Category Archives: behavior

Why villains are important

A villain is generally accepted to be the antagonist in any story or scenario.

Can one define light without darkness? or Good without evil?

I know this is not a new argument and neither am I trying to invent one at this stage.

However, we evaluate most things around us in relative terms. And such aspects as goodness and greatness are no exception.

(Before I go any further, do note that I expect exceptions in all and every category, however I am only focusing on a general and common trend) 🙂

Is a Hero really a hero without an adversary? Would we really accept political messages from one party if they were not opposed to another? “Comparison” ?

Absolute’s are relative. Debatable indeed, however go along with this thought.

I will not get in to the religious sentiment and rather on purpose stick to HR.

While we used to interview a batch of candidates, we would mostly end up hiring the best out of the batch, who may often not be out first choice if the person was placed in a different batch.

Overall the quality of our heroes enhances or deteriorates in direct proportion to the adversary 🙂

Enough for now. Would love to read your thoughts.

 

ONE STEP AT A TIME – HOW TO BE HAPPY PART 2

Letting go has never been easy. But often letting go is the only option to survive.

Normally when we do let go, we feel an acute sense of guilt – For no reason. However believe me it is only temporary and time will heal it.

Why would you want to let go ?

Every day you will come across people and issues that will give you only stress and nothing more. If you stop to think about them you will realise that there is no “solving” them. There is no recourse that will lead to happiness in these people or issues. These are the ones to let go.

There will be useless “problems” , illogical issues, fake and selfish friends, backstabbing colleagues / classmates etc where we find ourselves involved due to the simple sincerity of thought and honorable purpose. But really ? Is it worth it?

Be happy my friends and let go of your individual poison that is leaching onto you and draining your positive energy.

Let’s be clear on this. Life is not easy and it’s not a fairytale. One rarely gets a choice in the issues we get to tackle. So, in the challenges you do get, reconsider the importance of that challenge in your life or the life of your loved ones… then maybe its worth it. The issues or people may be a mix of fortune and misfortune and you can decide which one is more important based on logical arguments.

Then, there are others which we choose to keep in order to torture our own selves 🙂 Yes, I would say it’s our choice when we do this.

So there are 2 options:

  1. Let go and carry on with the positive life
  2. Try to handle it while keeping your own sanity and happiness intact.

My next post will be on how we can accomplish number 2 🙂

Till then – Be Happy !

One step at a time – How to be Happy Part 1

We are surrounded by people. People we perceive as friends. There are varying categories of this, however at one level or another our friends include our buddies from childhood, partners in crime from the college days and so on …

One significant “friend” category includes our colleagues that we spend a major amount of time every day with at work. One cannot simply discount this category.Good_Bad

As with all relations in life, a key to being happy is to remove selfish friends from your circle as soon as possible.

Now, I am no one to lecture you. Your call… If you love torture – please retain all your selfish friends…Why not even go out now and make a few new ones 😉 – To everyone his/her own poison 🙂

Here are a few signs to identify “friends” to let go of :

  1.  They believe they deserve special treatment.
  2. You are not a priority for them.
  3. They make shady plans or cancel with you for no real reason.
  4. You never met his/her friends!
  5. He/She is not able to sustain long term friends and is usually making new friends as they don’t really know him/her.
  6. They act like polite / cordial people.
  7. They try to confuse you – as if their failing is YOUR fault !
  8. They don’t care enough to stay in touch with YOU – even thou they can with their NEW “Friends” 😉
  9. They are not willing to change for you at all.

Life is all about learning and applying. No one can survive without changing and even less so without a few true friends.

My parting words – Take care of your true friends before they start to feel you are taking them for granted and immediately get rid of the selfish ones around you.

Result : You will be happier and probably live longer 🙂

Part 2 coming next week !

Remember-you-do-not-need-a-certain-number-of-friends-just-a-number-of-friends-you-can-be-certain-of.

 

 

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 🙂

Time

There was a time when I was very binary with my relations. As time passed I came to realize that I am missing out by ignoring the grey areas. Initially either someone was IN or OUT and no second opinion about it.

Then I “matured” in to realizing that we are merely humans and as humans we make mistakes and we learn. We evolve ( hopefully) in to a better person. So everyone deserves a chance.

However, I saw myself making excuses for people. Justifying my perception by interpreting their actions incorrectly. You can see that may not have gone too well.

It is only when you realize that there is a limited amount of time left for you that you really begin to iron out the issues and concerns which have lingered on for so long. Procrastination is punishment in itself.

Lets just assume, I had a two year deadline. What would I do?

I have prepared a list of things that I would do by using this opportunity of limiting my time and not imagining any world beyond this deadline.

  1. Catharsis
  2. Express the truth
  3. Take care of my IN people
  4. Make amends with the OUT crowd
  5. Try to live and enjoy the time I have
  6. Improve my productivity in life and at work
  7. Learn as much as I can
  8. Read and write.

