Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Whats the good word, again?

“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 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!
Boss: :(
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: 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.
Boss: Huh?
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! :(
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!
Journo: Huh?
Boss: Huh?
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!
Boss: *giggle*
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


DD said...

Deflective technology, hehe. I use a slightly different term "well left" for questions you wish to avoid completely, inspired by the game of cricket!

D. said...


sandeip said...

incredible jargon!!i must learn this if i ever wanna be an MBA...dint know techies used it too :)

Anonymous said...

poor boss, u mean. the poor guy didnt get a chance to talk, did he? his interview or urs? :)

Amey said...

And people curse the media for not doing their jobs properly... I have a newfound respect for journalists for handling you ;)

Rada said...

Well, now we know who is the real boss in your company! :-)

Vivek Menon said...

if (no answer to question)
answer=(defelective technology|diplomatic answer|confusing jargon)

scanf("%confused look",&journo)
printf("Next question")

Tedy Kanjirathinkal said...

:-)) absolutely hilarious one again, Anjali.

Reminded me of an incident from my own life sometime last year. As part of some social-welfare activities at office, I was in charge of purchasing some 200 mosquito nets for a care-home. I was summarizing the proceedings on in a meeting, and the following just flowed out automatically:

"Folks, I have engaged with a few vendors and obtained competitive quotes. Once the funding is approved, we can dispense the payment. With respect to hardware, since we have four-poster beds at the facility, we have the necessary infrastructure to deploy the procured mosquito nets"

I posed for a moment with my mouth agap, and then the entire room burst into a laughter! :-))

Nikhil Narayanan said...

You are Sonia and boss is MMS?


(Delete this comment, I don't want to be the first guy arrested for writing against S as a blog comment)

Anonymous said...

Wow! Can I appoint you as my PRM? Err do you work for charity?

skar said...

Obviously, LoL@"no pun intended"
But ROFL@goes without saying “no pun intended”

silverine said...

DD: Unfortunately this was not cricket :(

DC: Thanks for dropping by! :)

Amey: :)

Sandeip: Well I am not a techie, Boss is and thats why he was lost! :)

Amooma: Ideally the PR Manager should have been there, so both of us were at sea and since I was the more exp in this, I had to take over!

Rada: he he well...he is the real boss, but then this is not his territory but mine so I became the boss! :p

Vivek: lol!! Please tell me you are making an application that will make PRMs redundant!!! :)

Tedy: LOL!!! Bravo!! That was awesome! I must admit I am a big fan of jargon, though I don't use it!

Nikhil: Hope you got anticipatory bail before making that comment! :|

ms cris: Even for a million dollars, I wont do PR! brrr

Karthik: :p

mathew said...

Boss: It means we are doomed :(
Me: No!!! err I do not summarize everything so succinctly Boss!!

This post sounds like a regular day in dont have one of those "bad day in office"..dont you!!;-P(commenter cowers fearing violent outlash for this )

Beached Whale and Bulldog!! Your place seems to "inspire" and "perspire" in love!!

Abhi said...

Beached Whale! Bull dog! What nice names. I wonder what happened to ur boss's creativity while attending interview's, if he can find such CREATIVE names. I loved the way u made him shut his mouth each time he opened it. Way to go! Boss bashing @ its best. Gr8 post.

Dhanush | ധനുഷ് said...

This happens everywhere rt. Caught between the Devil and Deep Sea. Depts show offs making the poor employee going through the hardships.

Nice way you handled it :)

Anonymous said...

I need similar vocab to handle my boss or read company communication :(

Diviya said...

I work as an analyst and more often than not, I hear this from every company that I interact with. My colleague calls it "party talk" :)

Hari said...

There's a word for this in Malayalam:
"തള്ള് ('thallu a.k.a push)


Heard a lot about this from MNC/SE cousins!

LOL, silverine you're a pro!

Kunjootty said...

hehe :-) i have had some doctors use similar "deflective technology" on me to explain why i became sick.... and it just leaves me feeling like i have reached the end of the road!! :-P
if there is a course or something to master the art... i bet you graduated it summa cum laude!! :-D

Anonymous said...

Hmm now that's a boss who gets bossed around often =)

Philip said...

"Legend talks about a legendary deflector whose deflection was the stuff of legend"..

Gasp! it's you!!


Teach me, sensei!

Amey said...

Oh, and don't think nobody has spotted your strategy of putting your name right after "What's the good word?" question ;) Sneaky, sneaky...

Ajith said...

Lol.. this one is funny.... I just imagined the saffron brigade queuing up for valentine day cards holding heart shaped balloons :)

Ask ur boss to attend the team meetings in my company. He can learn the artistic way of 'deflecting' questions.

Sriram said...

So many 'boss'posts recently... I feel something more coming soon!

Unknown said...

heh.. the bosses i have had were (mostly) the opposite.. clueless cretins but world class deflectologists.. well, necessity is the mother of invention, i suppose..

Safari Al said...

You sure seem to be adept in the art of using fancy words make the most arbitrary of things seem very relevant and worthwhile.

silverine said...

