Monday, May 22, 2006

Communications Failure

How do you explain your profession to a generation that does not know much about Information Technology or IT marketing? I so envy you techies and Marketing/Finance/Facilities people who can explain their profession to this generation with relative ease. I went batty trying to explain the term “Communications” to 70 something Ammachi’s and Peramma’s and various Appans I met at church recently.

Unabashedly curious oldie to me: What are you working as?
Me: I am a Communications Professional.
Oldie: Adhu endhuva? (What’s that?)
Me (after some furious thinking): Well...I help sell the products my company makes.
Oldie: Oh! You are a salesgirl.
Me: No!!!! I strategize and oversee the making of communication material, participate in Trade Shows and …..
Oldie (interrupting): Trade Show?
Me: It’s like an exhibition.
Oldie: So you work in the stalls in exhibitions?
Me: Sort of
Oldie: So you are a Sales girl!
Me: No!!!! I do have to be at the stall, but it is to explain the product to visitors.

Oldie looks at me eyebrows arched and I realize that I had just described the job of a salesgirl.

Me (clenching my teeth): It is difficult to explain Ammachi.
Oldie: Likely story! My grandson is a Kompooter injineer (computer engineer). He repairs computers. (grandson is a software engineer with Infosys)
Me: Is that what he told you?
Oldie (sneering): Yes and he did not have any problems explaining his job like you did.
Me (using grandson’s simplification technique): Ok Ammachi, I am a writer
Oldie: Writer? How do you survive on the salary of a writer?
Me (smiling tightly): I manage Ammachi.
Oldie: You should have studied kompooter injineering like my grandson. But I guess it’s too late for you now.
Me: err...I have got to go. I think Amma is calling me.
Oldie (to another oldie): Poor girl. Hope she gets a boy with a decent job. This is what happens to girls who are no good in studies.

*sigh*

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am a born loser acco to some sources.

My Mom is a barber (Beauty Salon)

I am a tailor (Boutique owner)

It doesn't matter that I have my own outlet with 5 employees.

Somethings never change.

btw this was hilarious.

Sonia

josh said...

Indeed..hahaha

Mind Curry said...

lol..nevermind..you still sell your products very well :)

there are so many things our previous generations cannot fathom..and it can get so frustrating at times..man..and your job is just one of those easier things to deal with.

its like if you say you are in healthcare information technology, people immediately ask "you do transcription?"

ahh..that was a long wait for the post..but worth it anyway :)

calvin said...

ITS been a looooooooooooong time OK ?

Muhuhuhahahauha

The Golden Oldies know quiet a bit OK ? My Grandmother has studied till today's equivalent of fourth standard. This lady manage surprise me many a times with queries like "Nee ippo ethraamathe semester aayi ? " and "What about campus selectio ? Ninte collegil company onnum vannille ? " . [ Oh everyone knows what campus selection is nowadays , thanks to the recruitment by companies like Infy and TCS ] . But she has no idea where Germany is . Oh and she thinks I type away at a console , from 9:00-18:00.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

My buddy in the civil service was originally with Citi. He was spurred to try the exams when Old Family Friend asked (mind you, this was nearly 20 years ago), "Seetee Bank? Woh koi nationalised bank hai? Naam toh nahin suna ..."

Yes, he regrets it now!

J.A.P.

EspritNoir said...

this was so funny...i'm almost in a similar line of work, and was explaining the concept of Marcom (Marketing Communications) to my granddad the other day, and he was like totally lost after 10 minutes of explaining events, and copywriting, and desiging ADs etc..."so tell me again who are your clients?" was a line he loved a lot, i think;)

LI said...

Never Mind, With the kind of language and style of your blogs you must be doing the "communications" quite well for your company :-D .

Rockus said...

Funny...its really funny to see people with so many preset notions...
A friend of mine got a coveted job in Huewei Tech and he went to tell that to our principal...
He: Maam, I got placed...
Princi: Where?
He: Huawei Technology
Princi: Kovai Technology?
He corrects...
Princi: Whats the salary?
He: 28,000
Princi: Annually?
Atleast that was an elderly lady...this was our college Principal!

