Empty thoughts and mutterings

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Save the earth..

This is in response to RTD2's tag. Normally, I would not have responded to a regular tag with such enthusiasm, but this one I thought was worth it. RT has some good ideas on how to save the earth for our children. We don’t have to implement everything that’s been said. But a few changes in our system can mean a lot to someone else's life. So here’s my little list.

1. Save power wherever possible. Before you leave home, take 10 seconds to make sure you’ve turned all lights and other electric utilities off. Saves power and if you look at it selfishly, your electric bill goes down as well. Prabhu deserves credit for this one. He was the one that first put this idea in my head.
2. Save water. Do not leave the water running because the water’s being paid by somebody else, or because it doesn’t make a big difference to your bill. People in chennai struggle everyday for their daily fill of water, and it makes me guilty that we waste gallons of drinking water here just because we can.
3. This is something that has been bothering me for a while now. Can anybody explain why it is considered unfashionable to stop and help somebody that’s been injured in an auto accident? I have been guilty of this many times, and I am ashamed of it. People like to stand around and watch when their help would have mattered a lot. The next time something of this nature happens, I want to make amends. I hope you will too. (This probably is not as much a fit under the “save the earth for your children” category as it is under the “be a better person in your society” category, but I wanted to put this here anyway)

I want to listen to what Ramya, Priya and PK have to say on this topic.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Likeability Factor

When B brought this up, it got me thinking. The likeability factor at work is a hugely underplayed commodity and in my opinion the most important piece to one's stability at work right after the tangible effects like effectiveness and company's financial position etc. Often times, we do not attempt to understand the importance of how well we get along with our peers and even if we do understand it, we forget to practice it at every mundane instance that comes along. Lucky are those people who are non confrontational by birth and need little or no effort to be liked among peers. It is indeed a difficult exercise to understand the exact importance of the likeability factor in one's survival, functioning and excellence in today's corporate world. Even more difficult is to predict, what one should do in order to fetch himself that "likeable" tag in his company. Each situation is completely different and each person is completely unique which makes generating the recipe for "how do you make yourself likeable" impossible. And I don't claim to propose a solution here. But I want to share an observation here that defies logic a little and will probably be disputed by some of you folks :). I have observed that a little vulnerability at times helps in people starting to like you. When I say vulnerability, I mean a little imperfection here and there, a little "I need your help on this one" attitude. For eg, admitting to your colleague sheepishly, that you lost your way while driving to work that morning and that you couldn't get back for 45 minutes or saying "I locked myself out in my car today, not once, but twice, can you believe how stupid I've been ?". It brings a quick smile to their lips and maybe the next time around, they would admit to some of their own stupidities. But I am not saying you have to admit to every single stupid act you manage to pull off. You get another tag for that that starts with an L and ends with an R with an OSE in between ! :).

I have known some people that want to command power in every single relationship they have and always want to have the last word in any conversation. While this attitude may help in some other facets of life, these people are often easily hated. They are always the last to get the benefit of doubt in any situation. I am a big believer in the " The most powerful men are never liked and the most liked men are never powerful" school of thought. Even in social circles, I have observed the hatred growing in some people towards the "centers of attraction" for no reason other than the fact that they cornered a lot of the attention. As far as I am concerned, when I have been popular I've liked it. When I have been the center of attraction, I've liked it. But all that's nothing compared to the knowledge that I am liked by my friends or peers whichever may apply. In a work atmosphere, it helps to have a slightly casual approach towards things. It also helps to allow peers to take a trip at your expense once in a while. Ofcourse that provides you with the license of returning the favor when the opportunity shows up, and promotes more camaraderie in general. I have wondered how this can have an actual impact on one's survival or improvement. When I thought about it, I could recollect atleast 3-4 instances, where good will, the likeability factor and other intangible factors have made tangible contributions to some of my friends' work lives. While one friend was asked to leave from one department because the department was cutting down, another department picked him up because a manager there had previously had a few conversations with him and he had happened to like him. In another case, another friend mentioned to me that he was promoted to a senior position and was picked over a far smarter, more effective guy, owing solely to his "team man" image. So people, the next time a peer asks you to with him for lunch for the 5 th time that week, instead of giving him the same old no with the smile, think about saving the thayir saadham with lemon pickle for later and going down to lunch with him and who knows how it might help you ?