There is also a lot I have simply summarized within the ambit of the above and I leave it open for anyone to theorize or improvise 🙂

One thing I keep stumbling on, and I may be absolutely wrong, however it is my take – Money is a very vital element in general well being. It is easy to make counter arguments. However nothing erases the necessity of money 😉

Till later.

Ethical dilemma – To do or not

As one grows in any profession the level of responsibility and in turn accountability only tends to increase.  While the new world of management sciences tends to churn out objective and criteria based grids to resolve most business concerns one the most often used deciding criteria for more experienced managers is their Gut feeling.

I am very sure that I am not the only one out there who feels this way. With this assumption in mind I shall carry on.

Ethics
Ethics

Let’s take interviews for example, for any two candidates with everything else the same ultimately I and some other managers I know more than often rely on their gut feeling about the candidate or their perception on how he / she will tend to perform in the future etc.

This might be simple in cases where two or more candidates are more or less at parity in all respects however it becomes more difficult to justify when the difference is very clear between the candidates and yet my gut tells me to go for the one who is perhaps weaker on the score card and flying high on my gut instinct.

Other decisions include for me, as an HR professional such concerns as conflict management, dispute resolution and sometimes in inquiries where at times all “evidence” points in one direction but my instinct tells me to look in a different direction.

More often than not I have found my and most of my professional colleagues instinct to be right ( do factor in that all colleagues I am considering have over 13 years of experience in  diversified environments). However there is the occasional wrong call too.

Now, let’s take a wrong call in consideration where the judgment call made by me for instance fired back. Now … what?

How do I quantify the logic in my decision? How do I prove that my “intention” was in the right place?

Now i do understand that it is very qualitative to justify intentions and gut more so.

Let’s take this further  …. During an inquiry there have been times when my inside screamed fraud and i could not prove it does that mean i get biased about the person hence forth?

Once i get under the microscope —  how do i defend my intention? Have i just wasted my entire professional career?

In matters of team management i find a simmer dilemma. I tend to be stricter and more demanding from team members who i have a positive gut feeling about and often my only defense has been time. Does everyone understand?

I for one really would like to quantify this feeling. One can minute such things make footnotes yet when put to question i doubt these can stand their ground.

But but but i am willing to put my career, my life on the line for someone i believe in. Period

Who is with me in this ?

The subtle human element that I have been able to comprehend so far in my limited exposure is that we are a very forgetful race and yet we are often quick to forgive. Something in this equation doesn’t make sense to me. Let go….  What can go wrong besides what will anyhow.

Yet we decide about paradigms as per our own perception. Internally we are idealists. How can i Say that?

Feel like re-reading history……the gloomy history of man. All in all when we come to HR its all about people and unlike machinery that comes with a manual …. We don’t 😉

 

We tend to generalize in order to be specific yet we claim that we don’t stereotype … How convenient.

 

To conclude in retrospect I live by my principles and experienced perception and if it takes me to the gallows …. Then so be it.

Till later shall look forward to your comments.

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

Anarkali

Baa Adab Ba Mulahiza Hoshiyar ….

Zilay Subhani … Sirajudaula … Sultan E Hindustan … Sultan E Azam …

Baadshah E Hind … Sahib e Zaman….Jalal Ud Din Muhammad Akbar …

Jalwa feroz Ho Rahay Hain !!!

In the midst of the glory and intimidating architecture of the Mughal Empire lays a dirty little secret lost to reality and time to be more famously known as a work a “fiction”. The Emperor enters the darbar only to be presented with a criminal …. Anarkali.

Her crime …. Theft. Well as they say Theft is theft may it be big or small and in this case it was huge. She had inadvertently stole the heart of the Crown Prince Jahnagir. Oh My God. What every will become of her 🙁

One can always see the Indian movie Mughal E Azam to get an idea of what happened … or allegedly happened.

History as we know is only a perspective of the one who writes it. When the memory of Anarkali was fresh …it was Akbarnama and of course he did not mention anything of her. Later when Jahangir become emperor and his reign produced Tazkir E Janagiri … I believe the memory of a love affair long ago was forgotten or replaced by new and more approachable one(s)…so we do not find anything there of her either. All we have is the tomb of Anarkali. I don’t wish to elaborate on that.

What is my point… well I imagine or wish to imagine what was going on in Anarkali’s mind when she was standing against the wall being “built” in to it brick by brick, line by line by the Royal mason while Akbar and his courtiers looked on.

What was going on in her mind??

I sense that every brick she saw being added was a reminder to her of the hopelessness of her adventure. Every inch that the wall grew closer to trap her inside she felt she had nothing and she had sacrificed everything for Nothing. Then she may have been thinking of the good times with the prince. Remembering the promises made by him and now the hollowness of those promises. She must have felt like being reborn and starting life again.
She may even have thought about how Jahangir could have tackled the situation where the result was not her gruesome death. He could have talked to his father he could have kept the affair in wraps like one of the wazirs she knew of.

