24 November, 2010

True Lies...

I’m sure most of you folks on facebook have seen the grad speech by the guy who commends mediocrity in all its glory. I’m taken back to a lot of the resumes I’ve read over the years about how people try to market themselves to companies. Most resumes will have lines such as “ I am self-motivated, eager to work and am looking to make a difference to the top line of the company”. We all obviously know the person is kidding….their only motivation to join your company is either the fat paycheck that you give them at the end of the month or the fact that you are close to their home. Try not paying them for a month, we’ll see how god damn motivated they are. Such folks are normally the pioneers of threads such as ‘ Loyalty=pay” on the company discussion boards. And let’s not even talk about the ‘eager to work’ bit.

“I am a natural go-getter, known for taking initiative, being perseverant and have been commended for my hard work”. How does one get commended for ‘hard work’? Did your previous boss come and stick a golden sticker on your forehead? And what the hell is a ‘Natural go-getter’? Are their unnatural go-getters? Are you organic or something, while the others were synthesized in a lab? And asking women out (and not scoring) does not count as ‘known for taking initiative’. It’s almost hilarious as to how people write their resumes with all these little adjectives that they picked off their friend’s resume and are using as their own. I even remember this incident where one dude went up to the other, the evening before his interview and said, “Tell me what you are good at? If they ask this tomorrow, I need to have an answer.” Perfect ‘facepalm’ moment. I can even accept these resumes provided people are applying for jobs that require skills like being aggressive, a go-getter, great communication skills….you know, jobs like sales. But the job one is applying for is ‘minion software engineer’….. so why the hell do you need to be a natural born leader for this job?

And the worst part is companies hiring people for such jobs where all they are meant to do is follow orders issued from the top and not question, want all these dynamic-thinking-natural born leader types? Why would you get someone like Napoleon or Alexander the Great and put them in a cubicle and make them listen to your corporate ‘strategy’ (yet another over-rated word). What you need is an unmotivated, lonely, moderately knowledgeable person to enter data from column A in the Excel sheet to column B. I remember seeing an ad in the paper for a company’ Looking for young, enthusiastic, eager to work, well qualified person to head the desk at the reception’. Enthusiastic? Seriously? And how does it matter if they are young or not? It’s not like you need Emma Watson forwarding calls to your CEO.

What I’d love to see is an honest job-description to which one sends an honest resume.’ Wanted: well qualified person to work in our department. Kindly note, the work is mundane and will not help you develop anything more than a personality of a snail, yet we need you to be qualified so that it makes us look good in front of the client. We really don’t care too much for your opinion as we believe we are intellectually superior human beings, but you may occasionally whimper at team meetings. Yes, we will pay you well. Why? Because we can. And in return for the money we pay, we hope you hang around and help us with our corporate mission and vision statements. If that is not possible, the least we expect is that you don’t surf porn during office hours.’

Response: ‘ I am a mediocre fellow from an unknown engineering college in a branch that I am not too sure of. I really did not have a clue of what to do with my life back then, and the story has not changed, hence I chose engineering. The only reason I want to work is to get money to buy computer games and don’t have to ask dad for money for booze. I expect you to pay me more as time goes by so that I may buy things I really don’t need. I am not a go-getter and will not express my opinion at meetings. I hear your company sends people abroad, so I am joining with the hope of going some day.’

I must admit that I too am a bit of a cynic, because my resume also contains words like go-getter, excellent communication skills, well-rounded personality, and all those little keywords that make companies think they are hiring the next best thing after sliced bread. However, I am serious about the ‘well-rounded’ part….dear future employer; please ensure your chairs don’t have arm-rests that cut into my rather large butt when I’m sitting down.It is not expected that I will lose weight ever. Instead, I will launch a counter campaign against thin people mocking them....in case that does not work, I will spam their mailbox and ensure it crashes.

Anyone else have any interesting resume stories? Or strategy to make the life of thin people at the office not so friendly?

13 November, 2010

Movie Review: ‘ Skyline’ …and ‘ The Social Network’

Spoiler alert! There may be parts of this movie revealed, so don’t say I did not warn you. Here goes.

Skyline….Sigh! What can I say about this movie? Very promising trailer – which is why I went to see it in the first place, and in the end, quite a letdown. This is why marketing guys are going to hell for sure. We make you gullible people part with your money and sell you sub-standard crap. If it was awesome crap, you can use it in the garden at least to grow rose bushes. Wait wait….why am I apologizing on behalf of my marketing fraternity for your stupidity? Anyway, the fact remains that the last great alien invasion movie remains ‘Independence day’. Of late, I must say I’ve stopped liking these ‘end-of-the –world’ type movies...single guy, 2012 and all that. This movie had a lot of promise, and for once, the human race was not triumphing thanks to motivating speeches against E.Ts, we were actually losing. Nothing worked.

There I am sitting, expecting a nice ‘world-in-ruins’ ending …or reality, because I know when the aliens come down here to boogie, we are so getting our butts whooped. Here is where the entire movie just got annoying….the aliens harvest us for our brains, which they use as batteries to run themselves, which is kind of ironic if you think about it considering that humans don’t use it at all. They abduct the leading couple, who are obviously in loooooouuuuuuuuuuvve and are pregnant. The brain of the male dude is harvested and is transferred to one of the creatures there while the woman is being harvested for her baby. Their love is so strong, that this creature with the protagonist’s brain hears the woman crying for help and basically morphs into her BF. So, this dude basically becomes the alien but with the thoughts and heart of a human. And he goes about wrecking the mothership.

This is the point where you pull a ‘facepalm’.

Moral of the movie: Love triumphs of superior alien technology.

