Monday, May 21, 2007

So much to write, where do i even begin?

There are times i dont write for long spans of time. Trust me, my default state is one of being swarmed with thoughts. Not silent or melancholy. I ALWAYS have something to say, much to some people's irritation. But i do. So when i dont write, although i call it writers block, its not so much coz i can't think of anything decent to write, or a decent way to write it. Its just that im so overwhelmed with the volume of thoughts flooding through my little mind, that i dont know where to begin. And so begin I don't!

Anyway, a multitude of things i wanted to write about. Most unrelated to the others, so don't go looking for linkages esp. if ur from P&G. Bleddy what a disease procterism sometimes becomes! :P Ill put them in seperate blogs to make life simpler for everyone. Esp the hapless reader :)

Of great bosses ...
2 Examples from my short career in P&G, my 1st ever job. I don't count my experience in Citibank as a job no matter what one says.
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My boss Anand pings me on Sametime this morning regarding something id promised him i'd send him before he reached the Philippines on his biz trip today. I completely forgot in the midst of my multiple deliverables last week. (For those with the patience to read a long story - I did send out the request to the people who even needed the help in the first place, they didnt reply, and my miss was i completely slipped on following up.)

To cut a long story short, when he asked me if we had an answer, i cud only hang my head in shame and say Nope! Slipped! As sweetly as ever, he asked if i cud pull it together by this evening, and i jumped to redeem some of that lost dignity and said can!!

So i spend a good 2 hours this afternoon looking through the data we need, pull together watever the conclusion was and mail it all across very eagerly to Anand. We spoke on the phone after that, probably coz my mail was so full of info that he cudnt really find what he needed and decided to jus call me. This happened twice. I had WAY too much on my mind to be worrying about whether id come across as an inept fool. So i didnt give it another thought. Im normally a sensitive person and all, but after hanging around for 2 yrs, i know better than to beat myself up over small things anymore. So i dont give myself too much grief. But here's what makes the difference between a good boss and a great boss.

After our multiple phone discussions where we basically discuss exactly what id mailed out to him, but had to clarify over the phone (now imagine how badly i mustve written those mails), Anand calls me once more. I pick up the phone thinking, erm, now what! And he goes "Sudha, I know you put a lot of effort into pulling the data together and writing those mails. Its just easier to talk on the phone. Didnt mean to negate or belittle your effort, i hope u understand that. Don't feel bad about it."

My first reaction was :O !!!! I laughed it off on the phone with him, said of course i didn't mind and all. But the gesture seriously touched my heart. I mean, for a boss with hajaar things on his mind to have THAT kind of consideration for just one of his many direct reports (a soon leaving report at that!) is just plain incredible. And Anand is just one of the many wonderful people ive met here at P&G.

I'm touched beyond belief and respect the man more than ever before. :-)

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Story 2:
A little background: My 1st week in P&G. Im this shuddering new hire who's completely terrified of her boss, a certain TA. Now with a name like that, i expected a gladiator like person to appear in front of me. Instead got someone who looked pretty normal, yet acted rather scary. It's T's style haan, dont be fooled by it. He bullies you and scares the crap out of you so you do the very best you can and exceed your own expectations. Equips you to make yourself proud even as you make him proud. More details some other time. (and so much for a LITTLE background!)

Some more background on what makes me quiver thus at the sight or mention of the word boss: An oft repeated story even on my blog, this. But citibank gave me this lovely lady who screamed at the drop of a hat, lost her temper with everything i said and did and felt like a constant fire breathing dragon in my vicinity. I've never been yelled at all my bloody life, not even by my birth parents, and she changed all that. So i came into P&G thinking its normal for bosses to yell at their reports and publicly insult them.

Cut to me sitting at central desk in the P&G office, Olay area, week 1: Te walks up to me. Asks me, tumko standard deviation ka funda pata hai na. As always i bulb a little, (bulbing was standard reaction to whatever Mr Tyrone asked back then, don't ask why!) stammer and say, of course i do. And we get into a discussion on what used to be one of my best subjects in b school. Its a very generic theoretical discussion that T in his classic style is trying to get me to apply to something practical. I jus sat and gaped as he sent fundae my way. Was impressed to say the least. And definetely not scared or insulted at being openly confronted in front of a bunch of people. Coz he never made it feel like interrogation or a question on my ability. His demeanor was so chillax that even the usually sensitive me couldn't fathom being insulted or feeling cornered.

And yet he suddenly stops, looks around, asks me to walk into a huddle room with him (for non P&Gers - a huddle room is a meeting room types, with glass doors so people can see you and know the room is occupied but can't hear you from outside) and i meekly follow him thinking ab kya hua? :S

And T sits me down and goes, "yaar i hope u didnt feel bad that i caught u like that in front of some 10 ppl, intent was not to put u down or anything, i just got so caught up in our discussion i forgot so many ppl were listening. I hope you're not feeling bad or anything."

Now you can imagine what kinda jolt that was to my system, coming from the screaming boss background that i did. I guess, its when i looked up to the sky and thanked God that after all the years of slogging through all that education, i was finally in a place filled with GOOD people.

I was touched beyond belief even back then. It was the start of what you might call hero worship. But when people are so wonderful, they leave you with little option. :)

2 comments:

Moppet's Mom said...

Hey, hey, talk about a small world! Tyrone was your boss?! Funny to think of him as one - he and Monali were one batch senior to me at B-School. And I was with Citi for about 3 years - I'm curious as to who the dragon lady was...! :-)

ollie said...

haha good one, S. I wonder if Anand and/or Tyrone read this!