Category Archives: Human Resource

Top tips on adjusting to your new job

Finally it has happened. The moment you were nervous about, the moment you even dreaded. You took the offer from the new company and are starting at your New Job !

The excitement, anticipation and naturally fears start to set in. What if’s, start to roll on like the fire work on the 4th of July.

Here are a few tips that I came across in my career which might make the transition more successful and palpable.

1- Prioritize !

You are expected to learn a lot of things from the culture to the actual tasks very quickly. That is a lot of information in a very short span of time.

The best way to deal with it is to prioritize the most important things first.

2- Find a Buddy.

While many organizations have a orientation or on boarding process where a buddy is allocated. Many still don’t have a formal process for this. Find someone ( preferably not your new manager 😉 ) who can give you a quick “to do”.

RULE: Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

3- Understand what is expected of you.

You cannot deliver – if you do not know what is expected of you.

Priority should be identify expectation and take up short term quickly deliverables first and make you mark !

4- Cut your losses !

If something is not working out, ditch it !

Of course I am not asking you to quit. Remember you are new, however if you think you have taken on more than you can handle – discuss with you boss and take on something more do able.

5- Get to know the new company ( Culture and coworkers)

You are at a new place – Accept it.

Acclimatize and adjust by understanding that things will be different here and so will the people.

6- Do not forget your former colleagues.

Remember they know you and at a time when motivation can be at a premium – they will come in handy to remind you of you strengths to give you the extra boost you need to succeed !

New Job

7- Rest

All work and no play – remember this?

You are in a higher stress zone than normal and you need your full strength. Rest and give yourself time a space to relax.

 

I hope I have been able to suggest some ways to make your transition more hospitable.

Best of luck and wishes for your new role !

The anatomy of a Mistake

What is a mistake?

The Oxford online advanced learners dictionary defines the noun “Mistake” as “an action or an opinion that is not correct, or that produces a result that you did not want

Male hand holding wooden pencil and delete word "MISTAKE" on the white paper

So does making a mistake – intentionally or unintentionally make me a bad person?

Why do we spend so much time beating ourselves up for action(s) that were simply put – a result of a temporary lapse or lack of better judgment? I decline to use the phrase good judgment in favor of better judgment because I do strongly believe that we all are subject to our perception of our surrounding and our decisions are similarly subject to the holistic result of numerous factors that directly and indirectly influence our perception and thus the interpretation of facts which culminates in our decisions at any given time.

I have a rule about mistakes. Its ok to make many unique mistakes as they are simply a learning opportunity but it is not acceptable to make the same mistake repeatedly.

No mistake should be big enough to stop us from travelling the path toward our objective. I keep this rather generic to accommodate a variety of personal and professional objectives.

What is really important is to remember to get back up from a mistake and reassess and reload to jump back in action. Beating oneself up over a mistake is only unnecessary burden which will create lag in the future of our journey.

Learn to forgive yourself as the worst thing you can do is to keep blaming ourselves.

Mistakes
Learning

So go ahead and make mistakes, learn from them and make NEW ones.

Keep learning 🙂

The life of a probationer

In the midst of many permanent workers the lone probationer along with many other singular probationers walk the pace. Being a probationer is like being an understudy for an actor in a play who has no lines.

You move around the stage and perform the actions required, but you never get to take center stage, and you hardly ever get to speak more than a few lines. ( Some dramatic exaggeration) 

The probationer needs to be on time, oops early I mean as being late is like not coming or showing up to a 90’s theme costume party in a space suit.

The probationer needs to be updated, perfect and beyond doubt to survive and be placed almost at the side of the privileged permanent folks 🙂

Brings alot of songs to mind about love lost and experience gained. A probationer has a dream…

One day he / she too will be a part of the permanent staff. Have actual authority be taken serious..Perhaps.

Like all evaluations , the probation period is exactly that. A timeframe for mutual evaluation. What most probationers miss out is that they feel only they are being evaluated. It helps in the long run to understand that while the company is evaluating you.. you too should be evaluating the company.

In the ultimate performance / probation review it is to me a deadly SIN to say that you have nothing to say about the company or a simple ” it was a good experience here” to your seniors.

Coming back to the probationer and his/her dream. Most probationers I have met have felt that the moment their status will be converted to “permanent” somehow magically everything will change. Their peers will look at them differently, they will suddenly have greater respect and an elated position in the corporate food chain.

Reality check: No this does not happen.

A word of advise to my probationer colleagues who have yet to experience the brutal reality of the corporate world : Your position and status is only a name card. Your performance and your delivery is what will define how your colleagues look at you.

