Recognitions and brickbats come in different colours. I received very few recognitions in my life. My father never said a good word when I did well in school examinations, and I always fell short of his expectations. According to him, it was not a good culture to praise your offspring. He believed that any praise would go to my head and impede further improvement. I was not a star, and I have struggled in school and college. I always looked forward to positive strokes, which were not coming quickly. In addition, there was always a comparison with others on my performance at every step.
It was yet another day for me at work. I went early to the office and worked late to impress my manager. It was a challenging project which required working with others. I took the regular walk -around on the shop floor, and I heard an excellent background score in the beautiful morning, and several happy faces looked up and wished me. I reciprocated with a smile and was pleased that the day was good. The first few minutes always decided the flow of the day.
As I was leaving the workshop, Jadhav, one of the critical union office bearers, approached me with a mischievous smile. I could make out that he had a hidden agenda to keep him busy for the entire day. He wanted some time with me before I went to my desk. I was a little irritated as I did not want to start the day with a conversation on some union matter. In any case, I agreed to meet him. The brief discussion took a long time, and he wanted to negotiate the time elements of a new process. The conversation took an ugly turn midway, and I lost my cool. I was furious, and Jadhav walked away with an angry face and a loud voice to raise a complaint against me to the senior management. He was very vocal that I could lose my job. The word spread very soon about the altercation, and I received a call from my head of human resources to see him in his office. I met him and provided details of the incident. He advised me that I should not directly take on the union folks without his intervention as I was still new to the organisation. I could sense from his body posture and the language that he supported the union representative without understanding the details. My day did not go well.
My manager called me to his office when no one was around at the end of the day. I was surprised that he wanted to talk to me in the evening. His secretary had also called it a day and left the office. He offered me to sit in one of the chairs opposite him. I was very anxious, and his face did not provide me with any clues. I was sure the meeting had something to do with my morning incident. I guessed my HR had already briefed him. I presumed that he would like to hear the details directly and provide guidance.
I was surprised when he opened his right-hand drawer and brought out a single sheet of paper without uttering a single word. There were three sentences in the letter, and I was sure it was a warning memo for my behaviour in the morning at work. I was worried, and I could not read the letter as my mind was on a different plane. When I started describing the morning incident, he was in no mood to listen and placed the document facing me without any word. He asked me to read the letter first with a stern face. Soon, I realised that the document was nothing to do with the morning incident. It was the letter of increment for Rs 35 (50 cents in today’s terms), and it was unusual for anyone to get an out of turn increment in my organisation. It was my first increment in my career, and my manager asked me to keep the increase under the wraps.

(Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels)



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