30 April 2008

a slice of animal farm.

We elect them to power. Dynasties rule, communist nations overpower, dictatorial governments cast terror and threaten the people and democratic governments rule people using the socialistic rod or the capitalistic framework. A government is known for the economy it creates, its welfare to the people and creating a state that can aid in peoples participation and development whereby societies thrive and a good economy means happy families. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride and we would be walking on water and floating on air. But that is not the case to be.

Most governments are now elected to power. Vote rigging, teeth clenching power, ego clashes and political debates, Candidate rivalries, charismatic figures, articulate speeches with little or no realistic plans, marketing campaigns and forceful sales pitch for power supremacy are characteristics of today’s political leaders.
When they get elected the reality shocks and numbs the very people who voted for them. Governance is put in the fray and then new characteristics such as what will make my presidency a legacy, new brand images that will put the seat of supremacy a unique edge that will be known as the Clinton reign for instance are sowed and cultivated and harvested in the fields for new votes in the next season. This is also a right time for the governing body to infiltrate and make powerful connections with the industrialists – returning favors’ by making laws to enhance their business and creating new laws that they will get favored by.
I do not recall where but I do remember having read somewhere that the government is only bothered about the 1% in the state who keeps enriching the economy and the rest 10 or 12 % of the state population who gives the characteristic to the state as a “rich state”. The governing body only works for them. And it does not make any difference if the rest 65% gets up and leave the state or the country.

Before the elections the candidates schmooze, eat at diners, holding a baby in the arms, give speeches at churches, college campus, community halls and libraries, strike a pose and prolifically sign autographs. But once elected they cocoon themselves on private jets, guarded road trips and transportation, private shopping and personalized chef and would not meet the ordinary folk. Before the senate elections in 2000 Hillary Clinton campaigned aggressively to become the senator of New York state. She knocked at doors and did the usual political lobbying to become a senator of one of the most powerful states that has people who literally rule Washington irrespective of who is in government.
Once elected as senator when Ms Clinton came to university campus in Syracuse in 2002 she snuck in to address a group of selected faculty members. She ssshed and entered through a back door, addressed the group and left. Little did the students whom she had wooed to cast her votes know about her arrival. Power is addictive and seductive. The nation is now witness to another person – John Mc Cain, the republican candidate who mostly had a straight image until now, but turns around and purrs to being elected as the new president of the country.

Image credits go to Vineeta of Artnlight

29 April 2008

Identity Theft

Haven't you met people who are obsessed having a prada bag, a nike shoe, a kate spade blouse, a DWR furniture, a starbucks coffee. Other than being an imperialistic and a collective choice of an " herd mentality" having to posses these products for being part of a society that wants to hide behind these brand names there are other pieces to the puzzle.

You who want to have a prada bag also want to hide behind this brand image because you do not have an identity for yourself. Hence you find your security and comfort under a 'prada' so that you will be able to wear the confidence, self esteem and a status in society that this bag claims to bring you when you buy this bag. Incidentally, you are not buying a bag, you are buying a 'prada' -your pendant of status symbol that proclaims that you have arrived in society. Without this bag you are a "no-nothing". That's why brand management does not sell the product, it sells the values, the image. For $$$$$ you are buying the pride and other images that the advertisement sells about the product. When you see Catherine Zeta Jones advertising for 'prada' you are buying what Catherine Zeta Jones is personified in the media. Catherine Zeta Jones does not need the 'prada' for the values, but you need the 'prada' for imagining yourself in her shoes. You have spent your money for 'imagination'. And for that you beg, borrow, save and steal the money for buying the product. On the contrary if you persevere, work your brains, work smart and hard , you are creating your own brand. Hence when you are establishing your identity, having a mission, a vision, creating and recreating, you are making a brand.

So what brand are you carrying today ?

27 April 2008

D.C - Here we come . Let's put some democracy in action"

The weather was great. No rain, No winds, Not cold, just perfect to visit the nations capital, D.C. Tourists were abound and some were taking a tour of the Capitol hill and the splendid sights and activities that the capital had to offer. However, we were on a serious mission. We were there to meet the state senators and congressman. We were lobbying - making a petition. They lend us their ears and we were grateful that they did.