Work well done, is exactly work well done and there is no second opinion to it.  The only performance indicator that one needs to be concerned about are the KPI’s. And if the work is done well and a flare of pro activeness and innovation added to the mix it more often then not translated in to a very tasty solution ( pun intended).

So all my friends who are fresh and on probation and have not realized this yet.. buck up and smell the fresh air of new resolves and work smart and work hard.

K

A Dog in Sheesh Mahal

Don’t be too amused at the title just yet. Its a local idiom showing how a dog in a palace would behave. Out of place, bewildered, confused even bedazzled. Most of us started out careers at the entry level. We all have come from different backgrounds. Some have been exposed to corporate setups due to our parents or family and some of us have not. Some come from elite institutes while other from very humble beginnings. What all of us have in common is that we started somewhere and today we have achieved a certain status in our professional lives. Going back in the journey and recalling our first day at work …. Do that…please go back in time and remember. The nervous insides, tingling unexplained sensations, the fear of the unknown … Are you there yet? Good, or not too good 🙂 Now, do you remember the first senior who took you on and explained some of the basics to you. The first senior who corrected your mistake and told you ” Its ok. We all make mistakes…learn from this and you will be ok!” I feel certain that we can all name at least one senior in our professional lives who carved the path to our achievements , to our success. Being senior professional in our respective fields today … we owe it to those mentors, friends, guides to Pay it forward ! Acknowledge the fact that our knowledge and skill cannot be taken away from us, cannot be stolen. The purpose of our experience is to “share”, to give away to our new generation ( batch ) of budding professionals who stagger in to the hall ways of professional greatness .. unsure and unaware of the magnitude of potential they are carrying hidden away inside them. It is up to us to act as guides and in many cases as catalysts to build confidence and transform these freshers. I am a result of many great minds who have in their own unique ways contributed to my professional path. And today I would like to say “Thank you ” to all of them. I would request a moment from everyone reading this post to take a minute, remember those mentors and send them a thank you note, sms or email today…now . It may not seem much, but appreciation goes a long way. I am in the process of emailing mine 🙂

Wait

While I waited to evaluate risks, some real some perceived …. time moved on and the world passed me by. In the thousands of years of documented and available history most elements of human behavior have survived the tribulations of time and standards. Now, while I lay in bed typing on my laptop while simultaneously dodging attacks from my little daughter on my laptop I am reading up on alot of material on blogging and content writing. I have been interested in this recently and I feel a strong urge to take this up formally albeit part time. Anyone reading my previous posts can easily tell how lazy I get when it comes to putting something up 🙂 But I will now do my best to put up more and more productive posts soon. Take care and Happy waiting!

Office Show Down

Now that I am working for the 7th company in my professional experience spread over a dozen years and multiple countries and a few continents I feel that I have finally (rather obvious) concluded that office politics is not a local or regional phenomenon. It is a universal reality. 

The sooner we acknowledge its existence, the better prepared we will be to handle and cope with it. Mostly I feel it’s about how WE react to such situation and less about accepting it. 
But as the saying goes, acceptance is half the battle won.
First, always remember that amongst all the variables that you cannot control … there is one very important factor that you can control. That factor is YOUR RESPONSE to any situation. How you choose to react decides the tangent the situation will take. Always evaluate and respond in a manner that is above petty personal differences and ultimately good for the business.
Second, Always remember that if your reaction supports the bottom line then sooner or later your boss and management will see it. This is a good thing J
Third, instead of being upset about the things you cannot change its better to be happy about the things you can change. Very often we are too busy feeling victimized by some policy that we cannot change to notice the positive influence we can bring within our own area of influence.
Fourth, Its always better not to take sides. Being opinionated is one thing however taking sides is another. Learn better and effective conflict resolution techniques in order to resolves positively the disagreements.
Fifth, Always remember to understand before your seek to be understood. This helps in creating a deeper understanding of the others point of view and also creates a better possibility of a Win-Win situation.
Last, Never …Never get personal. It is an office and you will come across many people from different places and different insight and opinions and objectives. You must remain focused on the company objectives and stay aloof from making it personal.
Have a nice weekend!

