Apr 24, 2007

The fate of a skilled worker

I happened to read this post discussing on ever increasing demand for skilled workers. In the post, the blogger writes about how other industries can benefit by nurturing skilled workers and creating opportunities for them so as to keep this more as a long term benefit.

Considering the examples were taken, let me speak about the industry that I am associated with - the IT industry. Yes, people here are skilled; the working part, I am not so sure. Of course, this is not generalizing the entire population of this industry but a surprisingly sizable chunk of them. I am ready to put up a fight against those who would say this does not apply at all.

I have seen enough instances of skilled workforce sitting idle for lack of projects, lack of direction in the work, lack of 'space' and yes, don’t be surprised, lack of desktops. And these are not in some struggling, small firms. The idea is to hoard. Whether they are required or not at the moment, we have people who are doing nothing yet highly skilled. The general argument is that a healthy reserve is a must for all company and its the norm in the industry. I would agree to that. But how long should that reserve go on in the 'reserve' mode? And how are these skilled people who are in the reserve, contributing to the general growth of the industry?

Unfortunately, the work environment in most of the companies does not promote creativity during idle hours, for the very reason that I mentioned above – 'lack of many things' that would enable doing any kind of work. There would be people no doubt, highly ambitious, who would make use of this time to come up with ground breaking ideas. But let me assure you they are few and far between.

I guess the benefit occurs in the initial stages of development in an industry. Hiring skilled force is not a big deal but utilizing them, nurturing them and creating opportunities for them is the problem. As the industry grows, the inefficiencies grow too and at present, it's the opportunity creation that is lagging behind. And an idling skilled workforce is one of the manifestations of the inefficiency.
Yes, this is just one side of the argument, but an argument it is.

Apr 23, 2007

The Perfect Couple

There was no way he could have got an internationally acclaimed beautiful wife. There was no way she could get a husband whose family had sole rights on the word “iconic” and whose status could be defined as that of demigods. There was no way they could have missed each other. They were “The Couple” for the star crazed nation made perfect by a manipulative media.

How convenient a marriage can be!

Apr 20, 2007

The Roman Catholic Cemetery, Adugodi

It is strange that a location that is generally synonymous with eeriness, fear, and Stephen King stories in the darkness, magically converts into a place that looks serene, lovely (with all the greenery) and calms me down when I pass by it every morning.

Apr 16, 2007

The Ugly Red Flame

Had a bad tongue lash with a colleague of mine. It was just for two minutes, but the bitter after effects will definitely last longer. Of course, we made up. I am sure I will forget it by tomorrow cuz I am pretty fond of her, but I am not so sure about her... not because she is insensible, but because she is more sensitive compared to me. Two minutes after the episode, I calmed down only to be in the usual regret mode.

Looking back at the situation, I realized we both felt the other was in the wrong. And even when we were clarifying things, we still felt the same, I am sure of that.

How does one handle such situations?
How does one keep this vicious anger from lifting its enormous head in unexpected situations?
And, how does one manage to maintain the delicate balance between proving oneself right and acknowledging the other's point of view?
Finally, how does one handle guilt after such episodes?

I need some real quick answers before I change from a human to a creature possessed by anger :(

Apr 15, 2007

The Ice Cream Maker

The Ice cream Maker by Subir Chowdhury - a small yet powerful book on Quality. The best thing about the book is that it is a tale; it succeeds in retaining the reader's interest. The narration was concise and simple. It made me want read on. For the first time, I did seriously think about my own job, the quality of work I do, we as a team do and the enormous scope that we have for improvement.

To put it simply, the story is about a dairy manager who is facing the threat of closure if he doesn’t turn around the business of ice cream manufacturing. He realizes that employee morale is low, they have already laid off few people, and cash inflow for any improvements is not forthcoming. He needs a sale to Natural Foods, a chain of stores; this new account could be a savior for his company. Once he meets the manager of Natural Foods, an ex-neighbor of distant past, he realizes the various problems his products have - mainly quality. Through continuous interaction with the store manager, he learns the various aspects of quality and tries to implement in his plant. This leads to small but positive changes in the productivity, employee morale, changes in the mindset of the owner, and finally the required sale to Natural Foods.

The story is basically explaining a concept called LEO - Learn, Enrich and Optimize with respect to quality. The idea is to build quality in every aspect, every area and every role in an organization. Make every one feel responsible about ensuring highest quality in the work they do - no matter how big or small the role/work is. The point that has been emphasized in the book is that quality is not a one-time activity - it is continuous and always there is room for improvement.

Well, if we look at it, almost all management books would say pretty much the same thing, but this is a book that makes one 'think' about it after putting it down. To try and see if there is a small chance for us to implement what it says. And, this I think, is a great achievement for a book.

Apr 11, 2007

Chicken Soup

Just completed 'Chicken soup for the Writer's Soul', one of the chicken soup series books. Yes, earlier I was averse to these feel good, chocolaty sweet motivational stuff, but somehow the 'writer's part caught my fancy. I must say I was pleasantly surprised.
I guess the difference between this and others would be that instead of the usual theme of how the world at large benefits from the insights, here, the individual - the writer benefits from other's experience. The stories were of well known and some lesser known writers as written by them. The one lesson that kept repeating in almost every writer's experience was that of 2Ps - Practice and Perseverance.
I was astonished to see the statistics of many great authors who were rejected repeatedly (some, for years!) and yet bounced back to produce a bestseller.

This only goes to prove that some day... some day I too might have a chance!
But 2P comes first!!

Apr 9, 2007


As you stoke the embers of my past
I watch the soot of unhappiness
settling over my soul
I lift my teary eye
to glimpse a stranger’s face

The last of the losers to roll out ever...

Apr 4, 2007


The future tense of argument is regret. Why have them at all if I am going to feel shitty later without a single instance of exception? I need to realize after all, everyday cannot be a Sunday.

Apr 3, 2007

Sunset in GKVK

This is the kind of surprise UAS (also popularly known as GKVK -Gandhi Krishi Vignyan Kendra) will throw at you when you least expect it, like when you are walking around in the sprawling Hebbal campus ...

Who would believe this 202 acre land of peace and tranquility is still part of the same noisy, polluted and suffocatingly overpopulated Bangalore?

P.S : One should excuse the incongruencies in the picture as initial efforts of an amateur.