Amiable getaway or how I quit smooth

Prologue:

As I started out Amiablethoughts, the most recurrent question I had to face was:

That’s not amiable at all!

But, things change and I gathered much courage and started writing on a variety of topics. Very recently the blog has gained newer readership, and I’m glad that – the little ideas and fast written words on my blog is being read and enjoyed by the people in far reaches.

Chapter One: Wishy-washy entry to TTL

I had recently decided to not pay much attention to the boring job, which had no direction or help whatsoever. So, I forced their hands on letting me go; after which, I needed a breather from all the soul-sucking that happened, and the ridiculous social dance of getting to know each other. Soon after – I mean in a matter of days I was approached by an HR of a TTL company. I was glad to have a way to pay my bills, and it was one single word that peeked my attention – Quirky!

I got in quite smoothly and had a ball of a time fighting, apologising and getting to know the people.

Chapter Two: You never know who they really are

We humans are pattern making machines, who use analogy to basically live a life; that’s the reason why we judge quite fast. I was judged, labelled, made fun of and harassed like every new employee, college student and ape. In the acceptance of a new member, we are still in the category of apes.

But, who’s the silverback?

There was this guy, an anal retentive person with strict rules on what’s right and what’s wrong. I tried to enlighten him with the wonderful perspective of the shades of grey. But, he was strict on…wait…wait. I just remembered my interview, one aspect of it very clearly.

MUTHALVAN
It was a good interview.

He was mentioning that we’re going to have a long chat about my comment:

The purpose of language is to communicate.

Which has played out until the last day, I wrote out of the official group – ‘thanks for making me feel home’. He was insistent that ‘feel at home’ is right. You can never win with THIS people.

nazi

So, I recant my previous statement; you can know these people. And, a word of advice – just nod and move along. You can’t be productive, much less creative under a Nazi regime!

That could be an overstatement, what if it is. Here’s a fun fact to end this chapter with a distraction:

I quit while reading Scott Adams’ The Joy of Work: Dilbert’s Guide to Finding Happiness at the Expense of Your Co-Workers.

Dilbert
Must read for every pretending professionals

Chapter Three: The unrequited love for beer & more

The great USP of the organisation is a welcoming bar setup, where we usually smoke and drink – often enough both at once. I’m really going to miss it (the amiable part is coming up don’t worry).

Here’s what’s more – I tried to help out a friend. I was under the impression that there was serious harassment happening to her, but turns out it ain’t that bad. A colleague confided in me that she could’ve avoided it long ago, but … getting a bit uncomfortable here, speaking of the idiotic stuff that may or may not have happened – why should this part of the story had to be grey instead of gay?

End of chapter three.

Chapter Four: But, do you really know people?

I had a very patient boss who was friendly enough to not fire me after a couple of faux pas. But, the very same boss brought up a stupid stuff that was blown way out of proportions. All I asked of the femme fatale was to get a couple of Old Monks, which has quadrupled into a huge harassment story. And what about all that actual harassment, which I had to witness firsthand? Which could be continuing still, all merrily. Come on, this was the most pissy situation in that organisation. Higherups all ways think they are untouchables, what a load of BS.

Chapter Five: The amiable getaway

All the drama, all the fun and down the line it gets a bit sentimental. Almost all the colleagues got slightly emotional and bode farewell. I always appreciated the way of ending it nice, so I make extra efforts to not piss off anyone completely. That understanding hasn’t come recently on the realisation of how small the world/industry is; rather it’s nice to have differences but it’s nicer to be nice.

Or to put it succinctly:

You don’t have to be an asshole.

This time around the Old Monk that I grabbed from the Bangalore trip was handy for the send-off party. Many employees joined and I made a bad speech about how I’m going to miss the place. The goodbyes aren’t hard for me, because I know that it’s impossible to really miss people as we really aren’t exposed to their true sides. Wait, I’m getting Nihilistic again, wanted to make this one as amiable as I could.

So, yeah it was an amiable getaway. I was lucky to be a part of the gang, to be accepted and let grow as a person. Career-wise it was unproductive, but personally, I got to be a better person – thanks to the friendly colleagues.

Epilogue:

“Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
~ William Shakespeare

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Retro worlds collide, Stranger Things vs 11.22.63

The two shows are set roughly in the same time period. But, there are stark differences in the narrative, subject matter and the reward that comes after watching. If you’re asking my opinion, or taste for that matter – Stephen King’s tale outdoes the Duffer Brothers’ concoction of retro coming of age & SciFi mystery.

