For Your Own Good – Withdrawal of Transport Facility

Keeping your welfare in mind, the company has decided to withdraw the Transport facility of pick-up from home in the morning and drop back home in the evening that has so far been provided to all employees.

It has been noticed that obesity amongst employees is on the increase and has been causing intermittent health issues with a resultant impact on productivity.

Upon withdrawal of the Transport facility it is expected that employees will now have to walk to the nearest metro station, or stand in the sun and sweat while flagging down a Taxi, or drive to work. It is expected that these exertions will create a salutary impact on employee health. This will, at once, translate into less time off and improved productivity, allowing you to put yourself in a better position for taking on higher responsibilities when the time comes.

Not only that, lesser ailments means lesser strain on the nation’s medical infrastructure which, if you connect the dots, will indirectly benefit you through a lower requirement of tax contribution (there was an additional phrase after “tax contribution” in the original draft of the Circular but later deleted from the final version : “which is likely to happen only in the next generation”).

Hence, as you can see, we have only your welfare at heart in taking this decision. Not only are you more likely to get promoted, your tax contribution is also likely to come down. This has not been done either to reduce costs or increase the Bonus payout for the Directors because of improved profitability.

We are certain you will support the company’s policies, as you have always done in the past. As such, we have not wasted time in trying to get feedback, and instead have implemented it with immediate effect so that you can start reaping the benefits right away.

Voicemail of a Very Important Person

You have reached the Voicemail of a very important and busy person. You can leave a message if you so desire but you can rest assured that you will not receive a call back if you are lower than me in the Corporate hierarchy or are a person from whom I don’t immediately need something. God help you if you need something from me. Even if you hit paydirt and manage to reach me when I am bored enough to answer the phone on the fourteenth ring, I will make an excuse of being very busy and end the conversation. I might even promise to call you back but, if you haven’t already figured it out, I never will. Now, if you have nothing better to do, keep calling till your fingers hurt and your ears wither away from hearing the same message over and over again. Goodbye Unimportant person.

My Way or the highway

Morning conversation

HR Manager to New Employee : Welcome to The Fictitious Company Ltd. We are glad to have you on board. We hope that we have a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship. Here is your Employment Letter. You will need to sign a copy and return as an acknowledgement of acceptance of the Job Offer.

New Employee : Thank you. I look forward to working here. I assure you I will put in my best. Please give me a few minutes to read the letter and sign and return a copy.

HR Manager : What a strange young man you are ! You want to read the letter before you sign and accept the terms. This is a standard letter which we issue to all new hires. Are you suggesting that I, the HR Manager of the company, have the time to make changes to individual letters ? Nobody else has had a problem signing it. You think you are special ?

New Employee : Not at all sir. But I would still like to understand all the terms and conditions so that I can ensure that I can abide by them.

HR Manager : Suit yourself. As you know I am a very important person with very important things to do. If you want to read the letter you can take it with you and come back and see me in the evening.

Evening Conversation

New Employee : Sir, there is a mention about a “scope of work” and the letter says it is attached. I don’t find it attached. Can I please have a copy of the “scope of work”.

HR Manager : We don’t give out copies of “scope of work”. Your “scope of work” will be briefed to you by your Manager.

New Employee : Very well sir. In that case, I request you to remove this line from the letter since, by signing it, it would mean that I have seen it and accepted it.

HR Manager : Now listen young fellow! You are being unreasonable. We cannot take it out of the letter as it is a Corporate Policy that has been laid down by the top management. I have no authority to take it out. If I take it out I will be violating Corporate Policy.

New Employee : I assume that putting this line in the letter and not actually giving it out does not violate Corporate Policy. In any case, if you cannot take the line out, please give me a copy of the “scope of work”.

HR Manager : But I don’t have a “scope of work” to give you.

New Employee : Then please remove this line from the letter.

This “endless loop” continued endlessly. Finally, exasperated, the HR Manager said : Leave this with me. Let me see what I can do. I will call you soon.

Next day

Of course we all know that the HR Manager never made that call. Instead, the company hired another young individual who was willing to accept the letter stating “scope of work enclosed” without it actually being.

