Saturday, January 8, 2011

For Your Reference

It is said that joy when shared doubles in value. And it is true, when you share your happiness with your friends and family you realize that it was worth sharing. There are many such things which one can share with their friends. Joy when shared is doubled, sorrow when shared is halved, love when shared increases manifold. A man can share many things with his friends, except his underwear, his woman and the most important of them all : his job.

We always believe that it is a luxury to have a close friend of ours at our workplace. Many of us have our friends from school and college working with us under the same roof. It brings us a sense of security to have our close confidants within our reach, someone with whom we can bitch about our colleagues and bosses, someone with whom we can rant on the complexities of an MS-Excel ( I am still figuring out on how to use the VLOOKUP function), someone who can give us an introduction or a number, whichever is easier to get, of that pretty girl you have been secretly ogling at who works in his/her team. The organization you work for acknowledges this need of an individual to be working with his/her close friends and have come up with what we know as The Referral Scheme, where you refer a friend to your HR and they after an interview process hire them. Its the case of killing two birds with one stone, or in other words nailing two beautiful women with one.... you get the picture right? At the end of the day, your company gets a "resource" which can be "resourced" upon, and you get a friend in a world which is infested with sharks, foxes and vixens. And also, you get a referral bonus for screwing up your friend's life by suggesting them a job at your workplace and sharing your misery.

I always feel that there ought to be some guidelines for referring a friend at the referral scheme, guidelines which may not be charted out by the HR team because we live in an era where one can get a job if s/he just knows to type. And that is what they are looking for, someone who atleast knows to type if not anything else. Yet, we should not get carried away by this criteria, we need to look a few steps ahead to see if they are suitable for the job. We need to have our own mental assessment of our friends before we refer them to our company.

S/he is suitable for the job if:

a. S/he is not as smart as you, on the contrary it would be even better if s/he is dumber than you. Because after a point of time, you would really not want to work under someone whom you have referred.

b. S/he is willing to forsake their lives by working their asses off and are also willing to put in extra hours at work if and when required.... without complaining.

c. S/he does not whine and moan incessantly about the job they have or the unfairness that is doled out to them, because nobody has got the time to listen to all that. We are too busy meeting our targets. We may hear them out for old time's sake while nodding our heads and saying "Tch tch... that is sad yaar" while actually we are thinking about what to write in the minutes of a meeting where we had no idea what was being discussed because we had spent half our time trying to stifle our yawn all the while acting interested. We can only hear their problems, but do we really listen to them? No we don't.

d. S/he should not expect you to accompany them to the office pantry or the office restroom whenever they feel like drinking a cup of stale coffee or to take a leak as a result of the stale coffee they just had.

A gender exception for the last point.

e. He should not be good looking and wittier than you because you do not want him to be the stud (read: pricks) that gets to hang out with the pretty girl(s) at the office for whom you had been harboring feelings since the last financial quarter.

We have heard of many such stories where friendships have been soured between two friends owing to the pressure and responsibilities experienced at their common workplace. One cannot look forward to the expectations in a relationship that was forged in a world outside the office to be carried out within the walls of the office. In an office you are too busy looking after yourself, a friend falls second in the priority list. There may be cases where you may love your work and may go ga-ga over all the freedom and opportunities it offers, but the same opinion may not be shared by your friend thus causing a difference of opinion. You may have the most honest of intentions while referring them, but then, there may come a time when they feel that they have been given a raw deal wherein what they expected from the job did not match with what they have been presented, thus damaging all your noble intentions of seeing them work alongside you. 

A referral bonus is the amount paid to you as an acknowledgment for having referred your friend to the company. I may feel good that I am making a little extra out of referring my friends and also that I am helping them to eke out a living. But then, when I think of my workplace threatening to sabotage our relationship I feel that I am better off forwarding them mails of opening in other companies rather than the ones in mine. I may not earn that referral bonus, but I'm atleast saving a relationship.

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