Wednesday, 11 September 2013

It's the small things

So today we've just received feedback from one of our major clients about a work done last week. You see the deadline was short and the work was considerable. I was aided by two of my colleagues who had a lot to do on their side but happily offered/agreed to help when asked. I was quite nervous on this job, being a control freak I wanted to control every aspect of it. But soon I decided to trust them and let them do it their way. The result was good. They did a great job, they felt free. I was relieved on some of the tasks and could really focus on my share. In the end the feedback received from the client was very good. So I felt like sharing some of the stuff I've learnt on this one.

1. Trust
Don't try to control everything. Granted it's your project and you would be the most accountable for it but people work better when they are not under pressure.

2. Preserve some humility
Don't go about bossing other people. Remain humble and thank them at each stage of the work. They are doing you a favour by collaborating on your project.

3. Make them feel valued
I'm not saying that they are not valuable in the first place. What you need to do is to show them how valuable they are to you. This will provide a boost for them to perform to their best. To make you feel proud in a sense.

I've always compared professional synergy to a romantic relationship. You gotta make people feel loved and cared for to make it work. That's no rocket science, it's just plain human relations.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Kindly, best regards

For the past seven months, I have been caught up. I still am. You see since January, I have been assigned to the Emirates branch of my organisation. Prospects seem good, but the thing is days are getting quite hectic. I got caught up in this sort of corporate mode of survival whereby you do anything in your power to be as effective as possible. At first I was resisting, I still am, but in a lot more intelligent fashion. Marx spoke about alienation of the human being at work, you are not yourself. The scary thing is that I am myself (at least a part of myself) when I am at work. I hate to admit it, but I love performing effectively. I love respecting our ISO standards and having everything planned out. It makes you feel in control. And suddenly I have become more demanding of others. I require that new hires be extremely attentive to details and rigorous. I require that they understand exactly what is at stake. This can't be good. I feel like I am betraying the person I used to be 3 years ago...

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Wednesday, the paper fold.

Take a piece of paper and fold it in two exact parts. You see the line that is formed in the middle of the page? In my mind this line is Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday constitute the first part of the paper and Thursday and Friday make up the last part. Wednesday is just a milestone in the week. It helps you figure out where you stand and what remains to be done. 

I've never been an adept of "time management". When I was in high school and, subsequently at college, I've never been ahead of time on anything. I was always among the last ones to hand in my assignments and along with my group, we've spent a lot of sleepless night on the eve of a deadline just because we did absolutely nothing when we were supposed to work on the project in the first place.

I've never tried to read self-help books on time management and I never heed people's advice on how to better manage my time. I find the latter too personal and circumstance-based and the former too boring. 

The thing is, however, when I started working, something changed. I am responsible for my own work and for that of other people. This is the real thing, it is not a theoretical paper on the policy for a random company that will never be put into practice. The implications are real as well. And I am not in the least bit ashamed to say that the change was brought about my an important motivational factor: extrinsic motivation. Well, if you still haven't got it yet, I meant money! Nothing motivates you more (at least while you are still young) than the idea of being paid for doing your job effectively.

And so, some sort of adult and responsible biological clock started ticking, making me start planning my weeks in order to get things done on time. That paper fold on Wednesdays helps me to set things right until we reach Fridays. And you know what? Things are sometimes hectic but the stress is not there. It's not that I don't miss the rush of adrenaline that college days used to give me, but sometimes you gotta grow into a better version of yourself.

Sunday, 17 June 2012


I've never been a "vacation-person". Every time I was on holidays the only place where I longed to be is the place where I get to spend less time: home. My idea of vacations has always been loose clothes, movies, TV shows, the net and anything else that makes you a good couch-potato. I never got the idea of a weekend "getaway". Why get away, when you can stay at home and be very happy about it.

However, I now stand corrected. I know why people go on vacations and I know why "getting away" can be something great sometimes.

Spending your holidays in an exotic place, especially with someone with whom you intend to spend the rest of your life, is a way to foresee what lies ahead. Quite a nutshell view, but I find it terribly useful.

Planned vacations teach you valuable life lessons such as:

1. Never overestimate certain things: You won`t actually eat or drink as much as you think you would. You might not have enough time to do all the activities you intended to do.

2. Unexpected things happen: The weather might not be ideal for swimming and it might just be too cold outside to do any outdoor activity.

3. Life is full of pleasant surprises: The food might surprise you or you might end up doing a walk that brings you to discover new things.

All in all I am happy we did it. And it might sound terribly cliché but home is really where the heart is.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Of pregnancy and abortion

I dreamt I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke.
Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a
butterfly dreaming that I am a man? - Chuang Tzu

When I first read this as a kid, I found it truly beautiful. I don`t know if it was because it involves a butterfly or dreams. Even though this is a parable on the interchangeability between appearance and reality, I often figure out that it can be used to help people who feel that their opinion is the ultimate truth. This goes along the same line as George Orwell`s concept of "doublethink" whereby a person`s mind understands and accepts two contradictory ideas/believes/thoughts.

Today I read the opinion of a girl, who, I suppose is a very religious person. She was quoting a holy text to support why she is against abortion. I respect people who are religious in the same way that I respect Twilight fans; I would never understand why they are so much into it but I admire their zeal. However, I would never understand why someone would base her entire opinion on something as important as abortion on a text that was written thousands of years ago.

Anyway, coming back to adopting contradictory thoughts, my point is, you should always keep an open mind. Opinions change and it all depends on your situation. When I was a teenager and I`m sure I must not have been the only one, the epitome of horror was the idea of getting pregnant. Even though I was not sexually active at the time, it still scared the crap out of me to hear those stories of girls who, out of love or naivete or both got pregnant and who had to leave school and take care of their kids. Getting pregnant meant the end of that youthful nonchalance characterised by teenage years. Abortion would, of course, have been an option if ever I had gotten into such a situation.

As I got into adulthood, and seriously, I mean as from last year, I started thinking that if ever I got pregnant, I would happily await the arrival of the flesh of my flesh, the blood of my blood even on the occurrence that he/she is an accident. It`s just that I am now emotionally and financially ready to take this responsibility. I am talking about myself and this might seem terribly narcissistic but it`s just that being pro-choice or pro-life is deeply subjective. It`s the kind of opinion that evolves with time and I might add, maturity.

I know some women of my age who have had an abortion and I know one of them who has decided the keep the child. To each her own opinion and I salute each one of their choices... Who am I to judge anyway?