Wisewebwoman has this hilarious post up which I strongly recommend to my readers.
I quote one paragraph from that post – “And if you’re a man reading this, imagine binding up your dangly bits in wire and rigid satin and teetering around in six inch (or any inch) heels. And thrusting all of yourself outwards in enticement. How long would you last?”
While this made me laugh out aloud, it also took me back to my first job as a salesman and a very wise old man who was my Supervisor, coach and mentor. He gave me a great deal of advice and I benefited from all of them but among them, there was one particular piece of advise that I not only followed all my life and continue to do, but also something that I passed on to many young men who too were starting their lives as Field Salesmen.
That advise was to wear comfortable underwear and footwear. These two important pieces of a man’s attire made all the difference while on field work which involved a lot of walking, commuting by bus and train and also often talking to customers while standing in crowded shops / offices etc. And, I am talking about the days when the fashion was to wear tight fitting trousers called drainpipes and pointed shoes. You can well imagine how uncomfortable it would have been with ill fitting underwear and shoes!
Yesterday I started reading a book which was gifted to me by a friend and a statement caught my eye. “A Professor in a School of Management who has written a book on Decision Making, was offered positions in four different organisations and consulted a friend on which one to choose. The friend smiled and said, “Why ask me? You have written a book on Decision Making.” The Professor responds, “But, this is real life!”.
As it happens so often in my life two things happened one after the other after having read that little vignette.
A class mate from Business School is visiting Pune and, my two classmates residing now in Pune and I met up with him over tea at my club last evening. During the conversations, we naturally talked about our two years at the school and some of the faculty members.
Some Alumni have collected funds for instituting an annual award and the visiting friend suggested to a local friend, an academic, that he should suggest a criteria to decide on awarding a gold medal to an alumnus. This led to some hilarious discussions on decision making and naturally no conclusion could be arrived at.
This morning I received a clip via WhatsApp which led me to an interview with Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank fame, which too talks about decision making which I am sure will amuse as well as rile some readers.
While reading that book there was a reference to some quotes from another book by a Japanese Warrior – The Book Of Five Rings by Miamoto Musashi. I was interested enough to order for it and have just finished reading it.
It is a book that I now regret not having come to know of during my corporate life. Not that its contents do not offer anything for a retired old reprobate now but, it would have helped me achieve a few more “wins” those days.
It is essentially a treatise on how to handle adversity. While in writing it is for the Soldier and the Commander, juxtaposing it to our normal life’s situation is easy and I recommend it.
Since the onset of the Ukrainian war, prices generally have been showing upward movements and there are many shortages being reported in many markets. When some friends chat with me about these developments, I tell them that they have seen such situations before and this time too, this phase will pass.
In just such a recent discussion, a 65 year old friend who is a highly respected trader in my part of the world spoke to me about the changes that have taken place since my time of association with him in a client, manager relationship. I have been associated with the firm that he represents for the past more than fifty years and he particularly for forty years.
He agreed with me that he has seen other such periods of price and supply volatility and how they had tackled them but, he added that during the time that he was associated with me, there was personal involvement in the supplier / buyer relationships which in today’s commerce, has been replaced with rapid turnover of people in positions and also a system heavily dependent on laptops. On probing I found that supply chain management has now been highly mechanised and computers do most of the work that people did during my times. He derisively called this “Laptop Management” and its practitioners “Laptop Managers”.
I was amused as well as sad that the personal touch has gone from a very long relationship between his firm and the one that I was part of.
I however decided to share some humour with him and sent him the following cartoon in WhatsApp with the message that during my time, in Management Laptop usually meant this type of relationships.
Today, I hesitate to use such cartoons lest I be accused of male chauvinism! That is also a significant change that has taken place in our lives!
A recent corporate fiasco highlights the importance of proper communication in Management. Here is an article in the BBC that explains what happened. This matter received a lot of attention in India as the new CEO is a person of Indian origin and that alone raised many eyebrows.
In my working life, I have had to dismiss employees or take other unpleasant actions and I have faced many agonising moments on deciding quite how to communicate my decision. It never was easy and I have always felt in retrospect, that I could have handled it differently.
I am glad that I don’t have to any more but, I can sympathise with others who have to.
On a lighter note, here is a cartoon that resonates with me. Apart from the humour, the language is quite impressive. Don’t you think so?
For the past four months, I had not been getting OTPs sent by my bank whenever I entered into any net banking transaction with it. It was not a major issue as I would just ask the alternative method of getting the OTP via a telephone call.
I recently made a wrong password entry while trying to access my account and my old password was therefore made invalid and I had to reset my password. For resetting the password however, there is no second option of getting the OTP via a telephone call and I simply could not access my account as I could not log in.
Service personnel from the bank came over to my residence to try and help me and were baffled to see that the OTP was not coming whenever I asked for it. They therefore suggested that I change my telephone number and apply for a change in the registered number with them. They assured me that it would solve the problem and after some time I could ask to revert to the original telephone number.
I duly did this by getting a new cellphone connection about which I shall write in my next blot post.
I duly applied for change of registered telephone number in my account with the bank on last Friday. I got messages both in my phone via the messaging application and through emails acknowledging receipt of my application and eventually on Sunday even advising me that my new number has been registered while deregistering my old number.
On receipt of these messaging application messages I started to wonder why while I was getting those messages, I was not getting the OTPs and it occurred to me that perhaps I had inadvertently blocked the OTP number. I sought the help of our resident geek to try and find if I had done that and in no time he found that I had indeed blocked the number four months ago. Not only that, I had also blocked a few others including some family members’ numbers.
I had been getting hundreds of spam messages and I would ruthlessly block them from future messages and perhaps in the process had inadvertently blocked some numbers which should not have been blocked in my haste to get rid of a number of messages in the message box.
I duly unblocked the numbers that should not have been blocked and tried to access my bank account to reset my password. And bingo, I could, as I got the OTP through the messaging system without any problems.
It now remains for me to go back to the bank with a request to revert to the old telephone number but, I think that I will wait for a while before I do that to check the efficiency of the new connection. And perhaps to enable the efficient fellows who obliged me in changing the number to forget my name so that when I request them again, they will be as efficient as they were during the first request for their service.