Getting to know the world

11.22.63

You’re swiftly introduced to the rules of the fictional world. Intrigue helps one learn faster and retain the details better. Here the story of a young writer and his chance to make a difference inpires to be an intense and positive setting. In this way the narrative gets personal, by asking you directly ‘what would you do if you can change one thing from the past?’

The characters are through and you get to know their darkest secrets and all of their gray areas. A trusted protege turning against his friend for the sake of lust, a Black woman who can sympathise for the new Teacher besides his difference in the way of things in the 60s; plenty more colorful characters to make it a fun watch.

The story has some inexplicable elements, especially regarding the rules of time travel and how it affects one’s mental and physical health.

But, overall you’d be interested to step into the fictional world and take a vicarious ride through the most exciting period of American history.

Stranger Things

This tale unwinds rather slowly and it spreads wide and deep with varying characters and an interesting plot.

The audience are asked to take a ride back to their childhood memories and relive the retro and simple times with a major roadblock of SciFi and post-apocalyptic setting.

Characters here are rather simple and act in honesty, where-in they don’t hide much to the others or us – making it a rather dull. There are no twists and turns with most of the characters’ nature, we don’t see a huge difference as the story progresses. Maybe the tale is revealing at a more relaxed pace.

Payoff

Or what one calls the takeaway from a story.

11.22.63

If you haven’t got the time to read a well written novel, the show does full justice to the genius of Stephen King.

Beyond historical accuracies with retro cars and names of everyone involved with the JFK story – this one holds meaningful and layered characters.

By watching the tale unfold, we see the novel coming to life and experience the times through the characters.

With a brilliant narrative that independently moves back and forth, you get to understand what’s on Jake’s mind crystal clear.

As we get to witness most of the story from Jake’s perspective, we have a clearer picture and a fulfilling experience of the story almost first hand.

I’ve always believed that ‘a single story well told overpowers a cluttered multiplot narrative’.

Stranger Things

Needless to say, this show has way too many characters and has less room for detailed character transformation.

We get a chance to witness the tale as if it’s a comic or a motion picture. But, we’re well aware that this tale is strictly for entertainment.

One couldn’t possibly take any life advice or moral lesson from this Duffer Brothers’ show; maybe the intention wasn’t that. Nevertheless it’s quite an entertaining show which has some splendid cliffhanger moments that make you binge watch the episodes all at once.

Please share your comments after watching the shows. Let’s have a go in the comments section if you felt any difference in my opinion.

Switching gears – process vs result oriented approaches

Rarely we get to a point where we stop and question our way of life. That nagging question no matter how hard you try – seeks an answer. The tough thing is, you may not be able to answer it then and there and mostly you cannot figure it out like a coin toss or a high stakes poker game.

Heisenberg & Schrödinger’s cat

For the very reason you are part of the equation, it’s kinda hard to figure out the solution. This could be a hindrance if you have made a life decision to stick to a certain position.

But, enough ambiguous ascertains to philosophy and mediocre career advice. What are we here to discuss?

Process-oriented personality

If you have one, you will enjoy a task and love to see it completed successfully before you move on to another. In rarity you would stop a certain task and move onto the another, only to focus on the new project or lose track of the old one in the process.

What are the perks of such approach?

Well, first off if you are a person who is salaried and go about your day to day life with much instructions from your superiors and peers – this is a well-suited approach.

On the contrary, if you are an entrepreneur looking to retire early and bask in the shades of a windy resort, this approach isn’t going to help you. You might want to shift gears to the result-oriented approach if you don’t want to procrastinate your life by living a vicarious one.

“People love chopping wood. In this activity one immediately sees results.”
~ Albert Einstein

Result-oriented personality

In such a personality type, life is split into sections bearing categorized goals. What special with such type is that the goals are achievable and in the vein challenging goals set with a restricted deadline.

One must observe the achievements of such personalities, starting from great artists like Leonardo Da Vinci, William Shakespeare to the recent list of entrepreneurs – Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.

To quote Jobs, ‘it’s hard to connect the dots forward’. But, we are tasked with the arduousness of planning it out, setting up goals with achievable & challenging deadlines.

How We Spend Our Days Is How We Spend Our Lives.
~ Annie Dillard

How to start shifting gears?

Everything is hard until it isn’t. You can start shifting your personality type by making up your bed in the morning. Make little changes to your daily routine, clean up your room. Breaking big tasks into smaller ones helps in easing up your anxiety on the size of your task. Give yourself a reward for completing a task and turn it around by completing more. If you could constantly have a clear idea of the bigger picture of things – it would be easier and more meaningful to complete the individual tasks. This is of a prime importance in overcoming procrastination, as we often tend to hide away in the name of process-oriented personality.

