Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monkey Business

In a forest, there was a monkey. One day, it rained cats and dogs in the forest. The monkey was drenched all wet in the rain. A weaver bird saw this and felt pity about the monkey. The bird went to the monkey and said "See my friend, if you build a home like the nest I have built, you would not have been drenched in the rain and you would have been safe". The monkey quietly listened to the speech then suddenly jumped above and tore apart the weaver bird's nest and shouted "Yippee, now that you have lost your home, give me company in the rain..."

Some people, like this monkey, are there in every organisation, right from the top helm to the entry level employee. If they get any advice from anyone, then the person advising is in soup. So, if you are a weaver bird, just shutup your mouth and stay in your home when it rains, don't land in hot water advising monkeys :)

See, as I mentioned in one my earlier posts, we are getting to see a lot of animals like the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet :)

So long until the next post :)

The Disparagers

There was this man who used to smoke a lot of cigarettes. An old man in his neighbourhood watched this man and wanted to explain the benefits of stopping the habit of smoking. So, he went to the man and had the following conversation.

Old Man: Hello I wanted to talk to you.
Smoker: Sure, go ahead.
Old Man: You smoke?
Smoker: Yes
Old Man: How much does a cigarette cost?
Smoker: Rs. 3
Old Man: How many cigarettes do you smoke in a day?
Smoker: 20
Old Man: How long have you been smoking?
Smoker: Over 20 years
Old Man: See, if you had not smoked in these 20 years, you would be having about Rs. 4.5 lakhs (The amount you spent on the cigarettes in all these 20 years).
Smoker: Hmm, fair enough, do you smoke?
Old Man: I haven't touched a single cigarette in all my life!
Smoker: So, you should be having about Rs. 10 lakhs right? Do you?

The old man was dumbfounded. There are good managers, who really have a good heart to have his/her subordinates to get out of their habits that are the stumbling blocks to their success. But those subordinates do behave in an inert and obstinate manner that the attempts or advices to improve their subordinates' lives go literally unheeded. Such good managers getting such disparaging subordinates is more or less getting to be a universal rule. :)

So long until the next post.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Palace

Once upon a time there was a King who had a very wise Minister. One day the king desired to build a palace out of wood with all the craft work done on it, so he thought he could take the minister along with him during the next hunting in the forest, so that he could identify the right trees to build his dream palace. They both went into the forest and this is what happened.

The King encounters a tamarind tree, he asks the minister "Minister, can we build the palace out of tamarind wood?". The minister answered, "Of course, My Lord, however we can also build the palace using teak wood"

The King encountered a need tree, he asked "Minister, can we build the palace out of neem wood?". The minister came out with the same answer "Of course, My Lord, however we can also build the palace using teak wood".

Next comes a mango tree, the King asks if the mango tree can be used to build the palace. There is the same answer from the minister. This goes on for the next few tree varieties. Later they both, return home. There the King asks his puzzlement because of the minister's answers. He asked the minister, "For every tree that I pointed and asked if we can build a palace out of that tree, you said that we can build it, however we can also build using teak woods. Why?"

The wise minister politely answered "My King, Teak wood is quite durable than the other trees. However, when you, The King, have something in mind, I do not have the authority to refute your ideas. At the same time, my duty to you as a minister is to give you the right advice". The minister continues "I did not want to rebuke your ideas at the the same time, I did not want to do injustice to my duty, that is why I answered so".

Now, consider the same story with the Customer being the King and the Minister being the IT organisation. We will refer to the customer as "The King" and the IT company as "The minister". The King asks the minister, "Minister can we use the tamarind tree to build the palace?"

The minister now goes and prepares a 20 slide Presentation demonstrating the capabilities of building the palace with a tamarind tree along with the cost of building it. The King is awe-inspired and gives a go ahead.

Later the King asks if the palace could be built with a neem tree. Again the minister prepares a 20 slide presentation, the king is again cheated, sorry awe-inspired, asks if they could build it using the neem tree. The minister asks the king to give a "Change request or Request for Features Change". Then the minister proceeds on with the neem tree.

Then the king asks for the mango tree palace, the same process - 20 slide presentation, awe-inspired, change request. This goes on until the customer, sorry the King, either finds that the teak wood is the best for building a palace or if he becomes a mendicant.

At last when he realises that he has been awe-inspired, sorry cheated, so many times, he feels very angry that he feels that the person who invented "Change Request" should be ?________________________? (Fill in all the swear words you can think of). Sometimes, the king (customer) becomes so pathetically downtrodden that he realises that he should have never thought of building a Palace - Late realisation. :)

So long until the next post.

