Double Trouble

This piece is based on a prompt. Thought it might be fun to share it here. Here goes…

Craig: “Linda, one of our babies is missing.”

Linda: “Which one?”

Craig: “The one on the left.”

Linda: “The left of what?”

Craig: “The left of the one that’s left.”

Linda: “Huh? Which one is that?”

Awkward silence ensues.

Linda: “I can’t believe this. Is it Ada?”

Craig: “I’m not sure.”

Linda: “How can you not be?”

Craig: “Is that really important right now?”

Linda: “What does her bracelet say?”

Craig: “It’s Ava.”

Linda: “So, Ava’s here?”

Craig: “No, she’s the one missing.”

Welcome to the tangled web – the life of parents of twin babies. Think of it like quicksand. The more you struggle, the deeper you sink. Sure, the little ones are bundles of joy. Well, most of the time. But, remember the days when you’ve put them both to bed. And just when you’re about to drift off to sleep, you hear a familiar cry – the sound of countless sleepless nights. Before you’ve had the chance to pacify the first one, the other starts wailing. You only have so many hands, and one of them is aching to tear your hair out. But I digress.

Identical or not, you’ll be surprised at how similar twins can look when they’re a few months old. Especially if they are both boys or girls. Talk about seeing double! This means keeping track of who is who. God forbid if Ada ends up as Ava or the other way around. If you can’t keep your story straight, how can you expect them to? You wouldn’t want them to have an identity crisis now, would you? 

This means following a process to ensure that they don’t get mixed up. One way to achieve this could be color-coding. And you thought that was only for people who studied Electrical Engineering! Surprise, surprise! The things we do for our children! So, each baby gets a designated color. They have no say in the matter, of course. This means you’ll be buying identical pairs of clothes with precisely those colors, at least till you can tell the two apart. Which is, hopefully, soon. Don’t worry, they’ll be fighting over clothes in no time. Happy shopping!

Sounds cumbersome? Try painting their nails or using jewelry instead. Good luck hoping they don’t tug it off or chew on it. You know they love to.

Let’s address the second matter now. Or did you forget? What about the curious case of the missing Ada? Or was it Ava? What’s worse than not being able to distinguish between your own twin babies? Losing one. Before you get your claws out and start getting all judgmental about Craig and Linda being irresponsible parents, remember the last time you misplaced your keys. How can babies be compared to keys, you ask? They can’t. Keys don’t have legs. You’d be surprised at how quick your little ones can be when they start to crawl. Look away for a second. And, poof, they’re gone. Even skilled magicians couldn’t pull off this trick!

If you think caring for one baby is a nightmare, try two. Put yourself in the parents’ shoes. A little empathy wouldn’t go amiss.

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Back to Square One

Hey Everyone! I’m back. I’m sure most of you have forgotten me. Some of you might be wondering how this message ended up on their feed. Yes, it’s been a while since my last post – more than a year to be precise. But, unfortunately for you, you haven’t heard the last of me.

There were a lot of reasons for my absence. I was, suddenly and unexpectedly, thrown into the middle of a very strenuous exercise that left me depleted and lacklustre. Personal priorities, abrupt transitions and laziness account for the rest.

During this time, I admit that I logged onto WordPress a few times but couldn’t bring myself to write. Part of me felt like I’d lost my way in the world of blogging stats and figures. And, blogging had become a source of stress rather than enjoyment. I have, since, realised that while writing is most fulfilling when people read what’s written, the purpose is to tell your story and put a piece of yourself out there for others to see. Ultimately, how many do, doesn’t matter.

The one thing I missed most was exchanging thoughts and ideas with the assortment of people who have become part of my blogging world: like-minded and otherwise. And, maybe, the state of the world around us made me realise that life is too short and I still have a lot to say before I die. Even if it kills me or others die of boredom from reading my posts. Death by writing, somehow, seems a lot more agreeable than death by a killer virus. And like they say, once the writing bug bites, it is an itch you need to scratch.

I’ve had three stints in my blogging past – the first one lasted for two posts, the second barely one and the last one stretched for a span of a few months. This attempt will be my fourth. The plan is to write at my own pace this time, rediscover the joys of writing and not worry about the rest. While it feels like I’m starting all over again, here’s hoping this one lasts for a long time to come.