Immigrant in Canada said...

fortunately I didn't have to explain my job..just had to answer one simple question "nee ethra pere konnu ithinodakam??

Jiby said...

you know wht...thank god they didnt label you as a lottery seller...i think they must have said the rosary for u after u left!!!

when i returned from the US i had a session like this with my ammachis and appachan where i tried to explain the reasons...they cudnt fathom why i wuz doing this...i finally thru my arms up in despair!!! finally two months later when my cousin visited the 3 "young 'uns" they were taking turns explaining to her their intuitive theories on my return and she later told me she had never been involved in a more hilarious debate...it all made me wonder in dread if the issue had already been discussed at length all thru the entire village!!!

Alexis Leon said...

That was hilarious...

Oldie: Writer? How do you survive on the salary of a writer?
Me (smiling tightly): I manage Ammachi.
ROFL.

Poor girl. Hope she gets a boy with a decent job. This is what happens to girls who are no good in studies That was a classic ;-)

Thanu said...

Hehe... so funny..
//Hope she gets a boy with a decent job. This is what happens to girls who are no good in studies.

I can def see this happening too...

Dr. Pissed said...

hahaha
Little does she know that you probably end up making 3 times as much as her grandson and his two friends put together. If at all, they'll need someone like you to even get around society!

No offense meant to her though, if she ends up reading this blog and its comments! Since her grandson is injhineeer and all.

Gladtomeetin said...

Good One...But the problem still exists :-))

shruti said...

I so know what u mean .. I hate being gheraoed by relatives and being asked my salary by unashamed far off relatives whom I never remember how I am related to ...no clue why they are talkin to me ( IS it the first time ??? ..I cant even remeber ) .. adn then comparing it to some far fetched son / grandson / great grand son who has managed to do an IIM .. Man I am happy .. I am enjoyin my life .. I can stand on my feet and I am not comparing myself to anebody .. I dnt even know the person ur talkin abt .. then why am I subjected to this ??? I just turn a deaf ear and run towards the sound of music .. cos thts wht marriages are about fun n dance !

Connor's Corner said...

HAHAHA!!! I so KNOW how that feels!!! Try explaining Event Manager for one!!

shruti said...

hey dear whn is ur bday ..am a cancerian too !!!

Lost in trance... said...

Hilarious! Sexy read :)

sreehari said...

i hav a feeling the general air in here seems 2 b turned against the oldies ..but i dare say they hav a true picture of the situation :) u give a IT slave a tie and an a/c cabin he feels he is an engineer !!and u call a sales girl a marketing ececutive she thinks she is a corporate official ..my humble young brain can't make out the difference any explanations !!?

The elderly camel said...

waiting for your pictures :)

silverine said...

@Sonia: As you said, somethings will never change with this particular generation.
@Josh: Glad you see the funny side he he :))
@Mind Curry: At least they know what MT is!! I am not so lucky :(
@Aashik: Your Grandma is really cool :)
@espiritnoir: I am Marcomm too :)
@Lijo: Thanks buddy :)
@J.A.P: Your poor friend !!! He must cursing Old Family Friend :))
@Rockus: LOL that was unbelievable!!
@Sarah: Now that must have hurt :))
@Jiby: When I took English, it was discussed at length throughout the village. People are surprised I have a job he he. Your old folks must be saying a rosary for you lol
@Alexis: Thank you. I wonder how you explain writing books on Technology :)
@Thanu: It all boils down to getting a 'boy' :P
@dr pissed: At present kompooter injeering is considered the pinnacle of success.
@Gladtomeetin: Very true, it still exists. People still don't know much about the support services.
@Shruti: I see red when people ask me my salary. My b'day is on July 6th :)
@connors connor: Oh dear,imagine your troubles. Probably they will call you a nautanki LOL
@lostintrance: Thank you :)
@srihari:This post is about trying to explain some hitherto unknown jobs to the older generation.
@elderly camel: Hey nice to see you. The pics are very amateurish. Mostly flowers, a Fantail, an Oriental white eye, a Pied Bushchat and the hiney of a Tickles Thrush :))

nish said...