Monday, October 26, 2009


மகன் : அப்பா, தம்பி  ஜன்னல்  கண்ணாடிய  உடைச்சிட்டான் அப்பா
அப்பா: எப்படிடா  உடைச்சான்?
மகன்: நான்  அவன்  மேல  கல்லை விட்டு  எறிஞ்சேன், குனிஞ்சுடான்  அப்பா

Son: Dad, Little Brother, broke the window glass...
Dad: Oh is it? How did he break it?
Son: I threw a stone at him, he ducked

Like the little brother, there are scapegoats in every organization who bear the brunt. They send the emails, on behalf of their leads or managers, that have very bad repurcussions. Moreover, they are supposed to the take the blame, when his lead or Manager is caught in the responsibility trap. Poor creatures! Their sole consolation is that English language gives them different idioms for them to feel happy about, those idioms are
  • Cat's paw
  • Whipping boy
  • Patsy
  • Fall Guy
  • Frame-up
  • Soft touch
  • Sucker
  • Gull
They don't have to be goats always, they can rotate these idioms, in whatever order they like, whenever they are being referred :)

PS: The use of masculine pronouns his, him etc refers to both genders unless otherwise specified. Such use is for the author's convenience and does not represent any male-chauvinism. Women do have equal rights to be scapegoats :)

So long, until the next post

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Euphemisms are now a core part communication either through email, telephonic conversations etc. I have come across two types of euphemisms. The first one is a bit sensitive and the other one is a humorous. The sensitive one has a list like Slavery under the comfortable euphemism Leadership, Stupidity under the name Policy and so on. Let us not provoke anyone by discussing this sensitive euphemism further. The other type is the one almost everybody in most IT companies encounter in their day to day routine. Let see those that I can remember with the Euphemism and their real version.

  • To my understanding, this is so and so.... - Damn, I don't understand a thing. Explain it to me as you would to a kid
  • This is actually... Correct me if I am wrong... - Shut up and don't open you bloody mouth until I ask you to..
  • Mr Simon, please add any comments if you have... - Simon, I have added you in the email just to let others know that you are in the loop. Don't try to be smart by posting any stupid comment of yours
  • Actually, it will take too long to explain - Damn, I don't have the least bit of idea of what it is...
For those who can understand Tamil
  • Sir, avar pasu maadhiri sir - Sariyana maattu paya sir avan
Readers, I believe you too would have come across such expressions. Please feel free to add more in the comments section. This sentence is not another euphemism, I mean it and am serious :)

So long, until the next post.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Beetles

No no no... Don't confuse the post to be something with the famous music band. This is a short story by a famous writer about ego. I am not sure if it was James Thurber or Bertrand Russel. We will refer to the writer as 'the writer' itself. The writer was in his high school or college days where the class teacher was lecturing about "Ego". The teacher was giving a lengthy discourse about ego that most of the students either did not understand what the teacher told about ego or they grew tired. Suddenly our writer jumped to the front and told the teacher that he could explain the same thing a bit differently using some analogy so that even a layman understands it. The teacher gave a go ahead and the writer started to explain with a short story that went like this.

"There was once a big elephant that wandered in the forest. One day it came across a bridge that was formed by a fallen tree between the edges of a small stream that went below. The elephant wanted to cross the stream by walking over the tree. When the elephant put its foot on the tree, a beetle sat on its head at the same time the elephant put its leg on the tree bridge. And the tree bridge collapsed without being able to bear the weight of the elephant. Hence both the elephant and the beetle fell below. Now the beetle got up and thought, this bridge is too weak to bear even my weight. The attitude of the beetle is called 'ego'"

This story brought our writer a loud applause from the entire class including the teacher.

Now coming to the point, as in this story there are many beetles who are around in an organization who tend to think that things happened only because they got involved. But, in reality, a lot others would have put in their blood and sweat to make things happen. These beetles don't appear until things are ripe to proclaim their contribution. The beetles happen to be all over the hierarchy (from Software Engineers to Projects managers and above). The more the beetles higher in the hierarchy, the more the scapegoats. The more the beetles in the lower hierarchy, the more the pests. See we have come across a lot of animals, I believe that this can expand into another Discovery channel. :)

So long, until the next post

The Prologue

This blog is all about the funny paradoxes that exist in today's work environment in every corner of the globe. It is more of an inspiration out of various famous things out there - Dilbert (Comic), Office Space (Movie), The Milkshake Moment (Book) and many others. The interesting thing in this is the fun part - the satire and humour that is often related to the situation/work environment. This blog is to explore further such fun and humour that all of us can laugh it out. As Charlie Chaplin quoted "Life is a tragedy in close-up and a comedy in long shot". We are going to look the paradoxes from the long shot. Of course, everybody will have reasons for doing such paradoxes, we just enjoy the fun part. As a starter read this post by one of my friends