Friday, June 17, 2011

Tea time


I recently resigned my previous job at one of the leading vehicle manufacturers in India, to join my family business. While there is no scale of comparison between the two and both have their own advantages and headaches, there are somethings about my previous job that i would miss. A Lot. Some of them, i've tried to elaborate as a tribute to the great work experience they gave me.

Tea Time:
This in one of the most important contributors to an efficient work environment. If insufficient, it leads to fatigue and job stress and at the same time, if more than required, leads to increased gossip affecting productivity. There should be a subject in Human Resource Management at B schools on how to manage the refreshments and their intervals.

There was no specific time for tea at my previous employer. We could have it any number of times a day and anytime of the day, within office hours that is. ALL FREE. We could not carry the beverages to our desk for obvious reasons but we could have them brought to meeting rooms. Initially it was just the usual varieties of tea and coffee but later we had the choice of lime tea, tomato soup, horlicks and badam milk added to the menu. Believe it or not, this added feature was a cause for some excitement at the highest levels in the organization. Every meeting had the head of the department usually asking around which was better, the tomato soup or the lime tea, before ordering some to be brought to the meeting hall. Lime tea was my personal favorite.

Though the options and the taste are memorable, the time that i spent at the fire exit having the refreshments were more so. Sometimes with department colleagues, sometimes with friends from different departments, sometimes alone, on rare occasions with my boss. 

With colleagues, the discussion usually started with some recent news or the cricket match the previous night but always ended with everyone laughing out loud at some joke. Usually its this one person who turns out to be the butt of all jokes. Not that there was something wrong with him, i guess we just liked him a lot. Not sure if he shares the same feeling though. Similar to us, there are different groups within the office. We somehow manage not to crowd the fire exit. Not that we discuss it but its like an understood agreement. Rarely, we bump into the other groups, sometimes older ladies talking in whispers on how one of the ladies (who is obviously not in the group) got her promotion or sometimes older gentlemen discussing the dress worn by the heroine in a recent item song.

All our weekend plans were made at this very fire exit. Usually followed by one of us going back to his seat and booking movie tickets. Movie reviews, love life, higher education, irritating bosses, latest songs, the HR intern, hangovers, cars, pay hike.... you name it and we have discussed it here. Some of the discussions are carried over to our work stations. 

Then there are those lonely tea breaks. When we just need some time alone, to think, introspect, and reorganize ourself to tackle the issues at hand, sometimes official and sometimes personal. Sometimes we just end up alone, because your boss had something very important (from his point of view) to discuss when your colleagues were having a break. Such breaks were times when i would be reminded of old memories, of close friends, some happy times, past achievements, little mischiefs. Usually the break ended with me  in a conversation with one of my partners in crime during school or college.

I will miss those tea breaks. Now when i see the employees in our factory during the tea breaks, i realize one important part of those tea breaks, "the smile". Those few minutes with the cup in your hand are when you are happy, when there's a smile on your face, when you forget your tensions and deadlines, when your colleagues become more than just colleagues, when you feel light. And it is this feeling that remains common across all the employees everywhere. Be it huge corporates, or the people who take out your trash. We all have our little tea break. Cheers!!

I Loved My Job.