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Types of Managers

I have worked with my fair share of managers over the years and thought it might be fun to write about them. Here are some types based on my experiences.

The Micromanager
As the name suggests, they are control freaks and have a hard time trusting anyone to perform their job. They always want things done their way and will not be open to others’ ideas and opinions. Obsessed with details about their employees’ work, they have a hard time letting go. They frequently ask for updates and monitor their subordinates and their activities to the point of being overbearing. They focus too much on the small details and miss the big picture. Status meetings involve individual discussions of such minutiae that the rest were left twiddling their thumbs. Needless to say, these meetings always exceed their designated time slots and fail to achieve desired results.

The Slave Driver
They take pleasure in pushing their employees to extract as much work out of them as is humanly possible. They demand nothing short of complete dedication from their subordinates with no room for a life outside work. No matter how hard the employees work, they expect more. They like their team members to work for long hours, frown on requests for time off and frequently boast about how they work 24×7 and never take vacations. Showing appreciation isn’t easy for them, but they are always first to find faults. Meetings are strategically scheduled in the evenings and always extend beyond working hours. People leaving on time will be asked if they are “leaving early” loud enough for everyone to hear. With this type, “urgent” tasks have a tendency to pop up when you’re about to leave for the day.

The Hands-On Manager
This kind is the proverbial techie. They play an important part in decision making but allow their subordinates the freedom to decide on implementation. In constant pursuit of technical excellence, they focus on new and innovative solutions to resolve a problem. They will step in when the situation demands and back off when they are not needed. Technically sound, they can be counted on for advice with challenging problems. But they have high expectations from their team and may not suffer fools gladly. Though they are masters of their field, managing people may not be their forte.

The Hands-Off Manager
These managers know their technical limitations and will give free rein to their employees to accomplish their tasks. Their strength is people management with assigning responsibilities and tracking their status their primary focus. They believe in “live and let live”. As long as things are on track, they do not interfere with the activities of their employees. But when things go south, they panic and find themselves helpless and unable to remedy the situation. They will listen to their employees’ concerns but can not be expected to solve technical problems when the situation demands.

The Selfish Manager
The sole purpose of this kind is the preservation and promotion of self, and they will do anything required to accomplish this goal. They will mollify their employees if they need to or cast them aside if the situation demands. When things go right, they are quick to take credit. When they don’t, they’ll be ready with a scapegoat. They will ensure that they are always in their superiors’ good books even if this is achieved at the expense of their subordinates. As long as things work to their benefit, they persist with their employers. The day this stops, they silently move on.

The Inept Manager
These managers are neither technical managers nor people managers. When technical challenges arise, they are clueless about dealing with them. When conflicts come up, they think that pretending they don’t exist will make them go away. They are usually found in organisations which value loyalty over excellence. Survival is more important to them than advancement. They are not willing to take risks or break conventions and will smother, and even punish, subordinates who challenge them. Because they are insecure, they like being addressed as “Sir” or “Ma’am” by their underlings which makes them feel important.

The Know-It-All Manager
As experts in their field of choice, these managers exhibit supreme confidence. Unfortunately, this sentiment tends to overflow to other areas making them think that they know everything and can do anything. As a result, they try to showcase their “knowledge” in areas they don’t fully understand and make a fool of themselves. They tend not to listen, constantly interrupt others and attempt to draw attention to their understanding of the subject under discussion. They attach more importance to their domain and trivialise the rest. To sum up, they always try to prove that they’re the smartest person in the room.

The Supermanager
These managers are a dream to work with. They are technically capable architects and excellent people managers. They set the course of the project and provide a free hand to their subordinates to achieve targets. They are quick to understand the nuances of implementation and provide guidance when required. They make their resources feel valued and promptly address any concern raised. Always willing to share their success, they accept responsibility for failures and insulate their teams from pressures from higher-ups. They bring out the best in their subordinates and always exceed the expectations of the management.

I’m sure you recognise one or more of these types. Please share your experiences in the comments section. If I have missed one, feel free to let me know.

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