Wednesday, April 15, 2009

When in tough times...

The pressure is on in the corporate world. Everywhere. In all spheres and all circles. From Banking to Manufacturing to Services to IT. And I guess not just in the corporate world. I am still pretty untouched but everyday I hear some news which makes me feel it is one step closer to me. And I am hoping that the optimism of Obama works and the economy stops its downwards plunge and stabilizes.

You know things are getting serious when its no more fashionable to talk about recession anymore. When its stops being the gossip and starts being a reality. When it becomes too sensitive to talk in a public gathering because you do not know who in the group could have been deeply affected. In the last three days, three friends in three different continents in three different companies, in different industries actually, told me that they have seen layoffs in their department. And they were upset by it. When it gets that close to you, I guess its not a very comfortable feeling.

I was reminded today that my blog is anonymous, and I would try to keep it that way. Its easy to forget because most people who comment or talk to me about it are close friends who know its me, and I have no idea if people I do not know read this. Why is it anonymous? Because it gives me a wee bit more flexibility to write things I wish, and not be judged by people who are not good friends. So why is it on my google status? Because all the people on my friends list are considered close friends, and I am not THAT secretive. And even if the world knows, what the hell, its fun having an alternate identity, just for kicks.
The other day, when I was at this really high flying corporate get-together (I still get an adrenaline rush outta that, dont groan.. I AM a geek) and was getting introduced to everyone. When I introduced myself to one of the serious looking bespectacled global Vice-Presidents, he leaned forward, shook hands and with a very straight face said "Hi, I am John Doe.... by day.... Superman by night". I had a tough time trying to decide whether I should burst out laughing like I wanted to or suppress my laughter and smile politely when he said "Dont think... laugh.. when the Vice President cracks a joke, you always laugh". I always feel that corporate life lacks a sense of humor. And it is so refreshing when once in a while you come across someone in a corporate gathering with a genuine sense of humor. Different cultures have very different types of humor. People from nation X have dry humor (guys u know whom I am talking about :P ) Some cultures have ironic humor.. so much that sometimes it pricks even if the joke is not on you. Some have only dirty humor. Some have no humor. Its worst when there is no humor.
Indians take humor for granted, and dont realize how important it is for us till we go into a group of no humor. As one of Danish managers once remarked that he likes Indian attitude a lot and wants to develop that for himself. When asked why he pointed at a group sitting far off at another lunch table and said, look at your watch, the whole group will laugh every 15 seconds. And we all did that and it was true. Every 15 seconds the Indian group would burst out laughing about something or the other. And all the other groups sitting at different tables were having serious conversations, the maximum you would get would be a polite smile. I guess no other country gives a gurgling, rumbling, thundering belly laugh as often as Indians do. And its something nice. We are a happy race. We can plot, politicize, frown, scorn, slog, manipulate and bitch at work, and yet go for lunch and laugh once every 15 seconds. Even in a recession. Sometimes I am proud to be an Indian :).
Moral of the story: When in tough times... have lunch with an Indian group, and have a hearty, soul belching, thunder rumbling, good laugh! When the times get tough, the tough should get laughing...


  1. You should be proud of it not sometimes but anytime!!!:)

  2. Not anytime.. sometimes when I see somethings I am not.. but most of the times I am...

    Maybe you should read:

  3. I disagree that there is lack of humor in corporate life... In sales everyone cracks bad jokes and we have to laugh... Your VP is right, when the Boss cracks a joke you laugh... no matter how bad/dirty/lame

  4. There is a lack of genuine quality humor in corporate life... lack of jokes that will actually make us laugh... and I think you will agree to that... :)

  5. When in tough times... have lunch with an Indian group???
    man...u've learned a lot...

  6. Simple isnt it? :) But this is applicable only for Europeans, you will have to think of better ways of dealing with it... like ummm.. buying an expensive car?