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Archive for January, 2009

This has been one hell of a stupid kind of fortnight since the new year. As ever  appraisal time are as evidenced on my blog are usually very drama oriented.
This year at this new place I am may be doing a complete U turn and writing a defence for the other side. But what is bloody uncomfortable is I am a fringe player in this drama and yet it has affected my mood worse than when I was at the center.

When I was at the center it was a one or two day thing of fretting and fuming and a post or two here – thats it – then get on with it – the work the life. Now its like there’s filth all around and every other day something sticks on as you stand at the fringes thats the feeling.

This is going to be  another of those boring long post to  shake off some of that feeling .

Joining a new project /organization especially one where most people have stuck on within themselves  together hating it –  too much with the mood similar to the “better or worse” norm – for a minimum of three years – (I dont know the maximum )  it is tough enough for someone who’s slightly socially challenged and has dripping sarcasm and being single open for speculation.

But what’s worse here is unlike most places where work somehow due to its sheer quantity and the competition took precedence and blunted the direct effect of such gossip and its different side effects. Here the frustrations and ill will is played out like an art – the sort it probably was done during the Cold War.

When I joined I was the first member of a new team in a set of very old teams working together to safeguard what they could retain by merging into a huge corporation.They like the brand name now but are not willing to give up their secrets or rather what they believe is the result of their hard word and experience to anyone new – their only source of security.

In a way I am fortunate I feel . It could have been worse but then if it were may be I’d have run off again .
I mean I was put in a brand new team – with brand new people and a manager who too belonged to the newer brand .So I kept myself relatively isolated but then our work inherently depends on the old guard. Why they hired us – under what great/ inner agendas this whole thing is going on is yet unclear. Suffice it to say that our team has a slightly differential status as its more specialized in a generic area and not deeply competent on a product only which most here are .
Thus as of now we have lesser work(Not that we mind it – but we were at times desperate to do something more).This sure hurts people who believe they are a slogging workhouse.But well thats ok, I’ll take it any day.

When I came in first the most problematic timing was the lunch. You never knew where to go. In fact I believe it mostly is in any new place and even in older places. One excellent piece on this scenario which is very close to my experience is described in an excellent manner at this blog.

Started out in the inhouse cafeteria room where women who get lunch boxes converge but as I heard the saas bahu sagas and people started getting too personal it made me flee. Luckily new team member A joined and our manager too joined them- being new in this location himself somehow to lunch with the team.He’s pretty easy going and casual and so we did not mind and hence 4 of us lunch together i.e 2 of whom report to him.Now I had very deliberately  avoided my managers at lunch(despite their nice efforts – i was quite abrupt) in my previous jobs. That I preferred the opposite scenario now is in itself is obvious of what I think of the rest of the crowd.This was setting myself up for some crap from mean people but I was prepared for this .

It is relieving to walk to a different building where the canteen is as unlike my previous  place where I was hardly at my desk I am glued to my desk here – work or no work.
It feels better to hear a bit of nonsense about politics cricket or some work related crap rather than being questioned about how your mom allows you this and my mother in law is against this or doesnt your sister get bored now that she has no job.The faked concerns just get to me .Dont know some are may be genuine but I neverthless dislike it.

I am a dull person usually so I surely feel fine when there are abit of effusive and talkative people around , and in such a new place there was this vibrant and fun girl R a northie slightly loud but easy to get along.
I was not down south at the age when people acquire tastes and feel I lack that understanding and appreciation for the South Indian movies and jokes which seem essential to a lot of conversation without getting into  personal matters of home caste and family.
The one thing about her was she spoke out which seemed better to me most of the others who spoke at the back.
R simply is very well known and chats non stop about her  family ,lovely daughter and has a tendency to get very concerned about personal life of others (something she denied vehemently and has now taken as a personal affront – as her new manager now which happens to be my manager(Ah Irony) pointed out that she paid more attention to personal matters- now I pointed out that at least thats how she come across as – even though  she does work  very hard  ).I sure should have more sense to keep my mouth shut but I just tried being some good friend and tried to explain why she is perceived by the management and she should act slightly professional – rather than just going on about my work is professional stuff. By my stupid advice I invited some more cold professional vibes.

I would have cared two hoots but for the fact that I have been assigned something like a consultant on a tool to her and thats being my nemesis.

Thing is for once I simply MISJUGED hugely the amount of trouble being friendly with her will cause.(this post must be a lesson learnt for me).
Not only that I spoke a bit more about others with her than I now feel I should have.
My manager said once you should drive R to finish this job soon now that you too are part of helping her – I felt very upset the way I was being used here by both people.
She walks up with errors and expects me to instantly answer them without any trial and error i.e if you try to compile and check – oh I have done that – next what and next what and acts as though thats what a consultant is for.When you tell her that may be her OS is corrupted and not the tool  as ntdll is a windows file she gives a decent shrug – oh thanks a lot dear .
If she was the same from the start I dont mind – this drama started since the day she talked about her management feedback discussion and I gave my stupid friendly advice.(Silence is golden I remind myself so much now again after

damage is done)

Update: Ok next day R came up and she said , don’t feel bad I was in a terribly bad mood and Never meant to hurt or ignore you in any way.Well at least that relaxed me a bit, howmuch ever she meant it.

She’s built a deep seated negativity about my manager due to one of her past friends who while quitting had enough fracas with this manager.She vents it out in ways our team is rather uncomfortable with and me and A both find it  unpalatable. He’s hardly a great manager – too indecisive ,too  much of a loyalist and has a too much of the traditionalist approach at times – and for me the worst part is sometimes he gives too much of a free hand at work  which people take liberty with – including me at times- but he’s as fair enough as they come I felt .

The Appraisal discussion week is the week of long faces all over.Whatever it is the repercussions were so bad that  finally the poor exhausted manager confessed to us- (that such a assumption would be made was news to him was new to me, I thought that its an expected scenario).
People here are so unprofessional that almost everyone here it seems expected that you two would be rated higher by me due to our being very friendly at lunch.But what to tell them that even you two are extremely displeased with my rating“.

This was because we both expressed serious concerns and had record of nearly 2 hrs each of furious discussion over it

with him .

Though on my part I simply used it to vent all my concerns over work and all and I dare say his experience in managerial diplomacy was appreciable.
For most of the part I really was fine with the rating simply because the work I did as per me just good and I do not consider it anyway excellent by my own standards.The tragedy is there’s no one in the project with better standards.
Our moot concern was if you dont give us work how do we display our competence and he countered it in standard managerial way.
Go beyond you duty – come and ask and take up tasks. I was blunt enough to answer he should know why I or rather many did not do that, I do not want to be saddled with what I dont like.
What upset me was simply that people who did below average to bad too get rated the same but then in those damn rating system you just have excellent / good / average and anyway in a year and and in a company where the difference in hikes as per ratings(if there are any this horrid year) is usually just 1 or 2 thousand why bother.

So honestly after that 2 hr argument I just was like chilled out and cool as I never was after a appraisal discussion as I never was in all these years. Then I slowly noticed the insecure talk all around and experienced the whole R drama and it simply leaves you with a disgusting feeling.

If nothing it vindicates my decision to avoid the management track at quite some cost to myself.
I just am not comfortable with such people games even if I can at times out of sheer necessity play them I am extremely uncomfortable in this arena and it takes a huge toll on me.

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