Saturday, November 20, 2010

11th September 2010

11th September 2001! Chaos, confusion and death filled the air! Twin Towers (USA) affected by the militant attack. The impact was felt globally...

9 years later... 11th September 2010...

After so many years, when life has gained its normal pace after that incident, in this small corner of the globe, I am sitting with a laptop - feeling content and relaxed that one by one my short term goals (desires) are getting achieved.

Evolution and weeding (in terms of human relationships) go on side by side in my life! My peace of mind started returning since September 2009 and I feel healed internally – thanks to some people around me! My sister’s wedding on 23rd September 2009 (the greatest source of satisfaction for me) and other short term goals – all my desires started materialising between August and November 2009. 2010 started quite nicely in respect to materialistic aspects and continues to do so till now. I can only thank and be grateful to God for being so generous towards me. I didn’t get derailed inspite of all the emotional struggles that I’d to go through, in the last eleven years.

At times when I look around, I get a feeling that academic qualification, knowledge and capabilities are not important in life. Ego massaging, sycophancy, gaining sympathy of the people around by talking about one’s personal problems or using charm would ensure growth in some areas of life! Yet, I thank my stars that I didn’t compromise with my principles (by doing all these things) under any circumstances. My upbringing would not allow me to do so! That is my greatest satisfaction on the personal level!

Never mind! Time wasn’t with me earlier but I’m hopeful that the scene is changing now. The attainment of these short-term goals only direct towards a better tomorrow! I am sure that I’d be able to achieve my bigger goals too without compromising with my principles!

The more I see these things happen, the more humble I feel and my roots go deeper into the ground. At the same time, I feel strangely calm internally. Now it is time to do something more significant in life!

Beware of fudging!

“Satyam computers has terminated 500 of its employees because they had fudged with their documents”

In a case of a reputed business conglomerate, there are examples where CVs are not verified and the truth is revealed gradually after recruitment, through various incidents. There was a case where an employee couldn’t recognise a colleague’s masters level certificate (from a reputed university) when the person had claimed to have completed Masters from the same university like that of the colleague; or checked from one boss’ secretary, the spelling of the name of an English medium missionary school (under West Bengal board) that was mentioned in one’s CV, whereas, in reality the person had actually studied in a government school for Bengali Muslims (under West Bengal board). The candidate’s diction gave away the reality even though in front of the other colleagues, the employee continued (till one’s exit) to stick to the name of the school mentioned in the CV! Same was for the candidate’s age (and other personal details that were verbally shared): instead of mentioning the actual age (mid-40s), the CV (including one’s passport) indicated it to be something in the 30s!

A false CV can help a employee to secure a job; but performance, body language and etiquettes would say a lot of things about the employee and one’s efficiency!

Fudging is not restricted to CVs only. You might see a secretary of a senior management person, mentioning something else (similar to that of another colleague) in the visiting card, instead of writing the exact designation mentioned in the appointment letter. Who would verify if the boss is unaware of it and the administration segment is not involved in the procedure of getting the visiting cards done? The truth was noticed only when the person was filling up the appraisal form before it was taken to one’s boss. Avoid giving the designation in the visiting card if you are embarrassed to mention it! mentions that candidates usually lie about qualifications, employment dates, job titles, technical skills, achievements. According to Ashish Dehade, managing director, West Asia, First Advantage Pvt. Ltd (a background screening and verification company) more than 90% of the registered companies don’t verify about education, address, previous employment, criminal record, references etc though there are some large firms that insist on detailed verifications. As a result, the growing importance of candidate verification has generated a new business opportunity for background screening companies.

The Association of Search and Selection consultants estimates that 25% of the CVs contain false information, ranging from fudged dates to hide a career gap, to falsified identities to conceal a bad credit history or worse. Karen Edwards, co-director of the Brighton-based Personnel Risk Management, which specialises in providing City firms with pre-employment scrutinising services, believes that "in 25% of cases, something comes up” and in “one week it was 57%." He mentioned that “one IT department was told it was going to be checked and there were 12 resignations in one week."

Debbie Beecroft, an associated at Ernst & Young's fraud-investigation group, says fraudsters often turn out to be long-serving, trusted workers who know the systems and procedures well enough to work them. This can be avoided if pre-employment verification is done thoroughly.

Preventive measures:

Unlike that of the past, the check should happen at all levels. Companies like Wipro Ltd, Infosys Technologies and Satyam Computer Services take action against employees (terminating of services and blacklisting of such candidates and recruiters) involved in fudging résumés. ICICI Bank Ltd, witnessed 17,000 new recruits in 2007, 400 to 500 of which had misrepresented facts in their résumés. The bank has set up a fraud prevention unit that functions as an independent auditor and keeps an eye out for risks and frauds threatening the organization, including recruitment-related fraud. Every new employee undergoes a full background check. The candidate verification process to specialist agencies is outsourced. “Companies in India don’t lodge complaints of white-collar fraud with the police. In that sense, we are letting the same people (fraudsters) circulate in the system,” says Ramkumar of ICICI Bank. “So, unless an organization is very vigilant, it is difficult to curb this menace.”

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and Samsung India Electronics keep track through an in-house reference check process. Prabir Jha, the global head of HR at Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, mentions that the HR department calls up the referees provided in a résumé, the candidate’s previous boss, peers and juniors before hiring.

Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd (formerly Sony Entertainment Network) believes that 3% of total new hires produce fudged résumés. The discrepancies involve falsification of educational qualifications, work experience, job roles and projects, and inflated compensation figures. Some don’t hesitate to submit fake certificates and documents. Multi Screen Media has a team, which oversees the background check process and also hires third-party agencies for the verification process.

KPMG’s forensic practice helps organizations conduct background checks. “It is a serious issue that can have long-lasting repercussions,” says Rohit Mahajan, executive director, forensic services, KPMG India. A bad hire not only impacts business efficiency, but can have consequences such as theft of intellectual property, leakage of confidential information or misuse of resources. The key offerings of KPMG’s background verification services include database verification, which helps clients ascertain if the candidate has been reported for any misconduct; education, employment and reference verification; criminal verification; and address verification.

TCS once sacked 20 employees for furnishing fudged résumés. The organisation has a team within its recruitment unit, responsible for overseeing the verification process. At TCS, a candidate’s credentials are verified on various parameters through specialized agencies. Dabur’s HR team conducts pre-and post-employment reference checks and asks recruitment agencies to verify the personal credentials of candidates. For critical job roles, it hires independent agencies for background checks.

As mentioned in, the agency deals with validating of diplomas – including the verification of the date of passing, grades achieved; or the schools/ universities are approached to check the authenticity of the details provided. Other details like the career history, dates of the candidate's employment, positions held in the company and the the reasons for leaving are also verified. It is done through employer reference checking or by contacting the candidate's former superior(s) or the HR department.

If after reading all this, you are thinking twice about applying for a new job, then be careful – your CV could also be considered as an object of investigation. At times employers even check out their existing workers!

- nilanjana

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Phoenix & the concept of Rebirth

(august 2003)

The concept of rebirth can also be well explained with the help of the myth of Phoenix (Greek name), the mythological bird offered in sacrifice to Ra, Sun god in ancient Egypt. The Phoenix was the symbolic representation of the death and rebirth of the sun. In Egypt, it was called the Bennu, said to be a living manifestation of Osiris, springing forth from its heart. The bird, which was similar to an eagle, possessed a splendid golden-red plumage that made it look like as if it was wrapped in flames. According to some versions, the Phoenix was shown in flames rather than in feathers. The Phoenix lived in Arabia. Some legends say that only one Phoenix lived at one time and lived for 500 years. At the end of its life-cycle, the Phoenix built a nest as it was dying and set the nest on fire and was consumed by the flames. After its death, a new Phoenix would then arise from the ashes and thus the Phoenix was reborn. This cycle was repeated over and over again.

According to other sources, the ‘Thunderbird’, a powerful spirit bird in Native America, is represented as the ‘Phoenix’. It is said that in China, Feng-huang (a bird) symbolizes the union of Yin and Yang, a sign of both Peace and Disharmony. The Greek poet Herodotus wrote in one of his passages from his writings of The Phoenix’s legend that the Phoenix comes back every 500 years in order to search the body of its predecessor. After making a myrrh egg, the Phoenix puts the body of its predecessor inside it, and takes it to the Temple of the Sun located in Egypt.

500 years later, Tacitus and Plinius agreed that many of the ancient myths were confusing so they investigated the chronology of The Phoenix. Through their studies, they concluded that The Phoenix lived an equivalent to a Platonic year; calculations determined by the alignment of the Sun, the Moon and the five planets known at that time needed to return to their original positions which in our time represent a period of 12.994 years.

The ancient ones believed that this enormous astronomical cycle was complete provided, all conditions of the planetary influence were the same. In other words, The Phoenix was considered similar to a mirror of the universe. By the end of the 4th century, Claudianus had written some verses about an immortal bird, able to reborn from its ashes, an heir to itself, and a witness of that time.

The Phoenix from another of the Chinese Mythology offers another description. Under another name, Feng - it’s depicted as a bird of shining colors, very much like a pheasant. In remote times, The Feng supposedly frequented the gardens and palaces of righteous Emperors. As with all mythological creatures the versions, significance and the characters tend to vary according to culture and their belief.

The Astronomical Phoenix

Phe (Phoenix) is a constellation in the Southern Hemisphere of Earth near Toucana and Sculptor named by John Bayer in 1603. This constellation is almost universally recognized as a bird. The Phoenix cluster is a dense expanse of unexplored stars, named for the Phoenix Asteroids in the 20th Century film "Dark Star", by John Carpenter.

The Phoenix in Future History - Aside from the name "Phoenix", a city in the south-western portion of the former United States, The Phoenix’s future history begins on April 4th, 2063. The day Zephram Cochrane first launched his Phoenix, an old Titan V nuclear missile modified with small crew cabin and twin warp nacelle engines into history. Rising from the ashes of World III, from an abandoned missile complex in central Montana, the Phoenix was the first vessel to break the warp barrier, precipitating the First Contact with a group of Vulcans on a survey mission and as a result, a rebirth of prosperity for Earth was created as it spread its wings out into the stars.

With a name steeped in Mythology, Astronomy, History and Tradition, Task Force Phoenix springs forth from the ashes of United Alliance and all that has come before, served proudly by Fleet Members from the North American Continent and Around the World.