Hmmm... why does this sound so close to home!! well coz.. yeah i face the same problem... was worse when i was actually studyin communications... just gave up trying ;-) i still have trouble... so i gave up trying and just tell them that i work in a software company... they are satisfied and i dont get grilled!!

Hyde said...

Here is something you can tell your Ammachi. The software engineering industry is often compared with the construction industry. In fact, a paper on Object Oriented Analysis and Design does just that.

Going by that, a software programmer is the mason and a team leader is the supervisor.

Doesn't this make you feel better?

PS: I use the term Coder to describe my profession. ;-)

starry nights said...

Funny post. I had to share this one with "j". my husband.

Kusum Rohra said...

Heheh Same to same problem with me too, everytime an oldie asks me what do i do I just say i work with a bank, that impresses them and saves me and them from some frustration.

Alexis Leon said...

@Alexis: Thank you. I wonder how you explain writing books on Technology :)

I don't explain. When asked what my profession is, I just give a shrug. Most people think that I was shifted to the wheelchair straight from the cradle and have no education. It works 90% of the time.

Some times I play dumb/deaf, which also works fine. People are happy that I am able to understand Malayalam.

It is very difficult otherwise. If I say I am an engineer or I write books to a stranger, usually I get a 'don't think I am that stupid' look. So I play the role of an illiterate with no formal education and most of the times it works and now I have become very good at it ;-)

Sreejith Kumar said...

70 something Ammachi’s and Peramma’s and various Appans

Super Silv...

I was about to ask you to write a book compiling all these blog entries. But since it is difficult to survive on the salary of a writer, I wouldn't ask you to! LOL....

Anonymous said...

Hahaha..its not just jobs that old ammachis and appachans can't understand...but also sometimes education!! I am a CFA but they all think I mean CA. I have finally given up explaining that they are both different courses!

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

commenting on the previous posts :

Abt the PC Hunt - i have an AMD too ... must say ur uncle has provided again : " IGNORANCE IS BLISS " !~~!

u have a great family ... M and now JoJo's dad !!!!

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

abt Kalyana Ramans and Ramanis :

What are the names of Nithin Joseph, Alexander, Philip, Isaac, Francis, Maradona, Ajith Wadekar, Kurian, Geevarghese Thomas and Shiny Marie, Sarah, Elizabeth Mary 's (FUTURE)children ????

btw , how come u r in chennai ?

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

current post :

well , it aint so easy for the it ppl either ....

i rem a recent conv i had :

Curious Lady : What do u work as ?
Me : I work as a signal processing engineer
CL : But what do u do ?
Me : I work as a signal processing engineer
CL : My son works in mobiles
Me : Huh .. what was that ?
CL : Yes ... that is why i say the girls of today should stay at home

Ok .. i agree this is exaggerated ... but ......

Get back soon !

Nikhil Narayanan said...

Jus imagine the plight of someone like an i.banker or an MBA in IT industry...the brands would be unheard by the oldies.....
or try explaing the diff between a systems MBA and an MCA....
or diff between a sales rep in an FMCG co and an MBA ther...
nice post.....

Dhanush said...

Oldie (to another oldie): Poor girl. Hope she gets a boy with a decent job. This is what happens to girls who are no good in studies.


ROFL :) - Hilarious as always.

silverine said...

@nish: Now that's a simple way to deal with it :)
@Hyde: That was not my Ammachi, just an old acquaintance I met in Church :)And your explanation though simple will only lead to a flurry of more questions :))
@Kusum: I think I will say that I am a 'professional liar'. Comes closest to my job description ;)
@Alexis:I have tried playing deaf and dumb, but then the kaarnavaru's are so persistent :) Playing the role of an illiterate with no formal education is a brilliant idea. I will try it next time LOL
@Sreejith: Thank you for showing daya on this poor writer. Next time I go to Kerala with a begging bowl in my hand ROFL, mebe that will drive home the point :))
@Anon: I have a friend who is a CFA. He simply says that he is working in a Bank :)
@Deepa: Ungle is quite an entertainer. I am sure Nitin and Shiny will have better sense when naming their children. Instead of signal processing engineer you could ahve said that you are a Telephone Engineer :))
@Nikhil: I can't imagine how you will explain those. But I know many MBA's who say that they are "Managers". Works just fine!
@Dhanush: Thank you :)

Supremus said...

