Thursday, July 14, 2011

So I go to sleep and everything is alright with the world. And I wake up to news of bomb blasts in Mumbai. Yet again.

Seriously, I've lost count of the number of terrorist strikes the city has been a victime of. Lost count of the number of times the city's famous "spirit" has been evoked. Lost count of the number of governments that have gone out on the back of these strikes. Yet Mumbai gets battered, time and again.

The drill has started. America has condemned the strike. Our central government has expressed regret, the Home Minister has washed his hands off the responsibility saying he had warned Mumbai Police of possible terror attacks, and the Mumbai Police are as usual clueless about how such a thing happened (you'd think they would at least have an excuse for non-action pat down by now). And the Government of Maharashtra says it's not sure whether this was a terror attack or gang war. Really?

Goes to show that nothing will happen this time around either. At the most Maharashtra will get a new Chief Minister.

The Australian media does not cover India. The TV channels here are so involved with what's happening in their own country, they don't really care which part of the world is going to hell. Unless it's the UK. They care about the UK. In fact they have been following Will & Kate around the globe every single day since the two got married. But terrorist strikes in other countries get 20 seconds of air time.

Well, maybe they're not to blame. Australia is so far removed from everyone else - and to be fair to them the rest of the world doesn't care much about them either - that they've learnt to be self-sufficient. Good on them I guess.


So this woman I know...went to work yesterday, went into labour around lunch time, hailed down a taxi, checked herself into the hospital and had a C-Section done - all on her own. Her partner was out of town and by the time he was back, the surgery was already underway. R.E.S.P.E.C.T.


That's it for now. I'm having a bad sinus attack. Have been on decongestants since morning. The weather really needs to warm up. And the icy winds need to go take a chill pill (ironic!). And the sun needs to work harder. I NEED SUMMER. NOW.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

An incident that happened yesterday has me upset and seething.

I was in the bus with a couple of Indian friends of mine, one of whom was seated between a person who I later realized had some form of mental disability and his lady friend.

My friend said something to me in Hindi and I replied. Then, in the corner of my eye, I saw the guy smile at me so I smiled back (till this point I hadn't realized he had a disability). And that's when his friend took off on me and my friend - she accused us of making fun of her friend in "our own language", saying it was so obvious the way I looked at him and rolled my eyes (which I didn't) that we were laughing at his expense!

There are two sides to this - one that while in a foreign country we should avoid speaking in Hindi (or a language that people around us don't understand) in public places, which I try and do as much as I can. But there's the other voice in me that says I have the liberty to speak in my mother tongue if I wish to, and no one should have the right to question me or accuse me of something based on a conversation they don't understand.

Since the incident I've been trying to give the woman the benefit of doubt - she's probably defensive about her friend all the time. But I still think she was out of line accusing us of something she couldn't have been sure of.

I was too stunned to react then, and when I gathered my wits I tried explaining to her that we weren't talking about her friend and rolling our eyes. But now that I think about it, I should probably have given her a piece of my mind.

Does this incident reek of racism, do you think?

Friday, July 8, 2011

I get amazed at how selfish people can be. There's a girl that I've met through some friends. She usually hangs out with us.

A friend of mine from Melbourne was visiting a couple of weekends ago and we planned to go to a restaurant that I've wanted to go to for a long time. Like I really want to go there. This woman refused to go because she found it expensive (I suppose the bill would've come to approx. $30-35 per person, which is a little bit expensive, but then it's virtually impossible to have a quality dining experience in Sydney for any less than that. A meal at a very mediocre restaurant would cost you $20-25).

So we ended up going to some random place that no one wanted to go to just because the food was cheap enough for her. And today, when someone offered to take her out for dinner, she promptly suggested that restaurant (the one I wanted to go to)! She even went to the extent of calling them and reserving a table!! I was aghast!!

Now, I completely respect the fact that people may have different financial motives than me. Most of the times we don't know what their real financial situation is. But this woman is earning a dollar salary and she NEVER goes out for lunch/dinner/movie/shopping. She doesn't even buy coffee, so it's not like she's bad with money and is trying to get some financial discipline in her life. You'd think that when a friend is visiting from out-of-town, people would at least have the courtest to put that person before themselves.

And this woman will ask me anything she fancies about my personal life, and consider it her birth right to give me unsolicited advice on my relationship status and my life decisions, but today when I asked her something in response to something she said (she said she couldn't wait to go back to India and I simply asked why), she snapped at me saying "she has her personal reasons".

And oh my God, she is so dominating! It's come to the point where I don't like to hang out with her anymore.

