So a lot of people ask me what it is that I do for a living. Proudly, I tell them that I work with (and not FOR: we believe in the ownership and partnership crap) a GLOBAL INVESTMENT BANK. Some of them are satisfied with this vague answer and move on to more interesting topics like when do I plan to get married. Some others seem unimpressed and ask me why I can’t manage to find a more respectable job with a respectable company like TCS. But a few painful ones continue to probe, “ok, I know it’s a GLOBAL INVESTMENT BANK, but can you please ELABORATE on what it is EXACTLY that you do?”
Cornered, I try to follow the well-established principle mastered in B school vivas, “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.” So I quote the headline of my Linkedin profile: “I am in the research division where I am responsible for product development” and throw in some MBA jargons like “BD”, “Innovation” and “Cross-functional collaboration”.
But the jobless skeptical person continues, “That makes very little sense to me. Can you explain to me, in layman’s terms, what your day-to-day responsibilities are?”
Desperate and at a loss for words, I am a picture of discomfort, “Well, you know, it’s very difficult to explain. You see I don’t have any routine tasks, so you know, it’s more unstructured in nature. But primarily, you know, I am more of an internal thinktank if you will. Do you get my point?”
Jobless skeptical person gets more suspicious, “Not really. If you had to explain to a five-year old about what you did at work today, what would you say?”
In my mind, I go over my day: I reached office at 9, I read the editorial of two newspapers, abused IT for blocking my blog, had breakfast, tried to adjust the heights of the text boxes in my ppt and had a call discussing the colour of the text boxes. After 30 minutes of argument over why red is more suitable than blue, I needed a coffee break where I bitched about my boss. Then I changed the colour of the text boxes to blue and went for a really long lunch break where I bitched about my boss.
After lunch, I was sort of sleepy, so I surfed through tripadvisor, planning my fictitious honeymoon with the fictitious guy, making a note to add “should not be scared of heights” to my list of requirements which also include “cute, intelligent, humble, articulate, well-read, well-traveled, non-obnoxious, non-loud, non-geek, non-weird, slightly old-fashioned, with a good sense of humour, possessing good taste in movies, clothes, shoes and music, willing to share household responsibilities and most importantly, capable of exterminating pests especially lizards” collectively referred to as “unrealistic”. Satisfied with my good work, we went out to the nearby overpriced coffee shop where I bitched about my boss.
Next, I attended a two-hour meeting, where I sat diametrically opposite to my boss behind a big guy so that I was well-hidden and free to scribble a cartoon on my notepad while other people gave updates, discussed ‘high-level’ topics and presented ‘basic concepts’ like convertible bonds or credit-linked notes, while I secretly wondered if I was the only one to whom it did not seem ‘so basic’. But after five minutes, I gave up and went back to my cartoon which was shaping up really well. By the time the meeting was over, I did not feel like changing the font size of my entire ppt, so I annoyed some colleagues on the newly-added communicator exploring the range of smileys and bitched about my boss
Aloud, I said, “A five year old would not be able to grasp the significance of my work. It’s not child’s play you know.”
I have to make strategy-level decisions for my company, and sometimes it even involves deciding THE.WHOLE.POWERPOINT.TEMPLATE