Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bossy behaviour

This post is for everyone who was, is or will be, in my team at one point in time or another.

Hey you,

I hope things are great with you. I haven't had much time lately to talk to you, or even to ask how you're doing. The workload's killing us all, isn't it? Don't worry, it will pass. Just be grateful that even though it's a lot, it's still what you'd prefer doing over anything else, isn't it?

I am so proud of you. Along with all the others that I hired. I still remember how I fought for you. "I think this person is more suitable to work on the books in my list." "This person is very creative. I think he/she will do a good job with the magazine." Sometimes it was just a simple "I want this person in my team." that did the job. I remember how I described you to people who asked me "So how's the new guy/gal you hired?" I'd say, "He's a happy guy." or "She's very cheerful." Those were aspects of you I remembered most vividly from the interview. And they played a very important part in getting you hired.

I want to teach you everything I know. I want you to understand the 'whys' rather than the 'hows'. I don't want you to come to me with a "Sayesha, do you like this?" or "Sayesha, what do you want for this?" What I like or want is not important. What the readers want or will like in the book is important. I like what they like. I want what they want. So even if you're using my liking as a scale for quality, I want you to know why I like what I like and why I want what I want.

I smile when I see you hard at work. I smile when I see your amateur mark-ups on the manuscripts. It's like looking at the same old stuff that I have been looking at for four years, but through your perspective. I smile when you ask questions because you can't figure something out. I smile when I point something out and you send me an 'Oooops' email. I smile when you pop by my cubicle at 12:30 pm with a "Sayesha, it's lunchtime! Go eat!" I smile when you call me even though I'm sitting a few feet away from you. I smile when I see you secretly checking your personal email account or surfing the net. It's okay, we all do it. If you finish your work and it's well done, you can do what you want with the rest of your time. But of course, I want to give you enough work so you don't have too much free time. Because I remember how restless I used to get when I was new and I did not have enough work to fill my day. I used to go to my surprised senior editor and say, "C, please give me some work." I smile when you come and tell me, "I'm done with this one. Do you have anything you can give me?"

Sometimes I want to take on a bit of your workload. Sometimes I don't want to tell you that there are 63 titles that must be published by March, and that our team strength is not enough to cope with it. I want to hide the ugly from you, I want you to believe, the way I believe, that we can achieve the impossible. Sometimes, I want to stay back because you're doing so even though I cannot give you anything but moral support. Sometimes I feel guilty when I have to rush to university three days a week and I don't have enough time to explain things to you in detail. It is my job to see that you develop, you become darn good at what you do. Especially because that's one of the reasons why they're paying me more than you. And I take my job damn seriously. I don't just want the books to be published. I want your experience of being in my team to include a lot more than that.

I had a boss in this company who had such a deep impact on me that my work ethics will always be influenced by her. And I will never ever forget what I learnt from her. If she could be such a great boss, can't I be? I want to be to you what she was to me. I actually used to think that my career was tagged to hers. I thought I would go wherever she went. And then one fine day, she went. But I did not. And realisation sunk in that our careers had separate paths. Your path too, is separate from mine. We make a great team, yes, but we must be capable of making great teams without each other.

Sometimes I wonder whether your lunchtime conversations are company-bitching sessions. Sometimes I wonder if you're still as happy as you were when you were brand new. Remember those days? You were like this excited kid who wanted to learn everything, who wanted to do everything right, everything perfect. I felt so much grown-up looking at you, even though we're only a few years apart in age. You were so excited, I felt excited looking at your excitement. And I'm glad that you still are excited, though signs of the heavy workload are creeping in.

I want you to not become cynical. I want you to see your work the way you saw it when you first fell in love with it. Always.

Then there was the day they came and took you away. Job rotation, they said. I did not protest. They were right. One has to do different things to develop. Look at me. I'm doing something I have never done before. With a brand new team with zero experience. And I'm facing many many challenges. Perhaps I don't like it as much as what I used to do earlier, I know I will learn to love it. Because I know that at the end of the day, this is where I belong. And sometimes I wonder how happy you are in your new team. Sometimes I even secretly wonder if you miss working with me.

I can tell you are in love with your job. Just as I am. The very fact that we're here in spite of the low salaries that kids' publishing pays, speaks for itself. That's what keeps us going, isn't it? The love for the job. And as long as I am here, I will try my best to ensure you stay in love with it. But if one day, you wake up and you know you don't love it anymore, I want you to leave it. To be fair to the job. To yourself. To me.