I thought the corniest ending to an alien invasion movie was ‘ War of the Worlds’ where overnight, the aliens die because apparently, they had not earned their right to live on earth while the human species had fought through 65 million years of evolution. This reminded me of how they would give out trophies at school. The house with the least trophies won the ‘overall best house’ trophy, so as not to demoralize them. Since when did ‘survival of the fittest’ become like when the youngest cousin got to choose which restaurant everyone went to, just because they were the youngest. WTF….

Anyway, I digress as usual… I should change my name to ‘tangent’. Anyway, the movie was absolute rubbish. In terms of effects, there is nothing new to see. Same old same old. As far as the ending goes, it’s your god damn fault for going and watching it despite me telling you not to, and you deserve to lose your money.

Might I suggest ‘The Social Network’ instead, which is a pretty neat movie and was really well made. Good dialogues. The movie is probably every IT programmer’s ‘Wall Street’. I myself am inspired to create a .com start up soon, but am sure the initial craze will fade away. They movie is a great portrayal of the saying ‘Behind every successful man is a woman’….however, she need not be the one egging him along, she could also say mean things to him and make him a workaholic with a great idea. So all you women who are mean to the ‘non-six’ pack male community, just you wait….we’re taking the world back. And your stupid 6-pack male friend will be made to serve us coffee and beg for an internship in our company.

Sorry about that! Irrelevant emotional outburst! My bad…. Anyway, the social network is probably the one film I’ve really liked after ‘Inception’ this year. Suggest you do go and watch it. It just puts facebook.com in a whole new perspective than just a mere social networking tool. Also, those with entrepreneurial itches, I suggest you get a girlfriend who ditches you, and then you can create some awesome stuff out of total rage. So I’m off to the bar…..see you all around. By the way, what happened to that Orkut Buyokutton fellow? Are they making a sequel to ‘Almost Famous’???

04 November, 2010

With regard to honourable ancestor...

Of late, thanks to my unlimited internet download plan, I’ve been able to get my hands on a lot of history based documentaries (that was not code for porn) and find myself especially fascinated with the origins of people. Stuff like how the Indian civilization came to be and how a lot of our Hindu religion is very similar to old pagan religions from where we originated. Many of these programs actually trace the gene pool of folks living in towns to ancient records to find some pretty whacky connections. For example, I was watching this documentary on the origins of the English and there was this one fellow who ran some small scale business in some blah-blah-shire town whose DNA code traces back to one of the old Viking knights who was part of the first wave of the Viking invasion of Great Britain and the fellow was of certain royal lineage.

Naturally, I being my ever curious self, did a lot of reading up on the possible origins of where I come from and I must say, from early records….not too bad. The area of Tanjore in the olden days was a center of learning. We were apparently always knowledge seekers, and not in the sense that we did it so that we could make a business out of it. Apparently, we were always the ‘ I know a lot of stuff….none of which helps me make money’ types. We boasted of great libraries which hold ancient books on philosophy, literature, poetry, math and grammar (take that Wren and Martin…we beat your English butts). We are also one of the early Indian cultures to chronicle our own history with genealogy, land grants, the works. Through all this, the present king of the Tanjore, and I mean this with the most humble heart your majesty, has the most pathetic display of the English language and looks like all he does is sits and watches TV all day long. Please don’t string me up for treason against the empire, your majesty.

In fact, the oldest recorded library in India was from our district. The king of the old age was apparently fascinated with science and mathematics, and had even imported books on numbers from outside India. I guess this is where the fascination with accounting began for my people. Note to you blokes: We should have learnt investment banking instead…or at least how to cook kababs. Accounting does NOT impress the chicks. Anyway, I must say that I was kind of pleased with the whole ‘ center of learning and knowledge’ bit.

It’s also so cool that we still worship the same temples built in the 10th century and the rituals followed then are followed even today. I’m especially glad about this part because it gives me some cool stuff to pass on to the next generation. History shows that not only did we hold grip over the entire south of India; we even got hold of Indonesia and stuff. We were into ‘outsourcing’ even before you knew it. This is clear that many of our temples depict the gods as warriors. The erstwhile LTTE apparently modeled their oaths on the same lines of the great armies of our King, Raja Raja Chozhan ! It was the great king who brought about the system of Bureaucracy …and maybe with it ‘the great Indian bribe’. Sorry present day folks for unleashing that upon you.
But through all that, we did have some pretty neat stuff. We made some killer temples and were even labeled the Athenians of India. So ladies, get this….according to history (or at least the BBC) we are the Greek gods of your world. See…see!!! From today, you shall call me ‘Achillesothirunathan’ or ‘Herculesoswamy’. Hum kaale hain tho kya hua dilwale hain !!!

I could go on for pages about how cool it is to be a part of such a great civilization, and one that has been undermined by the Moguls and their tandoori chicken and Taj Mahal. But we’ve never been the ‘marketing’ types…loud and boisterous. We’re still the silent accounting types. On a personal note, I really want to personally trace back my lineage and see if some great great grandfather was chief accountant at the king’s court….or that the first trace of our people is when some warrior from Greece settled down in Tanjore and married our local pavadai wearing Pocahontas. That would explain my awesome good looks and appreciation for the arts. Who knows, Leonidas could be my great great great great grandfather. Or worse, we came from some African country like Somalia in a little boat and have been farmers ever since. While I wont be too surprised by the latter, since my family (on my father’s side) leads a very simple life….lot’s of food on the table and roof above our heads. Sounds very similar to the needs of many refuges in Somalia. Maslow is probably pointing at me and guffawing in his grave !

Anyway, I’m now oozing with pride thanks to the rich history of my people. It’s a good thing too, because when I do marry that Greek Goddess, I can tell our kids how their mom’s people had all the beauty, and their dad’s people had all the brains! My kids will be good-looking accountants….a unique phenomenon among my people!