Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oh My God!

8am, I am rushing for office and I notice some shadow behind me.

Me: OMG! Who the hell is that?
He: You just chanted my name, You are right, it's "Oh my God".
Me: Look man, I am damn busy. Please. Who the hell are you?
He: I am God and have come to take you, haven't decided yet if it's heaven or hell though.
Me: Come On, You really think that you'll say "I am God" and I believe.
He: It doesn’t matter whether you believe in me or not, I believe in you.

Me: But, how do I know that you are God.
He: Try sending a DM @God and I’ll read it for you.
Me: OMG! You are really God. But, do you follow me, while I don’t?
God: Man, I follow all.
Me: Don’t you mind that you follow all but all don’t follow you.
God: My world is different from your twitter.

Me: But what brings you here?
God: 21st December, Mayans – you forgot?
Me: WTF! You really believe in Mayans! And, it’s not 21st December yet.
God: I know, thought should remind you.
Me: Hey, don’t even say that, I have too many things to do. How can you even think of that?

God: Well I am God, I can think anything. What all you have to do by the way?
Me: Well, I have a bucket list which I haven’t updated yet, but I have lots to do.
God: Ok, just tell me 3 things which you want to do so that I can see if you really need time.
Me: I mean it, I need time to do a lot.

God: Ok, just tell me your wish list and let me judge if you really need time.
Me: Well, here you go.
1. Need to take my kids and family for a vacation, spend some more time with them.
2. Meet and call my friends and relatives.
3. Well, the third is , let me think , can I have some more time please.
God: See, you are so preoccupied that you can't even spell out 3 wishes.

Me: I am sorry, never knew that I’ll get to meet you else would have noted them on my BB.
God: So, you say you want more time to do these things, right?
Me: Yes, I wanted to do these for long, but don’t get time.

God: Look dude, you are doing it all wrong. I don’t think I can give you any more time. You chose to attend an office meeting instead of attending your kids’ sports day. What prevents you from going on a vacation now? What do you mean by “spending quality time” ? Other day your son asked you to tell a story and you were busy retweeting jokes on twitter. You say you want to meet your friends and relatives while all you worry is about adding new followers on twitter. Why should i give you more time, to waste?

Me: Well, God, I am really sorry but can I have one more chance please?
God: But …..
Me: Please Please Please , I promise I’ll strike a balance.
God: Ok….
Me: Phew! Thank God! I mean Thank You God.

God: But, as I said I follow you and the moment I see that you deviate from your own priorities, I may …
Me: I promise you, I won’t.
God: Ok

Me: Hey, Listen, don’t you mind that you follow me but I don’t.
God: Dude, who cares about followers? I can be Justin Bieber but Justin can’t be me.
Me: OK, but can I be sure of that I have more time at hand now.
God: Yes, till tomorrow.
Me: But, I can’t do all I want to do in one day.

God: Ok, you live as if there’s no tomorrow. And, I’ll see that you have one.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Obsessed with round numbers!

To begin with, let me brag a bit. I started running some 2 months back. I use to struggle to complete 5kms in 45 minutes, but now I can finish 7kms in 42 minutes. To a commoner that’s just an improvement of 2kms but to a novice runner it means a lot because every breath counts. I must than my adidas shoes, my nike shorts, apple ipod and Katrina Kaif for this.

By the way, did you notice the numbers here? 7kms in 42 minutes, that’s an average of 6minutes per Km. There are days where my Nike Running app tells me that the average is 6.04 minutes and that seriously bothers me – because it’s more than 6. But, an excess of 0.04 minutes is just 2.4 seconds, so should I actually be bothered? There are days, when I do 6.85km, this again upsets me as I couldn’t do 7km.

My other problem is rounding while tipping. What if the total bill on credit card charge slip is 1317, in all likelihood, I’ll spend some 19 seconds to make it round. So depending on the service, tip may be 83 or 183 just to arrive at total bill of 1400 or 1500. But, shouldn't I be just adding 100 or 200 instead of doing this rounding drill?

Am I the only one who is obsessed with a round number?

I think I am not alone; we all are obsessed with some or other patterns as far as numbers are concerned. Sometimes Round Numbers, say 80% marks are hugely better than 76.2%. Sometimes a Special Sequence, Car license plate number 1234 is far better than 1247. There are people who like numbers associated with Special Dates, a guy born on November Ten says,1011 is all he wants. There’s also a category of people who have their Lucky Numbers, and this tribe can go beyond any imagination to get that.

While I understand that 60% marks are better than 59% because our education system classifies 60% as a first-division but why a car license number 1234 is better than 1247? Sometimes we give logic that these special numbers are easier to remember. So, mobile number ending with 12345 is far better than 26749 because 12345 is easy to remember, right? But, who remembers mobile numbers anyways, it’s all stored in memory of phones – and I am sure that phone program won’t have any more difficulty in remembering 26749 than 12345.
Other obsession is our ‘show-off’ tendency – car number 007 is damn special. You really think a Honda City with 007 numbers has more ‘show-off’ potential than a Merc with 2680?

There are some who take this obsession to absurd heights, Read this report Wannabe mothers line up for 12/12/12 babies. So, I am sure Sunny becomes special because he is born on 12/12/12  and that's enough to get him a wild card entry to IIT, IIM or MTV Roadies!