ROTFL - Tch Tch! Atta girl, u should have studided :P - kaha sails (:P) main phas gayi ho.

പെരിങ്ങോടന്‍ said...

ഈ ബ്ലോഗൊരു കണ്ണാടിയാണല്ലോ, വന്നു വന്നു ഞാന്‍ നോക്കുമ്പോള്‍ എന്നെത്തന്നെ കാണുന്നു :)

stan_da_man said...

lol..i've seen the same thing happenin to lotsa ppl..its okaay yaar..about 10-15 years ago, you would have heard the same ammachi sayin - " mone gelfillanu.." or "avanu persiayillanu.." lol.

For me, being an innjjineerr is pretty boring (evryday can be a drag - believe me!)..ur profession is much better..I'm seriously thinkin of jumpin lanes!

nice post :)

Fleiger said...

Thank god you are not HR person, or maybe Network Admin. Try to think how you would explain that - you manage people (contractor????) or you manage nets (fisherman or plumber???)

Hyde said...

More questions, yes. But it is easier to explain from the point of view of a construction industry, isn't it?

Matter of Choice said...

same here...i could never explain my job to my parents/relatives either...finally i take shelter under "i work on the stock markets" which never fails to draw a collective grasp from the group :)

MoC

Matter of Choice said...

PS: great to have you back!!!!!

silverine said...

@Supremus:Hai!! Yeh kahan aa gaye hum :p
@peringodan: "The only service a friend can really render is to keep your courage by holding up to you a mirror in which you can see a noble image of yourself" George Bernard Shaw :)
@stan_da_man: The grass is greener on the other side, but my job is def more interesting than coding :)
@Fleiger: A NetAdmin can say he is a engineer. But an HR in Kerala will be miscontrued as a Gulf Job racketeer :))
@Hyde: I rather not explain, it is so tedious. I dont mind if they think I am a sweeper :))
@MoC: They must think you are gambler ROFL

Alit said...

I somehow get the feeling, the last comment of that sweet oldie may have pushed you into writing this... -;))

Jackal said...

i know how diff it can get.....like some one asking me which cell i had ..its nokia..y dont u have a reliance...now its so diff to make hin understand....the diff between the two

Kautilya said...

aiyyo...
This happend with me over and over and over...
so when ever an oldie ask me, what u do, I make up some thing thats not there at all...

the best one... so far was...
PLC Expert, Power Line Carrier.... one oldie thought that I was an expert coolie who could carry a lot of suitcases ot trunks!!!! but the other oldie corrected this oldie that I worked as a tiffin carrier supply boy.... ROTFL!!!

monu said...

its not easy to explain u r job to "ungals" and "aundies" too..unless they know anything about computers

for me it was not easy to convey to them what i do ..especialy when my work is related to online/website related works... so some times i have to say "i make internet for companies" :P :P ...and they understand what i mean..but before i say that i used to make sure that no techy person is near me..

Biju said...

Ultimate, LMAO!!!. Good that you don't have to explain the job to your customers :-).

silverine said...

@Alit: No, it wasnt the last comment. It is the sheer frustration of explaining the whole thing without success to so many of the old folks :)
@Jackal: Very true!
@Koutilya: ROFL that was soo funny!!!
@Monu: "i make internet for companies" ha ha that is a nice way to explain your job. And even if there is a techie close by, he will only sympathise with you :)
@Biju: Thanks for all the comments :) It was so frustrating especially since there are so many old folks in our acquaintance list!

Enigma said...

