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Posts Tagged ‘vacations’

Many of us these days are fed up of quiet a few things – handling lockdowns, an overdose of the Work From Home virus, a torrent of depressing news from all sides, being bleary-eyed owing to movie/serial binges on online streaming platforms, to name only a few.  We wish to hedge our bets and take wings. We are looking out for a well-deserved vacation.

If you fall in this category, here is a guide which can help you to choose the country of your choice and plan the gig in advance. What follows is a review of the book by yours truly. 

 

When life puts a human resources expert and a history buff together, one gets a formidable team which loves adventure and believes that the routine and the mundane is lethal. Provide them with an insatiable urge to explore new cultures, discover new places, savour different cuisines and make friends in distant places, and they treat the world like an oyster. They keep falling in love with places they have never been to before. They end up making memories all over the world.

Here is a sumptuous offering from the team of Rajeev Varma and his wife, Meenakshi Varma. It is a meticulous record of their travels to countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, Russia, Norway, Belgium, UK and Switzerland, to mention only a few. The book here covers as many as 23 countries, with the tantalizing promise of few more to come!

Other than the places and their famous attractions, the couple have often taken the road less travelled. By chronicling their travels, they enrich our understanding of the countries captured in this book. Behavioural traits of many of the countries have been captured lovingly. As one joins them in these wanderings, one gets a sneak peek into each country’s history, the evolution of its cultural and racial potpourri, the collective behaviour of its people and the kind of staple diet they relish. Written in a lucid style, the book offers a vivid description of distant places on our planet.

In fact, one of the outstanding features of these memoirs is the mouth watering description of a wide variety of delectable local dishes on offer in almost all the countries. Even names of restaurants have been captured at places, prompting one to catch the next flight and land there to taste the savouries!

There are several other ways in which these memoirs stand out amongst the otherwise readily available tourist brochures, travelogues and the kind of details available over the world-wide-web we humans have spun around ourselves.

One, these are first-hand accounts based on relatively objective observations, sans any value judgements about any of the countries or its denizens.

Two, given the details etched out so very painstakingly, one can plan one’s next visit to a specific country far more knowledgably.

Three, a realization dawns – that the purpose of travelling to a different country need not always be ticking off the list of ‘Places-To-Visit’ of the more famous of its attractions – the monuments, the palaces, the relics and the museums. Admittedly, these do have their utility as fodder for our public relations and ego-boosting drives on social media and amongst our circle of relatives and friends. But the key purpose of travel is also to get a first-hand initial feel of the soul of a country, rather than merely exploring its physical body.

These memoirs also offer some underlying lessons. If life enables one physically, emotionally and financially, it makes eminent sense to avail opportunities to forget one’s own champagne and caviar at home and instead venture out to taste the world! Moreover, to extract the best juice out of such opportunities life gifts us with, meticulous planning in advance helps, just the way Rajeev and Meenakshi have done in their several sojourns described here.

Travel amuses, entertains, educates and enlivens us. If the book in your hands serves to whet your appetite to explore our beautiful planet, its purpose would have been adequately served. But budget your travels wisely. With similar compilations to follow in the times to come, you may run the risk of splurging on the first few trips, thereby making future escapades relatively dreary – a prospect best avoided!

Another word of caution – every trip could make us realize that we seem to know less and less about more and more. So, keep vacationing, continue to explore newer places and keep following the sequels to this maiden compilation!

 

About the author:  

Rajeev loves travelling, conversing, writing and singing. He is a lover of arts and is fond of theatre and documentaries. He values human interactions and likes to reach out to long lost acquaintances and re-forge relationships.  He has re-connected with friends who were his closest some five decades ago!

A Human Resource Management practitioner by profession, Rajeev was associated with the TATAs in India for nine years before relocating to the Middle East. Initially working for 15 years as Corporate HR Head for organizations in Dubai and Oman, he later managed his own Training & Management Consultancy Company in Muscat, Oman for 10 years.  He is a qualified coach and a counsellor. He is a University topper.

He now lives in NOIDA, India with his wife, children and grandchildren.

His next venture is to write a book on life of expatriates in the Middle East.

He can be reached at: rajeevtheomnist@gmail.com)

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Vacations

Not to be neglected. Do not give in to the temptation of believing that the whole organization would collapse in your absence. Plan for the same in advance and delegate while keeping your boss updated. You would be surprised to find that your team turned in a better performance while you were away to the Bahamas.

Companies like Daimler which facilitate a real ‘off’ from office would win in the long run. Incoming mails get deleted from your inbox and get diverted to someone else.

Before going off on vacation, an auto-reply mail along the following lines may come in handy:

‘Hi, I am on the Mars these days, missing Wi-Fi or cell signal, shall get in touch once I am back!’

The absence of a good manager is never felt, because his team is trained up so very well!

(Excerpt from my book ‘Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’, the English version of which was released recently. The Portuguese version of the excerpt follows.)

