The Rough Weather

I had had a minor tiff with Mala for some 2-3 days. Actually, the issue was very petty. The kids’ annual leave had started. So the family wanted to go to some hill station.

I would love to take them on a vacation, but getting my leave sanctioned is going to be next to impossible. So I have avoided the topic with Mala. One day, she started nagging about it so much that I lost my cool and shouted her back.She did not speak to me for two days. The silence was uneasy. It really made me very uncomfortable.

Things became normal only because we had a visitor from Chennai. My friend wanted to stay with us for a night, as he had to catch the early morning flight back the next day. The friend was received by Mala with her usual warmth and hospitality. The dust settled at the home front.

One morning, I got up grumpy. It was a Friday…oops…two more days of work before Sunday. The thought itself tired me. So I decided to take off, calling office sick (“Viral fever”). Viral fever usually lasts two-three days. So to make it look realistic, I decided to skip the office on Saturday also.

Absence from work is a sign – that the work is becoming unenjoyable. What was my reason for skipping work? Is it Laziness? Or avoiding the office or avoiding the superiors? I stopped searching for reasons. On Saturday evening, my elder daughter wanted to go to a Children’s movie. By the time the movie ended, my mood had become lightened.

On Monday, I resumed work. Surprisingly, no one asked me about my viral fever…strange….CEO did not call me throughout the day….very strange….is he avoiding me? Why should I start caring for the CEO now? Am I walking on the familiar path of insecurity? So decided not to contemplate about or to worry about why CEO did not call me. I must stay centered!

Few issues came up. VP was over active now. He started chasing me for new orders as the plant had nothing to produce in May. I only wish his approach was more positive. The VP’s email was instructing me that I should email “the Purchase Orders” of the clients for May production. It sounded strange. VP did not worry about zero support, very slow response, poor technical expertise and complete lack of team-spirit. But he wanted my POs for un-booked businesses very quickly. Great commitment!

I must confess the VP’s strange instruction made me nervous. So I decided to attack the unresolved customer leads. One issue was with a new customer.  Our team already had this particular customer’s buying specs. The Cartel as usual was in its elements and wanted to escape responsibility. So I was asked to get the product samples for us to match.The customer was acting pricey and did not give an answer to my repeated requests for having their product samples (which, I explained to him, would help us understand their product requirements clearly).

After reading VP’s mail, I became desperate. So called up this particular customer and pleaded with him passionately. He finally yielded and agreed to show the samples to us, on the condition that one of us should visit their factory and see the samples there itself. The ten days’ stalemate was broken with this. I informed the VP so.

VP was happy to get a chance like this, now that I worked hard to reach up to this stage. He sent a one-liner email – “We cannot depute any one to visit the customer’s factory. Please ask the customer to email us the product photographs”. I did not like this. After ten days, he has changed the goal post even further. I sent him the following reply – “Will try to get the photographs. We should remember that he is a potential customer and not a supplier or service provider to us”.

My reply angered the VP. He called me on phone and started blasting. I was keeping cool in the first half of the in-coherent conversation. The VP said that I should not write discourteous language to him. I asked him where was I impolite to him.

His raw anger towards me came out as unclear words, which I could not decipher. Adding to his anger was his poor English. Purposefully, I was speaking to him in English. The English language did not give the flexibility to him to show his anger fully. He was fumbling for apt words….at one point, he asked me a strange question in Anger – “are you a woman or what?” I failed to understand why this basic question has to suddenly feature in this angry exchange. It appeared that VP might have said this intentionally to provoke me to react strongly. Expressing one’s anger effectively is a fine-art and not many can do that to the maximum effect. I am not too sure of my skill in this area. So my response was more of a shocked response than of a true anger – “Shut up now…mind your language. Speak like a gentleman!”…He put down the phone with a bang…

Anger saps the life energy. I really did not want to fight. This fight was thrust upon me. I was trying to collect my calmness after having this unpleasant conversation.

The Intercom buzzed. CEO called me to his chamber. As expected, the VP had spoken to the CEO over phone in the meanwhile. CEO was calm throughout the conversation and patiently had listened to me out, which is a rarity. It did not matter to me whatever was his reaction. The CEO at the best can play only political games with the VP. VP is not going to mend his ways because of CEO. That’s for sure.

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