When Tyrants Are Proud…

I still remember my on-boarding session at my first job (first job, first love, first pani-puri etc. are not easily forgotten) There was this lady who started off the session by saying, “I am gonna give you a clear picture of what this company is. I will not bullshit you. I will speak only what is true, whether it is good or bad.”
Now she was from the HR team; there was no way in hell that she would badmouth the company. Even if there was something “bad” as she had put it, she would sell it in such a way that we would actually find ways to justify it. Diplomacy, after all, is the first rule of the HR!
So in the course of incidents that she narrated (the usual – someone stealing mobiles, a couple making out in company-provided cabs, forwarding mails to personal IDs etc etc) there was this one incident she narrated with complete ruthlessness. There was this lady from the security team, whose job was to frisk the employees as they came in. Apparently this one employee carried a USB device successfully into his restricted bay, despite being frisked. Sometime later, the guy was caught with the device and was instantly thrown out. The frisking lady was asked to leave as well. The HR lady told us, in the most dramatic way possible, that the lady was a widow who had two children to take care of. And yet, the company did not think twice about throwing her out.
While she narrated this, drama aside, I noticed there was not the slightest tone of compassion in her voice. If I may say so, she sounded almost proud of her company kicking out someone for not doing their job properly. Now, from her perspective, she may have had the right to be working for a company with such high principles of integrity (*snort!*). But what was the need to mention the personal circumstances of the lady who was fired? In showing the company as a ruthless, uncaring monster, what was she trying to do? Instil fear in us?
As I mentioned earlier, she packaged her speech in such a way, that no one present in the hall with me felt any sort of compassion for the frisking lady (or so I think). But it brought this question to my mind – is there arrogance in being projected as ruthless? If yes, that’s a sad and petty kind of arrogance… hopefully the frisking lady found a job with a more humane company.

13 thoughts on “When Tyrants Are Proud…

  1. Indrani September 7, 2013 / 1:22 AM

    I understand the company asking her to leave, but then it was not necessary to mention her family status.
    A minor incident, but yes makes you think.


  2. Sreesha Divakaran September 7, 2013 / 5:48 AM

    You're right, Indrani. Letting her go is one thing. But mentioning her background makes you think what is the point they are trying to put forward…


  3. I'M CRAzy NOt September 7, 2013 / 2:23 PM

    dude, business is not a humane process.. expand HR, its Human Resource.. objectifying a person as a resource, WTF is that ? that phrase is taught all through management schools everywhere.. they are teaching managers to objectify the people lower in the hierarchy.. actually if you ask me they are being taught to be psychopaths, just to make the business more successful


  4. Sreesha Divakaran September 7, 2013 / 7:18 PM

    Arrogant psychopaths, at that!
    It's a rude shock to those who are taught to be nice as children, then they grow up and are expected to be all mean.


  5. Abhra September 7, 2013 / 7:43 PM

    You know it might be her way of saying that corporate is a different world, but I have another suspicion that this whole thing might be a set up i.e. this is just a made up speech to induce thoughts because as a part of my job, I have seen similar things happening, but when inquired, could not relate to facts.


  6. Sreesha Divakaran September 8, 2013 / 4:09 AM

    You're probably right about that, Abhra. There was another story she had told us about robbery. A friend of mine, who worked at a different company had heard the exact same story at her onboarding!
    Plus, we were never frisked in office. Our bags were sometimes checked, but that's it.


  7. I'M CRAzy NOt September 9, 2013 / 3:24 PM

    I jumped the gun a little there, didn't I ? anyway, even if that exercise is to induce thoughts or negative feelings, its not exactly an explicit attempt, is it ? the n00bs are not being treated as people, but like pets, they need to associate the feeling of a bitter experience with breaking a rule, so i'll tell them a story of how a poor lady got the rough end of a stick. That way employees could be controlled or manipulated through fear.


  8. I'M CRAzy NOt September 9, 2013 / 3:27 PM

    I wonder how terrorism works ???


  9. I'M CRAzy NOt September 9, 2013 / 5:40 PM

    That's perfect. Emotionally manipulating somebody to get your way.. if that is not a *path's profile, I don't know what is. grrrrr, I wanna punch some managers 😀


  10. I'M CRAzy NOt September 9, 2013 / 5:43 PM

    Is this taught in the MBA schools, or is it corporate strategy ? I have no idea, do you ?


  11. Sreesha Divakaran September 9, 2013 / 5:55 PM

    Maybe it's an eligibility thing. Maybe the CAT exam has questions about it. And only those who can think on the right (wrong?) lines clear it. Like getting into Slytherin… 😛


  12. Sreesha Divakaran September 9, 2013 / 5:56 PM

    I don't think all managers are MBA grads. Also, not all MBA grads turn out like the lady I described in my post.


  13. Sreesha Divakaran September 10, 2013 / 5:07 PM

    Terrorism works on the principles of fear as well: Scare a kid into holding guns, teach him hatred, let him blow up places and let him get caught. While the big shots sit on their pots of gold.

    As for instilling fear, let me quote Marilyn Manson:

    “You're watching television, you're being pumped full of fear, there's floods, there's AIDS, there's murder, cut to commercial, buy the Colgate, if you have bad breath they're not going to talk to you, and it's just this campaign of fear, and consumption, and that's what I think it's all based on, the whole idea of 'keep everyone afraid, and they'll consume.”


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