Shutdown Effect.

Since the shutdown due to the current Corona pandemic, traffic in my WhatsApp has increased so much that I have to recharge my cellphone twice a day. Most of the content is not worth writing about but two clips today made things very interesting indeed.

The first one that I received in the morning from my friend Anil, was this one of a deer having fun on a beach in Goa.
The deer has obviously come down from the woods adjoining the beach in some part of Goa.

Here is another forward received from another friend from Mumbai of Peacocks and peahens appearing suddenly in out most crowded city, Mumbai.

What an impact the shutdown has had in our wildlife!

The next one came from another friend in Mumbai that is very interesting indeed. Some remarkable skullduggery in the form of optical illusion helping our friends from the Marketing field.

Emojis.

Modern communication has increasingly been taken over by mass media like WhatsApp and Facebook, both of which I use. One of the conveniences of using such a method is that instead of writing long sentences to express emotions, one simply uses emojis.

I use a few regularly and they are these.

🙏. Namaste is the one that I use most often to express gratitude for some message. It is such a versatile symbol that it can be used for expressing many other emotions like, respect, greetings etc.

😀. The second most used emoji is this smile. I use it to express joy in response to either good news or a joke.

😂. After that comes this one to express great joy or laughter.

😔. Less needed but used nevertheless is this one to express sorrow or sadness or disappointment.

😇. I use this to express smugness or appreciation for a response.

👍. I use this to express my appreciation for the contents of the message.

👌. I use this to express that I find the message apt and useful.

👏. I use this to indicate that I applaud the message.

Three more emojis that I use regularly are:

👆. To point to a message / link given above in a separate message.

👇. To point to a message / link given below in a separate message.

🖕. I don’t need to explain do I?

There are experts in using emojis who exchange proper conversations using many emojis but alas, I am not in that league, nor do I want to be. Here is an example:

This is my take on this week’s Friday 4 On 1 blog post topic. The other three bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, Padmum and Shackman. This week’s topic was suggested by Padmum. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Singing.

A friend sent this clip to me with much enthusiasm hoping that this advice will keep me amongst his gang for some more time,

I responded to him with “The problem is that I can’t sing anymore. I croak like a frog.”

In his inevitable style he came back with “24/7 News Channel Reports Breaking News. There are many formats of singing like Qawwwalis, Classical, Jazz, Pop etc. Mr. RR has now introduced Croak Singing which is getting to be very popular in Western India.”

Unemployed.

I received this image as a forward in WhatsApp from a friend who felt that I should get some printed like this for myself.

I did not think that this would serve any purpose for me but, on seeing it as a forward from me, another friend who has the necessary infrastructure of an office with staff suggested that he order for a hundred cards with my name and with some modifications.

I agreed and when it gets printed, I shall write another blog post on it.

In the meanwhile, the “Unemployed” description on the card took me to one of my favourite exchange of letters in The Economist between a reader and The Undercover Economist.

The Letter.

AUGUST 6, 2005

Dear Economist,

My son-in-law has been unemployed for a couple of months now. As far as I can make out, he’s enjoying a PlayStation lifestyle while being supported by the state and by my daughter, who has had to find a temporary job. What concerns me is that he’ll get used to this. Should I tell my daughter to apply pressure by quitting her job?

Yours sincerely,

Godfrey Pickens, via email

The Response.

Dear Mr. Pickens,

The issue here is whether your son-in-law’s preferences will change over time—will he “get used” to a life of leisure, and so be less likely to work?

There are two competing views here. One is that he will become hooked on leisure (the welfare trap hypothesis) and will work less in the future, even if his wife quits her job. The other, equally plausible in theory, is that he will become addicted to the extra income provided by his wife’s new job, and if she quits, he will go on to work harder than before.

Such competing hypotheses have been hard to test in the past. But economist John Kagel has succeeded in running a series of experiments that shed light on the matter.

Kagel first forces his subjects to work for their income. Then, for a while, he provides them a substantial unearned income—a kind of welfare, if you will. Unsurprisingly, they slack off at once. Later, he withdraws the welfare and observes whether they work more or less than before welfare had ever been paid. The answer: the interlude on welfare makes very little difference.

This implies that your daughter should keep working for a while and see what happens. No harm will result. The only question for you is whether Kagel’s findings apply to your son-in-law.

Kagel’s subjects were rats. Do you think the parallel with your
son-in-law is close enough?

Yours experimentally,

The Undercover Economist

Success.

As it so often happens, two messages on my WhatsApp today leads me to this blog post.

The first message that I received in a group page was this image from a very savvy old colleague who has overcome some big problems and is now perceived to be a success.  Please click on the image to get a larger resolution.

The next one was from another young friend, in his early fifties now employed in Europe in the Financial Sector, with a perceived successful career behind him with more to come in the future. After we exchanged some other information, he came up with the following:

“Been working since 6.30 am. Annual results expected by mid February, with possible layoffs to follow. Hope I get made redundant with a good severance package! Will be happy.

If it happens, would like to use the time to retrain myself to do something more enjoyable and less stressful. Unfortunately, I got a very good rating at my appraisal a few weeks ago, so unlikely.

“Will also tell you someday about how selfish and self obsessed most people in the financial services industry are. Pays well but kills the soul.

I hope that you noticed that he thinks that it is unfortunate that he got a good performance appraisal rating!  Had he been a Millennial, I would have directed him to my blog post written some months ago so that he could identify with the millennials! Since he is not, I shall wait till post results of his employers to come up with another discussion with him.

He was in Pune in December and January and I could sense that he was not very happy with what he was doing but, I did not comment on it except to joke about it calling it his mid life crisis. At that point, I had gone back in my own life and recalled that I had just finished on five year contract with an employer and had retired two years later than I had aspired to. I did not look to be retrained but was enjoying my retired life after many years of travelling and not spending enough time with the family, spending time with my late wife and friends and generally goofing off. A series of events led me back into corporate life again on three separate occasions.

I hope that some such unplanned for “events” will take place in my friend’s life as well and when he is back in India by the end of this year, I will have more interesting topics to talk with him about.

Incidentally, I have consulted some friends to figure out a graphic to describe an iceberg of failures. Once that is ready, I shall post another blog about it.