Desi Managers – Specimen on their Own
[These thoughts about desi managers in US were formulated in me during the 10 years of my stay in US. I am in no way generalizing anything here but if you have worked with a desi manager please share your experience to make this discussion more complete.]
Few months back I wrote a blog post about Desi Professors and how they make the life of Indian students miserable. The desi managers are never behind desi professors in harassing the desis working for them. Here is a hypothetical example of how life will be under a desi manager. I have made up this story but as you read through you can identify well with this if you have ever worked with a desi manager.
The scenario – our Desi Manager “H” goes to the client place on Monday morning and the client tells him that they need a “three feet line drawn on a sheet of paper “by Friday morning. H comes out of the meeting and immediately calls this desi guy Y who works for him.
H: Hey, I am just out of meeting with the client and I have another meeting with the client on Thursday morning. We have lot of work to be done before that. Come to my office in another 30 minutes.
Y: Sure H.
After 30 minutes Mr. Y goes to the manager’s cabin
H: Good Morning, Have your seat
Y: Thank You H
H: I think we have a lot of work to do. The client wants a “three feet line drawn on a sheet of paper” and I have a meeting with client on Thursday morning.
Y: But H, you want me to work on the other thing whose deadline is Wednesday morning. Can I start working on this after that?
H: This is totally unacceptable. I gave you the other work on Friday evening and now it is Monday morning and you have not done that yet? You have whole of Saturday and Sunday to do it.
Y: I had some family emergency and could not work on week end.
H: That is your problem. Can I tell the client that you had a family emergency? I want to see both by tomorrow morning. I don’t want to hear any excuses nor explanations.
Y: H, there is lot of work to be done on the other project. I may not get time to work on this one.
H: That is your problem. When did your problem become my problem?
Y: I will try.
H: No trying baba… I want to see everything by 8 AM tomorrow.
Y: OK H.
This poor chap spends the whole night working on both the projects simultaneously. He comes to work early and does the finishing touch to it. By 8.15 am he is in front of his manager’s office. Manager on seeing him looks at his watch
H: You are already late by 15 minutes; you never finish anything on time.
Y: I was done with it last night itself but found some mistake this morning and was correcting it.
H: What have I told you earlier, “No explanations No excuses”. Anyway keep it here. I will go through it when I get a chance.
Now Y goes to H’s office in the afternoon to ask him if he had a chance to look at what he did.
Y: H, did you have a chance to go through what I did? If you could give me your comments I could work on it.
H: What do you think about me? I just have your stuff to take care off? You were late to finish the work this morning and now you want me to correct it in a fly. That is not going to happen. Come back tomorrow morning.
Y goes back to his cubicle dejected thinking why H urged him to finish everything by today morning if he was not going to check that till next day morning.
Wednesday morning Y comes to his cubicle at 8 am and he gets a phone call from H.
H: Can you please come to my office
Y now goes to his manager’s office.
H: I think I am being too nice to you guys. Looks like we need to talk, can you please close the door. What you have given me is a piece of crap and for this you took a day?
Y: I had to finish the other work you gave me also and that is why I took so much time.
H: I asked you to draw a three feet line. Who asked you to draw it straight?
Y: I assumed it may be a straight line.
H: What happens when you assume? You make an “ASS” of “U” and “ME”. Now where are the dimensions for this line?
Y: I will mark those dimensions and get back to you.
H: How many years are you working on this project? You should be knowing this by now. I need not have to tell you all these things. Go and get it fixed ASAP.
He fixes all that Mr. H told him and goes back to his boss.
H: Why did you use a yellow paper to draw the line?
Y: You never told me the kind of paper I should draw on.
H: So are you now accusing me of lying to you? When I say I want you to draw a line three feet long you should understand all those. Two strikes mister and one more you are out, remember that.
Y leaves H’s office and makes all those changes and gives him the final version by Thursday evening. After the meeting was over on Friday morning Y was eager to know what the client’s impression was about his work.
Y: Did the client have any comments on the work I did?
H: You are always curious. I am not going to tell. Curiosity kills the cat.
After 3 months, H calls Y again and tells him that client wants a line four feet long. Y takes the old drawing which he did 3 months back extents it by one foot and shows it to H. H is all furious.
H: Did I ask you to draw this line in white paper? Did I ask you to draw this line inclined at an angle? I think I am not communicating well with you.
Y: This was what we did previously. So H, What exactly do you want?
H: That is for you to figure out. I don’t want you to ask questions to me. I only need answers and that too in another one hour.
Y comes out of H’s office totally confused about what his boss needs are in this project. He goes back to his cubicle mystified as to what he has to do to figure out what exactly his desi manager wants. He knows his plight will be same till he has such a manager. He starts working “assuming” so many things knowing very well the consequence of what happens when he “assumes”. Life moves on….
Again I am not generalizing any thing with this example. I know and have worked with desi managers who are really nice. At the same time I have come across and heard stories of lots of desi managers who are real pain to work with. Those who have worked with them will understand fully what I am talking about…
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