Thursday, July 31, 2008

The benefits of last minute studying

I’m sure I’m wading into controversial waters here, but I seriously feel that studying at the last minute is much better than regular studying… why?
For starters, somehow the pressure built up automatically increases your concentration, grasping and retention abilities. Secondly, when you’ve already done something well enough before, and have to read it again … it is supremely boring. Thirdly, there’s always a chance of overlooking something important which would not have happened if you had studied at the last minute… what tends to happen is… you see a topic and quickly skim through thinking… “I know this damn thing”… and therein lies your folly… coz sure enough something buried in all those simple words appears in the exam to befuddle you…
Lastly… you don’t learn anything new… if you had to study at the last minute… you can be assured of the fact that no matter what, you will walk away from that night more learned !!!

Corporate culture

Corporate culture - I didn't have to pay attention to that! I love learning new things, being exposed to new ideas. It gives me a fantastic high. Also, I feel really silly when I know of things but haven't given them enough thought or credit and find out just how potentially big they can be. Fortunately the high quotient outweighs the silly quotient and after my class on corporate culture I was fueled enough to start attempting to sensitize myself to corporate culture.

I feel trying to understand corporate culture seems to be more of a pro-active approach to better understand your target organization. This lets you decide where you'd like to be (to avoid a timshel situation - i.e. a maybe, maybe not kind of situation) and not have situations decide for you.
(As a rider to this, I do believe that once you make your choice, no matter how big it is, you will find a way to provided you're engaged enough)

What I also realized was that culture first crosses my mind if I were to think of a society or a country or a tribe. Today, there was a broadening of my ‘culture understanding’ horizon to apply the culture context to an organization. And the potential benefits I see are immense. Sure it may be difficult at first and maybe I’d be completely off but once I’m able to figure things out, identifying corporate culture seems beneficial. For example, if I wanted to switch jobs and know my set of values, I’d obviously see where I’d fit in best. Don’t you think recruiting people would also become simpler? And if I were to have my own set-up, won’t knowing my values would be critical in shaping the set-up culture? (at least till such a time that it works!)

That’s the idealistic scenario. It still remains to be seen whether with this understanding I will be able to better get an idea of a company closest to the truth. What I would like to be able to identify in the shortest time possible is to figure out the corporate culture without having to be a part of the organization. Is there another way to do that besides surveying those in the organization? And how much time will I spend in understanding cultures? When I know either ways, I’ll have a sequel post.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dignity of labour

How many of us have been victims of 'Oh my job is so boring'? Inspite of prevalant practices to boost employee morale and 'engage' them, things tend to get monotonous 'coz most humans like change (although change comes with letting go and sometimes trusting - two things we don't really like).
Ever wondered what keeps 'chottu' working at the road-side tea stall or the canteen guy at the office engaged?
When we talk of engagement, until my first class of Human Behaviour in Organizations, taking the E word to all the employees involved the management cadre. Looking at engaging the non management section didn't even cross my mind! An instance was pointed out in which a coffee serving guy, inspite of doing the same thing (i.e. serve coffee - in case my previous sentence was too long-winded) at meetings all the time, does his bit cheerfully. That actually got me thinking about how we take those guys for granted.
On more than one occassion, while talking to friends who've switched jobs, the quickest and fondest memory of an old job involves the non-management class'. For instance an ex-colleague remembers this of her old workplace (a global bank) Hectic work schedules didn't leave her with time to eat and invariably at 4 P.M. the canteen guy would make sure there was hot 'vada pav' (a Mumbai burger, served hot and spicy with sauteed green chillies if you so liked) and 'cutting chai' (a typical measure of piping hot roadside tea) at her desk!
Wonder what keeps people like him going most if not all of the time? Makes me wonder if the unengaged are missing something simple yet essential?Makes me appreciate these guys more and re-enforces that everybody has his own place in this Universe. Makes me realize that the concept of 'dignity of labour' should be explicitly stated... maybe therein lies the key to engagement?