Tuesday, 17-Jan-06

 

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All for me?

I'm looking at all the marble in the hotel foyer while wait to leave for work. Maybe you think I'm losing my marbles when I say this... It's very beautiful and it's all for me!

Who else could it be for if not for the guests of the hotel? It was all done for us. The lobby of this place is huge, 50x50 with an adjoining lobby that is 40x40. The ceilings are 12' high and they're styled in the old-fashioned way with deep insets and chandeliers. Very nice. The floors and walls are completely overlaid with marble. I can't imagine what it cost. Well, I can imagine that it cost a LOT! The workmanship is quite good. At the base of the wall near where I'm sitting some electricians have added a row of outlets including a couple internet ports. They botched the job and tried to cover it up with caulking. Tsk, Tsk! My carpenter's eye is tuned in to things like that but it's also tuned in to how nice the rest of the place is put together.

And it's all for me. :-)

I have a strange philosophy of life that I adopted from one of my favorite comedians, Steven Wright. Comedians are philosophers did you know? They are. You have to take life philosophically in order to laugh at it so it comes with the trade I guess... Steven Wright is no exception. He tickled my brain good with this one:

"I have the most amazing seashell collection. I keep it scattered on the beaches throughout the world. Maybe you've seen it?"

Cool. He's claimed ownership of ALL of'm. He doesn't mind if we enjoy'm too. Cute, funny and a nice way of looking at natural beauty. It belongs to all of us so why not personalize it? My hotel was built beautifully for nobody but the guests. I'm a guest so why not take it as a personal compliment: They did it for me. I appreciate it. It looks GREAT! I'm enjoying it to the hilt. Ah... the Hilton! :-)

You have to look for fun wherever you find it and I found fun in the hotel lobby this morning. It was a nice place to visit. I'll enjoy it again tonight when I come back from work and the doorman opens the door into "my" beautiful lobby with a big smile for me and says "Good evening, sir!"

Why not enjoy it all, eh?! I take it personally.


At lunch today I mentioned an article I'd read in The Hindu. It was in the Lifestyle section and was about the Call Center operations springing up all over India. The author got his start in a call center and I think he authored a recent book about his experiences there. It was a good, positive article.

The call centers have become a sub-culture here. They're mostly night-shift work because they support business in the West. Working the night shift automatically puts you in a sub-culture all by itself. If you've ever worked the graveyard shift, you'll know what I mean.

The call centers also a means for "up and out" for young people. Up and out of poverty or up and out of their home and into an independent life of their own. Basically, the one skill you need besides a sharp mind and a teachable attitude is Good English.

They work hard on getting their employees to have a neutral accent. I've never had the experience of reaching a call center employee myself so I don't know how successful they're being lately. The article stressed that they make a point of working hard at it. They cut employees who can't cut it. The author spoke of an employee who said "May I hold you?" Instead of "May I put you on hold?" Those kinds of snafus are death to their business and they have to make sure their people are thoroughly trained.

Mahendra spoke up at dinner and said he had an autorickshaw driver ask him in the Tamil language (the driver spoke no English) about the differences between "hardware" and "software". He (the driver) had two children who he'd put through school and they'd landed jobs at call centers. Now his son wanted to leverage that experience into a course to study computers, especially hardware. The autorickshaw driver didn't know enough to advise his son. He wasn't sure his son wanted him to show up at his school and not know English or anything about his selected course of study. So he was learning what he could from a customer. Sweet man. It was going to cost 30,000 rupees, a sizable investment. But this is a Sign Of India Changing. The autorickshaw driver is sacrificing to help the next generation do better than himself. That's what it's all about, eh?

We used to do that in America, didn't we?


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