It was a Wednesday afternoon. I had just finished my regular commute halfway across Bangalore to my office in the concrete jungle of Whitefield. The October weather was rather pleasant and the traffic was smooth, so I basically had nothing to crib about at the start of work. So I began my daily routine of listing down things to do, only to be interrupted by my manager. He walked up to my desk.
Manager: It’s your turn today and at 3PM.
Me: What do I tell them?
Manager: Tell them your story.
So our company had recruited a bunch of people the past month and they were being trained. They had asked some of us to share our experiences before the afternoon session starts. A good move considering trainings at that time has an uncanny habit of putting people to sleep but so does story telling.
What was My Story? Two years and three months at this firm, what was My Story? I was not so sure. I kept thinking through lunch and then even at my desk. Finally I was asked to walk into the training room with my managers. They did a rather (in)formal introduction and used the much clichéd “The floor is all yours” phrase as a cue. Two of us were called to share our experiences, each as clueless as other. I stopped procrastinating and started:
People who have come here and interacted with you guys before are far more knowledgeable than me. I’ve really nothing more to add. However, I’ve two stories to tell. Just two and I’ll be done. I’m no Morgan Freeman, but do listen patiently and try not to fall asleep.
The first story. We were hired just like you in rather large numbers. This was back in 2013 and I was just a graduate fresh out of college. I loved listening to people speak. It was end of the day, well almost. One of the HRs walked into our room. Saree clad, She must be a lady in her late thirties. She was so full of energy. She then started with the usual HR talks: Behaviour, adherence to company policies, some questions around the salary and leave policies. Then she started.
“My housemaid has worked with me for the past 6 years. She started with an initial salary of Rs. 800 per month and now earns close to Rs 2k per Month. She completes her work meticulously and loves what she does. I give her gifts during Diwali and Dussehra. She is satisfied with the work and is happy. We always oblige her requests for leave whenever it is reasonable.
Couple of years ago, we bought a new car, since none of us knew how to ride, we decided to hire a driver. He was from Hassan and spoke good English. He loved gardening, he was a farmer’s son. He tended to plants very well. He knew when to pay the bills. Slowly he took over a lot of chores and managed them well. Now he’s the house manager.”
Even in life, things work the same way. You keep doing what you need to do in the best possible way, you’ll excel, no doubt. Only if you do a little more than what you’re required to do, will you grow and become successful.
Silence hung in the air like the ocean breeze and I just assumed everybody was ready for next story and started.
Well since you have managed to survive my sermon for so long, I’ll continue with my other story too.
There was a general nod. I did not know if it was a yes or a no. I continued.
A father and son were taking a walk in the park. Father in his mid-fifties, wearing rounded spectacles, peering into the newspaper as he walked. The son in his twenties was in his jogging shorts and a jersey. Son had just finished a rough day at work. Evening jog was the son’s remedy for a office matters hangover while for dad it’s quality time spent with son. The following conversation ensued between them.
Father: Son, did you happen to read the newspaper today? What is your opinion on the…
Son: Dad, give me a break. I have had a rough day at office and I have come here to get some fresh air.
Father: Tell me when it’s time to go home. I’ll be taking a walk around the park
After half an hour, father and son reach home. Father walks straight to the cupboard and brings out a diary from the early 90s.
Father: Here son, take this. We used to walk in the same park when you were a kid. You asked me a lot of questions. I would try to answer as many of them possible. The ones I could not I would note them down in this diary and find the answer. It used to be such a nice experience. Now you’re grown up. Neither do you want to ask questions nor find answers.
Inquisitiveness is a predominant character of every human since birth. Somewhere down the lane we stop asking questions and start obeying orders that is when learning comes to a halt.
Well that was the other story I intended to share with you guys. My thirty month journey in this company has been more or less about asking questions and doing a little more than just my role. I think I’ve done it quite successfully and my managers can vouch for the same. With that I’m done telling ‘My Story’.
The manger informed them that they have 15 minute break before the next session. I walked back to my seat and resumed work.