Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day #1. New Job: death by videoconferencing

I don't think it's a word even, videoconferencing. And if it is, those people getting gung-ho about slut walks (besharmi morchha - soo much more lyrical!) should instead channelise their nakedness into signing a petition to banish it from the canon of fuck-all verbs.

But who listens to me, I say..

Shall I do the pros first? -- and in a manner of speaking, have dessert before dinner? -- as literally suggested by some some sadist quote-spouter on how short life is, let the good times roll?

No. We'll appease the tradition gods.

First things first. HR people are assholes! Insufferable obsequious morons second only to the bumpkins at marketing is ore apt but who puts it like that (in a sentence). HR PEOPLE ARE ASSHOLES! 

So much more punch.

I went to work today. Unemployment over. Day one, all monochrome and small pearls, leather bag, shades duly taken off once indoors -- classic good child behaviour, well on the road to being a people pleaser on my first day in the new office. None of the shy-new girl in school act I wondered if I might do. Now I figure I can't anymore. It's the wrath of the grey hair. The attack of the 27s. Shyness goes. Smiles stay. I love smiling. If you be sweet to me, I will smile at you and feel happy. Then you will pat yourself on the back. For getting that smile.And feel happy.It's an excellent balance of glee. Refer last line. But nothing like that happened with the stupid dimwits at HR.

So like any journalist true to his profession knows, nobody in the newspaper business reaches office at 11 a.m. The floors are just about being swobbed. And you can just about smell the extent to which the phenyl poccha has been diluted. Except if you're new, told to reach at 11, reach instead earlier at a quarter to, all prepared for some hours of excruciating idiocy, courtesy hired gadget loons who can hook up these camera conference things.

I should probably say here, since I haven't bothered to announce officially, that I remain a newspaper girl, in all my new-day punctual monochrome glory at the new office, new job, new people, new template, new new new new new! I even got a window seat (new). More of a view of wall and wires but at least if it rains, I can announce it in office to my new colleagues and they can say accha? and go back to scanning newspapers/ gtalking.

The real mood kill was not so much the people -- all of whom were warm to me. It was the damn induction programme they had for the new recruits.

Reminds me of the universal OST for such deathly mock scenarios.
Strumming my pain with his fingers
Singing my life with his words
Killing me softly with his song
Killing me softly... with his song
Telling my whole life with his words
Killing me softly... with his song

They KILLED me! They told me about sales figures. They said things like learning curve. They threw marketing fellows in my face. They spoke of challenges in the next quarter. They got an IT guy to make a PowerPoint presentation. There were charts. There were tables. They spoke of break even and profit and quarterly basis. One chap dropped a bomb. And before it evaporated from my ears, I quickly wrote it down in my new notebook: The finance vertical organogram. Ha ha! Organogram. I thought of friends I'd tell that to. Oh and about my new notebook: office supplied, love it! It's basic, sure - if I paid for it. But as far as office stationery goes, definitely a notch higher than cheapest available. It's one of those literal India shining motifs: orange with little golden elephant motifs.

(Do non-journos know that about journos? That the organisations give us scribble pads and pens? In the same way I guess that courts have a store room for those curly lawyer wigs and doctors their scrubs. I'm sounding vacuous, I know. But I've never gotten excited about that before. Old office = v bad stationery. Orange elephants = mostly happy joinee.)

But the orientation. It was a national thing. Clueless freshers in whichever city, hooked up through wires and dial up, seen through somewhat slow motion-y pixelated images. It was a crashing, crashing bore! You're lucky to not have bee there. I was so angry! Especially since I am interested in the price of newsprint and what's up with it. I do want to know basic circulation figures. And yes, I do have a question for the seemingly-likable chap in marketing (shocking, I know) but I'm afraid Yes/No is beyond him for the love of his voice that I don't share.