I'm still learning to be a good boss. I want to be your friend, but not too close lest you stop taking your deadlines seriously. I want to protect you when other departments turn against ours - sometimes at the cost of becoming the bad guy. Sometimes I wonder if I am adequate. Sometimes I wonder if you think I am adequate. Sometimes I wonder if I inspire you enough. Sometimes I wonder if I'm letting you make full use of your creativity. Sometimes I wonder if I am changing your ideas just because I am the boss. I want to keep your ideas. It's your book after all. I just want to guide you to make your raw ideas feasible. Marketable. Profitable. Because some day I want us to be in a position where I don't have to look through that manuscript because I know that you have.

Even though stuff drives me nuts at work, I always want to talk of work in a positive manner so I don't affect you. We face a lot of challenges in a very stressful environment and a very competitive market. And I don't want you to be negatively affected by it. I want to highlight certain things as issues, not problems. I want to be positive. I want to be the person whom you look at and say, "That's how I gotta be."

Some day if I become jaded and cynical, I want to be able to look at you and say, "That's how I gotta be."


manju said...

Gold :)

Am excited :) First time gold :)

manju said...

And that too after reading the blog :)

her said...


her said...

how nice:)!
Not all bosses re same ;)..i hope they were! *sigh*

BP said...

I miss our old team :S

Iday said...

I can relate to each and every word of it!!!
I'm leading a small team with many fresh recruits myself and i know how enjoyable and yet painful it can be :)

And yeah - i had the "I have to run home early man, can we see this tomorrow" problem too - coz of my essays :)
I intend to spend some more time with my team in the coming days, as i am done with all my apps.

Anonymous said...


So well-written. Bows to your thoughts Sash. I could identify with everything. I am fairly new at my job, and our team (of 10 currently) works closely with our supervisor. Shaayad he goes through the same thoughts. Sash, I am very sure you make a super boss. You know kabhi-kabhi I am sure they are split between their own responsibilities as a leader and wanting things just right...and being with us as a friend too. Not everyone is perfect, but when someone like you thinks in such a balanced way, I am sure that shines across Sash :). One thing I wish our supervisor did was explain things on a simple level, and give us a complete picture when we ask a focussing on "not just the how's but the why's too". Kya baat hai :-)! I am that person who wants to know every detail of my work, and do it perfectly. It hurts me when mistakes are pointed out because I want to be really good at what I do. Once tears rolled out of my eyes, I didn't let anyone see me. Good I was turned towards the wall :-)). I love it when everyone works beautifully and smoothly...with goodwill and well oiled parts of a machine. I love it when everyone wants to excel and do their best. There are people in my team who talk too much (gossip even, and I do not like it) while working. I wonder if they treat coming to work mainly as a social outing with work as a side-dish perhaps. Honestly, that bugs me. We are at work. It's business hours. let's work! :-)) Wonder what kind of a boss I will be. They will hate me :-))). As usual....lamba likh

dharmu said...

sayesha bhai, i totally loved this one. every word, every sentence, every thought is so very touching.

for me, i dont like this job much. i would rather be teaching the students the different aspects of human relations than discussing files with the clients.

3 more months before i come back to work where my heart is, and i msut say i am so much excited!

Sakshi said...

"Some day if I become jaded and cynical, I want to be able to look at you and say, "That's how I gotta be."
So well put. I am jaded enough. Yet each time I train the undergraduates in the lab or teach my students I look at things that I do with renewed joy.
I hope that I will always have that kind of energy, drive and innocent joy in the simple things in science and in life in general/

Sirius Black said...

i hope u stay as da same boss :)

Bivas said...

Hmmm...The Perfect Boss...Everyone Craves for it...Few Get One.
One issue with a good boss is the time factor. One has to spend quality time with the subordinates. It sure is a great moral booster.

shub said...

63 titles by March? :O
I can totally March :))

shub said...

aargh! I meant I can totally understand if we can't meet up will March :D
[I totally cannot March!]

Strider said...

I am in the midst of a 'job rotation' myself!
Wish my manager wrote tht..
It is nice to know how the 'other side' looks at things.....

Aise hi raho Sayesha Bhai ..
Aur fresher logo ko thoda kam kaam dena... aur aisa kaam jo unki enthu ko aur badhaye .. ( Mai bhi ek fresher hu na ;-) )

Basanti said...

