Holy Crap

Waiting to deliver a huge project right on the deadline is like waiting till the last second, with the stomach ready to explode anytime, to take a dump.

See, there will be a lot of tension built up, it will be thrilling, and you will be relieved at the end of it and feel like you have accomplished something. But, what will be delivered would be nothing but a load of crap.

Corporate Life Lessons

Today, Sep 05, is celebrated as Teachers’ Day here in India. In appreciation of teachers and in celebrating the spirit of teaching, I am going to list out some lessons that I learnt first hand from my experience(s) at corporate environment(s). These may help you achieve success, if your definition of success is being peaceful and obscure at work. If success to you is making money or becoming wealthy, be forewarned – these points will not be helpful in anyway.

  1. Don’t hire based on the command of the language alone. Command of a language and a good communication are two different things. An English sentence with jargon and no grammatical error ≠ meaningful message.
  2. Keep your ego aside when you are hiring for a top level position. In one of my previous companies I worked with, an offer was rolled out to a candidate for a higher position. However, the candidate dropped out on the date of joining leaving a gaping hole that was highly visible. In order to fix this gap, the team hastily rolled out an offer to a misfit without thorough evaluation. This cost the team dearly.
  3. Age and experience are two different things. Don’t offer jobs based on total years of experience but based on relevant level of  experience.
  4. Idle mind is a devil’s workshop. Dumb people spend more time in gossiping and backbiting and usually are the ones who spend more efforts on conjuring up internal politics.
  5. When somebody explicitly says they do not lie, they do.
  6. When somebody explicitly says that they have conquered ego and they have absolutely zero ego, they have an ego larger than a mammoth. Run away from them.
  7. Don’t be nice to idiots. They sap your energy.
  8. When somebody says that cloud technology is his/her area of expertise and later asks you how to save the changes in a google sheet, don’t laugh. Go to your desk, create a meme and make it viral.
  9. When you are good at something, don’t do it for others. Especially, for idiots. They will expect you to spoon-feed them every single time.
  10. Play a fool to fool a fool. When you know something and you don’t want an idiot to ruin your day, just act that you don’t know that thing. Keep your pride aside. Focus on the peace that you will attain.
  11. Don’t trust the guy who whiles away time during work and calls you over the weekend to ask stupid questions not relevant to you, your job or your dog.
  12. When somebody repeatedly overstates that you did a wonderful job, get a rear-view mirror and watch your back.
  13. When somebody you want to avoid joins the table where you and your friends are discussing over lunch, continue showing the same level of enthusiasm on the face but switch the topic to weather, movies or sports.
  14. Get comfortable with long silences. It will be useful in those occasions where somebody joins the table and creepily observes what you and your friends talk without contributing anything. Unnerve them with your silence. If you can’t remain silent, try focusing on the dish. Ask yourselves whether that papaya you are having is naturally sweet or has added sugar.
  15. Headphones are your best friends. Start wearing one and zone-in on the work. If you can’t focus on the work, fake it. This will save you a lot of time.
  16. Learn to be conscious of your surroundings without moving your eyes away from your monitor. You will eventually learn when to turn your head and when not to.
  17. Sometimes, an insecure person will try to exclude you from important meetings. Don’t react. Trust their stupidity. If the person is stupid enough, you will be called back in the next meeting. Go with the flow.
  18. Practice tug-of-war. Sometimes you will have people dragging you down to their level of stupidity and trying to get you on their side. You need to resist it. As Captain Jack Sparrow says, ‘Wash your hands of this weirdness’.
  19. When somebody asks for your help, help the first time. Guide the second time. If they still don’t get it, just play along. They will learn it the hard way.
  20. Develop thick skin. You will meet people who are all hat and no cattle. You will see people in important technical leadership who would not know how to setup a meeting invite. Don’t fret over it. Have fun while it lasts. Ignore, take a deep breath and trust in Karma.

What would be your advice? Let me know in the comments.


Golden Rule

Email has an ability many channels don’t: Creating valuable, personal touches – At scale -David Newman

I am going to tell you a story about three people in a corporate jungle – Tom, Dick and Harry (Cliche! I know!). Tom is a good guy trying to maintain good relationships with people almost bordering on the people-pleaser level. Tom and Dick had few healthy issues earlier which was sorted out in a professional way. Dick had an erratic behavior. His intentions were good but his actions used to put off people sometimes. There was no issue for the good part of the year with either of them. Harry works in a different department but works closely with both Tom and Dick. They had mutual respect for each other.

One day, while discussing an issue, Harry sent an email to some wider audience. Tom felt that certain parts of the email did not put his team in good light and so raised the concern through an email to Dick. His intention was to raise the concern and explain the scenario so that Dick has a clearer picture.  So, Tom sent an email only to Dick as he did not want to create a big scene out of it.  However, Dick looped in Harry in that email and asked everyone to discuss directly. This put Tom on a spot and he felt awkward talking to Harry about it.

Now who is at fault here? Is it Harry for sending the email to a wider audience without discussing with the concerned team? Is it Tom for raising concern about Harry’s email without keeping him in the loop? Or is it Dick who forwarded the email to Harry which was supposed to be only for his view? Everybody’s intentions seem to be genuine but somehow the relationship may have strained a little bit.

I learnt a valuable lesson from this story:

Do not write in the email what should never be forwarded


Life Lessons

Hi there! It’s about a month now since I posted here. Last one month had been very busy with frequent client interactions, deliverables, performance discussions (ahem!) and what not! I had a couple of weekends where I worked more than 40 hours and I realized the importance of sleep first hand! Number of incidents happened in the past month – some of which I will blog about in the coming days and some more which I wish I could blog. But I wanted to post couple of quick life lessons that my boss preached me casually in good intentions.

Managing expectations

We have heard this number of times. The projects are about managing expectations as much, if not more, as technical work. My boss explained this with simple example. You are supposed to deliver something on Friday. You work heads-down the whole week and on Friday, you say you need one more week. This puts people off. In another scenario, you inform on Monday itself that you can’t deliver this by Friday and need one more week, people think you have the issues under control and appreciate it. Basically, the amount of work you do through the week is the same. The fact that you are not going to deliver on time stays the same. Just because you managed the expectations well in advance, people think highly of you instead of getting pissed off. Absolute truth. I am thinking I should tell the  government right away that I wont be able to pay the taxes next year!

Clean the poop

One of my pet peeves is doing documentation work. As much as I love to write, I hate documentation. May be because they have structure and purpose. During a casual chat I told my boss that doing a documentation work puts me off. So boss started explaining nicely. When you have a baby,  poop is inevitable. But if you clean the poop, the baby is awesome. So get the poop cleaned out from your task list. Hey, that’s brilliant. It took me minute to understand the metaphor. Before my brain processed this completely, it prematurely started thinking of cleaning the baby’s poop using the documentation. Close shave!

More to come! Hope I keep coming back to post and catch up on some reading! Cheers!