premises. Instead please bring proper digital cameras with at least 6X optical zoom to get a good shot at any client sensitive data.

The Management relented soon after and decided that faculty members too would henceforth travel to onsite locations and impart necessary trainings to the employees based there.

Now Onsite is the other word for Corporate Rehabilitation.
Employees who have been sucked dry of all enthusiasm in life after around 2 continuous years of milking (Gender irrespective) are usually sent here so that they spend the next few months calculating the conversion rate of Dollars and Pounds instead of conjuring up novel ideas to put into their resignation letters.
Much like the hill-station-after-a-long-illness funda that we have in Hindi movies.

Thus while the company buys some time, the employee too starts feeling a temporary high as he sees his bank balance gain back some respectability in the eyes of the Credit card agents who had completely shunned him after his first few salaries.

Reaction of Credit Card Agent on your first salary...Really ??
Reaction of Credit Card Agent on your second salary... Ha ha ha ..Are you sure Sir??
Reaction of Credit Card Agent on your sixth salary...Ho ho ho Ho Ho ...Can I lend you some money mate!!!
And then there were None.

Anyway so this group of people at onsite are the Been-there-Seen-that kind of people and the company usually does not bother them much to avoid situations as below :

One Ruffled Employee to colleague within Client earshot -- Psst..Psst...Dude this business logic is worth around 5 million dollars in the market..You aren't interested to earn some extra dough are you ?
or of the deadpan kind,
Hi Richard, my manager just emailed me and he thinks that you have a very large butt and that you should give us a project to bring it back to shape.

Thus, to keep things in control as well as to accommodate the demands of the harassed training dept guys, the management came up with brilliant ideas of holding sessions of the kind of Cultural Sensitization Programs and one such we had here a couple of weeks back.

It was fun from the word go. We were taken through different adaptation theories and given directions on how we should behave ourselves in the company of clients, that asking personal questions of the genre of "What is your good name?" were a strict no-no and that applying oil in our hair was also not acceptable while oil-laden food etc were best avoided.
(Oil and Indians have such a beautiful love story !!!)

But the programme surely gave the employees an opportunity to unwind a bit and most of us thoroughly participated with great enthusiasm and interest,particularly during the coffee breaks and the Pizza lunch. Did I forget to mention that the company bore the entire costs for the same?
It was a comfortable Saturday afternoon and with pizza-filled stomachs we enjoyed the session all the more.Infact some were so sensitised that they could hardly stay awake after that.

But hats off to the training department for reminding the nosy pack of us that we should not be picking our nose while in office and Three Cheers to them for having managed to win this round with the Management!!


Neeraj said...

I cam across this blog while surfing randomly. Loved this post!!!

Too good! Great work..Loved the truth about onsite :P

silverine said...

This was a work of art and should be made into a manual :) Great post.

I remember a trainer who flew down to Malaysia when we had our team offsite ( brainstorming in some exotic location). The trainer had come to collect the feedback forms that we had to fill up after a pep talk by some expert. He of course stayed back for a couple of days to see that he left no forms uncollected :p What a life.

Vinesh said...

Very true and enjoyable post!
Be careful of what you post, though, mate. Could get you into trouble... ask ME about it :-)

Wanderlust said...

@neeraj- Thanks. Ha ha ..don't tell me you believed it all :-).

@silverine - Yes feedback forms etc cannot be left at the mercy of courier services ofcourse. Very thoughful !!

@vinesh - Thanks for the warning mate.I must put up a disclaimer saying that Truth may hurt some :-)

mathew said...

kickass post dude..actual read it sometime back..but forgot to comment then..

probably u should be in the management considering u know the tricks of the trade so well..

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