Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Voice of Single Men

Although everyone dreams to have the life of George Clooney, but reality is not very pleasant when it comes to the life of a single man. Reality is more analogous to the life of Ted Mosby - always on the lookout for a potential partner. But apart from chicks (yeah I am deliberately using this word) a single man is having a lot of problems; and deciding on whether to go for a large pizza, a round of beers, a ride on his bike, lifting up in gyms or playing video games is just a trivial one.

A quick look at the twitter handle #singleguyproblems tells us that one thing most single men around the world long for is a company. It is visible from the number of tweets about how they are feeling lonely and want someone to cuddle. Scrolling down a little more tells us that how they are not getting enough of food but have to fill themselves by eating leftovers and how they are not getting a friend to watch a movie what people may not be action packed sci-fi.

But Indian single men, from here onwards termed as 'We', have an altogether additional set of problems to deal with and We wish our voices are heard through this blog.
  1. We just wish to live in a decent locality: When We try to get an apartment in a decent locality, even if We are willing to pay more than the standard rates, in India, We are not allowed to rent an apartment in a decent locality. Not only that, sometimes even at tourist spots the receptionist at a decent hotel might cite some weird rules like 'single men not allowed'. This is really very frustrating - to be an unacceptable part of society.
  2. Have friends over: By chance if We are allowed to have a decent apartment, the day when We have our friends over, the society will eye with suspicion. Having 'guy' friends over means We are eyed as terrorists planning to bomb the city and having 'girl' friends over means We are planning an orgy tonight or even in middle of the day. Come on. Can't We also have some guest over to our house like you people (read: married) do.
  3. Offered some home made delicious food once in a while: You people have functions, guests but probably forget to invite us. That's ok. At least, once in a while you could offer us some home made food. You know We are living away from home and probably longing for it.
  4. Not be the only person to do night shifts: In case of urgent client requirements or even in usual case We are the first ones to be asked to do night shifts. If some work is to be done on weekends it is the single man in the team who is asked to complete it. We would do it as We don't mind some overtime cash and have no girlfriend to do any better things, but if you want us to 'happily' do it please refer to point 3. Get some homemade food and consider it done.
  5. Travel on the same seat as booked: We face a major problem while traveling in trains. Oldies, families, mothers with kids, all expect us to swap seats with them or expect us to never come down from our Upper seats. We just wish that We are allowed hassle free, as most of you, during a two day tiring journey. And still if you have some desperate need to swap seats, request us and refer to point 3.
  6. Drink without being judged: Occasionally, We like to loosen up, to let go our frustration and be free from the worries of future and in those occasions, We drink. Please don't judge us for having fun. 
  7. Not get caught by traffic police when with girl: Whenever a 'girl' friend agrees for a movie, We rush to pick her up from her apartment. Till then everything is smooth, but as soon as we leave from her place to the multiplex, from somewhere or the other a traffic cop catches hold. The cop makes sure that We do not get away without paying him. We just wish to spend some great time with a friend without being caught by a corrupt cop on a Sunday noon.
There is Mother's Day, Women's Day, Children's Day, even Father's Day, then why is this section of the society deprived of attention. There was a time when youth was considered as the most powerful section of society but now their powers are visible only on social media or such blogs.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Relationship Is Same As Your Job - From HR's Perspective

Knapp's Relational Development Model talks about 10 stages of relationships, grouped into 'coming together' phase and 'growing apart' phase, as shown in the figure. He also says that a relationship may move backward and forward in these stages and it might also become stagnant at one particular stage. For example, relationship may come back to intensifying stage from the integration stage when couples break up, or like in case of most married couples it may become stagnant at bonding stage. Seems about right, doesn't it!

For some reason, I was thinking about this relationship life-cycle parallel to employee life-cycle and I found interesting similarities. On this auspicious day of Valentine, let's analyze these similarities in terms of various functions of HR in an employee life-cycle.

Recruitment process, in both cases, receives too many applications for a single position. You have to go through numerous rounds of selection where everything is assessed - your looks, personality, intellect, behavior and even experience.

Starting phase of your relationship and your job is just like a dream coming true. Everything seems beautiful, perfect and you are always carrying a smile on your face. This is known as Induction Period (or the honeymoon phase).

Just after you join, be it a relationship or a job you have to undergo rigorous Training and Development. In job, you have to get acquainted with company culture, organizational policies, your roles and responsibilities whereas in relationship you have to learn about other person's likes/dislikes, his/her sleeping, eating and drinking habits. 

There are Compensations & Benefits in both - in job you get salary, insurance, social security and experience whereas in relationship you get companionship, sexual gratification,  love and self-esteem. 

February month is most critical in both as it is the Annual Appraisal time. In job, you are supposed to submit your self-reviews and receive feedback where your whole year's performance is reviewed; in relationship too this is annual review time as it's Valentine's day. Here also your whole year's performance is reviewed - how many gifts you gave, how many times you looked at (hot) girls, how many times you didn't call and most importantly how you made this valentine special. In either case, if you screw up in month of February you are screwed for the next whole year.

