New Sheriff in Town

I had promised in my last quarter mailer that I would try to come back with a “things I built” theme this time. Well there has been a setback. A number of threads that ran through whatever I did through out the last quarter. All of these were in the corporate world. All of them ate into whatever energy that I have to shield my personal life from the former.

Early in July I was in Calcutta on a reconnaissance trip. I had dragged my boss along and got him to introduce me to the powers that be in the Calcutta circuit of my organization. The idea was to relocate soon and set up PeopleSoft operations of our practice group in Calcutta. What was a matter of discomfort was that I would need to poach on my earlier organization.

The first whiff of smoke came in the form of a piece of news that my boss shared with me. There was a proposed change in the senior leadership. There was to be a new sheriff in town, the deputies were unsure of what that would mean. The signs of these change had there for a long time – as you can always discover on hind sight.

The drama is still being playing out over the last three months with the cloaks-and-daggers, smoke-and-mirror and the palace politics that a lot of these internal takeovers generally bring in with them. The final curtain has not come down yet. I suspect that in the game of snakes and ladders in progress, some lead actors will remove themselves from the play.

At this point I can not but remember something in The Economist “Company bosses are being fired in record numbers nowadays. In some ways this is not the disaster for them that being axed is for the rest of humanity…Yet the psychological blow caused by dismissal may be far more devastating to the formerly lionized – now unwanted – corporate leader than it is to mere mortals.”

So what is in it for me? “Thou shall not go to Calcutta”. KB had not cared whether I would go to poach or omelet but this has thrown me off my spin. The axis has changed. I made two trips to Chennai over two weeks in September.

One of them needed me to pass through Bangalore on September 12. What is this with September 12 and Bangalore? I have walked in the city each year that day over the last seven years. The other important date was my birth day.

September 21 is a strange date. I know of three other people who were born on the same date in different years. The name one (born a year later then me) is the same as another who was born on the same day I was. I do not know almost any thing of the other person. I went for lunch with the third person in Chennai. Then, two of my friends and colleagues had daughters born to them on that date and both these babies couldn’t survive the first few hours/days. Now my friend Balvinder has lost his mother on September 21.

To move on to a more cheerful subject would be my brush with the CMMI certification process. I was thrust into the role of a “practice champion” to ensure that we survived the assessment audit. The team slogged for three months to earn the sobriquet “brilliant project”. Two directors and I were given a shirt each bearing the company logo and CMMI initiative for all the hard work.

So, what next? I have lost count of the number of times I have asked myself that question. Some people live in the past, some as if there is no tomorrow, it seems my fate is always to hope for a better future. Have you heard “High Hopes” by Frank Sinatra? I am listening to it as I am typing this. It goes like this: “Just what makes that little old ant / Think he’ll move that rubber tree plant / Anyone knows an ant, cant / Move a rubber tree plant # But he’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes/ He’s got high apple pie, in the sky hopes # So any time your gettin’ low ‘stead of lettin’ go / Just remember that ant/ Oops there goes another rubber tree plant”

(Note: You have received this email because you are in my address book and distribution list. Please feel free to ask me stop bugging you with these quarterly mailers. If you are among the 79 who have received such an update for the first time then you might want to check out the last four at under the “Mailers” category. Some have told me they have enjoyed reading them – I hope you will too.)

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