Monday, 30 June 2014

Teaching today

Guru bramha Guru Vishnu……..nice idea……..
Land where teachers are compared to god.

I wonder why anybody would get up one day morning and decide to become a teacher. I can understand a child wanting to be a teacher because of the awesome power they have, but why would an adult want to become one?
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong in standing for 8 hours and teaching to a bunch of nincompoops whose attention span is less than a lab rat’s. But look at the other options you have today?
You can become a software engineer and earn close to a lakh per month and get to boast about it.

I know a lot of teachers who are very happy in their profession (either that or they are living in denial)

 What makes this profession a thankless one (only thanks can make a teacher happy because the pay is pathetic) due to some parents who think they can run a school with a bunch of hooligans for students.

These parents think they don’t have to respect teachers but teachers will have to respect their children. I mean, I know this father who would not think twice about bad mouthing a teacher in front of his son because teacher asked his son to write neatly.
Come to think of it, father is right. He knows his son is not capable of any sort of improvement, then why bother the kid?
When the teacher told him that neatness carries internal marks, father actually replied “who wants marks sir, my son will run my business”.   He is a fruit vendor.

Today’s school is a funny place to work in. Not all, but few parents don’t want their child disciplined, they don’t want teachers to give homework, every Monday should be a “non punctual” day, if the child is not in uniform it is school’s mistake (should he wear it every day?) shoes not polished is also school’s mistake(How many times will he polish in a week?)

Over a period of time, teachers are left with two options, either do their job right and lose employment or dance to parents tune and turn the other way when a student misbehaves.  Guess which option teachers took?

Dear Parents,

You have all the right in the world to safe guard the interest of your child, but keep in mind that safe guarding interest does not mean being nice only, it means being nice and doing the right thing.

Showing anger on your ward’s teacher in front of the kid might make you your child’s hero, but what will your child grow up to be………food for thought.

Thank you for calling…….(Contd…)

Again, that does not mean all Team Leads are incompetent. Like I said earlier, I have seen both sides of the coin, the front side and the back side (I am still deciding which is which).Just like bad politicians, worst politicians and Rahul Gandhi ,there are different kinds of leaders.

Lets talk about the “all important” HR department, which is like tooth ache with hangover. Can’t decide which is worst.

In BPOs,wives of CEOs or CFOs of big companies are hired as HR personnel(Mostly).  They are easy to recognise.  On any given day they are dressed in jeans, kurti, their hair will never be in place, they are rotund and  short, wear thick glasses. They are short tempered and have “holier than thou” air about them or they will look like somebody out of Victoria’s Secret (By the way, what is the secret?), either ways they are annoying.

HR department is categorized in to several divisions depending on work load and competency.  Given below is a clear table on the same (Not to be mistaken to be inaccurate):
1)      Should know local language well and passable English
2)      Should not have any concept of weekend( for themselves or others)
3)      Should be able to give an impression of being a colossal idiot even to a complete stranger
4)      Should not have any concept of time
5)      Should have an excellent appetite
6)      Should be able to look busy even when nobody is around (Or is it, “especially when somebody is around?” I am confused)
7)      Should be able to handle snacks, lunch, phone calls and being an idiot, all at the same time
Any kind of graduation will help but not mandatory
It is a big team and hence :
1)      Should be able to keep each other engaged
2)      Recognise the strongest in the operations team and take breaks with him/her (Sorry, not breaks –Supportive Humanskill Improvement Talk, in short SHIT)
3)      Should be able to smile at people they hate
4)      Give legal reasons for playing with people’s lives
5)      Should be able to make pie charts out of an empty excel sheet (I know you are going to try this)
6)      Should be available in cafeteria at any given point in time
7)      Should be able to copy personality development PPT from Google, change colors and use it as Leadership Improvement Programmes (But they are original….seriously)

For the sake of sustenance, HR is supposed to train Team Leads on people management skills. So the above PPT is downloaded, color changed, a few text removed and then the same is added (No idea? – get idea). Then the concerned Team sits down to device a time table which ensures that the Team Leads don’t get enough sleep for a week, since they will be working night shifts and attending this programme(?) during the day time.  These people can put Hitler to shame.

