Mind of the working man

Mind of the working man
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First Published: Fri, Nov 13 2009. 12 38 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Nov 13 2009. 12 38 AM IST
Workplaces can be fascinating places to learn new things about yourself. Especially details about your personality that you had no idea about. Later, a few years into a career, you suddenly unearth all these little latent eccentricities and abilities.
For instance, let us take the case of a columnist who was considered the family math dunce. No matter how hard his teachers tried, they simply couldn’t get him to do his BODMAS, fractions—vulgar or otherwise—and those horrible “Shyam has 12 mango trees at home, each with 10 mangoes. Shyam can eat six mangoes each day. In how many days will he develop acute projectile dysentery?” problems.
But just one fiscal year into his first job, everything changes. He can now take his basic salary, instantly calculate 12%, multiply by 12 and then subtract his PF contribution from Rs1 lakh, to finally derive the amount of post office certificates to be submitted to payroll before noon. Mathemagic!
And surely there are at least a few tech-averse readers who grew up unable to use the fan speed regulator without blowing up the village transformer. Few years of cubicle-ing later, the same folks can effortlessly hook up a smartphone to a laptop via Bluetooth, log in to the corporate intranet with a secure log in and password and request for sick leave from their boss who is sitting in the other corner of their 4 ft sq. cubicle.
In short, we are all evolving, and learning things about ourselves at work every day.
Thus, recently, I was informed that I was what is known as a “Thruster-Organizer” at work. I was quite thrilled. “Thruster-Organizer” sounds action-oriented, but also intellectual and cerebral. Sort of like Rambo, but with an MBA in corporate finance. (In fact, “Rambo MBA” is a nickname I would very much like to have.)
But then I realized that other colleagues, who had also filled the same personality assessment questionnaire, had got cool titles too. We had Creator-Innovators, Explorer-Promoters, Controller-Inspectors, and more.
First, let me explain.
A few weeks ago, some of us in the office were asked to fill up a long online questionnaire. The idea was that the test, based on the proprietary “Team Management System” (TMS), would coax out the respondent’s personality type and working style. Depending on how you answered, you ended up being identified as a Thruster-Organizer (Suresh Kalmadi?), Controller-Inspector (Lalit Modi?), Creator-Innovator (Madhu Koda?), etc.
I won’t go into the details, but the TMS system uses elements of psychiatrist Carl Jung’s work. It groups people into various types. Managers could then draw up the right mix of people to get things done. For instance, the Creator-Innovator, with the cool ideas, could tie up with a Concluder-Producer who executes, under the watchful eye of a Controller-Inspector.
So now, instead of the CEO thinking “This intern is a moron, I will throw a fax machine at him”, he can pause and look at the intern’s TMS profile. And think, “Wait. The boy is an introvert but very creative. I will pair him with that other Concluder intern and give them two weeks before the office automation equipment start flying.”
(Imagine the matrimonials: “Young Concluder-Producer MBA Purkayastha boy seeks slim, fair Upholder-Maintainer girl with modern outlook, good education. PS: Boy is blameless triple-divorcee of baby-like innocence. With three children. Maybe four.)
Still, to be very honest, I was a sceptic. Online questionnaires can’t be that accurate, can they? Sure, a Facebook quiz once accurately said that “The hero of which movie you most closely resemble physically” was 300. But working styles and personalities no doubt are more complicated. Many things go into making up personas, no?
So was my report assessment correct? It was. About 95% of the time. Sometimes eerily so.
Some excerpts:
1.You dislike routine and status quo: Correct. Except for their 1986 In the Army Now album, which was OK.
2.You usually prefer working with ideas and systems rather than people: Correct. People are emotional, unpredictable canards. Can’t stand them. iPhones, on the other hand…
3.You can concentrate for long periods of time: True. Sometimes during meetings, I can close my eyes and pass into Zen-like states for hours.
4.You deserve a minimum 25% raise this coming April: True.
5.You look like that guy from 300: Consistent with previous results.
If you fancy giving yourself a little personality assessment, you could try an online Myers-Briggs test. Go to www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jTypes2.asp.
It won’t take more than a few minutes. The Myers-Briggs system is also based on Jungian principles, and you can have hours of fun comparing profiles with colleagues and friends.
And us. Email us your profiles. Coordinates below.
Cubiclenama takes a fortnightly look at the pleasures and perils of corporate life. Your comments are welcome at cubiclenama@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Nov 13 2009. 12 38 AM IST