Résumé with playing computer games as hobby: A dilemma

Is it a good  idea to have “playing computer games” to reflect as hobby on a résumé? Everyone in our mailing list agreed that the honesty of the candidate was worth an appreciation. But we had varying opinions beyond that.

Samir, who heads consumer durables sales portfolio, felt that a majority of the candidates are ill-prepared to express themselves; they do not know what to expect and how to behave in interviews. At the same time, the interviewer is invariably in dark about the candidate. In 30 minutes, she has to make a genuine attempt to understand the psychological profile of the candidate, assess her on various competencies, check her fit with respect to job, and so on. She is equally unsure about her own choice. Her reputation is at stake if she recruits a wrong candidate. So, the attitude is safety first. Playing computer games could be perceived as an activity that is undertaken to kill time, and someone might assume that the candidate does not have better ways to utilize her energies. Therefore, hobbies that might not apply to deducing if the person can work better are of little significance.

Sachin, from the IT industry, said that it is not a bad hobby, but he was unsure if it is the best to be put on a résumé. Perhaps, authoritative management would consider such hobby as a negative and might even wonder if that person would spend time playing computer games at work!  The probable reason is that evaluators are from an earlier era and might not accept such hobbies that are not from their own eras and are many times perceived negatively for the impact they have on the broader population (mostly kids).

Amit, from consumer goods industry, emphasized that the most important thing is the value of the candidate as a team member. He will give brownie points for hobby, only if some significant result has been achieved. If not, the hobby does not impact their evaluation. He feared that people will, incorrectly, tend to link computer games with something that is unreal and an addiction  But, his final suggestion was that the person who wrote this on the résumé, can relax and continue to be honest with her answer. If at all that topic is discussed, the interviewer can be convinced about the reality based on the passion and knowledge that the candidate can demonstrate on the subject.

KP, from sales background, said that ‘playing computer games’ as a hobby may not be perceived negatively.  Pretty much everyone has a Wii, Playstation, Xbox or DS. In fact, he argued that if you don’t play computer games, you may not be able to keep up with the changing technology and human behavior (next gen)! He said people can be hypocrites: they might be playing video games everyday but when it comes to other guy playing it, they will perceive that negatively! As long as the person does his job, why should one care what he does with his free time?  Putting strict restrictions can be counter productive at work; in fact, flexibility is a big characteristic job seekers (good ones) value, particularly in jobs where you are really measured on bottomline (e.g., $ you bring) vs. how much time you spent working! To him, only results matter.

Lalit feels that to start with there is no reason to write about a hobby in a résumé. Anything that does not relate to selection should not exist. But, even if it is written, he feels this is a personal activity and should have no bearing on the selection. A hobby is meant for personal pleasure or relaxation – there is no other goal in a hobby! He pointed to articles “Playing Computer Games: A Good Hobby”  and Wikipedia’s description of hobby:

What are hobbies for some people are professions for others: a chef may enjoy playing computer games as a hobby, while a professional game tester might enjoy cooking. Generally speaking, the person who does something for fun, not remuneration, is called an amateur (or hobbyist), as distinct from a professional. An important determinant of what is considered a hobby, as distinct from a profession (beyond the lack of remuneration), is probably how easy it is to make a living at the activity. Almost no one can make a living at cigarette card or stamp collecting, but many people find it enjoyable; so it is commonly regarded as a hobby.

I (Pradeep) am from the  sales background. I consider this as a good hobby if it can help the candidate connect with others and, also, if the games are the strategy types.  If the candidate is candid in accepting and putting it forth, then most probably, he would show more value to customer and be able to start the relationship on honesty which is very important in sales cycle. What I need is a member who has has conviction; my customers would believe in him only if he believes in himself first!

The overall feeling was that there cannot be a final statement on the issue. The main reason seems to be the interviewer’s personal beliefs. But, almost everyone agreed that the honesty of the candidate would be worth appreciating!

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Empathy to customers is seller’s forte

Contributed by Pradeep Mittal

It just happened that this topic got opened up today in our  discussions as Kishor read through my website. People feel better when you empathise with them (while most would dislike sympathy); this gets very well extended to sales process too. I handle industrial equipment sales in Middle East & North Africa (covering almost 30 countries) and have seen this work well. The buyers seem to use the same order every time they make a a decision:

  1. Buyer knows the Supplier (read as Sales Person) and its her modus operandi
  2. The product is tested; services are known
  3. The buyer is comfortable with the prices

The valuation of points 2 and 3 as parts of decision-making depend on point 1, i.e., the  better buyer and seller know each other, the lower is the value of 2 and 3 – at times even to zero. I have customers with whom I finalize deals on phone without even making a technical offer before hand, the trust through empathy is already there.

Kishor who works in IT sales in USA also shares this view with me, and so does Samir who works in consumer goods in India. Is this not enough reason for corporates to invest more on networking within sectors, groups, classmates, colleagues, and customers to reduce cost of sale eventually?