Is that post for me, your future teammate? ;-) hehe

Hmm.. will keep in mind these things when I start working! :-)

Parimal Killarikar said...

good one

Inder said...

boss - team member relation is like saas - bahu relation? nice to see exceptions :P

RP said...

boy. boy. boy. aft real long i am back on blog world & i am treated with a beautiful post. yer post was...

And, the best portion of the post was/is:
"But if one day, you wake up and you know you don't love it anymore, I want you to leave it. To be fair to the job. To yourself. To me."

Sayesha, I am ready 2 join yer team if this is yer attitude. Hats off.

chanakya said...

Good boss, Good job what more can i ask for. Oh yeah good dedicated guys working under me. Unfortunately the last isnt holding true completely. Well at least for now.

chanakya said...

ps how does one motivate someone who doe not want to be motivated.

Anonymous said...


How do you do that?

Di said...

im the exception who liked all my managers to date(though i had only 2)...hope it says the same..touch wood.. :)

Aashun said...

jaded when I feel; I remind myslef that there are more bubbles to peel!
[bubbles can be projects/titles]

Bhavesh said...

hats off to you sayesha..!!

Mysorean said...

Good boss! How I wish every boss could think like this?!

bachcha said...

ditto to di ... (replacing 'says with 'stays')... i so wish tht my boss was some PHB (ref:dilbert) ..tht must be too much fun .. cursing n making fun of the idiotic behaviours .. ah fun fun!

Anonymous said...

Hey Sayesha

First time to ur blog..and must say..u write v well :):)
And Abt the perception of the boss..I knw that All my Bosses have liked me lots for my work..but wish v cud get to hear this so neat :)..and hope u remain the same boss that ur at present:)

Anonymous said...

Job-satisfaction is very important..
Bosses can change our lives.. good or bad..
Good mail to that team member...
Sadly, I am yet to find a boss to whom I can look up to... None till now!

Anonymous said...

Getting a good boss is a god given gift! Yeah.. its true, we tend to follow our boss attitudes, if we like them and that leaves a great impact on our lives.

aditi said...

you rock! :)

Sayesha said...

I can do this!
*deep breath*

Congrats, getting a gold AFTER reading the post doesn't happen often :P

Thanks :)

Me too! We were the best, weren't we? :)

Yeah, I wish I had more time to spare for them rather than the manuscripts they edit and give me for approval... hope to change that soon :)

Thanks :)
ps: I'm so happy you're back with your long comments. They really make me think :)

#Dharmu Dada,
Thanks! :)

Hope you always have this enthusiasm! :)

//i hope u stay as da same boss :)

Hehehe... I hope I get promoted too man :P

I'm fortunate to have had the perfect boss once... if I could do for my team 50% of what she did for me, I'd be happy :)

Hahahaha! March on, my friend! ;)

Hahahaha! My freshers are neck-deep in work already! This year is a bit difficult to get thru :)

Arre jaldi se graduate kar yaar! :)

Thanks :)

Hahahaha! Yeah, that's the image everyone has... am glad there are saas-bahus who're good friends :)

Hey, welcome back! Long time no see! :) And thanks! :)

I'm sure you can train them well :)

//how does one motivate someone who doe not want to be motivated.

So far, from what I have seen, a motivated boss manages to instil motivation in his/her team. At least that's how I used to get motivated, just by looking at and talking to my boss :)

'That' bole toh? :O

Touchwood for you! :)

May you burst all bubbles with a grand bang! :)

Thanks dear... Though I'm not yet the boss I really want to be, I'm working on it. :)

Thanks :)

Dilbert fan? Me toooo! :P

Welcome to Sayeshaz! :) Thanks for commenting :)

#Smiling Girl,
//Sadly, I am yet to find a boss to whom I can look up to... None till now!

Maybe it'll be you yourself, babe! ;)

Yup :)

Thanks dear! :)

Iday said...

//Yeah, I wish I had more time to spare for them rather than the manuscripts they edit and give me for approval... hope to change that soon :)
This will change as time passes and they get used to the kind of deliverables (that's strictly a S/W industry term) they have to produce. But since u say ur next year is difficult, you'll have to be all the more careful that they don't freak out coz of the two-fold pressure of having to learn the work on one hand and also having to produce quality work in something they're only learning now :)

I'm sure u know better :D

Anonymous said...

hey sayesha..
have started reading ur blogs n was goin thru some old ones..and i must say ur jst AWESOME..u write too gudddd :):)

Sayesha said...

//that's strictly a S/W industry term

Not really. Publishing uses it too :)

Thanks. Glad you like it around here :)