:D

If I tell ya, I'll have to kill ya said...

am sitting all alone in a hotel room laffing all to myself. am visiting the city of nizams. i think when i told my mgr i wanted more direct client interaction "onsite" he misunderstood and just sent me from ggn to hyd. oh well.

my aunts think all of us cousins work with computers. basically coz we all use computers. only my cousins and i know that we have a .net guru, a business analyst, an instructional designer, an oracle sales consultant, an environmental engineer, and a telecom designer among us. try explaining all those! "they work with computers" is just fine!!

gr8 post!!

venus said...

Old people whom we think are not so well informed or difficult or ignorant, have gone through a lot in their life. They had much tougher life than waht we have rightnow. I respect them very much though they sound silly or they sound ignorant. My grandma passed away just yesterday, and all I am writing is out of emotions rightnow... please, don't mind it, I am just using your place to express myself.

silverine said...

@Enigma: Thank you :)
@ifITellYa girl: Thank god my travelling days are over!! I used to live out of suitcases a year and half ago. Once in Hyd, I remember getting a call in the night from a guy asking me out for a drink. And it was a star hotel to boot. I screamed my face blue but they never found out who made the call and how it was tansfered to me wihtout my permission! But the caller was polite and refined and apologised when I told him "NO!!!!". That was a creepy experince in Hyd. While you are there, go to Abids, you will be able to finish half your wedding shopping :)
@Venus: Absolutely no problem about being emotional. This is a gals blog. You can bawl your heart out here :) I am so sorry for your loss. I understand what you are feeling. I miss my Granma too so terribly. I will be blogging about her soon, but nobody will believe the post, cos she was a gem. This post was about typical Kerala attitudes and also the fast widening gap between the generations vis a vis technology.

venus said...

I am also writing a post on my grandma soon, it's half done, will finish it in 1-2 days...

thanks for understanding..

പെരിങ്ങോടന്‍ said...

അപ്പോള്‍ കണ്ണാടി നന്നായാല്‍ ചങ്ങാതി വേണ്ടെന്നു്, ഓ തെറ്റി ചങ്ങാതി നന്നായാല്‍ കണ്ണാടി വേണ്ടെന്നു്, ബെര്‍ണാഡ് ഷായില്‍ നിന്നു മലയാളികള്‍ കോപ്പിയടിച്ചതോ? അതോ മറിച്ചോ ;)

aks said...

hey silver.....hats off to your talent to flaunt humour with such ease....nice post..

ബെന്നി::benny said...

പെരിങ്ങോടന്‍ പറഞ്ഞാ പോസ്റ്റു കണ്ടേ.. നാന്നായിരിക്കുന്നു. എന്റെ അവസ്ഥയും അതുതന്നെ. ശരിക്കുമൊരു കണ്ണാടി തന്നെ ഈ പോസ്റ്റ്. കീപ് ഇറ്റ് അപ്!

(മറ്റുള്ള പോസ്റ്റുകളും സമയം കിട്ടുമ്പോള്‍ വായിക്കണം. വായനാസുഖം തരുന്ന ശൈലി!)

silverine said...

Benny: കീപ് ഇറ്റ് അപ്! Thank you Benny for the kind words :)

The Smiling Girl said...

Haha.. leave alone oldies yaar.. my Mom thinks that her son working in Retail industry is not as good as her daughter who is a Software Engineer.. :)
You might want to read this if u r free.. :) - http://smilesnsmiles.blogspot.com/2006/09/i-cant-even-say-it-correctly.html

Sachin R K said...

Ha ha ha...That was really funny :)))

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

From a materials scientist to a miner :)

Sandeep said...

Perfect one that portrays mine as well.. I started off my career (aftr ma UG in Automotive Eng.)as Market Research Analyst in the Automotive Vertical for a Consulting Firm. Hv struggled hard to explain my profession to my kerala Ammayees & Mamans.. all they say, ' ho OAUTOmobilee sales joli oh' or 'ho OAUTOmobilee marketing joli oh' & most sad, ' vera nalla engineer joli onnum kittilyae, computer korachu padikku, nalla joli kittum'