Ravi : Hi!You look familiar! Are you the groom’s colleague?
Prabhu : No, a close friend of the groom’s brother. I’m Prabhu. He and I work in a publishing house. I’m an accountant in T S Publications.
Ravi : Oh! Is that so? They are one of the leading publishers, I’m told, with a high turn over! Your work must be quite interesting.
Prabhu : Far from it! It is a nine-to-five job, with a lot of paper work and a fixed salary with no perks. But it is my first job so I am learning the ropes to gain experience.
Ravi : I’m Ravi. I am with a small-scale industry. We produce nuts and bolts for automobile ancillary units. I look after administration as well as quality control, though my designation is Senior Manager , Accounts.
Prabhu : You must be on your toes the whole day!
Ravi : Not at all! It’s a safe and sedate job especially when you have a responsible team under your command. Besides, there are no transfers, no chances of embezzlement and no bossy orders from the top. Everything works on set schedules and procedures, so I can go about my work in a mechanical way till I am ready for retirement.
Kumar : I’m Kumar – Ravi’s cousin. He calls his monotonous job a sedate one. Not my cup of tea! I’m in the State Fire fighting Department. I literally and figuratively keep climbing ladders.
Prabhu : Wow!You are the kind of person the kittens like!
Kumar : Yes!We do occasionally save kittens from trees and dogs caught in large garbage bins, but more often we are fighting fires in narrow streets and high-rise buildings.
Prabhu : Interesting! What are your hours of work? Twenty- four hours? How about your salary?
Kumar : Not always. It’s not a nine-to-five job, nor a part time one. Nor is it exactly flexi-time.We follow a shift system on roster but adjust in a crisis with an over-time and often forego our time-off voluntarily. As for salary, its a government scale of pay with PF, CCA, HRA, increment, bonus name it, we have it!
Prabhu : Do you have any other perquisites or privileges?
Kumar : Of course! We are fully insured with medical facilities. Promotions are smooth and quick depending on our performance. We have our share of holidays with travel allowance and earned leave but “priority to the call of duty” is the unspoken law.
Suresh : Duty is always the priority! I’m Suresh, a doctor – specialist in Cardiology and my cell-phone and keys are always within reach!
Kumar : You look too young to be a doctor! And how is your job? Is it as exciting as mine?
Suresh : Well! … exciting .. er… yes, in a way. It is as high-risk a job as yours, because one wrong diagnosis or a careless movement of the lancet and my career is as good as dead! Ravi : Do you have fixed working hours when there are no outpatients or theatre-operations?
Suresh : No, we are not bound by time-schedules, only duty schedules. And other aspects like transfer are only in government hospitals and private chain-hospitals. Promotions .. well, you climb the career ladder on the percentage of patients you successfully send out with full recovery. In other words, your career growth is synonymous with your experience measured by the trust your patients have in you.
Prabhu : How about you? Are you with Kumar? You look as young as him!
Gopal : No, I’m the bride’s cousin. I am a trainee at an engineering unit. I have been appointed through my Institute’s placement interviews.
Prabhu : Normally trainees are green at their jobs and are bound to get “kicked around” a bit before they get stream-lined into a specialised area of work. How is it with you?
Gopal : Well, nothing to provoke complaints, but the boss is a demanding, tough task-master. He has a reputation of having sacked thrice as many trainees as he has had promoted. So I’m already on the look out for another opening so that I can quit before he dismisses me!
Prabhu : You trainees are paid quite a sum these days ! Thirty years ago an “apprentice” as he was called then, earned a “stipend” of a maximum of Rs.100/- per month!
Gopal : Yes, job benefits are sound and having a pay-slip showing a five-digit salary when we are just out of college, is quite intoxicating. Besides, we have all other facilities and perks. There’s travel allowance, over-time pay when we work late hours; and there are luncheons and dinners galore on the slightest pretext of a conference. And the work is really challenging enough, to not burn out with fatigue or boredom.
Prabhu : So when does your training get over?
Gopal : It’s a six month traineeship, then if I satisfy my boss I am promoted right away into ‘executive’ position. From thereon success depends on quantitative and qualitative project completion. The more impressive my portfolio, the better are the chances of growth.
Prabhu : All the best Gopal! Shiva : Hey! Don’t leave me out! I’m Shiva, the bride’s kid brother, and I am with the largest group in India. It’s called the UGGI, the Unemployed Graduate Group of Idlers!
All : Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!! …