A phrase that sends the shivers up my spine... A phrase that reminds me of a million future scenarios, none too rosy...Simply put, a phrase that is giving me sleepless nights and quite a few harrowing days too...
The other day one of my peers sent me a very cryptic mail which went like this
Not to worry. This is not an official mail :) Need a favor from you. No urgency but call me asap.
Now, leaving aside the fact that he worked with our biggest competition for half a decade before moving over here which kinda explained the awesome communication skills he possessed, I was terribly intrigued by what personal favor I could do him. So when I finally got down to calling him 'asap' (a good 36 hrs after he had sent the mail..phones calls and me, you know the story) he explained that there was an alliance proposal for his wife's colleague's sister's sister-in-law (I might have missed one more link but w-t-h) with a Wipro guy who happened to be working in my BU and whether I could run a simple due diligence for him. Under normal circumstances, I would have politely declined to do it faking some excuse but this was one guy I had been rude to for almost the last 6 months so sensing a chance to make amends, in a moment of weakness, I accepted to help.
Usually I find it extremely difficult/embarassing to do even simple checks which involve finding answers to questions like
Can you pls check if the guy smokes ?
Can you pls verify if he is just a social drinker ? (read as: Drinking freq: daily/weekly/fortnightly)
Is he sincere at work ? (read as: will be get promoted soon)
Is he cultured and well mannered ?
Does he come from a good upbringing ? (read as: is he rich)
and in the rarest of cases (read: Telegu) , even not-so-subtle questions like
Does he have a valid US visa ? (read as: atleast potential to be rich)
Now all this is OK..Using one's ingenuity and judgement one can come to a fair conclusion about the person under the microscope but the real problem this time around was the presence of ONE damning question
Does he hang around with a lot of women in office ?
Now you know what my problem is, right ? Ever since, I have totally forgotten about this guy and all my energies have been redirected towards imagining what could happen a few months / years down the line...If this thing ever happens to me (God Forbid...is someone listening ?) I can already sense what the feedback will be..If they are unfortunate enough to get someone who doesn't know me well enough to give them the info they seek, then the worst that can happen is that I will be branded as aloof and snobbish. If they are fortunate enough to know one of my pals and then seek info from him, then I am sure to be scandalised simply because most of these guys resent the fact that I am friendly with a couple of smart ladies at work. In fact, I am fairly confident that given a chance, they would happily paint me as an obsessive womaniser :-( Given the problem, I am now worried how to set right this mis-impression. Should I swear off women ? (which firstly would be very tough..and then, in any case they would probably then brand me gay) Should I start cosying up with everyone who could be a prospective informant ? (Highly impractical) Or should I simply not care ?
Why can't we simply have a 'The Recruit' kinda scenerio (esp if the gal is a real hottie a la Bridget Moynahan) where the guy and the gal sit across each other and ask questions which are answered with a lie detector lurking behind ?