FÉRIAS

Não devem ser negligenciadas. Não ceda à tentação de acreditar que toda a organização entrará em colapso na sua ausência. Planeie as férias com antecedência e delegue as tarefas, mantendo o seu chefe informado. É capaz de ficar surpreendido ao constatar que a sua equipa teve um desempenho
melhor quando você estava ausente nas Bahamas.

Empresas como a Daimler, que facilitam um verdadeiro ‘desligar’ do escritório, ficam a ganhar no longo prazo. Os e-mails recebidos são apagados da sua caixa de entrada e reencaminhados para outro colega.

Antes de ir para férias, convirá redigir um e-mail de resposta automática, mais ou menos deste tipo:

“Olá, atualmente estou em Marte, sem Wi-Fi, nem rede detelemóvel. Entrarei em contacto consigo quando regressar!”

A ausência de um bom executivo nunca é sentida porque a sua equipa está muito bem treinada!

(This is how you can lay your hands on the Portuguese version of the book, launched in Portugal during March, 2016.)

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Oh, how we love our office, our place of work, the pedestal of our self,
The adrenalin, the morning rush, the smug comfort of power and pelf.

PROMOTIONS

The ego kick, the pampering, the earmarked parking place,
The welcoming smiles, the handshakes, the feigned grace.

The ambition for the corner office, mighty challenges, charged meetings,
Naysayers and villains who oppose us and spice up the proceedings.

Bosses who are supportive but cranky at times; never satisfied, they whine;
Peers who keep us connected to the corporate gossip and the grapevine.

Juniors who adore us, others who detest us but lie low,
The fun of pulling them up when they show up after a furlough.

The pressure of work, the fun and frolic, the humor, the glee,
The water cooler parley, intimate chats over endless cups of tea.

For the henpecked amongst us, the freedom from the fiefdom of a spouse,
Liberty from kids’ PTA meetings, household chores and many an odd grouse.

Vacations planned in advance often getting scuttled at the last hour,
Sulking family members, cancellation costs, well laid out plans turning sour.

When a vacation plan does mature, it is preceded by hectic planning,
Ensuring the world does not collapse while we are away snorkeling.

‘Keeping in touch’ while on vacation a misplaced sense of one-way loyalty,
A habit, an addiction, a magnified view of our role which could be faulty.

Return finds us facing a pile of tasks, an overflowing mail box to grapple with,
Unwarranted blames having come our way, we resolve never to plan a vacation forthwith.

VACATIONS

Oh, the yearning for a real vacation, freedom from the torrent of mails,
Quality time with the family, regaling kids with impromptu tales.

All this makes better sense when our on-the-job performance is going on well,
Or else we could be languishing in the low-performance-and-low-reward hell.

Yet, how about offices where we can take an ‘off’ while being present, filling up the gaps,
A gym, a yoga and meditation room, an allowance for post-lunch power naps.

An environment which keeps our creative juices flowing, our stress levels healthy and vibrant,
Our performance at its peak, productivity high, imagination always fragrant.

Companies like Daimler which allow a real ‘off’ from office would win in the long run,
Incoming mails diverted, deleted from our in-box, allowing us to have real fun.

Some others encourage us to lead a rich personal life, switching off after normal working hours,
Enabling a healthier work-life balance, assigning projects which make us walk out of our ivory towers.

WORK-LIFE BALANCE

The ones which encourage us to put out an out-of-office message which changes tack,
“Hi, I am on the Mars these days, missing Wi-Fi or cell signal, shall get in touch once I am back!”

(Note: For an interesting perspective on the vanishing office spaces, see http://paulbromford.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/why-the-death-of-the-office-cant-come-too-soon)

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UNDERGROUND CABLE CONNECTIONS

Strong relationships of a personal nature, which can be used once in a while to achieve good results. These need investment of time, affection and mutual trust to be built up over a period of time. The returns are surely worth the effort.

 

VACATIONSVACATIONS

Not to be neglected. Do not give in to the temptation of believing that the whole organization would collapse in your absence. Plan for the same in advance and delegate while keeping your boss updated. You would be surprised to find that your team turned in a better performance while you were away to Bahamas.

The absence of a good manager is never felt, because his team is trained up so very well!

 

“VICE” PRESIDENTS

Being a “Virtue” President makes eminent sense, being a “Vice” President does not. If the top management is being over ambitious and the delicate line between avoidance and evasion is disappearing, register your dissent. If you are not heard, look for greener pastures before the sordid affair gets dumped onto your shoulders and you get lynched.

It pays to build up and protect your own brand value!

 

VISIBILITY

Being a visible employee always helps.

To improve visibility, check if you are engaged and motivated enough on the job. Introspect and take corrective steps to improve your level of engagement. Analyze and imbibe the qualities and skills of those who are more visible than you are. Take charge of your behavior and stop feeling like a victim. Excel at what you do and make sure you are noticed by the right people across the organization.

 


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