9/30/2006

Speed Breakers



When you are racing on the highway called career, you encounter a lot of speed breakers which slowdown your speed and makes it difficult to maintain the same levels of enthusiasm, which needs to be restarted, just as you look to gain speed after passing a speed breaker. Speed breakers are shocks that occur around the workplace that seemingly gives you jitters about the manner in which certain official issues are handled. Yesterday was one such incident, when I encountered a “speed breaker” at work. I was appalled by the chinks in the functioning of a certain person, who apparently misuses office resources for personal things. I was shocked at the gall and impunity with which, dishonest things were being committed. There was no penitent feeling at all from the person, who does the act coldly without even thinking twice.

Generally at work, in say any company most employees, misuse office property for personal gains and the more they start doing it, the more empowered they feel, and surprisingly when a person is questioned at an advanced stage of looting, they behave as though they never knew this was illegal. Its perfectly acceptable in making the odd mistake, which many people have done, but to do it with a heartless and insincere way is just not acceptable. It is this dishonesty at work, that seems a “speed breaker” apart from the fact that people, resort to other distractions, that only makes the official work at office go behind schedule.

Some instances are

1) Taking huge personal copies of print outs, advocating the reason that “they can save some money”, as if this was done in a proper store, it would cost them “huge” money. The odd print out here and there is pretty much acceptable, but when you do it en masse without any pangs of guilt is when the chinks in one’s character seems visible, behind the cloak of joi-de-vivre that one exudes in corporate life.

2) Making the office STD line for personal use and using it abusively for talking long hours(again to save money).

3) Taking time off from office, and doing personal work and later saying that they went off to meet “ a potential client”.My classmate is a fine example of this,who lives his life farting to hell,about his work :-)


4) Using community sites like Orkut and messengers in office beyond a certain minium level.The odd scrap in orkut, is not a problem,but given the addictive nature of an orkut or a Gtalk, most folks seem to be logged on to both, thereby affecting productivity.

5) Speaking on the mobiles for a long time, being away from work, and constant messaging at work, is another huge factor that distracts employees from completing their work properly.

6) The biggest culprit of all, are the forwarded mails that come along. Not a crime seeing a few and forwarding the, but folks must know when to draw a line.

7) Coffee and tea time- Given the fact that most IT jobs are said to be stressful, most employees take that piece of data , only to invest half their time drinking “free” coffee and tea from the vending machine.

All of these reasons are happening simply because the job market is booming in India.If one place asks you to go, after you have put a reasonable amount of work experience, the other companies are more than willing to hire you, and your shenaningans for a higher price.It is the openness in the markets, that allow people the gall to work the way they do,the way they want, often in disagreement with the said rules of the company.Given the fact that most Indian companies have proper HR departments, the erring employees are never given the sack, but persisted with in the hope that things would be better.

Though it is the mistake of the employee, of falling prey to any of the 6 criminal factors at work,it is also in a small way the responsibility of the management or the immideate managers,who have not weaved a dream or a vision on which the employees work.There is a very thin line between working with a vision and working just to meet deadlines,and it is the company’s strict supervision couple with freedom of speaking one;s mind that determines the relations between the employee and the employer, which I turn decides how committed the employee is to his work.

All of the 7 reasons might seem familar most employees of any company, but gross misuse of the company resources for personal gain, certainly reeks a lot about the character of the person commiting it.It may seem a small thing, for a company to keep tabs on such activity, but if it does, it can automatically realize the honesty levels of employees.

If any of you have been able to tackle such a menace at the workplace in terms of curbing the attitudes of such people and transforming them, please do add in your thoughts and experiences of the same, in the comments box below.

4 comments:

Nirenjan said...

I'd like to add how my former company handled your points.

1) Printouts - There was a genuine need for huge printouts and the department purchased a separate printer for this purpose, while allocating a single person permission to use this. We would have to contact him to take our printouts. The other printer was used for small (< 10 pages) prints.

2) Only local calls were allowed, no STD. That too, if you were lucky enough to get a free line.

3) Hmm, haven't seen something like this, yet...

4) All sites of a non-business nature were blocked, including Orkut, web-based e-mail, chat servers & IM...

5, 6 & 7) These items require personal discipline, can't say that the company could enforce it... Perhaps during the appraisals...

Anonymous said...

Hi, karthik. I always see these problems and though I am not in the level where I can control my environment, I certainly feel the need for self discipline and always go away from using official emails for any personal reason and never encourage people to forward mails. Initially I get a few forwards and if I did not reply them or forward back, then I would be free from those emails. Give it a try. Also check out this link
http://www.thanksno.com/

Sudhir said...

Agree with you Karthik, Interesting post.

However, it all boils down to the individual, and often it is quite difficult for an organization to stop these deviations, without bordering on being officious.

Somethin to think abt all the same..

anil said...

nice article

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