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Thursday, September 06, 2018

Chp 722. Being different at work

I recently wrote a short blog piece about the Corporate world, giving a few advice to the youth of Mizoram, and I really appreciate all the positive feedback I have received for that post, muchos gracias to you all.

In this post too, I would like to write something about the Corporate world, but this is a very lighthearted article, not something you may find helpful. It's more about a funny personal experience of mine.

So the other day, I looked at one of the Mizo WhatsApp groups I was in and saw some members chatting about their work place in Delhi and Bengaluru. One member complained about the lack of Northeastern people in his office, especially at senior management level, while another member joked that "being the only Northeastern person in her office sucked because she stood out among other Indians and hence was easily noticeable if she happened to reach office late or was absent". :D

Lolz, that is quite true indeed. If I was in a work environment in Mizoram where every employee is a Mizo, except for one who is, say, a Sardarji, then yeah, he will be very visible in office too. I may not notice Sanga or Manga slyly stepping in late, but a late Gurpinder Singh will immediately be noticed by everyone :)

But jokes aside, apart from standing out physically, if you think people not noticing when you are late or absent is a good thing, then you are quite mistaken my friend. It just means that you do not have a significant role in your organization and hence, easily replaceable. Instead, try to be that someone who throws the entire project in chaos for falling sick and taking a last minute leave. The more red flags you raise and blockers you create due to your absence, the greater is your value to the team :D :P

Anyway, coming back to this topic. If you, as a Mizo or a Northeasterner, feel singled out because you’re the only person from the North East in your office, don't be disheartened. Instead, grab all the advantages you can!

Here are my stories.

Four years ago, our company got acquired and we moved from Mumbai into our new company's Corporate office in Pune. And by Corporate office, I don't mean just the main head office but also the fact that our office building is situated in one of those exclusive Business Centers shared by other private companies as well.

Beautiful, innit?

In the above building, our organization occupies two floors, while seven other companies have an office space as well. Hence, we can act like a boss only on our two floors, while the rest of the areas like the lobby, escalators, parking area, smoking section, cafeterias, etc are all publicly shared with employees of the other companies.

Now, in all those 4 years that I've been working here, I've noticed I'm the only one from the North East. I have seen a few Mongoloid people now and then at the smoking section downstairs, but they are clearly South East Asians, and since I don’t see them for a long time and then suddenly appear continuously for around a week and then disappear for months again, I'm assuming they're visiting partners from their offshore companies.

The good thing about being significantly different from everybody else is that people remember your face. All the lift operators of our Business center (four escalators in total) easily know my face :D The moment I step in the lift, he presses my floor without me having to say anything, whereas for my colleagues or employees of other companies, they have to make the effort to tell the lift operator which floor they're getting off. I know it's not a big deal, but it feels quite… relaxing :P

All the security guards of the two main gates too know who you are. Since there are eight different companies with around 200-300 employees each, we all have to show our employee ID cards before entering the building complex. Those who forgot their IDs have to wait at the security office until their respective HR or Admin comes down to sign them in. Well, I have forgotten my ID a couple of times but the security guards have always allowed me to enter without any hassle. :)

Employees from the other seven companies also get to remember your face. There had been at least more than 10 occasions the past 4 years when I'm at a pub or partying with friends and some nicely dressed woman or man approached me and told me she/he too worked in the same building as me at so and so company. And we chill and laugh and stuff.

But here’s the best part about standing out and being recognized by everybody at work - getting a drop to work. :D

So I live around 15 minutes walking distance from office. I usually walk home from office, but I take an auto on my way to work since I don't wanna reach office all sweaty and stuff. While waiting on the main road for an auto (which is really difficult to find during morning rush hour since my destination is so near and hence 80% of the autos refuse to ply), my colleagues who happened to drive by would stop and give me a lift. And they would drop me in front of our office gate while they drove a bit further to the parking section.

Now here's the thing. Since my colleagues wore full-face helmets, other than a few people whose body structure or clothes or bikes I recognized, most of the time, I had no freaking idea who dropped me! :D

Yeah… :D

If I'm standing on the pavement waiting for an auto and a biker with a full-face helmet stops in front of me and points to the back with his thumb, I just hop on, no questions asked. Lelz.

I mean, I kinda feel bad asking him who he is or demanding that he removes his helmet first :D Also, this is a very easy way to kidnap me if you want to (ladies, are you reading this? :D )

Anyway, the main point I wanna mention in this blog post is this - so this happened around a year ago. As usual, I was just standing near the main road waiting for an auto when a biker slowed down and stopped in front of me. He gestured with his thumb, telling me to hop on. I did.

We drove in silence and in 5 minutes we reached office. He stopped in front of our office gate and I got down. I still didn't know who he was because of his helmet, and so like I usually do, I patted him on his back and said thanks. His helmet nodded.

As he drove towards the parking section, I noticed his employee ID badge hanging around his neck. It said "EXUSIA"! Lolzzz. He wasn't even my colleague, he was an employee of one of the seven other companies in our office complex!

Till today, I wonder who that nice guy from Exusia is, and want to thank him again.

So yeah, sometimes it may get a bit lonely when you're the only Mizo or Northeasterner in a large work environment, but it comes with its own perks as well :) Cheers to you all, and hope you have a great day. Until next post, ciao.

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