Like every other time, my first day in my new office started with a ‘what if I die’ note. The HR asked me to fill the nominees name and how much of my death money would I wish to allocate to each of them.
And the nominees are (in the tone of an Oscar announcement)…I decided to include both my wife and my mother, but share allocation was the difficult part. My mother and my wife are not the best of mother-in-law – daughter-in-laws around. The amount of peacekeeping work I do at both ends, my cousin sister once commented, is worth winning a Nobel Prize for peace. Since this is the case, any higher percentage allocation to any particular one wouldn’t be a good idea, so I gave a two-way split of equal shares.
I went on to fill volumes of other forms which I didn’t bother to check what they are for and by the time I did away with all the forms, it was lunch time. The HR said she would quickly run me through the various business units modus operandi before leaving me to nurse my screaming stomach. After a brief summary about individual units, she told a comprehensive half-day session with each Business Heads will soon follow at a later date in the shape of a formal induction/orientation program.
Induction programs usually stretches from a half-day sleeper to two full-day sin redemption sessions which more often ends up in a desperate fight for survival against ‘Death by PowerPoint’.
I finished a quick lunch and rode the elevator down from the seventh floor where the pantry is, to my office at 3rd floor. The HR had told she would introduce me to my new team members post lunch.
As I anxiously waited for somebody to escort me into the work area, my thoughts flashed back to a call I received a week back, from one of my former aide who was helping me run a private enterprise much before I started my corporate journey. After dissolving the enterprise I struggled to find my footing, and resorted to do odd jobs to make both end meet. While I was still looking for a break, this aide of mine had joined a Search Engine Optimizing company located in the outskirts of the City (Bangalore). Eventually my persistence took me to one of the biggest corporate names in the country, and we lost contact in a professional ‘moving on’.
After I left my third company I resumed contact to notify him that I was looking for ‘better’ opportunities. A week later he called me and told he has found a Job for me, but it would be almost like a night shift job and more importantly the nature of Job would not fall under my current professional stream, which is Technical Writing. But on the happy side, the pay would be huge, he assured. My financial downturn had been driving me up against the wall for quite some time so I decided to give it a go.
I asked him more about the Job on offer. He just told the job will suite me perfectly. So I began to nurture the thought of really taking this ‘dream-job’. On the day of the interview, the HR, a young girl in her mid-twenties asked whether I have any qualms about doing such a job. “Such a Job?” I was annoyed. She must have sensed my annoyance for she said, “Do you know your job will be reviewing porn web sites and writing stories for them?” The castle I had build in the air burst like a balloon. I was speechless. Thoughts flowed in like a flash flood, what would I say if somebody asks me what I’m doing for a living?, what would my wife think about the Job?, how will they announce my name in the Church if I make a donation, “Joshi Mukard, working in Bangalore as a reviewer and a writer of mind-bending stories about a spiritual state of ecstasy that is being deliriously pursued by human beings ever since Adam and Eve ate their apple, has donated the Church…”, what if my neighbor wanted to read my writings?, and do I have to experiment before I write stories?
The billing of this one as a ‘dream job’ may be fitting for some, and some of you may want to know whether the position is still open, but honestly I have no means of knowing. I had left the interview hall promising the HR that I would return after two days, but never had the guts to go back. They kept calling me and I had to break the contact in a hard way. But what I still couldn’t figure out is what made them think I’m perfectly suited for the Job.
I snapped into the present. After half an hour of waiting a man limped into the room. He introduced himself as a senior team member. He told he had recently removed the nail in his toe following an accident, and hence the limping. I thanked the HR and left with him. Once out of the room, he announced, “Let’s start from the washroom”. I was taken aback. I had only barely managed to get the ‘dream job’ offer out of my way, and here I was in a much bigger trouble. But the man who has become a good friend of mine now and a perfectly good gentleman, quickly continued, “I mean, I thought I should show you the washroom first” and he went on to explain how he had struggled to locate the washroom on his day one at the office.
I wouldn’t have located it myself, I thought, as I followed him through a tunnel-like passage. I was also in dire need of using the men’s room. I imagined my photo pasted on the Men’s room door; the HR had collected half a dozen photos from me. After a sharp right-turn at the end of the tunnel, the Men’s room. There was no photo. We went inside.