SO this droning on and on was like spitting on my patience and smearing it on my innards. Something like what I'm doing now to you. Except I didn't have the option to close window and get on with life. There, in that room, my threshold for absorbing information was getting raped, repeatedly, like those ads between cricket matches that are shamelessly replayed so you learn to recognise even the tics in the actor's abdomen. The marathon induction session, HR-brainchild of course (11 a.m-6 p.m) -- one hour lunch break, how kind -- was a battery of my senses. I didn't think this soporific chant was fair. In the daylight. When I even went for a run in the morning to stay alert and fresh and generally energetic! So when the marketing -- or was it sales? -- chap asked me Hullo, Delhi, are you feeling sleepy?, I wanted to set fire to his teeth and call him some names in Hindi my mother would flinch in horror cum agony if she heard me use. Like that time when.. never mind.

I mean, of course I was awake! It's my first day. And you have a fucking camera aimed at my chest. I'm not about to lean to you and doze off. Iss not what we prissy Indian girls are taught best to do! Although.. hehe, second invocation of the convenience 'never mind'.

Although... I did have my book. Under the table. The last Don, Mario Puzo: "Like my mother always said, life is a box of hand grenades. You never know what'll blow you to kingdom come". And really, you'd want to know what Pippi De Lena did next too, more than stare at a screen frozen at a point in a PowerPoint that says so captivatingly, List of Functions. So when, sitting at that table, I'd look down, even slightly -- I thought I'd positioned myself really well; all those years in futile post grad teach you something of adjusted reading on the sly - the smarties on the other side of the camera would catch on. Remaining entertainment = text former colleagues. But even they work on deadlines.

Today was tough. HR is cruel. Videoconferencing needs to be contained. I was the horse whose will they were breaking. And they came damn well close. The good thing is that it's over and tomorrow I can just look out of the window. That's my plan.

'Hi, I'm a journalist..' *brilliant smile* 'And you are? -- disarmed?'


The.Mystic said...

Congrats on returning back to Corporate India, may your journey be joyful!

HRs suck! They are paid to "act like they give a damn", they are really just well dressed goons, who want you to work your arse off and do it with a smile, coz if you don't smile you're not "productive".

I had a one week long induction, inside a hotel which put us in a room with the A/C so low that my specs fogged up!

Pringle Man said...

ahahaha, nimpipi, they really got under your skin! Such out of character strong language/venting, me likes.

Work is horrible. In general. It's blood sucking.

It can only get better though. Any bylines one can look out for? : )

Also, keep the faith flag flying man, true journalism and all that, soul crushing, but you can squeeze out a good story now and then.

Lots of luck and positive stuff vibe-ing your way.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

HR might be assholes but you need them a hell of a lot more than they need you. Sadly.

Welcome to the working week.
I know it don't thrill you.
I hope it don't kill you.
Welcome to the working week.

I went looking for a job
and then I found a job.
And heaven knows I'm miserable now.

Perakath said...

'Swabbed'. Congrats. Which rag? I googled 'orange elephant motif' but got only this damn post as a result!

Any hawtie new colleagues? Or greying, charismatic ones?

Anonymous said...

you at your acerbic best ..

Sanchari said...

Gah, how cruel! Was it their way of saying, "Hullo! Aren't we all uppity with keeping up with the technological times?" ? Since, obviously, videoconferencing is cheaper (who cares if it's boring-- definitely not the HR!)than hiring actual people to talk to you at the specific locations.

Better times ahead, I hope (for your sake).

Ellie said...

Yes, disarmed! The smile strategy is a good one. Must put it into action.

Are HR peeps the same the world over?

The.Mystic said...

Working so hard that we don't see any posts from you? I am bored of reading nonsensical blogs, come and enlighten our poor souls Oh Nimpipi :P

P.S. If this pep talk does not work then, please treat yourself to Wengers Pastry.

Anonymous said...

didn't realise you were literally dead.

Anonymous said...

Spill the drink lady, and show some signs of life.