The sales process can be compared to a prospective marriage. Typically the marriage happens only if, in first place, you are liked, product (boy/girl) specifications (features), and price (cost of having the marriage in place, etc.) come only after that. If there is incorrect mutual prospection, disaster for either party is in place.

While being with customer when he needs you most is best way to prove your empathy to customer, the same feeling needs to be reciprocated from the customer’s side. My experience says it does get reciprocated; Probably, it is nature at work; whatever you throw does come back.

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We request you to ignore the mail

Every month, for the past 3-4 months now, I have been receiving, in my email, a bill from Reliance Broadband, from the flagship company run by one of the richest persons in the world!

The only problem is that I am not their customer!

I did not get any response when I first asked them to correct this. When I received another bill, I responded in more detail

I am not your customer. I do not even live in India. My email address is abcd@gmail.com As per google’s policy a.bcd@gmail.com is also my address. Any number of dots but the same letters and sequence is going to keep it as my address. For more details, please look at http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&ctx=mail&answer=10313#
I think your customer has inadvertently given you the wrong email address. It is best that you contact him/her and ask for a correction; it would be better for Reliance and him/her. In addition, it would also spare me of these monthly emails.

This time I got a response.. yay!!!

we request you to ignore the mail if you have not subscriber for a Reliance Broadband Connection.

WHAT??? I had never received any such email. No apologies, nothing. Just asking me to ignore the mail! And note: “have not subscribeR”!!

Today, I got a reminder that the payment is overdue! I’ve called their office at Mumbai (+91-22-3033 7777). But I reached an automated system that cannot help me unless I enter the account number. I have sent them another reminder saying…

I received another email from relianceada.com today (included with this email). I want you to remove my name from the list and contact your subscriber by phone/post and let him/her know that his bills are going to the wrong email address.
You cannot send me emails like this and expect that I just ignore them.

Does Reliance Broadband expect that I will keep ignoring such emails? Furthermore, should they not be worried that someone’s bill is going to someone else?

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Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

I tend to use “read” and “listen” to mean the same thing, since I listen to audio books regularly.

The Shawshank Redemption, a dud at the box-office, is one my favorite movies, one that I have seen several times. Recently, I read Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, which was on my radar for the past decade. The novella and the movie are essentially about Hope. The book starts with “Hope Springs Eternal.”

First: The book confirms (what most people know) that the story is about Red; he is the main protagonist. When I first saw the movie, I was impressed by Andy Dufresne. The second time I saw it, I felt it was about Red. I remember my friend, Vivek, saying immediately, “Of course, it is all about Red.”

Well, you weren’t writing about yourself, I hear someone in the peanut-gallery saying. You were writing about Andy Dufresne. You’re nothing but a minor character in your own story. But you know, that’s just not so. It’s all about me, every damned word of it. Andy was the part of me they could never lock up, the part of me that will rejoice when the gates finally open for me and I walk out in my cheap suit with my twenty dollars of mad-money in my pocket. That part of me will rejoice no matter how old and broken and scared the rest of me is. I guess it’s just that Andy had more of that part than me, and used it better…

Second: The book captures the weight of the  length of time spent in prison  in a much better way through changing wardens and the sergeants, and Presidents of the US.

Third: The thing that stood out the most is that, in the novella, Andy waits for 8 long years after making the hole to escape. In the movie, Andy escapes almost as soon as the hole is ready. In fact, the movie does not capture (movies cannot capture everything) the dilemma that Andy might have had to face before escaping. Stephen King, or Red, explains it.

If he broke into the shaft in 1967, how come he didn’t escape until 1975? …

One possibility is that the crawlspace itself was clogged with crap and he had to clear it out, but that wouldn’t account for all the time. So what was it? I think that maybe Andy got scared. I’ve told you as well as I can how it is to be an institutional man. At first you can’t stand those four walls, then you get so you can abide them, then you get so you accept them…

I think Andy may have been wrestling with that tiger – that institutional syndrome – and also with the bulking fears that all of it might have been for nothing…

So I think – wild guess or not – that Andy just froze in place for a while. After all, you can’t lose if you don’t bet. What did he have to lose, you ask? His library, for one thing. The poison peace of institutional life, for another.

The fact that Andy, probably, froze was the book’s most important revelation.

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Pyar … Impossible

Contributed by Amit Ghugre

Pyar Impossible! This is the name of the movie I decided to watch on my way back to Singapore after a holiday trip. It turned out to be the biggest blunder as all ‘Nasha’ of the Bali trip evaporated in flat 2 hours.

People do lot of crazy things for their kids, sometimes, at their own peril/reputation. Yash Chopra is one such person. It must be some kind of ‘poetic justice’ that Uday Chopra is born to the legend who has given us classics like Trishul, Deewar. It seems story, screenplay, and direction of ‘Pyar Impossible’ (PI) is by Uday Chopra, and he, also, is the film’s Hero. Possibly, because no one else will dare to work in such a movie or that Uday can be Hero only in his own production setup.

It has a very ‘original and exciting’ story plot. Hero can not express his love during college, but as the luck would have it, he happens to meet the Heroine after 7 years. She is still ‘available’ due to divorce, but with an additional liability of a 6-year old daughter. Very clearly, after getting expelled from college, she wastes no time in getting married, and having a child within a year.