Its all about how process things

So there is an old story I heard from someone last weekend and thought to share it with you all.
There was a small town and it had a sweet old lady who was the most popular sweet seller ( Mithai Seller ). Every day you could see lines outside her shop. 
Interestingly, she didn’t make the sweets her self. Rather she only sold them and had them outsourced to a sweet maker.
Now, one fine day a gorgeous young lady opens a sweet shop right across from her shop and goes in to business. Fact to be noted is that even this gorgeous young lady did not make the sweets herself but rather outsourced it to the same sweet maker the old lady was purchasing from.
On the very first day there was a huge line outside the new shop… yes, indeed many had come to get a glimpse of this gorgeous girl and customarily buy some sweets too 🙂
For the next few days the line out side the young lady’s store kept increasing while the line outside the old ladies store kept dramatically decreasing.
However, about a week and half down the time line … the reverse started happening. The line outside the old lady’s shop started to increase while the line outside her neighbors started to decrease … until the old ladies clientage was back to what it used to be.
Since everything seemed to have been same in both shops one bystander remarked that it doesn’t make sense that the beautiful young lady’s shop is empty … there was confusion.
So, one person decided to figure out this little puzzle. After a lot of investigation and eventual failure he decided to go and ask the old lady her secret to such success.
This is what the old lady said:
“ Dear Sir, I don’t do anything special to my mithai (sweet) but I think that it has something to do with how I weight the mitahis. You see, when someone orders 1 KG of Mitai , the young lady put 1.25 or 1.5 kg on the scale and removes the extra to measure the full 1 kg….. While I always put 600 to 800 grams and then add mitahis to complete the 1 KG.”
Scale
Scale
Surprising… don’t you think?
I believe it is the truth.
Regardless of the fact that both measure exact weight the perception that people leave with is that they are getting something with the old ladies style while they are loosing something with the younge ladies style.
The same I believe applies when one makes out policies at any organization. If you were to include all the exceptions in the policy … in no time will people start to view the exceptions as rules and rights. Rather if policies were straightforward and exceptions were reviewed on a case to case basis thou the decision may be the same in either case… the perception the employees leave with is that they have been heard and given special attention and treatment… perceived value addition means better motivation and improved word of mouth.
That’s my thought for today 🙂

9 to 12 Rule

Its been a while since I wrote my blog. A lot has happened since my last update.

I am working with a different company now. I have another little princess in my family. I have gained weight.

Now back to what I was thinking about.

I have found it almost impossible to focus on my strategic tasks at work due to the incessant visitors I get to my office. So after seeking advice from a few very wise mentors I have decided to implement the 9-12 Rule.

The 9-12 rule stipulates that my “visiting hours” so to speak are from 9am to 12pm. After which I work dedicatedly on my research and strategic policy matters.

I shall keep updating my blog with the results I get out of this in due course.

Stay tuned.

Handling Office Politics


Political Tug of war
Office politics is just like the lottery.  Dreaming about winning doesn’t get you anywhere – there’s no payoff if you don’t buy a ticket. But YOU have to play if you want to win. 

However, unlike the lottery, there are consequences if you decide not to play.

Game Plan

Not everything in life in black and white and unfortunately, office politics can’t be reduced to this level of simplicity either. 
Office politics is a complex stew of power, ambition, control and ego.  Winning, if there is such a thing, requires continuous attention to who’s important/not important at any given moment and strategically aligning with the right 
faction(s). Mistakes can be fatal to a career. 

It’s easy to see how many people decide it’s smarter to sit on the sidelines.  Swim with these sharks?  No thanks, it’s much safer not to get involved.  Or so you’d think … but you’d be wrong.

Opt out, and the best you can hope for is to be completely ignored.  This might be good for your psyche, but it’s tough on your career.  Promotions or good assignments won’t be coming your way, but a layoff might, if one’s in the offing.  All too often, quiet = expendable

If you choose not to play, be sure you don’t criticize those who do, or the game itself.  You’ll be labeled a loose cannon or a troublemaker.  You’ll also be a target for skilled political players who may decide to use you to further their own agendas.  It’s easy to identify the person who doesn’t want to join in as the malcontent who’s responsible for badmouthing unpopular decisions.

Well, says you, I’m not being negative, I’m just saying that things should be based on merit – the quality of your work, not who you kiss up to.  I agree – in principal:
It sounds great, but I’ve never seen a company where there wasn’t some element of politics at work.

This is Unfair

Right.  What’s your point?  The culture of each workplace evolves over time, largely in reaction to the example that’s set at the top.  Unless you’re the new CEO, your ability to unilaterally create change is very, very limited.  You can continue to resist, but it’s going to be a lot less painful if you adapt.

You’ll be most effective if you can deal with things the way they are, not the way you think they should be.  No one can take your principles away from you, but they can take away your position.  It’s really your choice, and I hope it never comes to that. The best strategy is to modify your view of office politics.  Rather than seeing it as a hotbed of useless gossip, intrigue, brown-nosing, or backstabbing, try to recast it in a positive light.  Think of the political game as a means for you to spread your own gospel through positive example.

