The Other Side
The Other Side4 mins 253 4 mins 253
"She is so self-assured. A person of few words. That is why when she speaks, everyone listens."
Three of Shweta's colleagues were having a water-cooler conversation in the office about her. She had not joined them for the break, opting, as usual, to continue working on her laptop.
"How does she manage to stay glued to her seat for hours at a stretch? Sometimes I wonder if she takes toilet breaks?" muttered the second one. "She reaches the office earlier than any one of us. I have never noticed her in a hurry to leave for home in the evening. She is married too. How does her husband adjust?"
"I don't like the way she cuts off people during conversations. She may be intelligent, but so are all the rest of us who are here." The third colleague added, afraid to be left out.
"She is a good advisor, though. When I was going all out bragging about my appraisal ratings, she pulled me aside and shared her words of wisdom. It made sense. I realised that day that beneath that stony veneer is a golden heart." The first one reminisced.
"That may be true. But does Shweta need to make us feel guilty because we socialise? It is not a crime to steal some free time for yourself during office hours!"
"Did she say so?"
"No, she didn't. But whenever we ask her to join us, she says no in a manner that makes it appear that we are on some low pedestal. It is as if it is sacrilegious to even think of it."
"It may be more of a case of lack of communication skill rather than obnoxious behaviour," the first one defended her.
"What a paradox! There are very few better than her in written and verbal communication. Do you know of any other consultants for whom managers will fight to get them staffed on their projects? Is there any other consultant whom partners know by name?" There was more than a trace of envy in the second colleague's tone.
"How does she manage to work on multiple things at a time? She is working on two proposals and three projects. Yet she still finds time to work on a Whitepaper! My engagement partner can't stop raving about her. He even asked me why I can't come out with such Thought Leaderships. I can't even reply that I don't have the time when I am not as busy as her." The third one was sulking.
"Do you think that she will get an out of turn promotion this year?" one of them asked in a conspiratorial tone, making all of them go into another huddle.
"Some people have everything. Life is so unfair," they concluded before dispersing to their workstations.
Meanwhile, the subject of her colleagues' discussion was typing away furiously on her laptop when it rebooted. She sighed; there was so much to do, and this will further delay her.
She sighed. The partner had put her on a third project despite her reluctance. She could not say no, especially when the person in front was considering it an honour. She also had to fix up client meetings to discuss the Whitepaper on which she had put extra hours during the last few weekends. Then there was a proposal to be sent for review; the client would expect it soon.
She thought of her colleagues. She longed to join them for coffee breaks, but restrained herself, lest she carries unfinished work home as a result. Her new married life was under stress. Her husband often complained about her punishing working hours. She often contemplated quitting the workforce to focus on her family, but valued her financial independence higher.
She had become withdrawn and quiet, venturing out of her shell only when someone needed help. Lately, she was also struggling with bringing the subject of out of turn promotion with the partner. Damned if she did, damned if she didn't. She had followed a back-breaking schedule throughout the year and would have liked to reap the reward. But the increased responsibilities risked accentuating the fissures in her married life.
If wishes were horses and she had more time in her hand.
'Some people have everything. Life is so unfair.' She mused ruefully before quickly resuming work in her rebooted laptop.