Friday, April 30, 2010

Is the grass greener in the corner office or the cubicle

I always thought that it's way easier being the head honcho rather than working for one. Now I won't say I've had a sudden epiphany and realized that I was completely wrong. What I've come to understand is that maybe the saying 'the grass is greener on the other side' has some truth to it. (Remember the song in Disney's 'The Little Mermaid', 'Under The Sea'.)

At times being an employee sucks big time and you just want the weekend to come. I've had my share of bad bosses. That's why when I got a chance to be the boss, I promised myself that I would follow these rules:
1. Respect each employee as a fellow human being
2. Be approachable
3. Be empathetic
4. Be clear in what you expect of roles/positions/people
5. Stay open to constructive criticism

For about a year, hubby and I were busy laying the groundwork for our dream project and we had only a couple of employees. In the last 3 months we have gotten closer to launch date and have started large scale recruitment. This month we crossed the 100 mark and started getting a feel of what we were in for, on the employee front. The issues that we have faced till date can be largely categorized as:
1. The disgruntled employee, who feels a need to spread the negativity vibe
2. The person who applied for a certain role and once on-board doesn't want to play that role
3. People who accept offers and never turn-up (that is, they don't even let you know)
4. The trouble-maker who creates a mountain out of an HR molehill. Individually these people wouldn't have a foot to stand on, however they are good at inciting others (and we get to clean-up their mess)

This does not mean it's all bad. There are quite a few people who make working with them a pleasure. They come into work raring to go and waiting to give their tasks all they've got. The want to have careers, not jobs. These are the kind of employees any organization would be lucky to recruit. I have found these people to exist across all departments and levels, whether they are a member of the housekeeping staff or a department head. In fact, when I go into work every morning, I thank my lucky stars that we were fortunate enough to stumble upon such individuals. To offset the list above, let me give you one more list, a diametrically opposite one. These are the attributes that an ideal employee has, at least in my opinion:
1. Generally enthusiastic and proactive, though not interfering or irritating
2. Focused
3. Has the ability to think out-of-the-box
4. Eager to expand their knowledge/field of operation
5. Interested in mentoring others
6. A great team player

So hats off to all those people who make our work place a positive and bright one.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Wrong Shoes Mummy"

My mornings seem to be unbelievably busy, though all I do is feed my daughter breakfast and make her use the potty (my husband does this on my yoga mornings) before getting both of us ready. The rush is despite the fact that I organize all our clothes and other stuff the previous night.

I invariably lose my cool, when my daughter starts choosing what footwear she wants to wear to school. I mean she just turned 2 in April, isn't it too early for her to have a fashion sense? Anyway, this crazy morning rush was what caused one of my most uncomfortable days at work (since we started our own business).

It was a usual weekday morning and I had just about managed to get everyone in the car (we drop our daughter off at school on the way to work). The little one kept saying "Mummy, wrong shoes, wrong shoes". I shushed her with a "behave yourself" as I tried to feed her the cereal she had refused to eat at home. When we finally got to school she gave my husband a big hug and kiss before getting off. While I walked her to the gate, she had a last try "Mummy, your shoes are wrong" (she often gets mine and yours mixed-up). I ignored her comments and hugged her, she in turn gave me a kiss and a confused stare before heading indoors with her favorite teacher.

Half an hour later, I was holding my first discussion of the day in the corridor of our office, even before I reached my desk, when my accountant walked past and gave me a quizzical look. I smiled at her and continued the conversation. Throughout the day I kept getting these confused stares from people and couldn't figure them out. I finally found out why when I bent down to retrieve a fallen bill. Horror of horrors, I had worn my water-proof house-slippers, the variety with a red and black floral design to work!

While I was busy shushing her, my poor little baby was trying to save me from embarrassing myself at work. Now, I pay a lot more attention to her morning comments and try and stop myself from shushing her in general. I've realized one thing, she is totally focused on the moment, unlike her preoccupied mom.

I have a lot to learn from you my sweetheart.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Luxury vs Babies and New Business

I'm feeling totally guilty today. I just blew about 400 bucks on a terrible lunch, adding on about 400 (no pun intended) empty calories and making my wallet a lot lighter. 400 big ones may not seem like much to a lot of you and it didn't to me about 2 years back. However, with a toddler to provide for and a business into which hubby and I have pored all our life savings, our finances are precarious, right now, to say the least.

Apart from our scary financial situation, is the fact that the food sucked, big time. So I didn't even get my money's worth. In retrospect, I can think of at least 10 very productive and urgent uses for the money:
1. pull-ups for my daughter (who is potty trained, however I don't like her using public toilets)
2. Toiletries for all of us
3. School snacks
4. Part of my brother's birthday gift (his gift costs way more, and will be worth every bit)
5. A pen drive (for work)
6. The phone bill
7. My weekly dance class fee (this is not a luxury, I need the class to stay semi-fit)
8. Formal work shoes for my hubby (his are in tatters from standing for hours at the construction site)
9. Batteries for my watch
10. Overtime payment for my babysitter

I know, it's not a very glamorous list. I used to have way more fun stuff on my shopping list when I was an employee, rather than an employer. For example, in my not so distant past here's what I would have blown the 400 on (if I hadn't had that lunch):
1. Chick lit, Cosmo, Vogue
2. Art supplies
3. Surprise gifts for my family - 'just to say I love u' - now I just have to say 'I love u'
4. Growing my birthday gifting fund
5. Printing pictures and getting pretty frames for them
6. A cute top or fun bling ring
7. A mani or pedi (depending on the season)
8. Getting my hubby his favourite Thai Red curry dinner (home delivery, not homemade)
9. Catching a movie at the cinema with my hubby and a big tub of caramel popcorn (definitely a night show)
10. Dark Chocolate from Lindt

I can't believe both these lists were created by the same girl. Oh! how the mighty fall!

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm the Working Mummy

Writing has always been my chosen form of self-expression. Up until I became a mom, writing in my diary was satisfying enough. But when I entered this new phase of life, I realized that I wanted to connect with other people who were going through the same stuff. And that's what I hope to do through this blog, make a whole bunch of new friends who can guide me or at the minimum commensurate and celebrate with me.

Being a mummmy is by far the toughest thing I have ever had to do. I have a gorgeous and sweet-tempered baby, however I absolutely hated the first year of being a mom (more about that in another entry). I don't think my daughter is to blame for this, it's totally because of the kind of person I am:
- I love spending time on my own - reading, painting (you don't get much of this when you have a baby or toddler attached to you). Even after I got married, if my husband was busy I would happily take off to go have lunch at a coffee shop with just my book for company.
- I have to 'do' something fun or exciting everyday, or at least every weekend. I can't stand having one day be exactly like the next
- I love working. I just can't be a housewife or a stay at home mom. I tried being a housewife for three months, during my first year of marriage. I drove my husband crazy and he begged me to go do whatever makes me happy.
Am I a freak or there other mummy's out there like me? Can you love your baby with all your heart and still want to go to work, leaving her behind everyday. Because if I'm honest, though I need to work for the financial comfort it gives me, I also want to work (even though my husband is willing to be the sole breadwinner).