About Me

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Who Laughs Last!

It happened around the time the Dal Makhani was brought in. The joke being told was not the kind that deserved intense laughter – atleast not the heart-and-maybe-a-foot-below intensity it held. Having been a passive observer of these traits for some time, I realized what that laughter was even before the Dal was completely served – and in clichéd wisdom remarked to myself – “Dal mein kuch kaala hai”.

Every career brings with it, its idiosyncrasies (every career is a carrier of its idiosyncrasies, anyone! :-) ). Mind it – I’m not talking of a person but a career. Here’s an example – A fireman’s favourite joke (notice reference to gender) will be about his hose being longer than his colleague’s… like that!

Here I write about an idiosyncrasy of a life-time member from the consultancy career – The Consultant’s Laugh! On many occasions our ilk faces situations where clients or fellow consultants need to be appreciated and humored. If you won’t take my word for it, try getting 3 years sales data split month-wise from a client. Pressurize him enough to give you the data and see if his CV won’t appear on Monster.com within a week. In such situations, a little appreciation and humoring is not seen as out of place. It’s termed ‘client-relationship’. There are other easier ways by which as a consultant, one can keep the client and others around in good spirits. Some of these methods involve a 2 year prison-stint and/or a 5000 buck fine. Hence, they will not be written about.

The Laugh is not something one is born with. Like the other great things about a person – leadership, courage, smelly arm-pits and flatulence – it’s an acquired trait. And one that is acquired with a lot of dedication. The Laugh is not made explicit or explained when one joins this line of work. Very much like the bonus-calculation mechanism. And one fine day, if you survive the “induction” where one particular department tests your ability to stay awake under the influence of chloroform, one hears it. Sometimes a hollow sound, like when you open the tap of an empty beer barrel, sometimes full and flowing, like when you open the tap of a loaded beer barrel and sometimes silent and inconspicuous like when you open the tap of no beer barrel. The Consultant’s Laugh!

One can trust the quality of the consultant’s work, based purely on the quality of The Laugh he generates. The more annoying and fake it gets the more certain of the recommendations being a ppt lifted from the company’s archives. Any signs of The Laugh being genuine and one can be sure there is some very good data analysis done before referring to company archives for recommendations.

With a year-and-a-half neatly tucked behind, time and other-wise, it was fairly recently that I realized The Laugh hiding in me. All original and I’ve also been practicing hard using the mirrors in the rest room (only now realizing why some of my colleagues are avoiding me lately). It ain’t too hard to discover the gift one has. Go on… give it some thinking over the weekend and flourish and aim for that career shift!


Sudhindra said...

A bit of Douglas Adamesque style humour eh?:)...Loved it...Is The Laugh only for clients or can friends hear it too(thought it maybe something like a dog whistle ;)

Suri said...

Aithal Aithal - That comparison is a super huge compliment.. bowing to you for that (different from bending, just in case).. Yeps.. use it occasionally against friends.. :) or rather.. acquaintances.. frens will see through it is my guess