Many people, especially the educated employed youth, tend to have this ‘Social status aphrodisiac’. What will he think of me? What will she think of me? What will my neighbour’s father’s friend’s sister’s brother-in-law’s 3 year old daughter think of me? Well, for those of us who do fall in that category (come on, I know you do! Don’t sit there and roll your eyes…) I have conceived a four-point formula which has, until now, worked for me.
1. Speaking Style: This point is of immense importance in work life. Whenever you are in a meeting or a conference you will, more often than not, be forced to say the following: ‘That’s a good point!’; ‘That’s true’; ‘I agree’. Always remember to add something extra before those phrases. ‘Actually, that’s a good point!’ sounds far more sophisticated, mysterious and intelligent than a mere bland ‘That’s a good point!’ Your peers and bosses are bound to be awed by you. “That guy! Look at the way he uses ‘Actually’! He must really have some layered depths of knowledge!” they start to think (Or at least that’s what I think they start to think). Instead of saying ‘That’s true’, try and say ‘Exactly!’ in a clear, ringing voice, at the same time clicking your thumb and your middle finger while pointing your index finger at some random point on the ceiling. Believe me, That creates instant impact.
2. Computer manners: Most of us cannot live, let alone work, without a laptop or a desktop. So this point comes in as the most universally applicable point. Whenever you are sitting in front of your computer, arrange your face so as to give the impression of something life-threateningly serious going on before you and you are the only person capable of handling it. When you have an office with a privatized cubicle, there is no need of auxiliary equipments like myriad documents, age old technical diagrams etc. to cover what you are actually doing (read-minesweeper, cricinfo, solitaire, Wikipedia). But when you are part of an open office or when you are at home, it’s better to keep any of the aforementioned documents open. Or at least a pre-planned excel sheet with scores and scores of unrelated, complicated and absolutely unfathomable numbers spread across important sounding columns (‘Tax Invoice No.’, ‘R05 Value’ , ‘Production quantity’, ‘minimum specification’ etc.) should do the trick. In the case of software professionals, minesweeper/cricinfo/Wikipedia should themselves do the trick. Even at home this point is extremely important. With an open, complicated excel sheet on the task bar and a sober expression playing on your face you can watch Friends/How I met your mother/Two and a half men with a free mind. This exercise also helps improve you control your emotions as you will be experienced enough to watch a sitcom without laughing or pretending to laugh along with the laugh tracks (Note: The said exercise is not recommended for Dr. Vijay, Captain Vijaykanth and T.R Films as they are in a totally different league when compared to petty American sitcoms).
3. Expand your area of work: By this, I don’t mean you have to actually butt your head into all functional departments of the organization and increase your knowledge about their respective functioning. No, you don’t need expansive work. All you need is expansive talk. When you talk about your job profile you should sound as if you are the only person apart from the CMD because of whom the company is running. You don’t need to know what are the functionalities involved and technical details. Just a lot of important sounding English words ought to be enough. ‘Product Development’, ‘Strategy analysis’, ‘Catalogue management’, ‘Market development’, ‘Software Systems management’, ‘consulting champion’, ‘Production planning’, ‘Customer relations management’ etc. Sound Important don’t they? Just brush up some support data for each of the aforesaid, actually existing, job profiles and you are good to go.
4. Complete and unabashed utilization of ‘The near-miss factor’: (Note: though this point may sound applicable only to those people who managed to ‘Bell the CAT’ and get interview calls from IIMs, only to later find out that they were mere add-ons, it is actually applicable to others also. They can actually modify it with a single letter – P. After all, the only criterion to get a call from ‘IIPM’ is to be Homo sapiens. And at least most of us fulfill that criterion.) Many of you might have got interview calls from prestigious institutes like IIM/SP Jain/IIFT etc. All others are automatic call getters of IIPM. Try to bring almost all conversations that you participate in towards your ‘thirty minutes of glory’ (In case of IIPM, just walk in to a branch nearest to you immediately to have a firsthand experience. They have perennial openings for MBA, E-MBA, Global MBA, International Executive Entrepreneurial Programme, Dare to think beyond ‘IITs/IIMs/YALE/HARVARD/STANFORD/OXFORD’ Programmes and other such exciting initiatives). Let me give you an example of how to go about this particular point. Below is a conversation I recently had with an acquaintance:
Acq: Hey Jagan! What’s up?
Me: Nothing much. Work is hectic as always. Just had these additional responsibilities of market analysis and product development thrust on me.
Acq: Oh! Great man! So much responsibility! That’s good for you right?
Me: Yes of course! But it’s hampering my CAT preparations. Also with 3 previous IIM calls (You can make that 18 in case of IIPM), there are increased expectations on me this year.
Acq: Wow! You got 3 IIM calls? That’s great man! You must be brilliant then…blah…gifted…blah…blah…prestigious…blah blah blah…toughest exam in India…blah blah blah blah
Easy isn’t it?
Thus, we come to the end of the four-point formula. These points have been made public after extensive research, firsthand experiences, market surveys, quality assurance procedures, strict conformance to international standards, customer satisfaction initiatives, simulation of business models, five year development plans, defense measures…er… stuff like that.
Have you noticed how much of an exponent of the four point formula I have become?