Kaam Chor (Slacker)

[Definition: Kaam Chor – One who evades his or her duty or work; shirker]
I ponder why its so hard to create, find and retain well natured, ethical, hard-working and honest employees for a company these days (relativity kept in mind!) Its not perhaps all the the individual’s fault – the company’s have become blood-sucking leeches which drop their employees like what the Dracula does to its victim when its done with it – all in the name of business (obviously, I am not generalizing here).

Just like the perfect balance with food-chain its all a balance here as well, and it seems especially skewed these days.

I was first introduced to a kaam chor in business world in the form of a lady who was in her late forty’s. Whenever you meet her, there are tonnes of sighs – over-signifying the work she’s (not) doing. When we were working together as a team for a deliverable, our manager is one of those “nice-guy’s” who’d let people walk all over him and he’d spend the evenings trying to meet other people’s dead-lines. And in the name of health she’d work in a different building from the rest of the team. So, there is absolutely no way to interact with her unless you setup time for it. These managers spend so much time managing these unmanageable, that they would just not have any time for the guys who work hard – how sad! Towards the end of the project, she managed to not do even one single task and the rest of the team took the load. And when the boss raised it in the “lessons-learned” meeting, she was heart broken. Inevitably, she submitted complaints with HR against the boss, making the entire situation all the more complicated.

What is wrong with these people? I feel like dropping these souls in one of the developing countries to help them understand what competition is really like. Kids there goto school in some of the most difficult conditions and focus all their energy in learning what they came there for. They walk miles to meet friends just so they can share a book. I know of friends who tore a book in two halves, each learning their respective halves and the following day they exchange what they learnt – thus effectively learning the whole text book [talk about collaboration]. I am talking about kids who grow up believing “work is worship”. And if you wonder why its important, its just one word my friend – Out-sourced!, Here’s a snippet from ‘The world is flat’: “..with India and China exploding onto the world stage with huge pent-up aspirations. If you want to know what China and India feel like today, just take out a champagne bottle, shake it for 10 minutes and then take off the cork. Don’t get in the way of that cork.. they (today’s workers) have to prepare like someone who is training for the Olympics but doesn’t know what sport they are going to enter.. they have to be ready to do anything.. you have been warned”.

Do something really bad the first time, and no one will ever think of asking you again – Stewart Gary

Kaam chor’s are effectively stealing from the company. Every single person is paid for the work they do. And every single hour/task that you don’t put your best into, you are technically stealing the company’s money. How would you like to have a plumber come and charge 8 hrs for a 4 hrs task, while the other 4 hrs he was bidding in ebay for a WII? Take yourself – How many times have you caught yourself using office resources for personal reasons. Its just not using it, but not even thinking twice about it.. or much worse, feeling that you deserve it. When you were employed you negotiated and agreed on a payment for the services you are going to offer, so where’s the room for these perks?

Here are some similarities between small-time thieves and kaam chor’s. I say, small-time because, theft is an art – a skill that needs constant refinement and executed accurately. So, these kaam chor’s are not worth comparing themselves to these those real experts, unless the kaam chor is an expert himself 😉

Similarities:

  1. Both perform their task when not being noticed
  2. Both deny (or atleast give their best shot to get out of it) if confronted
  3. Both will try to steal as much as they possibly can in the given time frame
  4. Both will tend to be not noticed in day-light in the fear of attention
  5. There’s always inevitably an excuse in an effort to gain sympathy or good-will or to merely avoid public meetings.
  6. And offensive is taken when they are brought to light.

Although Kaam Chor’s are just plain wrong, the fault is his manager’s or his company’s as much as its his. Manager’s who let such practice happen in team are like those lazy parents who play television for their babies so that they do not have to keep children busy. The issue here is – habit. Although at first kaam chor’s (possibly) re-evaluate such behavior, over time they won’t even think about it, there by farthering themselves to reality.

I once took up a gig and was estimating effort to finish a piece of a task. During this process, I had a one-on-one with a team member (a Kaam Chor) who suggested that I should give a ridiculously long estimate. And by the way, if you are wondering why such a suggestion would be made, its a win-win from the Kaam Chor’s perspecive – longer the estimate the longer my gig and he effectively steals company’s time by being part as a team member. Being completely against my ethical stands, my mind was already racing through scenario’s to figure out a polite way to decline the offer. But this is what it will come down to. Kaam Chor’s won’t work and will eventually try to slow down the team to make themselves fit in the team till it comes to a complete stop – they are dangerous not just to themselves but for the team (and the company) as a whole.

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