You know the whole “effect” thing. It is all about how things are put, less about what things really are. Its more about the gift wrap than about the gift. More to do with the fanfare, and less about the intention; all about quantity, not much about quality,  and all that.

For the past few months, one of my responsibilities at work includes contacting the Management folk at Colleges and B-Schools and introducing them to the SAP uAcademy courses, which are an innovative way of enabling students to gain working knowledge of SAP by way of a Learning Management System, an online Audio-Visual module, whereby students can take the course at their own pace, re-work topics, and they can have queries immediately answered by SAP’s support team by way of call, email, chat or video chat. And all this at a heavy discount to the SAP courses available at Training Centres.

Anyway, so a part of this task involves me looking up college websites, identifying the right person to contact, like a Vice Chancellor (VC) or Chairman, and in many cases, the Director or Dean.

I had a list of colleges that I started tackling one by one. The first few calls, asking to speak to the VC or President were answered by the gatekeeper to Heaven, who felt it was his or her responsibility to make access to this person nearly impossible. So I was given everything from ‘he is traveling’, ‘not in town’, ‘not at his desk’ to more direct ‘no one can speak directly with him’ and so on. I mean come on, they’re schools right, I thought these folks were supposed to be a little more approachable. Seems like it’s a lot easier to get through to GMs and the likes at companies. And all this when you really need to speak to that VC or Chairman.

And then, a few days and a few calls later, to my surprise, on some random Saturday, I’d call a college on the number taken from their ‘Contact Us’, and, as amusing as this may sound, the Director answered the call.! (‘Wha.!’, I’d say to myself, just praying it wasn’t a prank by some peon looking for a small kick in his otherwise mundane routine).

As I kept working on my list, I got to some colleges which had mobile numbers listed under ‘Contact Us’, which turned out to be direct lines of the Director’s or Dean’s. So much for begging someone to ask them to connect the call to him.

And today, when I was almost at the end of my list, I call a college and asked only for the Director’s email id (no, couldn’t find any direct lines, and I was way too bored to request a direct word with the Director), saying I will first email him and then call to speak with him, and the generous person at the other end says ‘Hold on, I’ll connect you to him, you could speak to him directly’.

The more you want something done, people seem to make it that much tougher. And when you don’t bother, they’ll give you that extra push up the hill. Humans, consistently, never cease to amaze.

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