A reputed software company gives her job in Singapore as PR manager. She is a rash beauty queen of her college days, a drunkard, ameer baap ki beti, etc., who does not notice the Hero even when he saves her from drowning while in an inebriated state.

But, our Hero still loves her (Beauty matters!). After 7 years, he finally manages to win his true love with help of his would be step daughter. Thankfully, this person, unlike other heroes, has the need to do some work for living. He is a techno geek.

I am not going to elaborate the story further but will try to list some insights gathered from the movie.

  • Each movie nowadays has to have an English tagline (like our rallying cry). One for this goes something like ‘ A Beauty, A geek….(meaning) Pyar Impossible’. This throws some interesting conclusions. A beauty can not marry (at least love) a geek. Hence wife of a geek is unlikely to be beautiful unless they have love-less marriage. From my own experience of not being a geek, I can conclude that the converse of above is not true.
  • The name is inspired from ‘Mission Impossible’. There is also a very adventurous scene in which Hero is able to break security system of server of his company to access software code. He, being a Desi Hero, does not need anyone else unlike poor Tom Cruise who needed 3 more people in his mission.
  • My 7-year old son, probably, needs to go to the special school for the dumb (if there is one) when I compare his abilities with the wits and maturity of 6 year old daughter who brings the couple together. I had seen a similar exceptionally talented girl in ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’. This girl is probably smarter, because she is not even enlightened by her mother’s annual birthday gift of letters. Just to give some more proof of her wisdom – she decides to stay at  her friend’s house so that the couple can meet in peace. She tells mom over the phone that she is watching ‘Sex and the City’ while mother tries to tell her that ‘Hannah Montana’ will be fine. She is better in judging people than her mother (that is why she selects Hero Vs Villain as her prospective father).
  • Misunderstanding is very common in movies. In this case, it reaches a new level. Hero comes to girls’ house for talking some software piracy issues but she thinks he is ‘Nanny’ for her nasty kid who has track record of ousting 6 of them in last 3 months. And Hero cannot clarify the purpose of his visit and accepts the job! He can not do any household chores and hence outsources the work to a 3rd party – heroine continues to think she has got a very smart nanny. Just a coincidence.
  • The most hilarious scene in the movie (there are many, so this decision is not easy and probably unfair to some other deserving scenes): Hero (in Nanny avatar) is expected to serve guests at Girls’ home, one of them being the villain from whom he wants to hide. So at every occasion he plays a ‘trick’ to avoid villain’s glance. Not once or twice but 4 times. One of those tricks is to serve with your posterior facing the guest while serving the Thai food presumably because it is a ‘Thai tradition’ to serve that way.
  • Daughter’s school has an annual function in which the teacher entrusts responsibility of setting an entertainment show to this 6 year old genius – some people have knack of spotting TDCs at a very early stage. The daughter is helped by our Hero, who has been given complete authority and access to setup the play. The Hero must have watched the movie ‘Karz’. He uses the song to remind the Heroine her past story (Ek Haseena Thi type) and that is how finally our lady gets enlightened.

Final conclusion: Unsure if it is a result of my long service in a multinational firm or general upbringing, but I have developed immense patience to watch such movies and still not lose my balance.

Gulzar: The Lyricist, Bharadwaj: The Director

I’ve always associated Vishal Bharadwaj with Gulzar, who gave him his first chance and then collaborated with him with great success.

It was interesting to find out that neither wanted to be what they are best known for today:

  • Sampooran Singh Gulzar, the amazing lyricist (adapted from Wikipedia): Bandini marked the debut of Gulzar, who was working as an assistant director on the film, as a film lyricist, initially having refused Bimal Roy on the offering saying that he didn’t want to become a lyricist. Gulzar relented only after film’s music director S.D. Burman convinced him so.
  • Vishal Bharadwaj, the amazing director (adapted from Wikipedia): Vishal Bhardwaj came to Mumbai to become a music composer, he took to directing movies only to create the opportunity to compose music.
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Is CWG preparation really so bad?

The logo of 2010 Commonwealth Games
Image via Wikipedia

Contributed by Pradeep Mittal

It is almost 3 months now a lot is being written about India‘s unpreparedness on the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG) venue preparation. It makes me wonder if things are really so bad on ground or is it that too much is being demanded?

India caters to 1.1bn+ people which is 1/6th population of earth but without having access to 1/6th of resources of earth. This inequality does give rise to income disparity and purchasing power disparity which eventually gives rise to cumulative way of living.

Hospitality sector in India is one of the best but still people prefer to go out for vacation; India has all weather conditions and all types of terrain to enjoy but still tourists are few? Does it mean India is bad…I don’t think so! Today westerners come to India looking for eternal peace and Indians are going across the globe looking for materialistic gains.

CWG games would be done and eventually nobody would even remember what was done in opening ceremony or how many people had to toil to make them happen. Nonetheless corruption is cancer and it needs to be uprooted in every society of world!