I hate travel

Manager, back in his office after a week on the road, to Team Members : Good to be back in office. Some respite from constant travel. I am sick of constantly having to rearrange my personal life on account of business requirements. Seems as if my life is spent in airport lounges more than home. And the hotel food really gets to me. I hate all that.

Team Members, in one voice : We know it must be difficult sir. But isn’t it exciting to visit new places ?

Manager : Yes it is, but you know me. I am happy between my home and my office. I will tell my Boss that I am not travelling for the next one year. If the company insists that I need to go because nobody else is qualified, I will resign and leave. After all, there is a limit to everything.

Team Members : You are so simple and straightforward, sir. How we wish we had these opportunities to travel.

Manager : Well, you know me guys ! Focussed only on work and family. Of course I understand your feelings. And, believe me, when the opportunity next arises, I will nominate one of you to travel and represent the company.

In the middle of the meeting the Senior Manager (the Manager’s Boss) drops in and says, “Oh, by the way, we have been invited to the Industry Conference in Las Vegas end of the month. It is for a week and the company will bear all expenses. We would like someone from this team to attend the conference on behalf of the company. I am leaving the choice to you guys. No specific qualification or knowledge is required as we are not anchoring any session. The participant would mainly need to listen to the speakers, make notes where appropriate, collect Business cards, and come back and debrief. We don’t mind if you want to take your spouse / partner along as long as you pay for it.

Team Members, in one Voice : Hurray. We love the company.

Before leaving, the Senior Manager to Manager : Send me the name of the person chosen to attend by end of day please. My secretary will make necessary arrangements.

After the Senior Manager leaves, the Manager turns back to his team and says : See, it never ends. Just when I thought I will have a few peaceful days at home comes this requirement. I will again have to pack my bags and go. Such is my life!!

For your own good – Do my work

Friday evening

CEO to Senior Manager : What, you have not completed the analysis of last quarter’s Sales ? You had a whole week to do it. I need the analysis for my presentation on Monday morning.

Senior Manager to CEO : I am sorry sir. I know I had promised you the analysis by Friday day-end. Got so busy with the visiting client delegation over the last two days that I could not complete it. I did not want to delegate this work to anyone else. But rest assured sir, you will have it by Sunday evening, in a ready to present format. Once again, apologies for the delay.

Later the same evening

Senior Manager to Supervisor : Young man, I have chosen you from the group of some extremely smart young people who work for me to do an analysis on the Sales of last quarter. Unfortunately, the CEO and I need it by day-end tomorrow so that we can review it and include it in an important presentation to be made on Monday morning.

Supervisor : But sir, tomorrow is a holiday and I have some plans with the family.

Senior Manager : Its your call son. As you know, we were doing this for your own good. This is a recognition of your potential and could be a stepping stone towards higher responsibilities. But never mind, if you don’t want to do it, I will ask someone else.

Supervisor, after thinking : Sir, if you give me till Sunday morning I could do it on Saturday night.

Senior Manager : OK, this concession is only for you. The CEO is keen to see it by day-end tomorrow but I will explain to him. I will also tell him who the analysis was done by.

Saturday morning

The Senior Manager had a good game of golf with his friends this Saturday as well. He had no urgent Sales analysis to complete.

Art of misusing company resources – 2. Meeting rescheduled, finally !

The Boss calls a meeting of his team, people who report to him. It is slotted for one hour.

The Boss’ secretary is in the meeting room at the appointed time and passes an attendance sheet around. This is done in solemn silence. As if the people signing the sheet would be the only ones needing to come back to work tomorrow. People missing the meeting need not. Everyone in the room looking at each other with an enquiring look.

Every two and a half minutes she runs out of the room to check with the Boss, and comes running back exactly thirty seconds after going out and says “He will be here shortly. Just finishing an important call that got extended. He is very sorry for the delay”. When someone followed her out of the meeting room she stopped, pulled out her mobile and start dialling nonchalantly as if that is what she came out for. Perhaps she did not want anyone else accompanying her to the Boss’ office and see him playing Solitaire.

After repeating the above about six times, about twenty minutes had elapsed. By now a sense of disquiet and restiveness amongst the participants was visible. She then announced that that the Boss has offered to pay for coffee and cookies for the participants. This was a business meeting after all. This coffee and cookies, she suggested, would be ordered from the luxe Coffee shop just opened in the mall next door and not the cheap company cafeteria. The participants cheered and settled down to wait for the Mochas and Lattes and Cappuccinos. They engaged in a game of Dumb Charades while waiting for the coffee.

As the order of coffee was from the shop outside, coffee arrived about five minutes prior to the scheduled closure time of the meeting.

The Boss walked in at this juncture (when the coffee had arrived and was hot), loudly talking on his mobile. He was saying “OK I will call you back”, “I have an urgent meeting NOW” or some such thing. Presumably he was not talking actual business because that would mean he was actually talking to someone on the phone.

The Boss proceeded to pick-up his Hazelnut Frappuccino, which his secretary had taken to order alongwith the rest (and which on other days he would have paid for), apologised for the delay, and offered to get his secretary to check their availability and reschedule the meeting.

Logical argument wins the day, and ends the discussion


Department Manager to his boss, the Senior Manager : Sir, I have studied the financial statement in detail. Our biggest cost is employee cost, which is obvious as we are in the services business. Almost all the employee cost is committed cost, which is written into the hiring contract of employees. The only discretionary expense, if I can call it that, is that of Transport, which we provide to everyone. That is not a part of the contractual terms. However, to save cost, if we take away the Transport facility, it could result in a huge backlash from employees as providing Transport is the norm in our industry. I don’t think there is any opportunity of reducing the employee cost.

Senior Manager to Department Manager : But we are one of the leaders in this industry (even though there are twenty other companies larger than us and growing faster we will ignore that fact). We have to set the pace for the industry. Others look up to us (I don’t believe this but am saying it for effect) to set standards and introduce the revolutionary new ideas that they can follow. Rest assured, what we do today will be replicated across the industry tomorrow. Have no fear. Implement the decision to withdraw Transport.

A few weeks later

Department Manager to the Senior Manager : Sir, our operations are seriously jeopardised on account of staff shortage. People are resigning and leaving in droves. And those who have not left are not turning up for work. We have no choice but to reinstate the Transport facility.

Senior Manager to Department Manager : This is total mismanagement. Why did you withdraw the facility without taking employee feedback ?

Department Manager to the Senior Manager : But, sir, you…

Senior Manager to Department Manager : No ifs and buts. Reinstate the facility immediately and apologise to them for your hasty and ill-timed action.

Two months later

Department Manager to Senior Manager : Sir, while the high attrition of two months back is coming down, it is still quite high. I have a suggestion for cost reduction. Instead of hiring graduates, we should hire under-graduates. They will be available for a lower salary. We can provide a little bit of training to make them ready. The additional cost of providing training will be more than offset by the saving on salary within three months.

Senior Manager to Department Manager : Hmmm. Worth considering. What are the attrition trends from this group in the industry ?

Department Manager to Senior Manager : No data available sir. This is a revolutionary new idea. Nobody in the industry has implemented it.

Senior Manager to Department Manager : Don’t be foolish, if it was such a good idea someone would surely have tried it by now.

Department Manager to Senior Manager : But sir, you said we are the leaders in the industry and….

Senior Manager to Department Manager : Shut up and go away.