Saturday, October 5, 2013

A LESSON IN OFFICERSHIP - HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

Humor in Uniform

A LESSON IN OFFICERSHIP

IS FEAR THE GREATEST MOTIVATOR
A Naval Yarn - a Lesson in Officership and Human Resource (HR) Management
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Disclaimer:
1. Please read this story only if you have a sense of humour. This is a spoof, a yarn, just for a laugh, no offence meant to anyone, so please take it with a pinch of salt.
2. This story is a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
NB
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

FEAR IS THE GREATEST MOTIVATOR - A NAVAL YARN

There are a number of Motivation Theories which are taught in Human Resource (HR) Management courses in B-Schools.

When I began working, like all idealists, I too tried out various “benevolent” motivation techniques derived from these theories.

But soon, reality dawned, and I realized that “theories” work only on paper.

In practice, I learnt that FEAR is the greatest motivator.

You have many “fears” – tangible and intangible.

An effective Boss or HR Manager works on your fears in order to “motivate” you.

If you work in the industry, you may have the prime fear of being sacked, of losing your job, and there are many other fears too.

Close your eyes and think about your various fears.

If you work in the government, there are various “punitive” fears which can be exploited in order to “motivate” you and make you toe the line.

Every organization, lays down certain “punishments” to create fear in you and motivate you to obey the rules and do your job properly.

There are some “unofficial” motivators too, which “motivate” you to fall in line.

One of the most widely used motivators is the “fear of transfer”.

I have seen this motivational technique being used in many cases.

But when you use “fear” as a motivator, you must remember one thing – don’t stretch things too far.

Fear will work only till the “victim” has something to lose.

Beyond a point – the “fear factor” is like elastic – you stretch it too far and it snaps.

Let me give you an example.

A LESSON IN OFFICERSHIP

THE STORY OF THE CHIEF PETTY OFFICER (CPO) AND THE EXECUTIVE OFFICER (XO)

On our ship we had a Chief Petty Officer – let’s call him “P”.

P was a part of the commissioning crew and had remained on the ship continuously without break for more than seven years.

Every time his transfer came, the Captain would get P’s transfer cancelled.

Every Captain wanted P to remain on board during his tenure since P was indispensable.

P was indispensable since he was a specialist on a key weapon system.

With increasing years of experience, P gained more and more expertise and soon he was the unsurpassed expert on the system.

Every Captain knew that with P on board, it would be smooth sailing.

So every new Captain ensured that, during his command tenure, P was kept on board the ship.

It was a Catch-22 situation.

The more P served at sea on board the ship, the more P yearned to go for an appointment ashore.

But conversely, the more P served on board ship, the more specialist expertise he acquired, and the more he became indispensable, and his chances of going ashore became lesser and lesser.

P was fed up – seven continuous years at sea were taking its toll on his health and also on his family life.

was delighted when he got his transfer order to a training establishment ashore as an instructor.

But unfortunately, the incoming new Captain got P’s transfer cancelled.

“Don’t worry. You just remain on the ship for my tenure. The moment my transfer comes, I will see to it that you are transferred to some good place ashore,” the new Captain assured P.

When I tried to commiserate with him, P said cynically: “Forget it, Sir. Every Captain says the same thing. Captains come and go, all of you come and go, but I am destined to remain stuck in this hellhole forever.”

A few days later a new XO (second-in-command) arrived – a “spit and polish” Commander who had spent most of his time on training ships.

He boasted that he was going to “kick us into shape”.

On the very first day of sailing I was summoned to his cabin.

The XO was seated in his chair.

P was standing in front of him, not at attention, but in his usual casual manner, the cavalier bearing of a sailor who has been at sea for a long time.

The Master-at-arms was standing behind P.

The XO shouted at me: “I was taking rounds and your Chief was moving around in a slovenly manner almost nude, dressed in a bloody filthy skimpy lungi at half mast...”

“Sir, I was going for my bath …” P interrupted.

“Shut up!” the XO shouted furiously at P.

Then the XO turned to me and said: “The bugger did not even bother to salute me…”

Again P interrupted, “Sir, below decks…”

The XO stood up and looked menacingly at P and shouted, “Don’t try and act smart with me...I have sorted out many funny chaps like you...

“Sir, why are you threatening at me? I told you ...P pleaded.

On hearing this, the XO glowered at P and angrily roared:

“If you misbehave with me, I will throw you out of this ship!”

P (a Chief Petty Officer) looked at the XO (a Commander) squarely in the eye and said:

Sir, if you get me transferred out of this ship, I will give you a party in a 5-star hotel.”

I almost burst out laughing, but controlled myself and to avoid the situation deteriorating further and leading to an aggravated offence, I quickly removed P from the XO’s cabin.

Such juicy galley news spreads fast, and in a few hours, the whole ship knew about the incident.

From then on, the XO would avoid P, because every time their paths crossed, P would ask the XO“Sir, when are you throwing me out of this ship?


This incident taught me a lesson that I never forgot while in the Navy, and indeed till today:

It is best to avoid using fear as a “motivator”, but when you use fear as a motivator, you must remember one thing – don’t stretch things too far. Because, fear will work only till the “victim” has something to lose.

The Navy teaches you more Human Resource Management than any MBA or HR Management Course can teach you.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
NB
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this story?  
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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
Vikram Karve Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/vikramkarve
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Email: vikramkarve@hotmail.com
Twitter: @vikramkarve
      
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
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