Only Dalia Lama can be patient with this breed. I mean, you should attend this programme. Of the team who is supposedly training ,not even one of them have handled operations floor for a day, but they talk about how to handle stress, how to handle difficult agents, do’s and don’ts of communications etc.  Above all, they give bonding exercises (Hey aunty, you want to bond, come to our weekend party).  It is like our local temple trustee teaching Ramalinga Raju how to handle PL account.

However, I have seen some excellent examples of HR personnel. All of them quit before doing any serious damage.

You should see hiring team in action.  Their end to end solution is like watching a spoof of Allari Naresh movies, which are spoof movies in the first place. Half the interview , they are on calls with their consultants fixing more interviews. Second half, they are asking questions which are not relevant to the job in any way. Not all of them are like that, there are some good examples of interview skills, they all gave interviews in good companies and moved out.

To my friends in Human Resources : The above is my experience with a few people and not with the department.  I have immense respect for what you do and request you to continue doing the same, exactly in the same manner in which you are doing at this very moment.

More to come………WFM………

Thank you for calling…….(Contd…)

After reading the first article about call centers, you must be thinking “what is wrong with this guy?” (of course with some @#$% and @#$%^ and lets not forget @$&*&^%$%&*) but that is not the case.  I learnt what I know from my experience in the industry (Don’t judge my knowledge level by these articles, I have other ways of proving my IQ. Few are listed here : 14 years of marriage, 10 years of being a father, number of movies I have downloaded, my decision not to date Rambha, how to borrow pin numbers to extend my MS office version etc).

All is not bad in the industry, all that I came across is bad, lets say that, yeah, sounds better.

One thing that brings all call center employees together is their language. Call center employees have a unique industry jargon. Given below is a typical conversation between an agent (who works his ass out) and his Team Lead( Who thinks he is working his ass out).
Agent (Agent) : What is the meaning of this hike ? (Agents are known to ask this question no matter how much hike they get)
Team Lead (TL) : What’s wrong with it? (TLs are known to give that answer no matter how low the agent’s hike is)
Agent : What’s wrong?  I got less than Shunty (Shunty is a folically challenged call center employee I knew)
TL : You are not supposed to discuss your hike with anyone (That’s an answer?)
Agent : Everybody discusses everything, Yuvi (Yuvi a grey matter challenged employee I knew)
TL : Well, you are not supposed to (Still no answer)
Agent : That’s not an answer (Atta boy!!!!)
TL : Ok, what do you want to know?(See? I told you this guy is grey matter challenged)
Agent : (Sigh) all my metrics were in place for the period and I was selected for IJP and all.  I got in to RNR, my NPS and QA were the best, while my AHT saw a good trend with reduced ACW and hold.  No UAs, UUs or NCNS. Then why?.  Shunty always took leaves after salary, came to office drunk once or twice. He was on DAP and PIP, never got selected for IJP but he gets more than me?
TL : (First of all he just now realized that Shunty used to take leaves right after salary, second thing is he does not remember this agent’s performance) All said and done, it is the management’s call buddy.  I don’t make rules, I follow them. However you have a good chance in this WFM IJP, I heard Syed (That is the lispy idiot I knew) is quitting or being asked to leave.

If you have not worked in a call center, you can make out only a vague outline of that conversation by context, like the “Dil maange more” controversy.  But only call center employees will understand what’s happening.  To enlighten you these are the highlights:
 TL is close to Shunty.  TL also takes leave after salary, probably with Shunty, TL never conducts monthly performance reviews and last but not the least TL is not in good terms with his boss.

No money for guessing who will get promoted in the next WFM IJP.  Congrats Shunty(You are right.  He is the typical Lipum Inthe Assum breed).