So with the help of a lobby firm who arranged meetings with the congressman and senator a group of us were at their offices in D.C. At the office we met the legislative aides/directors. Some aides with knowledge about the issue, Some new and interested in learning more. Some enthusiastic, and others diplomatic that they avoided every question we asked and their bosses opinion. Some very enthusiastic, that they asked us to send in a letter for co-signing. Others poker faced and still others with faces just like the Queen's guards. Some legislative aides said that they would like to follow through and wanted us to keep in touch with them. Almost every legislative aide gave their visiting cards and One other just continued to say, 'right, right. I understand". She definitely was a "bottomless bucket", who had no idea of the issue in hand. My german colleague was simply perturbed by the legislative aide who had no idea of our issue and almost said to her" if you have no idea of the issue why are you representing your boss. Another legislative aide was just polite enough that she did not want us thrown out immediately and so said, " send me the letter and we will sign it" and showed us the door in 5 minutes when the meeting was scheduled for 30 minutes.

For the issue we represented we did not expect cooperation from the republican congressmen that we met, On the contrary we did. As a foreigner in this country, getting access to lawmakers offices was a feat in itself, and getting an opportunity to represent our case for a very controversial and sensitive issue was another major hurdle crossed. I had mixed feelings in representing, but it was also a matter of being oneself. To take the path that many did not want to take. I am glad we did make our petition and glad to be part of history in the making.

13 April 2008

white.pink. yellow. orange. purple

barren trees, snowed-in roads, slushy and dark brown snow when the fresh snow has lost its charm, women in dark coats with bright scarves and gloves and their head in grey caps and legs clad in long boots. children in colorful winter wear, men in black from head to toe, cold feet and hands, frozen fingers and smoking cold breeze as they talk - everybody rushes in to be warmed amidst the heater with hot drinks clenched in between the fingers would be a thing of a past for the next five months.
seduced by comparatively warmer temperatures we went to the park on the other side of town. the grass was growing green. people have started shedding their long coats, men and women playing ball, kids playing tag,..people have come out of the nest to enjoy spring.. spring is in town.

02 April 2008

the dynamics of technology -

little did i understand when rosabeth moss kanter talked about knowledge organization in the early 1990s in management journals. it all comes into the picture now - the knowledge workers sitting in different parts of the globe sharing information. job security would become a thing of the past , how true. wish i had learnt some farming skills from my grandfather, i would not have worried much about the growing food prices and the land. but here i am working in organizations where hiring and firing is the order of the day. the boss calls you to the room and says under decibels that would almost make ones ear strain, "thank you for your services. but we do not need you anymore". even a person who has a ph.d is not spared. how can we ever tell our children, that they need to get the highest degree otherwise their livelihood is threatened ? we are almost giving them false hope and telling them white lies. ( well that is for another post )

the point of this post is how companies in order to save money are shipping jobs all across the globe. the exciting part for those who still have the jobs gets the luxury of working from home. and some of them do conjure this facility when they have to get things done at home or are lethargic enough to travel in a snow storm. or as courtesty demands to stay home when one has a cold virus. a couple of my friends who now enjoys the luxury are now in a quandry as they do not want to avail of this facility on a regular basis. they feel themselves jailed at home for 8-9 hours in a day when it continues for weeks. their socialization is affected and they miss the gossip of being in the office and the water cooler conversation. the simple aspect of having colleagues around you even though you talk only work is good enough than having to sit alone in a room with screaming kids and television for weeks.

they thirst for the sights on their way to the office and at the office. the simple lunch out with colleagues seems like a feast. some of these people have found a way out to spare themselves from working at home drudgery. recently a few friends who were working from home decided to work together from the same office table by going to their friends houses. their conversations were interspersed with conversations aboutinteresting work cultures at their respective offices. sitting in their casual attire they worked and joked and felt that this was a more interesting atmosphere than their isolation at home.. so this is the 21st century .. workers from accenture, bank of america, j.p morgan and merrill lynch worked from a dining table at a friends place.

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