You know the Thought Experiments. This is the back of the envelope.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

tHinkeR aloud

Back in the day, I'd usually take everything at face value. It saves time. I still believe that...but it has also become second nature to me to re-evaluate everything I hear for "deeper" intent or implication. Sometimes, I read between lines that are not even there, to begin with.

That's just one of the changes that being an HR professional has brought in me. I'm hoping it is particular only to the field, and that I will grow out of it when I move on, because I sure as hell do not like it.

I wouldn't call myself naive, or even optimally street-smart. I'm just someone with too many things on her bucket list. Ergo, there isn't ever enough time to delve into hidden meanings in what people say, or to make murtabak of my own intent. If you're someone I care about, and have chosen, for some reason, not to be direct, I'll back off and wait till you're comfortable talking. And you'll know where to find me when you are, because you're that important. But if we're simply getting business done in as cordial a manner as possible, don't you think we'll all save time if we say what we have to, and get going?

But as I was saying, taking things to mean what they sound like is a luxury you're denied in Human Resources. Whether it is an investigation, an interview or the usual 9-in-the-morning meeting, you're conditioned - without knowing it - into evaluating everything at three levels, at least, before responding to it. And the funniest thing is, all this processing happens in real time, in the blink of an eye, and you tailor your response to give it the suitable degree of ambiguity.

The other change HR has brought in me is pretend-patience. I wish I could say being an HR manager has made me a more patient human being, but that would be a lie. I'm still, essentially, as (im)patient as I was the first 20-odd years of my life. Professionalism demands that you exercise a fair degree of forbearance, however, and in Human Resources it is a cardinal rule. I'm happy to comply, because if I'm going to work in a professional set-up, it is only fair that I play by the rules. But this thinking aloud isn't about mandatory patience - it is about how I follow the mandate. And much as I tried to use this as an opportunity to do away with the short fuse, all I've succeeded in doing is not flying off the handle at the drop of a hat.

Lest this post sound like a cribfest about HR, let me bring in what may qualify as compensation. I wouldn't go so far as to call it the upside - because it isn't - but it could try for that label, and I wouldn't discourage it right away. Being in Human Resources introduces you to a whole variety of people - each of whom brings in a whole variety of quirks - you wouldn't have met ordinarily. A lot of it has to do with the fact that, as an HR manager, you meet anywhere between thirty to three thousand colleagues a day, and as many as 20 new faces in a standard day of recruitment interviews. Some of it also has to do with how people generally perceive the HR department, and how that perception affects behaviour that is already unique by virtue of being human.

Not complete, this post, so I'll come back later and write more. Till then, wish me luck. I have behavioural event interviews coming up, and I'm really not looking forward to them.

Image courtesy Google Images

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Calcutta Diaries - I: Show and Tell

So, this is a post that's been waiting for months to make it from my head to this page. I've been in this quirky, comfortable city for about 14 months now - called it home, settled into it...I'm even planning my move out of it and what I do here, and I still don't have anything concrete about it on the Wall. That's patently unfair to a place and time that has been very good to me, all things considered.

If you're an old friend I know - or am still a stranger to - you'd have noticed that there haven't been too many posts on the Wall in the last year. Get out of the way, 72-hour workweeks, protracted projects and mind-numbing fatigue...I'm back, World!

So we'll pick up right where we left off. I'll start by showing you around.

I've been in Kolkata for over a year now. I stay in Ballygunge, which is in South Kolkata. It's beautiful and green and mostly peaceful. Sure, that traffic gets maddening on Syed Amir Ali Avenue sometimes, but because I stay at a 15 minutes' walk from where I work, life's pretty good.

Because it's show and tell, I'll let these do the rest of the talking today:

That's a rare picture - because Gurusaday Road (where the office is located) is seldom this uncluttered. And because this picture's been taken at 5:30 pm on a non-Sunday, at which time I am almost never not closeted in my office, recruiting for a living. Don't miss the yellow taxi - it is quintessentially Calcuttan. It'll make several appearances in my pictures and stories because it is a fixture character in its own right in these chronicles. Hell, the city itself is a whole personality on its own.

This is classic-8 a.m.-Syed Amir Ali Avenue. If I wake up early enough (read 4:30 a.m.), this is where I head for my jog. Between 6:30 and midnight, though, it's easier to be a pedestrian here. No, scratch that. I waited 15 minutes for the signal to change on my way back this evening. Picture's from inside a yellow taxi, of course.

The iconic Birla Temple. Quite the landmark in Ballygunge. It's perfect for breezy evenings. I'm not as frequent a visitor as I'd like to be, but something about it is reassuring...basically, I am just glad it is where it is, if you know what I mean. I really should get a better picture, though. Trouble is, you're going to have to stand in the middle of the road to get the best view, and given that the road is Syed Amir Ali Avenue...

This photo's special because it was taken the morning the monsoons broke in Cal after a long, really muggy summer. At 6, the famous Calcutta humidity was at its most unbearable. Somewhere between then and 8 a.m., the rain gods decided to smile. And how! Also, there's a lot in these pictures that is typically, uniquely Calcutta - look closely and you'll see a hand-pulled rickshaw resting on the pavement, and Communist graffiti right behind it. And, of course, the yellow taxi (fine, I'll be shutting up about those now :) ).

Two days ago, the rains were extra kind. At 4:15 in the afternoon, this is what it looked like right outside my office.

And now, for my flat.

I adore my flat. Period. I've literally never loved any place I've stayed in so much - and I've had over 10 addresses in the last 8 years, so that's saying something.

I had family over for breakfast one Sunday. This is them, in my living room. I cannot say this enough - I love my flat to bits! Just the mention of it makes me smile. :) :) :)

That's one end of my room. It's where I crash at the end of the day. It's warm, safe, cosy...and all mine. :)

My favourite nook in a house I love every inch of. Family pictures, pens and Post-Its within easy-to-grab range, keepsakes, my books, stuff I do not leave home without, junk name it.

That still leaves the kitchen, but I'll tell you about that later, because I think I have a whole series' worth of food-and-cooking-related posts brewing somewhere in my head.

So that was the introductory post. I have so much more to tell you. I'll be back in a blink. Know, till then, that returning to you and my blog is about the best thing to have happened to me all year. :)

So long. Bhalo theko.