They’re convinced I’m married to my job. My wife, my son, even my mother! Insisting that I spend more time at the office, than I do at home. Worse, they also think I don’t really do much work there. They believe I party all the time. I’ve stopped explaining that these ‘parties’ are actually serious business events – strategy meetings, town-halls. It’s no use anymore.
My son thinks I do the same thing on my computer that he does on his. He doesn’t understand gamification yet – he concentrates hard as he aims and shoots the digital baddie who pops up on his screen!
“So, I’m your second wife?” It’s my wife stating that her perception is indeed fact. The question mark is to confuse me. No answer is required, but I fall into the grammar trap. Oscar’s Postulate: When no answers are required, any answer is automatically wrong! Some agile thinking, and a few quick (read expensive) fixes, prevents potential attrition – phew, that was close!
Okay, so I do have a tiny bit of fun at work. Though I must vehemently insist that I am married only to my wife – the one with whom I said ‘I-do’, and did the 7-circumambulations that sealed our partnership – until death does us part!
With my ‘other wife’ – my job – comes my ‘other family’ – my workplace in-laws! We’re a legally and contractually bound joint-family, figuratively ‘joined at the hip’! We respect each other, work well together, rally around during crises and rejoice at each other’s successes. In the end, the family must always win. Okay, now that’s out of the way…
So, let me introduce my in-laws:
Peers-in-law: Like my wife’s extended family. Some terrific relationships here! We’re partners on the team. Each with a specific role to play. We’re competitive too, though we seldom admit it. Like the joneses, we try and keep up with each other – in a healthy way, of course. Yet, there’s nothing spicier than a little one-upmanship, some well-placed politics and a few juicy undercurrents.
DR’s-in-law: My permanently dissatisfied direct reports. Always whining, constantly demanding recognition and rewards (only the latest phablet, of course), mid-year raises – just for doing what they’re supposed to do! Like my wife’s pesky younger siblings, they pile on to my life with a sense of entitlement! Why? Well, because! Can I object? Hey, I’m not that crazy! Specially if there’s an employee satisfaction survey around the corner…? My leader cares for my professional development – boom! – strongly disagree!
Leaders-in-law: Akin to my (real) wife’s elder-brother’s wife’s maternal uncle’s best friend, who worked in a diametrically different domain. He insists on providing ‘advice’. Narrating (tall?) tales of how his father did this, or handled that, when he was General Manager (When, sir? During the British Raj, Sir?). Naturally, it would be career-limiting to ignore these pearls of wisdom – no matter how dated and irrelevant.
Vendors-in-law: Like that slimy fourth cousin who claims to have saved me from falling into a fully covered man-hole when we were 5 years old. For that act of selfless bravery, I am expected to demonstrate my gratitude – in monetary terms, of course – till the end of time, or the contract term, whichever comes later.
Clients-in-law: Constantly expecting me to jump higher. Be there for them. Cater to their slightest whim. Provide answers, replacements, service. Requirements, that miraculously appear just after closing time! They’ve set the bar so high, that I can hardly see the bartender.
Even after this, if the world thinks I am still having fun, let me bring in the mother of all in-laws – my boss! The undisputed alpha leader, right at the top of the hierarchy. Comparatively, the dominating saas in those saas-bahu (mother-in-law – daughter-in-law) soaps on the telly is a fairy godmother! My office ‘saas’ is an emotional roller-coaster. Sometimes sweet, often sour, usually bitter, but is overall, a pungent, hyperacidity-causing, green chilly saas-sauce!
Impossible to please. Everything I’ve done could’ve been done better. Results could’ve been higher, costs lower. Alignments stronger, timelines shorter…
Yet, there’s one area I fully agree with my saas…sorry, boss: it’s my poor communication skills! These need serious improvement. Y’see, I have been unable to effectively communicate my need for a promotion. It’s in my development plan, though – communication, not the promotion! It is strategic priority No 38 – to be completed by the fifth month of the 6th quarter of year 2036 – depending on performance, of course!
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction with no malice to anybody. However, the underlying sarcasm, and its co-relation to certain individuals, dead, alive, or still in the workforce, is a distinct possibility.