Growth is ultimate objective of a job as well as a relationship. In job, you want to move up the corporate ladder and in relationship you want to move up the Knapp's Relational Development Model.

Although, both may get monotonous after certain period of time, relationships and jobs are inevitable for our survival.
This February I wish you a Happy Valentine's Day and an Excellent Appraisal!!!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Kya Kahenge Char Log?

Last week, IIT Kharagpur in its flagship cultural festival - Spring Fest, showcased Nukkad Nataks, where groups of students have performed on the social issues pertinent in our society. One of them that made a big impression on my mind was entitled, 'Kya Kahenge Char Log'. 

India has a collectivist and high context culture, where people prefer to live in close knit groups, stress on group goals instead of personal goals and give high importance on how the group around sees them, as opposed to the individualistic and low context culture existing in the west.

All cultures have their own traits and characteristics. That is Ok. But the problem occurs when this gives rise to individual depressions, crimes and oppression in the society. Students beautifully demonstrated by acting out four different situations where our collectivist culture had appeared as a bane:
  1. A 12th pass student who has cleared his IIT-JEE entrance but is also brilliant at acting. He wants to pursue his career in acting but his father shots down his idea by saying, 'Kya Kahenge Char Log!'.
  2. A young girls is raped. When she tells this to her parents, her parents tell her to keep silence about the incident and not file a complaint giving the same reason as, 'Arre, Kya Kahenge Char Log, agar unhe pata chala to!'.
  3. Husband of a newly married family dies. His parents and society blame the girl for bringing him the death. She lives in despair throughout the life. When someone suggests to remarry the girl, the answer is, 'Kya Kahenge Char Log!'.
  4. A couple who is not able to conceive after many attempts when suggested by the wife that her husband should go for a medical check up he responds, 'Kya Kahenge Char Log!'.
The above list is not exhaustive. A girl is not allowed to have a boy friend or roam around with her guy friends because - kya kahenge char log. But the same girl is pushed into a stranger's room on the first night of her wedding. Later on if that stranger abuses her, hits her or does any thing else, and if she asks for divorce people will deny her because - kya kahenge char log. If a guy/girl wants to concentrate on their career and delay their wedding plans they are not allowed because - kya kahenge char log. A women wants to work after her wedding or after she has kids, she is not allowed because - kya kahenge char log. A young boy wants to earn some extra pocket money and is willing to work at Pizza Hut or Domino's, he is not allowed because - kya kahenge char log. A girl wants to wear a short skirt, she is not allowed - because kya kahenge char log. Two people from different cast, love each other, but they are not allowed to marry because - kya kahenge char log. 

I have always wondered - kon hain ye char log. Probably, so have you. But at times we are the one's who are included in that 'char' log. Let's be supportive for our friends and family. I just wish that next generation is not raised in the fear of this CHAR log.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Do Women Really Want To Be Empowered?

You would not believe, but I wrote this title almost a year back from today, however I could not proceed with the contents. Today, a friend of mine, re-inspired me to write this post and through that even re-awake this blog. Thanks Sarita.

Sarita interned with a mid-sized IT firm as an HR on a project 'Diversity and Inclusion', which involved studying the position and career track of women in her organization. Her findings were astonishing, even for her managers. She says:
I was shocked to see that in this 2500-employee organization about 200 employees resigned last quarter. Almost one-tenth and of which majority were women. This trend was continuing from past many years.
I did the data analysis of reasons of attrition in women. The results were on same lines of what I feared. Majority of women left jobs due to the family problems and going for a career break to start a new family.
After identifying the cause, she even tried to provide some solutions:
I wanted to set up a forum for ladies (in same organization where i took up a one month project) that could help in forming various women friendly policies, address the issues of concern for ladies, starting up helplines, mentorship programmes in that organization. I needed volunteers for driving the forum but all I got is a straight reply, "No one is interested and things will never change here".
That is it. When someone tries to do something people are so resistant to change that they prefer being oppressed rather than acting against it. However, some persuasion here could have got her to setup a forum. But would that sustain, would that help solve the problems of the women in those organization? We don't know. 

You can read her complete blog here.

The problem here is not the attrition rate of women in one organization, or women resisting to change. But the problem is, women creating boundaries for themselves. Not asking for promotions, settling for a lesser pay, refusing to travel or relocate for their jobs, and denying a late night's work in office are just some of them. They leave their jobs, their position, their country, to settle for a new guy, a new life. I've rarely seen a male compromising his career for his spouse or kid. 

These choices of women are a big blow to the organization as well as to them. Hence, if women want organizations to treat them as equally as men, they will have to treat their career as equally as men do.

I would like to leave you all here to ponder upon this quote by one of the greatest female achievers - Sheryl Sandberg.