She'll walk around telling people what to do and what not to do - how they should cook their egg (scrambled vs boiled vs omelet), when they should open and shut the window to THEIR room, which type of biryani they should eat, how everyone should love milk because she and her husband do. Basically she thinks that everything she and her husband like/do is THE way to go and everyone should like/do the same things. In fact she speaks so frequently for her husband I often feel sorry for him - she may be forcing her way through his life as well. But then he made the decision to marry her so maybe I don't feel sorry for him anymore. I do feel sorry for the kids she will have though - poor things don't have a choice of mother.

Like, no thank you! I will have my eggs exactly as I want to and if you have a problem with that, go shove some eggs down your husband's throat. Or better still, lay a few. And stop telling me what I should or shouldn't do.

Gaaaah...I think I'll just go to sleep now before the buzz from the wine wears off. Have a great weekend people!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What Is Your DISC Profile?

Disclaimer: As far as I'm aware information relating to the DISC profile is available in the public domain. In case this post violates any copyright laws, please let me know and I'll be happy to take it off the blog.

I recently underwent a people management training at work where we learnt a number of managerial skills such as how to motivate your team members, conflict management, the right way of giving feedback (there is a right and a wrong way believe it or not. 'Hey, great job!' just doesn't cut it anymore) etc.. But the part I found the most fascinating - and useful - was the DISC profile.

DISC is the way of classifying people into 4 broad groups based on their style of working and the way they behave at the work place. So you have people who are high on 'Dominance', which contrary to perception is a positive quality to possess at work since people in this group are focussed on results. They are confident, fast-paced, decisive, action oriented and constantly challenge themselves as well as others. They don't like to get involved in the details and processes, and are always looking for the bigger picture. They have little patience for routine, mundane tasks and are champions at the art of delegating.

Then there are people who belong to the 'Influence' category. These people are highly sociable, gregarious and complete people's people. They are also the most persuasive of the lot and use their persuasion skills as the key tool for succeeding in their careers. They are motivated by social recognition and fear disapproval and the loss of influence and attention.

Then there are the 'Steady' ones. These people are strong team players whose style of working revolves around cooperation and collaboration. They tend to be good listeners and think of the greater good of the team before an individual. The downside of belonging to this group is that you may be mistaken for someone who lacks the confidence to act on your own and is slow to make decisions.

And finally there is the 'Conscientious' group. People belonging to this category are extremely methodical and detail-oriented. They are perfectionists who need to have every minute detail in place before they take a decision. They are motivated by quality and accuracy and are afraid of being wrong or taking wrong decisions because they missed out on details.

The D's and I's typically tend to be extroverts where as the S' and C's are mostly introverts. There are exceptions to this of course.

According to the DISC profile, most people tend to fall into two categories with one being the dominant trait and the other secondary. For instance, a person can be a Di which means they are predominantly a D but also possess many traits of an I.

At the same time, we can all stretch into the remaining two categories depending on the situation we are in or the people we are interacting with. For instance, there is a girl in my office who is an Sc at work - calm, quiet and diligent. But when she's playing a competitive sport she is a total D, leading her team, yelling out instructions and screaming at people when they mess up!

The way we arrived at our DISC profiles was very interesting too. Before the training we were asked to take an online test where we were presented with various work-related scenarios and had to choose the response that came closest to the way we would react/handle that situation.
On the day of the training we played a card game where we were each given 6 cards with words written on them - attributes/personality traits belonging to each of the D, I, S and C categories. We first had to discard 2 cards that contained words that least described us, and then we had to move around the room exchanging cards with other people in the group until we arrived at the 4 cards that described us the best.

Most people ended up with cards of 2 of the 4 DISC categories, which became our dominant and secondary styles (depending on the number of cards of each category we ended up with). We were then given the results of the online test we had taken and 90% of us had the same DISC profile that we arrived at ourselves!

Now, I generally don't like to categorize people as I don't believe slotting people into boxes works - human behaviour is way more complicated than that. But of all the other personality/work personality tests I've taken or read about, DISC seems to be the most accurate because it has 4 very clearly defined but broad groups that each allow a variety of behaviours, but also allow people of one style to exhibit certain traits of all the other styles all the time or depending on the situation.

As a manager, I found the DISC profile very useful. I've been working for almost 8 years now and in this time I have had to deal with all sorts of team members and bosses. I've had team members who have driven me up the wall by their slow pace of working, their refusal to take instructions from me, their manager, by always getting so caught up in details so that they completely miss the bigger picture etc.

At the same time I've had bosses who were extremely cautious about what they said, forever questioning & critiquing and very demanding. DISC has helped me realize why they were the way they were and how I could have improved my working relationship with them and handled them/the situation better.

Even now I have a very diverse group of people working with me and I know how to interact with them so we don't drive each other batty and get the optimum productivity. I also know which way I tend to sway (in terms of my style of working) and when I need to act in another way.

I've rambled on and on about this and I'm way past my target bed time for today :-)
Why don't you tell me what you think your DISC profile would be? You could choose one for the sake of simplicity, or choose a dominant and a secondary style. Game on!