Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Of Faux Pas and Morals - Part 2

If you haven't read part 1, here it is.

It came to me like an epiphany...
That the greatest morals...
Are born...
Out of the greatest Faux pas…

At this year’s performance appraisal, I really couldn’t think of anything that I wasn’t happy with. I liked my job, I had awesome flexibility, the pay wasn’t bad, I could work from home when I wanted to, my teammates were competent and friendly and my manager was understanding and appreciative. So I spend hours on the “What you would like to change in your role” field on the self-appraisal form. But it seemed to be quite boring to leave that field empty. So I just forced myself to put this in:

“Would like to be involved in other creative work like advertising and promotional material”

(As if I didn’t already have my plate full with technical writing!)

Anyway, my manager was delighted at the proposition and asked me to prepare this year’s advertisement for our annual conference, which is a BIG event. My brief was to promote the Training team and to get more clients to come to us for training. I was excited.

The world was getting stingy and most companies preferred to train their employees in-house rather than sending them to the expensive professional training departments. So, I decided to make use of a good statistic that I found somewhere. “In-house training costs X% more than outsourced training “(though we tend to believe just the opposite). The idea was to make companies aware that sending their employees to us for training will not only ensure better performance but would also turn out cheaper.

Toying with this idea, I thought of an analogy, which was something around these lines:

“You wouldn’t school your children at home.
Then why train your employees in-house?”

And this would be followed by the cool statistic that I had found.

I also thought of a picture of a bored kid being schooled at home by his mother, with a blackboard hung in the kitchen and the chair next to him being occupied by their pet dog.

Quite happy with the concept, I called a meeting with the key stakeholders i.e. managers of the different departments, the Business Development team and my manager, of course.
When the clock struck 10am (actually there is no clock in my office really that “strikes” with that much drama…but there is something mysterious in saying so, instead of saying “At 10 am…” Don’t you think?)…

…the meeting room looked busy. The seats were taken, the projector switched on, the first slide of my presentation up.

And I decided I would share “how” I arrived at the idea before proceeding with the idea itself.
So I said “We all have memories of our school days. Good, bad, ugly…but memories nonetheless. We may have bunked school, hated exams, faked absent notes, copied homework from friends, waited eagerly for the lunch break, wrote silly rhymes on teachers we hated, bullied the “bulliable” kid and pretended to fall sick just before a test we hadn’t studied for. But we all remember school. And no one can deny that it is a BIG influence on who we are today.”

Saying this, I presented the main slide…with the picture of the bored kid, and the text accompanying it.

After a brief silence, my manager spoke (god bless him). He said “Good work, Deblina. But there are many parents who really don’t send their children to school.”

Annoyed that such a superb concept was so casually rejected, I said “But that’s quite stupid. Why on earth would parents want to deprive their child of an experience that every child deserves? I know that some of the greatest people have never been to school…but that’s different. We don’t do that anymore. Not going to school is not an option for any of us, petty mortals.”

“Actually, I was home-schooled myself. None of my siblings went to school. And you wouldn’t say we did badly for ourselves, would you?” my manager said.

I gaped.


  • Never ask for more work when you already have sufficient.

  • Keep your opinions to yourself. Better still, don’t have opinions


ItsOnlyMe said...

I think it was a great concept, inspite of how it ended...i guess it'll work extremely well back home in India. I Could actually see the hoarding of the bored home schooled kid in my head. Cant believe u went for the hard sell after his initial resistance...but ofcos without that wudnt have made for another of ur perfect posts ;)
You shud definitely consider selling the concept to one of the advertising firms in India, and this time it'll fly without a doubt :)

spiderman! said...

A good idea went to the dustbin. But this one is surely gonna work in India.

I totally agree with the 1st moral of the story. The 2nd one could be modified as "always have an opinion which is the same as your boss'"

late, but here said...

:D our geography book (3rd standard, i guess) had a picture of a very bored young girl tuning into a radio like device for education in some remote australian bush/outback/wilderness. but i though they all grew up to breed kangaroos and drink beer. i didnt know they become managers, and that too great ones, like the on you got :D

The Ketchup Girl said...

Hahahahah. Debuuuu! Don;t be so hard on yourself. It was a fantastic concept. Just your rotten luck :).I am liking this series of faux pas. I know theres a streak of saddistic pleasure in that sentence- laughing at someone's expense. A big HUG. Did u ever consider copy writing?

Scribbler :) said...

Na, I am so embarrased that I would have burnt that ppt if i could...so I wont sell it in India :(

Rhea said...

Lol. I would have wished for the floor to open and swallow me up!