“Ethical” business practices

Stated policy of the company (boldly displayed across the office):

“We do not support any unethical and unfair practices while pursuing our business interests. Action will be taken against any employee
found to have indulged in an unethical or unfair practice in pursuit of the company’s business objectives.”

Practiced policy of the company (not stated or displayed anywhere) :

“We do not support any unethical and unfair practices while pursuing our business interests, after they (the unethical and unfair practices) are discovered and brought out in the open. Till such time, we will gladly turn a blind eye to any unfair or unethical practice that we believe will be profitable for the company and there is no risk of this knowledge (of unethical and unfair practices being followed) being traced to the propagators of this policy (read – senior management). If usage of such practices does get discovered and brought out into the open, we will, without compunction, act speedily in the best interest of the company, and blame it as a wanton act of deception, fuelled  by personal  greed, on part of some employee low down in the food-chain.

I maintain standards. In fact, two of them. I maintain “double standards”.

Scene 1 – Employee in office

The employee : “What ? Airconditioning in the office is down again? For as much as thirty minutes ?? It was down for as much as 45 minutes on one occasion only three months back. Who does the company think I am? I refuse to be taken for granted by the company. I refuse to do any work under these inhuman  conditions.”

The employee’s supervisor : “It is not such a big deal. They have assured me that it will be up and running in another 15 minutes. This is the first breakdown in over 3 months. It is a machine and requires occasional maintenance. Please get back to work now.”

The employee : “No way. You and other people in senior management are trying to fatten the margins by saving on electricity cost. But what about the conditions under which we have to work ? Have you ever thought about that ? Will you pay us for our sacrifice by sharing the better margins with us ?”

The employee then stomps out of the room, to return an hour after the AC has been restored. He claimed “nobody told him”.

Scene 2 – The employee returns home in the evening from a hard day at office

The employee’s 8 year old daughter : “Dad, it feels very hot now. When are we going to get an AC for our house ? It is difficult to do my homework in this heat.”

The employee : “You know darling how harmful ACs are for the environment. They produce fluorocarbons that damage the ozone layer. Besides, they are huge guzzlers of electricity which, again, the more we produce the more environmental damage we inflict. We are all making these little “adjustments” for the good of the environment. And, as you already know, working in a challenging environment  builds character. Now go and finish your homework.”

Demonstration of commitment

Faced with a choice between “demonstrating” commitment to my job and leading a healthy and balanced life, I have chosen the former, i.e.
I am ready to sacrifice health in service of employer and work. In order that my supreme sacrifice does not go waste, I am making an effort to get my employer to notice this by complaining about late nights, insomnia and work-pressure. That way, I can expect recognition from my employer and also a suitable reward for the same (ignoring health in the line of duty). I can do this through one or more of the following ruses :

  • Keeping a packet of harmless placebos in my pocket at all times and popping one each time my boss is watching, followed by a slight lurch
    to one side and grasping the nearest piece of furniture for support. When the boss asks what the matter is, I can mysteriously say “work pressure” and zip up. On further prodding I will only say “don’t worry boss, I can handle it” in the manner of the strong, silent cowboy who manfully bears all burdens of his boss.
  • Each time I need to see my boss I must be chewing vigorously on a strong smelling candy, especially one which smokers are known to use to suppress the tobacco smell. I must proceed to offer him one, out of courtesy of course, and then, as if a realisation has dawned, pull back the offered candy just as his hand was reaching out for one, and apologise for not remembering that he does not smoke. This must be followed by a comment to the effect “I wish I had your will-power sir. Because of the pressure of work I end up smoking more than a pack a day. But you, with even greater responsibility and pressure, are able to resist the temptation. I wish I could learn from you”.
  • Making sure that I send out an inconsequential mail to my boss just before I leave office, even if it is to forward stale jokes. It would help to keep handy a bunch of stale motivational emails that get forwarded from time to time. Better a stale motivational email than a stale joke email for your boss. This mail should ideally be sent after he has left for the day. My consistent late departure from office will thus be imprinted on my boss’ mind.