Time to Delve When the Calendar Strikes Twelve

Q: “So where would you like to see yourself 5 years down the line?”

A: “Probably sitting across the table and asking the same question.”

Answered, of course with a smile!

Once the introduction was done and dusted, that was the first question of the first interview of my life that came my way. And boy! I still love the way I answered it. Well, what could you have expected from a recent graduate other than sheer exuberance and perhaps some amount of “measured confidence” in one’s own self? Well, some would say that’s setting the bar too high, judging at the interviewer’s instantaneous grin and my subsequent appointment I’d say that moment was worth its weight in gold. And just so you know, my first interview (as an interviewer) happened in 4 years and some months.

Today is my 12th work anniversary and may be not a bad time to delve into these 12 years of non-stop learning by sharing a 12-point summary of things from an employee’s perspective which I have professed all throughout:

1.  Carve your own Success Mantra – How one measures success is subjective. Do not be influenced ever by anyone’s interpretation of it, not even mine! Good luck if success to you is having the best parking space in the office you work in. Good luck to you if success means how far you have climbed the corporate ladder. Good luck if you believe it is the obese money you have accumulated in your bank so far. Or welcome to my club if it means spreading sunshine in people’s lives, overcoming fears, and thinking beyond self.

2. Have an Uncompromising Conscience – Never do anything that you believe is against your conscience. No matter what the stakes are, hold yourself to some standards. Always!

3.  You are a Work-In-Progress – My message with this point is “embrace humility”. Never believe even for a second you have learnt it all. You are a work-in-progress who should continue grasping the fine points irrespective of who the messenger becomes or what the moment is.

4.  Staying Loyal to the “Abstract” – This one is a unique ideology I should have got patented by now. Earmark you loyalty not to any individual in an organization but to the abstract i.e. ‘the organization’ itself. By doing so, two key things will happen: A. To a larger degree, you will not be bogged down by any individual’s admonishment/indifference towards you or perceptions created about you but instead remain focused on delivering for the larger good. B. In certain cases, you will be able to eliminate fear of individuals and take decisions putting the best organizational interest forward.

5. Pat on the Back vs. Cash in the Bank – What motivates you? Have you hopped a thousand jobs in your career and lost the race already? If money is what you are chasing by any means possible and are obsessed with it all the time, let me tell you it is the road to the peak of Everest, you’ll get there eventually but your descend will even be quicker and the laws of gravity will have nothing to do with it.

My point is: do not chase money, let money chase you! Keep earning ‘god points’ minus the expectation of a return, always spread sunshine, and experience motivation from the pat on the back as against the cash in the bank.

6.  Going the Extra Mile – While many learned men will tell you “learn to say no”, the not so learned me would suggest: If it is in your realm of a doable, just go ahead and do it. Keep pushing the envelope and never feel trapped in a comfort zone that restricts learning. But yes, discretion is advised! Work-life balance is a valid consideration!

7.  Calmness is a Great Virtue – Behave like a duck, except speak like one! Just like a duck, stay calm and unruffled on the surface but paddle like a devil underneath. The art of not losing it aka “your calmness” can take you places. Anger has no place in professional life.

8.  A Tree Gives – Never commit to the cardinal sin of withholding knowledge due to your insecurities. If someone ought to be taught something that will help him/her perform the job better, be the teacher! The tree always gives yet remains tall and strong.

9.   Grace under pressure – This too shall pass! Character outshines in adversity and not in the moments of comfort.

10.  Love what you do – Never feel tied up in a trade you do not love.

11.  Exercising Maturity when in a Position of Influence – Leaders be warned! You are in a position of influence and it is no walk in the park. The people under your span of control, each one of them are your responsibility. The decisions you make for them and the environment you set for them will eventually reflect on your performance. Be mature in your dealing with people when in a position of authority.

12.  Stand tall on the Integrity front – Integrity will take you places PERIOD

Well, I have no intention of rubbing off my self-learning to anyone reading this. To each his own! Whatever works for you, do it! But do it with no regrets. If you have survived till this sentence, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my self-musings on this anniversary occasion. Thank you. Until next time, adios!

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