It’s afternoon time on the last day of the month. Apart from the gold prices going down for the first time in 6 months, it’s a boring day. Then the mail from HR comes. A reminder of today’s birthday party. A reminder that my birthday was this month. I flinch remembering my birthday this year. An issue cropped up at 6:30, just when I was about to leave and the boss said, “Handle it, will u… I have an appraisal meeting with my boss”. I returned home at 11 to cards made by the kids and a home cooked birthday cake. Once home I sat on a call till 1:30 in the night.
Eight of us (whose birthday falls in this month), stand awkwardly in front of the 2 kg Pineapple cake from Monginis. The senior ones in the centre, and us, the lesser mortals on the sides or at the back. Reminding us of the hierarchy, time and again. I’m standing at the right most corner and my hand will never reach the cake. The HR is busy taking photos of us, which will be put up on the notice board of the canteen for the whole of the next month.
“Say Cheeeeezeee” says HR and I say Cheeeeezeee
I smile, the only time I’ve done so in office in recent times. Not many are present, I observe. Of course, it’s the month of May and most employees are on a vacation.
“Happy birthday to you… happy birthday to you…happy birthday to dear…..” 8 of us… . The song trails off from there… as always…
Again a half hearted effort.
The cake is promptly cut into half, and and the bigger half :/ sent to the Top Floor. The Big Bosses, who were too busy and too big for such programs, will get the cake in their seats.
“Why pineapple cake? That too Monginis…Cheapo’es! Last month when it was the birthday of somebody from HR, they got a chocolate cake and that too from Ribbons and Balloons” I overhear. One doesn’t have to really make an effort. People are quite vocal of their disappointment.
“Kya yaar! Fir se Spring Roll aur Batata Wada… Kabhi toh kuch achha khilao!” says another, directly to HR.
Frankly,I’ve gone beyond all this. I don’t worry which cake I’ve eaten, don’t go anywhere near the Spring Rolls, Batata Wadas or the HR, lest they ask me to pose for a photo and give my comments of this employee engagement initiative of theirs.
As everybody makes a beeline towards the snack counter, I quietly slip away to the parking for a smoke.
The phone rings just as I light up.
“Mr. Amit?” ……yes…
“I called up to confirm your presence for the interview tomorrow. You will be here by 11 right?” …yes. I will be there.
So much so for Employee Engagement.
As Observed By :