One of the few absolute rules of office culture is that it’s not enough just to do a great job. You’ve also got to communicate your abilities and successes to the right people, and you’ve got to do it via the “right way”, which is going to be dictated by the company’s cultural norms.  Observation is the key.

Open Your Eyes and Ears; Keep Your Mouth Shut

A key mistake in office politics is accepting information without independent verification.  There are a couple of ways this happens.  One is that people look at an org chart and take it at face value.  In the work environment, there’s both a formal and informal hierarchy.  There are people on the chart with position and authority who are incapable of exercising it, and conversely, there are people that may not even appear on the chart who manage to run everything.  Your job is to figure out who’s who, and cultivate good relationships accordingly.  That won’t happen if you step away from your desk only to use the bathroom.

Listen
The second mistake people often make is to align themselves with one faction too early, or too closely.  When you start a new job, it’s tempting to latch onto a person or small group fast. Understandable – it gets you over being green and helps assimilate you to the new environment.  The danger is that you may inadvertently align with the wrong group, and you won’t know until it’s too late.  Better to be friendly towards everybody and get the full range of opinions.  If you don’t favor one faction over another, you’ll be able to array all of the different points of view and validate their legitimacy against your own observations. 

Spend less time talking, and more time listening.  This is a wonderful technique that has several distinct benefits.  First, you minimize the opportunity to say anything stupid or ill-advised that can come back and haunt you later. 
Second, people who like to talk think highly of people who listen. They project competence onto you because you let them do what they need to do.  They’ll speak well of you later, even though your view of these conversations is that they’re a good opportunity to plan what you’re going to do for lunch. 

The third benefit of doing more listening than talking is that your silence, especially your continued silence, is liable to make other people a bit uneasy.  People who are edgy tend to chatter more than they should. (Think how job candidates might babble to fill up a silence during an interview.) Sometimes, that chatter includes information that wasn’t intended to be revealed.  All the better for you.

Rules of the Game

There’s one rule in office politics that can trump all the other rules: never make your boss look bad.  Most bad bosses are capable of accomplishing this all on their own.  They don’t need your help and you don’t need to get dragged down with them.  Create a situation where your boss is seen in a negative light and you’ll be the one who pays the price in the short run. 

The other rules of office politics are less about the politics and more about you and your behavior. This list isn’t all-inclusive, and strict adherence doesn’t guarantee success.  But, it’s better than nothing:
1.     Figure out what you want and plot your strategy accordingly.
2.     Be a part of multiple networks, not just one.
3.     Communicate with your networks often, and in the ways that work best.
4.     Judge behavior in the organizational context, not against some idealized standard.
5.     Watch other people at work and identify successful behaviors that you can model
6.     Don’t pass along questionable judgments or spread rumors
7.     Look for win/win ways to resolve conflicts, but never leave them unresolved.

More

Despite all this, there really is one way out of the office politics maze.  Work for yourself and work alone.  You’ll still need to interact with clients and customers, but those politics are for another column entirely. 

Some types of difficult co-workers

Now that we have some idea about managing difficult people at work, lets proceed to identify some types… so to say, lets assign them a category and make our approach more targeted.

I have come across a variety of difficult people in my career, and others I have read about :). At times, being fairly honest, I may have been a difficult co-worker myself. My “real” friends used some of the measures discussed below in changing my outlook and making me in to a more professional person. The reason my I have highlighted ‘real’ is: Only the people who cared about me combined with a positive outlook towards organizational / departmental harmony wished to do something to handle the issues instead of simply making an issue out of every little thing I did and having me replaced.

Lets begin:

The Crabby Coworker

You know the type – they come in to work in the morning( or evening /night depending on your line of business) , don’t say hi, won’t even make eye contact with you or crack a smile. 
While we do not all have to be best friends at work, it is pretty awkward when you can’t interact with these people the way you would with a normal person who will at least say hello. What to do:
  • Try to find some common ground:There’s got to be something – anything – that you have in common with this person and if you’re able to find it, you just might be able to crack them. Maybe you and him/her watch ‘Humsafar’ 😉  – you could ask them what they thought of last night’s episode! Maybe you both have kids starting school this year – ask how that’s working out. The point is to find something to get that person talking so he/she feels like you’re both on the same side. They still might not pass any salutation to you, but you might get a glimmer or a smile every once in a while that can lighten the tension.
  • Ask if something’s wrong: When people are grumpy to the extreme, there is usually something wrong on a personal level. If you’re not afraid to have your head bitten off, ask if something is indeed wrong and if there’s anything you can do to help (only if you mean it…thou, I have had instances where the other person knew that I was genuinely concerned, but they still couldn’t resist punching my teeth out ( just an idiom)). This might be a brave approach depending on who you’re dealing with but can once again help open the lines of communication and might lead to a smile down the road. Maybe the person just needs to feel that they are not alone.
  • Don’t take it personally: Chances are that if you find this coworker cranky and difficult to work around…..realize that some people are just like that no matter what you do and try not to let it bring you down.