Conclusion

We are what we do, more than the job & profession, what we do with our life ends up defining us. We can opt here to modify what and how we do, instead of simmering down to defend the accusations of smaller minds. As we are aware – great minds discuss ideas and not people. Let’s redefine the idea of us – by evolving into a much more humane and productive person.

“So when Yudhishthira tells Draupadi that eventually human acts do bear fruit, even though the fruit is invisible,56 one might interpret ‘fruit’ to mean the building of character through repeated actions. Yudhishthira was certainly aware that repeated actions had a way of changing one’s inclinations to act in a certain way. That inclination is character.”
~ Gurcharan Das, DIFFICULTY OF BEING GOOD

How to be an upstander to sexual harassment

You can turn a blind eye, walk away ignoring instead of intervening. That’s being a bystander to a common crime, in that certain scenario you can opt to be an upstander and have a real impact in your workplace or the scene in question.

It’s not about being the hero

Sexual harassment is a serious issue, potential allegations could affect both the harasser and the one being harassed. Rumours and back talks are apparent even in the modern age of communication, people find tentative ways to cure their boredom over life.

In case you decide to point out or make a difference in a situation about the harassment, you need to know the below details…

Identify the harassment

Any slight comment or a sporadic joke isn’t a harassment. So, you must take things serious in observing and identifying of the harassment is real before you highlight this to anyone.

Speak to them

Have a talk with the one being harassed before taking this up. The act has more to do with the person being harassed, as she/he can decide to make it a big issue if they want. Discuss in detail and identifying if they are truly disturbed by the act, then highlight it to the HR department.

In the limelight

Only after the case with Harvey Weinstein are we aware of the ongoing dogma in Hollywood right from Charlie Chaplin to Kevin Spacey. And, to speak about certain things in India, and southern parts of it – is considered a taboo still.

Why do we not speak about women’s menstrual cycle and the usage of contraceptives?

Well, we could stand by and see the world pass us. Or, we could take a stand for the right things and speak up for the deserving causes.

Speak it out with your colleagues, friends and family regarding sexual harassment and help out as many as you can!!

A lesson in medicore advertising

Here’s a pre-emptive investigation on the decline of creativity in the creative business

How can creativity lose its value in the creative business? Isn’t it like saying the chef does not matter in a restaurant or a doctor in a hospital?

– Raj Kamble, Famous Innovations

A colleague and I were discussing the lack of tenacity in the creative industry, and he strikingly took the same analogy in referring to creatives as chefs.

” Who do you think gets paid highest in a restaurant?”

” The Chef of course”

But, in our industry – the people who churn out the creative output from a vague or insufficient brief isn’t appreciated, neither morally nor financially. Yet, we continue on to do what we do for the sake of passion.

Raj Kamble’s article was not just an eye-opener, rather a verbalization of the present state of agencies and its core team. He touches on the recent sprouts of small agencies, who rely wholly on the nascent skill sets of the youth.

What’s wrong with that?

The work that’s out there isn’t in anyway different from years past.

Let’s take a look.

Hopkins made an observation regarding the use of attractive models ‘the audience remembers the model and not the product’ – Scientific Advertising.

No one could’ve imagined calling their car brand – a lemon. But, Bernbach did it right in convincing you it isn’t one by making you read through the whole ad. The new car ads boast of excellent features but don’t stand out, what could be the reason?

In communications, familiarity breeds apathy.
~ William Bernbach

The smallified agencies who operate on many little accounts are dependent on their compensations – bits and peanuts to survive, hence they speed up and dumb down the creatives robbing themselves of the opportunity get ahead of the big players like DDBo & O&M.

The clients ufff,

They want things done fast and cost-effective manner but don’t want to experiment their funds in advertising. Their approach doesn’t change if the product is a truly innovative one, this could be an overgeneralization but it remains a fact amongst the smaller players.

Only in rarity they succumb to the overpowering creative leads and the demands of the project and let go of their strife.

Could this ever change?

There are plentiful opportunities to change the game. Imagine a brand that’s most identifiable like Apple – changing its whole approach towards ads with the ‘stickers campaign’. They refrained themselves from their whole classy and elitist approach and came down quirky and colourful, with an engaging ad that spoke to the present generation in the way they would understand and appreciate.

Grabbing the opportunity

Cheil India grabbed its opportunity with Samsung, to tell a compelling story instead of focussing on the features or the pricing with the ‘Samsung Service’. The moment was critical for Samsung, right after the Note 8 fiasco – the brand had completely lost its face. They did it right with a public apology, but would that be enough to regain the trust of the masses. Though, the agency promised that the ad had little to with the Note series issue; we are likely to understand that such an emotionally packed story can turn the perspective of the audience around.

