Saturday, March 2, 2013

New Rule: Everyone must read this blog, except me!

Have you noticed how we (civilized people in general) are so good at passing rules from which we are exempt?  Say for example, I am the transportation minister; I'll propose/pass a new speed limit rule on all state highways, reducing it to say 40 kph.  I'll pass it without a moment's notice, because I am exempted from it. My parade of cars and security personnel will take me down the road at 100 kph even though I passed the rule restricting everyone else from doing the same.

I'm not pointing fingers at the government here, that was just an example.  Take a look at all the rules around you.  How many of those rules were created by people who were exempted from it?  A student is banned from bringing mobiles to college but the staff who created or is enforcing, the rule is exempted from it.  Employees are ordered not to take a vacation or not to work from home but the people who made the rule....

If its not a straight forward exemption, then its a loophole.  Say for example, the government increases the price of petrol but the ministers who made the decision never actually pay for petrol because the government pays for their travel expenses.  I'm sorry for circling back to the government but hey, they govern us.  Then there is the case of enforcers who give a damn about the rule that they are enforcing.  Near my office, traffic police catch people for driving on the wrong side of the road.  Two days ago, I saw how the traffic police gets to that spot.  They drive in the wrong side of the road, same as the people they fine.  How is their big white Innova less dangerous than someone else's Hero Honda Splendour?

Now, hey, I'm not saying that the hike in petrol price is the government's fault or that driving in the wrong side of the road is acceptable.  In fact, I hate it when people (including me) drive on the wrong side of the road and from what I heard, in US, raise and drop of petrol price is not even considered a big fuss.  But the fact that the people who come up with these rules and enforce these rules are somehow not affected by them is just ridiculous.

We should probably make it a rule that whoever creates a rule should be the first one to get affected by that rule.  That way, when a leader declares war against a country, he should be the first man on the ground shooting the first bullet.  And when a terrorist leader orders a suicide attack, strap the damn thing on him first.  Now I truly understand what Achilles meant, when he said in Troy "Imagine a king who fights his own battles.  Wouldn't that be a sight!".

Those scenarios are high level pictures and perhaps even vague concepts, I admit.  But its still worth thinking about in our day to day life.  The next time we order a kid at home or our subordinates at work, we could spare a second to check if we are exempted and if we are, then maybe we should think twice before forcing it on them.


  1. It was interesting to read this.

    I would like to ask you that,are you pointing towards the "rules" or the "laws" here? or may be both..

    Well, in a sense both are the same, its just that laws are the legal variation of rules.

    I accept to a certain extent that, the rule does not apply to its maker. But in most cases, the law does apply.

    This is why I specifically asked whether its the rule or the law or both. Since your example involved government, it points towards law.

  2. For argument sake, I would say my intention is to point towards rules/restrictions which apply to most and affect most people but somehow doesn't affect the maker. As you mentioned, a serious law on something like crime, applies equally to all; in most countries at least.

    But I'm not really pointing at a fault in the existing system. Equally valid examples would have been "no mobiles at the dinner table" or "minimum of 9 hours per day should be clocked behind the office desk". Its not even a question of whether the rules are fair or not. But when you are a maker/enforcer of rules (big or small), make sure that you are not in a position to overstep them yourself. Because if you do, no matter how fair the rule is, others will perceive it as unfair.

    I suppose what I am suggesting is simply a slight variation of 'Practice what your preach'..

    Anyway, thanks for the reply. I rarely get meaningful conversations over a blog post.. :D

  3. Welcome to blogsphere! Rules are meant to make crowd follow the wish of the rule-maker. Usually in king rule the king makes the rule and he definetely follow that. But nowadays in a republic country like india, the rules are cascaded from top level and in most cases even the state ministers does not know why the law is in place :( they are also some one like common man.

    Other perspective... rules are made against general public's interest...Like in schools teachers ask us to speak only in english.. and apoint a person to oversee if students comply.. no one in the class follows it ! The road rules are meant for western mentality.. for indians this is so hard to follow and they hate it... but ironicaly, we love driving a lot..

  4. Just now noticed you are into blogging for ages.. :)

  5. Yep, been blogging for a long time, but not regularly.. :D

  6. As I mentioned earlier, if it is rules/regulations that you are pointing towards, then I do agree to it to a substantial extent.

    Well in case of office, yes it is like that, the boss or any other superior(employer) leaves the building when the clock strikes 6 or 7 (or whatever the business hours specified) and there are those employers who just for the sake of showing off , stay in the office all the time to make the employees also stay. Whereas the employees have no such limits, they have to stay till the completion of the task.

    But sometimes we need to realize that the maker of the rule was once a follower of the same rule, may be in a different place or a different atmosphere, to be specific, the employer would have also been an employ once.

    As far as my reply goes I just read " Feel free to speak your mind.. " and hence the reply :)

  7. Opposing views are also accepted.. :)

    You've mentioned a good reason we can give ourselves to help us chill down when we are the victim. Fair enough. But the point of my post was to remind us to be cautious about our actions when we are in power.

    Whenever we get a feeling that 'maybe what we are about to do is not right', we usually brush it aside saying 'I went through the same thing, so its fair'. To an extent, that's correct. But think of it this way, 'just because I was treated badly when I was a subordinate, it doesn't make it right for me to treat my subordinates the same way'. I'm not saying I was; its just an example.. :P

    My problem with restrictions at work is that, they are created with the assumption that 'employees hate to work'. If that's going to be the founding idea, then, what kind of a workplace will that really create?

  8. "I went through the same thing, so it's fair " this may be the employer's point of view, in most cases we do not have the authority or chance to influence their conventions, am not being cynical here, just stating the usual. The least we can do is , the day we become the boss, we do not practice such conventions and the trend goes so on.

    Regarding the assumption "employees hate to work" , there are many employees who really hate the burden of work and there are those who like to(the) work, but what happens is, the ones who hate to work, clearly show by their actions, to their superiors , their intention. Same goes for those who like to work, their actions (enthusiasm) also how their intentions. What happens is the former's intention overshadows the latter, hence the employer sees the hating ones as a problem and sees the liking ones as "they are ok with it" and impose ridiculous rules upon both.

  9. Since we were discussing the topic of restrictions at work, I thought this blog post would be an interesting read ->


Feel free to speak your mind..