Agent Coworker (009) (Ahem ahem … informer extraordinaire)

One fine day, you are called into your manager’s office because you were tattled on by your very own 009 … and that too for something that doesn’t really matter anyway. 009’s are really like spies because they are very good at slyly discovering every little tiny mistake you have ever made at work and then going and telling on you, thus making them look good and you look bad. ( BTW, the 009 is an increment to 007, with a licence to chugli-fy)
Is there anything you can do? Yes:
  • Make sure they like you: It might make you sick to your stomach to try to be work friends with this person but if you can do it, it is in your best interest. 🙁 And honestly I don’t like writing this, just as much as you don’t like reading it. This is especially true if you have to work closely around the person and know that they will always be “watching you.” There’s a chance that if this person feels a friendly vibe between the two of you, they might move onto another target who hasn’t made that effort to be friends. Since nobody likes a tattle, they don’t usually have many friends. Use this to your advantage.
  • Be on your best behavior: Sure, if you know the tattletale is sniffing around, just carry out your work according to the books and to the highest code. If you do everything absolutely perfectly, there won’t be anything to tell on. Plus, try not to go overboard trying to share your impression of how the boss forgets what he was talking about, or the way the director smokes etc etc. Its better that you do your comedy in the privacy of your own personal friends. 
  • Avoid, avoid, avoid: If you really don’t have to associate with this person, don’t. It’s as simple as that.

The Know-it-All Coworker

Nobody knows everything but don’t tell your know-it-all coworker that! 
Mr. Know It All
What’s tricky about these people is that they’re hard to reason with because they carry on as if the only ideas that are “right” or “the best way” are their own. It’s especially difficult when this type of coworker is your supervisor who gets to call some of the shots that affect the quality of your job and eventually your day. What if you come up with a better way of doing something that could benefit your whole department? 
Here’s what to do:
  • Make them think that your idea is really their idea No, you’re not gonna get credit if you take this approach but if you can get past that and are just looking for end results, this method works pretty well. You might say something like “Remember your abc idea? (which is actually YOUR idea) I think that will work well for us because of xyz.” You’ll probably only want to try this for ideas that are only slightly different from theirs and not a paradigm shift otherwise your know-it-all coworker could catch on (but you might be surprised – people who think they know everything and are unwilling to budge are often not that sharp).
  • Show your evidence. Prove it. : Even the most knowing of all know-it-all coworkers may find it hard to hold onto their ideas if you can provide all kinds of evidence to show that another idea or another way may be better. Tread lightly on this one and make sure that your battle is worth it.

The Lazy Coworker

Lazy worker
There is nothing more frustrating than doing all the work while your lazy coworker(s) sits around and does nothing. Ideally, someone in charge will see the light and your lazy coworker friends will eventually get fired but we all know that it’s nearly impossible to fire someone these days so don’t count on it. Apparently some people think that HR should not fire, but should rather counsel and counsel again…and once again…etc…… So while the counselling is going on…you may want to try these instead:
  • Suck it up: Yes, you work and your lazy coworkers don’t but one approach is just to acknowledge that fact and move on. In other words, as they say, “do your work and go home.”
  • Don’t pick up the slack for the lazy one: You might find yourself taking on extra duties that were initially meant for your lazy coworker without even realizing it. Stop doing that! Once the workload starts to pile up and you resist the urge to dive in and finish it off, even your coworker may take notice of the backlog and pitch in to help. And if they don’t, say
  • “Help me! I’m overwhelmed! There is work to be done here!”: Sadly, you might have to spell it out to your lazy coworker just like that. Lazy coworkers are not all bad people but sometimes they are oblivious to the fact that there is work to be done so you really just might have to tell them.
To forgive is to release resentment, hatred, bitterness and desires for revenge…We choose not to hate such people, even though we hate what he or she did.

Always remember that when you forgive:
  • You don’t literally forget about the existence of the offense, and you don’t have to ignore the fact that it did cause you pain and hurt. 
  • It doesn’t mean you approve of the offense or allow it to happen again. 
  • You don’t have to become friends with that person or trust them to show that you really forgave them. 
  • Trust is something that takes a long time to earn, not something given as a token of forgiveness. 
Learn to forgive and move on… We live on a small planet and work in even smaller industries let alone offices…. We all have to share it…. Move on and work towards cooperation or at least co-existence.