Mathew: Thank you! :) It's true we do not have a bad day at office, cos we have a good team led by an exceptional man! :)

Abhi: Thank you! :)

dhanush: Very true, though in this instance, this woman is an actual pain :)

Dhivya: I pity you, we use every simple English in office though there are teams here who speak only in jargon!

diviya: If this is "party talk" then it must be a very "not-so-happening-party" lol!!

Hari: Your turn cometh, so enjoy the simple communications device that you use now, called English! :)

Bits: Ah! I so know what you are talking about!

Balu: this situation I was the Boss so...:)

Philip: LOL!!! Thank you! You will learn in good time in your own office :p

Amey: :p

Ajith: ha ha that imagery was funny! I would love to attend your team meetings for regular updates! :p

Sriram: Wow!! You can predict the future too!! :)

Jackson: Absolutely true! :)

Safari Al: Loved the jargon in your comment! ;)

Unknown said...

Deflective technology... that takes the cake!!

was giggling uncontrollably by the end of it..:D

Adorable Pancreas said...

We do the same thing. Fibroplastic parietal endocarditis with peripheral blood eosinophilia doesn't sound quite as impressie as plain Loeffler's endocarditis.

deviant said...

I guess the only group that is better than execs at hiding small nuggets of useful information in loads of bewildering words would HAVE to be the PR department.

Anonymous said...

I am deeply disturbed, Anju. By the line - "That was perhaps the poorest PJ I have heard!"... This obviously means we haven't conversed in a while. Grown men have leaped tall buildings after hearing my patented brand of PJs. Tut tut.

Anyway, you seem to be quite the able spin doctor. I was wondering if you have heard Sir Humphrey from BBC's "Yes Minister" series in action... inarguably the BEST spin doctor of all time...
Sir Humphrey: Unfortunately, although the answer was indeed clear, simple, and straightforward, there is some difficulty in justifying assigning to it the fourth of the epithets you applied to the statement, inasmuch as the precise correlation between the information you communicated, and the facts insofar as they can be determined and demonstrated is such as to cause epistemological problems, of sufficient magnitude as to lay upon the logical and semantic resources of the English language a heavier burden than they can reasonably be expected to bear.

Jim Hacker: Epistemological,?? What are you talking about?
Sir Humphrey: You told a lie.
(Situation - An old but significant error from Humphrey's part is being discussed. Hacker is discussing on how to identify the culprit)

Sir Humphrey: The identity of the official whose alleged responsibility for this hypothetical oversight has been the subject of recent discussion is not shrouded in quite such impenetrable obscurity as certain previous disclosures may have led you to assume, but not to put too fine a point on it, the individual in question is, it may surprise you to learn, one whom your present interlocutor is in the habit of defining by means of the perpendicular pronoun.

Jim Hacker: I beg your pardon?

Sir Humphrey: It was…I.
Hacker: When you give your evidence to the Think Tank, are you going to support my view that the civil service is overmanned and feather-bedded, or not? Yes or no? Straight answer!

Sir Humphrey: Well Minister, if you ask me for a straight answer, then I shall say that, as far as we can see, looking at it by and large, taking one thing with another in terms of the average of departments, then in the final analysis it is probably true to say, that at the end of the day, in general terms, you would probably find that, not to put too fine a point on it, there probably wasn't very much in it one way or the other as far as one can see, at this stage.

Sir Humphrey rulezzz...

Anonymous said...

brilliant silverine, brilliant.. what are you , a joke machine??? will this never breakdown??? :D

my favorite

journo : huh?
boss: huh?

and you: next question!

flaashgordon said...

Ms Silverine, u have been instrumentatal in setting up a new paradigm in corporate blogging with a hilarious intent . Recent trends indicate that the frequency of posts does not undermine the propensity to induce delighted rseponses among the customer base . Voice of the customer surveys point to the conclusion that certain gags defy the market forces so that the strategic inflection point of the blog is being maintained. You should not be tempted to realign your product offering even if you've to respond to the unanticipated market reactions of the cataclysmic nature.

silverine said...

Abraham: Thank you! :)

adorable pancreas: ha ha you docs have it easy, just use the latin names :)) We have to use English wonly...sigh!

deviant: I agree!!! :P

hammy: I luvvv the series, and now I am going to watch it again. It is brilliant!! Thanks for posting those gems in the comment section! :)

Lash: Thank you dear!! *hugs*

flaashgordon: LOL!!! Namichu!! That has touched a new high in jargon'ism! :)) Too good!!

mathew said...

ROTFL!! classic Flaash!!:-)

Tedy Kanjirathinkal said...

@flash: Couldn't just pass by without dropping this line - "kai koooooppi namichhirikkunnu!!!" :-))

flaashgordon said...

Acknowledge positive feedback. Apologies for the deviation from the median in Turn Around Time.

thomas said...

hey, i loved that dance song!!

Ashly said...

man..ur Jem..!!!! when i become a boss, i will kidnap u, to be my PR. ur a too much MBA stuff !!!

like the post :)