Thus, in conclusion, we are glad to be in the world of everchanging tech. The canvas of the ad men has just blown onto to a big bubble of platforms, yet the psychology of the buyers have remained the same. So, it’s our duty as ad men to raise the taste of the market and not to succumb to pressure and deliver mediocre creatives.

Learn to have a creative stride at work

A creative approach to your work environment changes a lot, especially the outlook on your career. Rather than calculating your age, BMI & C2C in comparison to your peers and friends, you can opt to have fun. Here’s how.

Throw a fit

Yeah, that might sound odd and totally unnecessary. But, you need to have your little outbursts to show your colleagues your weaknesses. You need to have the courage to show your emotions instead of shrugging them off as ‘it comes with the job’. They will learn about you and try and limit their overextended hand with respect to your nuances.

Catch the rift

Getting along amongst a new workplace could be tiresome, especially for creative people who tend to take some time to adjust to the change of pace and people. While you are encouraged to show your emotions, you must grasp the ‘go’ of the new office swiftly. It helps people to communicate easily if you put in the effort to learn the jargon. But, only trouble here is…

Chuck pride

There is no better way than learning new things by asking questions (Socratic?). It shows them that you care and people take an effort to share their knowledge with you. All that it takes is for you to step down and ask the elementary questions in regards to the clients, briefs, and schedules that you may not have the heads up on.

Make excuses

In a path to gaining new friends and learning new things, you are at first robbed of your precious personal times. Jump the gun here and make excuses for your life, having a fully functional & sorted life helps you have a creative edge on your work. You can take risks, and think truly out of the box. If your excuses are met with scrutiny and you’re bombarded with a load of BS…

Get out!

No seriously, get some fresh air and think things through. If you are the one with big ideas and simple tweaks that could help streamline the workflow, but they’re stuck in an age-old non-productive chaos – Get out!

I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.

– Frank Costello

If you are too big for the pond, you need to find a new one. Shrinking down to the level of the environment is not adaptation its personal crucifixion. Find a place where they appreciate your offbeat thinking and rejoice in your personal growth as a person. In the process of making a strong decision as such – you will be rewarded with more than just the dopamine rush. The world is bigger, brighter and full of opportunities; here’s the caveat – you have to push harder.

An unlikely situation

If you are better and ahead in your present or new workplace, chances are – you might be slightly overqualified for your position. In the unlikely situation, where you are just bored and sick of the place and you want to have bigger challenges – you’ve got to push yourself harder than you ever have.

I realize these are little quirky ways to spice up your work life, they aren’t tailored specific to any industry – but it suits right in my shoes in the ‘Communication Industry’ and hope it suits yours. Have fun working!

Zooming in and around Chennai

The rains have made it a bit more cumbersome for commuters. And, there is no chance of zooming in and around Chennai with the clogged roads and hidden potholes. Luckily some strangers mark off dangerous areas with tree branches – oh the irony!

Ride the tide?

Commuters who enjoys riding their two-wheelers are now pushed to take the public transport, as the roads are rather rough and filled with a concoction of who knows what with the rainwater. Lets say one has to walk from certain stop to their workplace that’s just counterintuitive.

Cabs – the lesser of the devil

Rental cabs come in to save the day (or so it seems) with their door to door service; if you are ready for the random surges and artificial demands. Corporate people have got accustomed to traveling via cabs as opposed to trains or buses, as they seem cheaper in the short run; similar understanding towards credit cards and food delivery apps.

The autos

If it seems, I’m a little against the ‘surge pricing’ and ‘high demands’ of the cab providers, I’m all up against the autos! And, you will find a good reason for it.

The lack of empathy for once, the drivers are pushed to earn a certain amount per day – say their target. An intelligent person would spread around that target into micro-targets and earn them through the day. Which is not the case with these auto men, they opt to fool a rider into earning their whole days target with a single ride. Have they become lazy or greedy I haven’t the slightest.

The solution

It is hard to keep things simple, as the advent of tech pushes us towards artificial luxury. Instead of becoming a slave to a fleeting moment of comfort and paying undue amount later, one must think of using the various options in a prudent manner in order to strike the balance of comfort and cost-effectiveness.

If you could, please spice it up with a bit of metro, MTC and a walk. Walking is always good for you, and is far better than getting stuck in the traffic amongst polluted fumes.

Have a swift & healthy journey everyday commuters!