No, he had to go and confront the King..his father and evoke all wrath that comes with standing against the king no matter waht the topic.

There she stood being trapped and at one point her tears stopped. She could see that she had nothing and that is where her hopelessness was coming from and the one she blammed well he had everything and now without her he had nothing and that is where his dejection was coming from . He was not to blame.

It was fate and this is how their love was to be immortalized — she smiled.

She smiled because now she no longer feared death. She KNEW now that it is from this moment on that she will actually begin to live.

This is how I think she felt. She may have been just standing there drugged and unconscious…I don’t know but I think she was strong and she was fearless and this scared the life out of Akbar.

Coming back to the moment, I am sure if she had a mobile she would have liked to slip one with her secretly and called Jahangir after being trapped to let her loose ..or … I imagine her sending a selfie to Jahangir from inside the walls 😉

We do many things in our own frame of reference and we live our entire lives within that frame of reference. Absolute in our mind and yet always fluid and dynamic.

While making decisions in life I feel it important to not have too many absolutes as they will sub-consciously and perhaps in a pre-determined manner reject the many choices that might exist in any situation showing only one?

Next time I would like to talk about …. Till next time 😉

How it all begins

Like all things in life , learning too starts at a very very early age. If I were to give a number I would say as early as the mothers womb. A lot of material is available on the internet about different kinds of learning and how events effect our personality etc. I will not not go it to all that.

I will like to share a story very dear to me personally with you all.

Going back to 1958 a young boy of around 8 year is strolling and jumping near his home in a government officers housing scheme in Mid-town Lahore.

This boy, lets call him him Shani , to his surprising delight notices some money on the street. He is more over joyed by the prospects of what that money can get him than the surprise of actually spotting it.

Shani approached the money and picked up the whole lot and counted…Aath Ana, Rupaya….. SIX RUPEES!! Wooo….Half Anna

In 1958 for a boy of 8 this was very well a small fortune! Shani’s mind ran across what he wanted to do MOST in this world.

Shani thought and thought and quickly he came to a singular conclusion. His most loving desire was to suck on Sugar cane cubes ( AKA Gandarees) .

He rushes to the nearby street trolley vendor. He orders Gandarees worth Half a Rupee. He gets a TRUCK load of Gandarees ( figuratively of course – consider it my poetic licence)sugarcaneijpg

Just imagine yourself at 8 years getting a bag full of M&M’s or Mars … now you can relate to Shani.

Shani is on top of the sixth heaven. He keeps sucking the Gandarees and he gets so lost that he doesnt realize he is late getting back home.

Back home everyone was getting worried. Now Shani’s Mom passed away when he was very little and he had a number of older brothers and sisters. Being the youngest and perhaps somewhat pampered – his absence caused an uproar and confusion.

Almost everyone went out looking for him. A dozen or so long minutes later Shani was located in the park…lost in his world of Gandarees.

Long story short – he was brought back to his home and everyone wanted to know where he got so many Gandarees from??

Words were thrown around and a general sense of anger and disgust was growing.

Visiting that day was Shani’s maternal Aunt. Her husband has just got a new Fiat and wanted to drive the kids around 🙂

FIAT-500-1957-EDITION-SIDE-AT-LA-MOTOR-SHOW.jpg

In the midst of all the anger and resentment at a lost soul who was now destined to be the next dacoit of Pakistan 😉 Shani’s Aunt calls him and sits him on her lap.

She asks him where he got the Gandarees from. He in all innocence replies that he found 6 Rupees on the road and continues to tell the rest of his tale.

His Aunt asks him to produce the remaining 5 and Half Rupees and show that he is telling the truth. He promptly does so from the pocket of his shorts.

His Aunt takes the Half rupee coin and gives him a one rupee coin and tells him to go back and put the whole 6 Rupees back exactly where he found them.

She send him alone , unattended. Shani goes and puts the money exactly where he found it and returns in a short while and shares the completion of the task with his Aunt.

His Aunt then explains to him that he should never take what is not his. This is not how we were brought up. Then she tells his father not to scold him as he has learnt his lesson.

Then , she takes out the Half rupee coin she had kept earlier and gave it to Shani and said ” Enjoy your Gandarees again another day whenever you want. This is your reward for being honest”

What Shani did with that other Half Rupee is a mystery to me.

However what I can tell you is that Shani grew up to be a very ethical and morally upright person with numerous successes in life.

So, my little note to this is that we must try to inculcate these and more basic moral values in our kids at an early age so that they are not confused about them as they grow up and leave home to learn and venture on their own. It is these basic guidelines that will help them build more complex principles in life and give them success.

Till next time 🙂