This blog is about omygdala: situations and events in life that make us instinctively issue the—“Oh my God alarm!”—be it at home, at work, at leisure, under duress, in excitement, anger, or frustration.
How often do you issue the “oh my god alarm!”? I do it quite regularly. For, e.g., I often find myself screaming:
- Oh my god, another late assignment!
- Oh my god, another life annihilated!
- Oh my god, another lost amateur!
- Oh my god, another lobotomized arriviste!
- Oh my god, a laudable act!
- Oh my god, an august leader ascends!
- Oh my god, another lost account!
- Oh my god, another leader by accident!
- Oh my god, another lying authoritarian!
- Oh my god, another lionized ass!
You see, the “Oh my God alarm!”; hence, o-m-y-g-d-a-l-a!
killed the cat took the cat places
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”—Albert Einstein
I am no great physicist or a mathematician; however, I surely am passionately curious. My curiosity has taken me places, helped me to observe, learn and gain knowledge, enabled me to see things from a different perspective, prompted me to ask questions when the majority of the people around me chose to be silent. I look at things with a critical eye. I am good at rocking the boat of conventional thinking and wisdom. I am non-mainstream—slightly off-tangent, not much, though; else, I will be institutionalized. 🙂 Now, when you are a little curious, you cannot help but observe events/incidents/happenings around you in a different light and wonder what’s wrong with this world and with the creature at the top of the food chain.
“The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.”—Oscar Wilde
I observe people around me accept everything being spouted off by the so called experts, without even batting an eyelid. Most, if not all, gobble up the propaganda being dished out to them by the channels on TV, genuflect at the altar of “me, me, me and more me“, get into a tizzy over their political affiliations/beliefs, or lose their mind over their favorite TV show. It seems a vast majority of us have no curiosity at all, have no independent thought or free-will. We want somebody else to do the thinking for us. We are quite content just to obey, marry and reproduce, consume, conform, stay asleep, watch TV, submit, buy… (courtesy: YouTube) I look at the world around me and cannot help but scream the “oh my God alarm!“.
Why scream when you can shout?
In this blog, I will translate my screams into words and let my curiosity talk. I will probe and prod, and ask the tough questions. In these pages, I will question everything and everyone, even the experts. Among other things, I will write about and shed some light on the inner workings of the corporate world and the cow manure that passes for leadership, the false promises made, with impunity, by scheming bosses, the farce that is the year-end review process, the clueless nincompoops at HR, and myriad other topics. I would like the readers to note that although many of the experiences shared on this blog will be personal, much more will be that of individuals from across the country and the world, who have had the mischance of suffering countless years of mental turmoil under bad supervisors, worse managers and worst self-anointed leaders.
A large majority of us are not lucky enough to work for great corporations such as Google, Salesforce, Genentech, Microsoft, SAS, and the likes. We have had to waddle through the bowels of crappy companies and work under the patronage of bad managers and the so-called transformational leaders. In this blog, I will try to highlight what many companies choose to ignore or sweep under the carpet—it is the inconvenient truth about bad managers at various levels of the organization, and how those incompetent individuals destroy lives, careers, projects, processes, people and the company itself. It is a topic that, quite understandably, people refrain from talking publicly, while being employed by a company.
I have seen managers go after their employees like a pack of predators would stalk and hunt their prey. I have seen them sabotage an employee’s career, one day at a time until the employee resigned in frustration or was fired. There is a huge distinction between a leader and a manager—most leaders are great managers, most managers are not leaders. In the years I had spent with various corporations, I rarely came across real leaders. I can count on my fingertips the number of real leaders I had met during my working years. Most of the so-called “leaders” I had worked with are no leaders at all, none of them had any leadership qualities to boast. They were all woefully bad managers who had been anointed as leaders because they were at the right place at the right time. Invariably, most of them had themselves surrounded by sycophants, who attended to their beck and call, and ran a glorified echo chamber, which they called the management team. A high number of them lacked basic people skills and made no attempts at changing their behavior even after repeated 360-degree feedbacks. They remained at the helm of affairs and were rarely disciplined by the HR. I won’t be surprised if the situation is the same in many organizations, worldwide, even today.
…Some animals are more equal than others*
Every employee needs to understand that bosses and HR make or break careers. Yes, your performance and productivity play a key role; however, at the end of the year, during yearly appraisals, it is your boss’ recommendations, with HR’s blessing, that determine your rating, promotion and raise. It is your boss’ word against yours and mostly your boss’ word will prevail. I have worked with managers who would wait till the year-end to get even with an employee, with whom (s)he might have had a small disagreement or a tiff off at the beginning of the year. Managers are supposed to provide just-in-time feedback; however, many don’t, they keep a score, and they exact their revenge at the year-end. Don’t think that HR will do the due diligence to ensure fairness. It doesn’t and it won’t. A truism to keep in mind—if there is ever a situation where you are pitted against your boss, your boss will almost always win, even if all pieces of evidence point to the contrary. In any conflict, HR will always side with the boss because (s)he is more likely to have more power, say, influence and reach within the organization.
As mentioned earlier, I will try to share my experiences with you in the form of lessons learned. My writing will mostly be laced with trenchant observations, ironic statements, sarcastic jibes and sardonic remarks. I will use humor to make my point; use sarcasm as a form of wit. Many of the anecdotes about the executives I had worked for and with will be presented as a story, where I will introduce a character, describe the situation or the problem encountered and outline the lessons learned. In addition, since I am curious about most things in life, you will also find me dabbling into topics related to politics, media, entertainment, economics, marketing and advertisements, human psychology, the modern life, and, of course, aliens. You have to talk about aliens! Nothing is ever complete without it. 🙂
Finally, to make reading articles on this blog a meaningful experience for you, I would like to make it a collaborative endeavour. I am very interested in hearing stories about your experiences—both good and bad—in the corporate world and otherwise. Therefore, if you have an experience/experiences you would like to share with the world, anonymously, then, please feel free to write to us as anecdotes at omygdala dot com. You can write about events or situations created at the workplace that made or broke your career, acknowledge good managers or leaders who actually led from the front, share stories about bad managers who destroyed projects, processes and people, highlight incident(s) that you felt were unfair to you or your colleagues, or contribute examples of exemplary courage, determination, sacrifice and leadership you experienced at your workplace, home or community.
N.B. Whenever you submit a story, please do not include any personally identifiable information (PII) to prevent hordes of lawyers from suing you and me. Change the names of entities involved in your story, so that it cannot be tied or traced back to you. Regarding your anonymity, your privacy will be honored and no information about you will ever be revealed in the public domain.
*—part of a quote from Animal Farm by George Orwell