Aug 26, 2012

Training, Reflections and other mundane stuff...

We are just back from a 3 day training workshop in Lonavala. And before you, like some of our friends, begin to think "Wow, Kiruku's company sends him on nice training sessions to picturesque locations, they are so employee friendly", please note that the company would want to recoup its investment in this 'resource' as they deem to call us, and is training us not out of the goodness of its heart, right?

Our attitude to training has always been a little less than positive in the sense we see it as yet another KRA for the HR department to tick off more than for it to have any life-altering impact on us. Hence, we are usually skeptical about such programs. That is why we were pleasantly surprised on this one. The difference here was that the trainer had no pretensions of being a life-change guru. And that in itself, is a refreshing change from the many charlatans that one has been subjected to over various stages of one's corporate life. We particularly detest the ones who have no clue about the kind of work we do, and bring their cookie-cutter solutions from any number of how-to books, and promise to change us from the loser we usually are into some sort of superhero. Our trainer started off by saying "I can only plant a seed. It's up to you to nurture it. After all, it's your life." So, an 'A' for setting expectations right.

Whenever we are attending such workshops, we are reminded of a quote from George Bernard Shaw which one of our professors (in fact, one of the few we have met who had this other-worldly ability to indulge in self-deprecating irony while sarcastically putting us down with wry humour) used in a class: "Those who can, do. Those who can't teach." And that is why we were happy that the person who had come to preach actually practiced it elsewhere, and hence knows what he is talking about. So, another 'A' for not being pretentious.

While the workshop touched on a lot of things (a 'B' for lack of focus?) like understanding one's strengths and weakness (bleah!), presentation skills (useful), having difficult conversations (interesting!), emotional intelligence ('inspired' by many books of that genre, nothing original there for folks who have read those), giving and receiving feedback (cookie-cutter terms here), the session that had us thinking (and still has us thinking) was the one on 'values', getting us to focus on the things that we considered 'most important'. While not filled with any blindingly original insights, we feel it was timely given how we increasingly seem to be lost in this routine of work, forgetting why we are doing it in the first place. And given that one of the key points repeated ad nauseam was "Pause and Reflect", we feel we need a lot of pausing, reflecting and other introspecting to determine what exactly is important to us. And what we plan to do to tick off the right boxes.

Of course, it is entirely possible that, at the end of all this intellectual m-word we won't use here, we come up with zilch. Or something like, we are happy doing nothing. Entirely possible. But at least, we would have reached that conclusion after giving it some thought. Thinking is something that we have neglected to do lately (except when discussing the purpose of life with drunk friends and concluding that it is to procreate and further one's genes). Time we got around to it (the thinking, not the procreating!).


  1. Anonymous1:21 PM

    Interesting that you talk about reflecting on values and 'the most important'in our lives.
    Sica,I want to ask you something.If given a choice to become a lecturer and not what you are today,would you switch profession?
    I am at this crossroads today and considering how much i agree with you on things,i want to have your advice. reply.

  2. Anonymous1:22 PM


  3. @ Anon:
    It's not 'if given a choice' - nobody gives a choice, one chooses on one's own.

    Personally, at this stage of my life, I won't become a lecturer - not at this pay. Our teachers definitely deserve better.

    And as for you, it's a decision that you will have to take. Irrespective of my (or for that matter, anyone's!) advice. It's your life. You make the decision and live with the consequences.

    Putting a name, at least initials, would have helped. Now, I am guessing which of my friends is crazy enough to listen to my advice! I can suspect 2-3 such unfortunate people, but it is difficult to narrow it down further :)

  4. Anonymous12:45 PM

    Thank you.
    We've met in a professional set up.I admire your work ethic and agree that you are one workhorse.
    My problem is that nine to nine work hours don't agree with me,and it's the money matters i'm stuck on.On the other hand,i get to smell the roses only if i become a lecturer.that's slightly better than a teacher's pay scale,but again that's half of what you earn from being a corporate slave.
    And i am a woman,if not a lady:D

  5. Professional set-up? Now, it's getting curiouser and curiouser! I give up!

    As for the "i get to smell the roses only if i become a lecturer", while it is true to some extent, I think that people who really want to smell the roses will take time out, no matter what! And I have met enough lecturers who don't take time out, but get bogged down in the mundane tasks of getting the short-attention-span-students to learn something.

    Of course, you can always set a target, say X lakh (crore?) of savings, and then quit and become a lecturer once you reach there.