“Anjali!!" the voice crackled in the phone. “XYZ Newspaper is coming to interview your Boss. Get him ready for Press!”
“But” I interjected. “You guys are supposed to prime him for the Press!!”
“I want nothing to do with that Bulldog” snarled the PR Manager! And she slammed the phone down. I cursed the boss for calling her a beached whale and her, for calling him a Bull Dog and he in turn for calling her….never mind. Their petty quarrels had landed me in a thick soup now. I do have some PR experience, but this was an important interview and the Boss’s first interview too. An enormous responsibility lay on my shoulder and I knew that I had to deliver.
The right thing to do would be to resign and run away or run away without resigning. But then I have a notice period of two months to serve and the interview was a couple of days away!! So resignation was out of the question. Maybe I could contract Chicken Pox, I thought. All I have to do is drop into my old Alma Mater, and walk into the Primary Section and lo behold I would have Chicken Pox!! (Trust me it works! But then you may contract intestinal worms too, so be careful!)
Then it struck me that I had already finished with my bout of Chicken Pox!!! So I had to reluctantly discard that plan too. Which left me with one possible solution and that was *drum roll* waylay the reporter and kidnap him and threaten to kill him if takes the interview!! But then Mrs. Beached Whale would find another reporter to interview Mr Bull Dog err Boss!! Sigh!
So I decided to take the bull dog by its horn (goes without saying “no pun intended”). Bull Dog err Boss was very cooperative.
“Anjali, let me handle this” he said kindly!
“How many interviews have you given boss?” I asked, equally kindly!
“None” he said confidently!
“Then” I continued kindly. “Let ‘me’ handle this!”
The interview preparation of the most straight forward man in the universe began...right after I had lit 200 candles at Infant Jesus Church! This would be a more difficult task than making the Shiv Sena celebrate Valentine’s Day or persuading the Left parties in Kerala to give up their estates, lavish bungalows and TV channels! And hence the precaution.
With trepidation and a sense of impeding doom I took the Boss’s preparatory class.
Me: Boss, you must listen to the question properly. For example, "What does your quarterly result indicate?"
Boss: It means we are doomed :(
Me: Nooooo!!! err I mean....you do not summarize everything so succinctly Boss!!
Boss: What else can I say? The figures speak for themselves!! Hmmpph!
Me: You must say - "Current figures are reflective of industry trends and we are not expecting any deviation from the same. The market is however buoyant and we expect a significant though not major shift and a few surprises"
Boss: Please speak in English young lady!
Me (ignoring him): Try again. Here’s a question -“What do you think will be a significant contributor to your next quarterly results?"
Boss: People coming to work on time, taking shorter tea breaks, fewer leaves...aha ha ha!
Me: That was perhaps the poorest PJ I have heard!
Me: Coming back to the question, you must reply - “I see a paradigm shift in market trends owing to the rapid changes in the industry's vertical focus…"
Boss (mouth agape): What was that again!!
Me( beaming rather proudly): That was deflective technology.
Boss: What’s that! Never heard of it before!
Me: That’s my parlance for ‘avoiding questions’ adroitly!
Boss: err...is it possible for you to take the interview?
Me (reassuringly): You will do just fine. If you are lost, just look at me and I will take over.
The interview went fine … well nearly.
Journo: Mr Boss, how many years of experience do you have in this industry?
Boss: hmm let me think...
Me (quickly): Over 100 man hours in object-oriented design and implementation, Project management, Multiple processor use and runtime optimization, Solution Architecture, Enterprise, Solutions, Infrastructure besides vast experience in non technical skills like Performance Competencies.
Journo: What are the challenges you are anticipating in the face of global recession.
Boss: To begin with...
Me: What he means is …right now we are keeping a close eye on the market developments and will align and adjust our product roadmap as the trends change.
Journo: Did you expect to see such overwhelming negative reaction from users for your product XYZ?
Boss: I admit...no! :(
Me: Ahem…of course!!! A negative response was expected from the outset. Our product is unique and a genre-defying and it is very hard to make an estimate based on initial reactions. Judging from the latest reports however, we could safely say that users are not any less enthusiastic about XYZ!
Me (quickly): Next question please!!
Journo: What is your current position in the market?
Boss: Pretty bad...
Me (hastily): What he means is ….to answer this question we first have to define which part of the market you are talking about. Is it retail, OEM etc. Right now our plan is to expand beyond these markets. So our growth is dynamic now and we cannot churn out static figures that would enable you to pin us down on the Billboard. However we can safely say it will definitely be exceeding our expectations!
Journo: The XYZ recently released was related to software. According to its specifications ABC application software will require the implementation of blah blah and blah blah. Can you explain us how you plan to handle these three elements and how they are applied in your upcoming software, and what technical issues relate to their implementation?
Boss (brightening up at the techie jargon): Well….
Me: Well...since our software is used in PC Software applications...
Boss picks up a National Geographic grumpily and starts thumbing through it.
Boss (looking up from the magazine): Maybe I will go get some Tea for all of us!
Me: Sit down!!
Boss (hopefully): Maybe some cold drinks?
Journo: I would like coffee please.
Boss (getting up in a hurry): *whew* Thank you!!! Err I mean I will have it sent right away!
In the evening, as I sat drinking cup after cup of very strong coffee to calm my nerves and steady my shaking hands, I made a firm resolve. No, it is not to resign and run away or contract Chicken Pox and or Intestinal worms. I firmly resolved that, whatever the girth of Mrs Beached Whale formidable a***, I will kiss it if it means that I don’t have to babysit the Boss through another interview again.
So help me God!
Song I am listening to - Dance with Me by Nouvelle Vague