Mumbai. The disruption and outages in BlackBerry internet services early this week successfully removed the disparity between managers and common employees in many offices, sources say. According to industry experts, many bosses and managers were totally indistinguishable from other employees of their offices once their BlackBerry smartphones turned into normal mobile phones due to the outages.
“BlackBerry has played a vital part in maintaining corporate hierarchy since its launch, and many companies have been using these phones as part of their HR strategy and employee management,” Harish Kala, an HR consultant and industry expert said, “Companies have been giving BlackBerry phones to its employees as part of promotion in jobs, which made these phones a status symbol; Emails that were not marked with ‘Sent from my BlackBerry’ were not given the importance it otherwise deserved.”
“Many HR managers privately confess that this strategy has saved them a lot of money that could have otherwise gone into salary hikes as part of promotion in jobs,” he added.
Harish further claimed that flashing BlackBerry phones during meetings or even during informal chats in canteens had become an integral part of office culture over years – something that suffered heavily due to the outages.
“Bosses felt helpless and many of them had to employ techniques of anger management when they saw their junior employees flashing their Chinese Android phones in meetings and offering to mail ‘minutes of the meetings’ to the group from their phones operating on GPRS,” Harish informed about the hardships BlackBerry carrying managers had to go through due to disruption in services.
In another example of how outages caused agony to corporate honchos, a senior manager in a manufacturing company (names withheld on request) was stopped by a security guard at the entrance after he failed to flash his BlackBerry smartphone while entering the office.
“I couldn’t recognize him as normally he would normally be looking at the screen of his phone when he entered the office; I mistook him for being that irritating salesman and asked him to show his identity-card,” the now-suspended security guard recalled the incident.
However, the junior employees in such offices expressed happiness and satisfaction at the BlackBerry outages.
“It gave us a lot of confidence,” a trainee with an ad-agency revealed, “It reassured us that nothing but a black smartphone separated them from us. I’m now confident of climbing the corporate ladder and become a successful professional.”
(originally written for and published in leading English daily DNA)