Saturday, May 31, 2014

Nothing Works!

Balan lost his job again recently and was totally at a loss as to how to spend the endless time hanging on him. His wife could never get him to do anything around the house also. He would sleep till noon and then sit in front of the T.V, read newspaper, eat, and sit day dreaming. This frustrated his wife a lot and she always nagged him. Finally she cut off the cable connection and threw water on him if he slept after 6 o’clock in the morning.

So he was getting bored – utterly bored. As he couldn’t sleep or watch T.V, the only task he was performing was, reading newspaper from first to last page and a few magazines from cover to cover. Earlier he would have a grazing glance at the headlines and then rush to office. Now he had time to go through all the pages and read the peppy and juicy stuff also.  But he was unable to read that also peacefully because of his wife’s constant nagging.

He was not against jobs. But he hated office politics and mean minded bosses. He hated long hours of work and getting poor salary. In work places there are hidden meanings for all colourful words.  If management welcomes you with "Join our fast-paced team” it really means “We have no time to train you”.  If management says “Your work is deadline oriented”, be sure that it means “You'll be three months behind schedule on your first day”. If they say “Duties will vary” it surely means “Anyone in the office can boss you around”. Even if they say “All the Best” it really means “You are in trouble”. These are his lessons from previous jobs.

Even though he learned so many lessons from past experiences he was called ‘an idiot’ by previous bosses. The last boss said, “If brains were taxed, you'd get a refund”. He didn’t understand what that means because he was not familiar with income tax rules. So he ignored the comment. His motto was “Aim Low, Reach Your Goals, and Avoid Disappointment”. Though his motto was worldly-wise, his previous employers were not intelligent enough to appreciate it.

And almost all the bosses had double standards - one for the worker and another for themselves. ‘When you take a long time, you’re slow.
When your boss takes a long time, he’s thorough. When you don’t do it, you’re lazy. When your boss doesn’t do it, he’s too busy. When you make a mistake, you’re an idiot. When your boss makes a mistake, he’s only human. When you take a stand, you’re being bull-headed. When your boss does it, he’s being firm’. He disliked working for such bosses. To his misfortune he didn’t find a different boss.

And going to jobs was not really easy for him. He worried about riding through the jam packed traffic. He worried about getting into the already overloaded city buses. He worried about subjecting himself to pickpockets. He worried about getting late to office. His wife refused to understand his hardships and ordered him to find a job immediately. Unable to endure boredom and his wife’s constant nagging finally he decided to find a job.

Balan had a strong faith in starting things or making new attempts only on auspicious days and at auspicious hours. Though many people made sarcastic remarks about his strong belief, he didn’t care. “Does anyone get married on any inauspicious day or at Raaghu Kaalam?” So he wanted to start his new venture also on an auspicious day only. He took out panchangam and jotted down the auspicious days during the week and timings available, so that he could contact his would-be employers at the lucky times.

On the first auspicious day he attended a walk-in interview. In the interview he was asked, “"Why did you leave your last job?"

"It was something my boss said."

"What did he say?"

"’you’re fired!’" he said truthfully. They didn’t appreciate his answer. He was not selected for the job.

He waited for next auspicious day, so that at least his second attempt would be successful. Very soon the day dawned. Invoking the blessings from all Gods and Goddesses, he applied for a job and luckily got it. Even the zodiac fortune for the day clearly stated “a great deal awaits you. But don’t make an impulsive move”.

He was given the job of assistant to the boss. They didn’t inform him the duties of an assistant properly. So he sat idly for the most of the time day dreaming. The boss was very exasperated with his new assistant as the assistant didn’t even pick up the telephone when it rang. "You must answer the telephone," he told Balan irritably. Balan explained patiently "I answered many times. But nine times out of ten, it's for you!" The boss exploded with rage.

Next day the boss had an exasperating phone conversation with one of his teenage sons. After hanging up, he heaved a sigh and said, "No one ever listens to me." Balan overheard the conversation and dutifully replied with understanding, “yes I do." The boss found it too much to bear and fired him from the job.

For the third job Balan tried ‘Numerology’ and selected a lucky day. The day was really lucky as Balan was selected. The new boss seemed to understand what Balan was made of and decided to give him simple works. First he told Balan to take a Xerox copy of a very important document.  Balan searched for the Xerox machine and finally stood before the paper shredder looking confused.

"Need some help?" a friendly employee asked.

"Yes," he replied. "How does this thing work?"

"Simple," he said, taking the fat document from Balan’s hand and feeding it into the shredder.

"Thanks, but where do the copies come out?" Balan asked.

This time two persons lost their jobs.

Balan lost faith in panchangam, numerology and….. humanity!

-      N.Ganeshan
(Published in our bank’s house magazine ‘Vijaya Vikas’)