Let’s stop obsessing over special numbers, move on, and enjoy life without numbers. Ok.

PS: By the way, I have crossed 1000 followers on twitter and just 900 short of 2000.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Age is no guarantee of efficiency!

I turned 38 recently. Well, some say 40 is the new 30, so by that standard I am yet to begin. But, there are others (including me) who want Sachin (39) to retire. For those, who are about to tell me the difference between physical vis a vis mental condition, you didn't hear about 100 year old Fauja Singh yet.  Won't be surprised if he is Sachin's inspiration. 

Till now there was at least one vocation where even being 40+ was considered to be youth or good enough to begin, yes, politics. Alas! even there, we see some 30+ making waves and reducing the average "youthful" age. Sigh.

We even saw 'young' SRK (47) playing 25 year old Samar Anand in Jab Tak Hai Jan, but if I discuss Bollywood here, we'll digress.

My point is what's the professional shelf life of a human in an average corporate job? These days corporates start hiring directly from the campus and one may start his/her professional career at as young as 20. Now if Gladwell is to be believed all it takes is 10000 hrs to be be an expert - that makes around 4-5 years of practice. So, 5-6 years in a job are good enough to make you expert. 

I very well know that in corporates there isn't a specific task to be performed, yet, even if one does "Boss Management" for 5 years, he gonna master it by 26-27. So, who needs a 35+ or a 40+ guy in any new job!

Ok, every thing else being same, if you have to hire a 28 year old guy with 8 years of relevant experience and 38 year with 18 years, why would you hire a 38 years old guy? What extra benefit that experienced guy would bring to you?

Somehow, I think, after a point, age (read experience) doesn't bring much value, rather, it makes people difficult to unlearn. Forget the new job, even in the existing job, times are changing and 'being young' is no more a disadvantage for that promotion or getting a corner office.

I agree that there are ways and means to Botox yourself by continuous learning, up-skilling and being the 'known devil' yet, it's like Rani Mukherjee learning bike-racing and other stunts to compete with Deepika Padukone for a role in Dhoom 3. (Apologies to Rani's fans, if any).

Even that 20 something Quartermaster in Skyfall (Q) told much older Bond, "Age is no guarantee of efficiency". 

Focus has changed, isn't it?
So, how many of you think that age brings a disadvantage in a corporate job?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Out of Office!

"Out of Office" is an important feature of an Email Program, not sure why some of us go bonkers while using it. Here is how I treat some of the creativity displayed in such messages.

“I am in a meeting till 1 pm so shall be able to reply to your email post that only”
Dude, no need to announce if you are away from desk for couple of hours. Next you’ll say “I am off too the loo and shall be able to reply post washing my hands only”.

“I am not in Mumbai but operating out of Delhi office,  please expect a delay in reply”
What the hell man, both are in the same time zone, If you got a PC/Laptop there, why delay!

“I am in an offsite at Lonavala till 19th and shall have only intermittent access to emails, I'll reply when back in office”
We all know what happens in off-sites,  well, without digressing what purpose does it solve for the email sender whether you are in offsite or not.
Image acquired through web
“There are public holidays in India on 13th, 16th 18th and I am on leave on 14th, 15th, 17th and 19th. I’ll be replying to you when back”
Now this is heights, why you announce full India Holiday Calendar and your leave plan in Out Of Office email. Email sender is smart enough to figure out that you have clubbed leaves with holidays to have a long vacation, so don't try to fool around.

Mind you, "Out of Office" auto-reply is not a four-square that you'll convey your offsite locations. It's also not a twitter timeline that you need to tell what are you doing. No way it's your appraisal form that you convey to your boss and all others, saying "I am busy in back to back meetings". 

Well, to me, an email out of office message is just to intimate the email sender that you are not in a position to reply and whom the sender should contact in your absence. In the era of Blackberry and iPhones, it’s even meaningless to call it “Out Of Office” because you are any how connected even if not in office. 

A simple and effective out of office should say – when you’ll be back in office (don’t confuse the sender by saying, I am out till 19th if 20th and 21st are weekend) and whom to contact if urgent.

“Hi, I’ll be back in office on 21st, please contact John at John.Abraham@ja.com

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Recently Added!

What's the first thing we do after we transfer some new songs to our ipod or iphone? We just choose the playlist "Recently Added" and get going. Easy, isn't it. I am sure lots of surveys would have led to the finding that the first thing one wants to do after downloading new songs is to listen the recently acquired songs.

What next! If you like some of them, you quickly make an "On the go" list and here is your quick playlist. Once we start liking the songs, we try making a rather permanent playlist and name it, right. 

Now, see if we can apply the same routine to our newly acquired skills or habits. Think.

Step by Step
  1. Recently Added
  2. On the Go
  3. Thoughtful Named Playlist
Let me explain a bit, say if you acquired a new skill - some expertise in statistics, a new IT certification - keep this on top of your mind for quick access, as this "recently added" playlist does for your music. Apply this skill "On the go" see if it works. If working, then add it into the Thoughtful Named Playlist and practice when required. 

If this new skill is damn good and working, try "On the Loop" but don't overdo that you or others get a fatigue.

Go Play!