Suddenly a notification appeared on my phone, not so long ago. It informed me some friends were wishing me well on completing one more year of work association with the organization.
And I looked at the calendar. I realised it is a half century of work life. And that led to my talking to self about experiences as decades passed.
It was a very modest, unimpressive professional beginning. Firstly, electrical engineering happened by default and not by design. It is education system, which can be considered at fault.
First decade was that of great uncertainty. It was direction less wandering. I was born timid. I had no ambitions. I was unsure of my competence.
Industry was new experience, and textile, which was as it is dying without maturing, was not the place where a fresh engineer should be, to start with. That led to experiment with Cost and Works Accounting, which was shelved for time being when first change came.
Suddenly, by chance and because of Papa's contacts, i found myself in a technological sea. Lack of confidence as engineer and being amongst more proficient engineers generated inferiority complex. Thanks to very supportive superiors and colleagues, if I was not an apple of their eye, i never felt insulted.
It was in the middle of second decade, opportunity knocked the door and I was ready to move away from engineering and into an area, engineers normally are not comfortable being in. This was the turning point, i believe, in my development.
Suddenly, i found i was in competition free work area. Communication became more assertive. Analytical abilities which perhaps were not good for engineering, were now too good. Exposure to senior management and therefore recognition made me foe of erstwhile friends.
Learner in me helped me getting better with knowledge and skills required for non-engineering area. Fatherly seniors put me on a different padestal. Attention and appreciation were never in shortage. And this phase lasted for good two decades.
I never felt insulted even when customers of services i was responsible for providing, misbehaved. I could respond, and not react, with logic. There were hardly any instances when people on other side of table insulted me. Or atleast, i did not feel insulted, more because, beneficiaries behaved in the manner they did, since services failed at times.
And even during a short period of transition from serving state and therefore people, to serving private share owners, appreciation was never amiss.
From being executive to being an advisor, in the later half of fourth decade, the equations changed. I had age and associated ego of being "know all" to be managed. Children being supported were fresh college pass outs. Clients, mostly, were less knowledgeable in my field.
Suboptimal performance inspite of genuine and selfless support, has always irritated me. Such irritation takes different forms, depending on who the beneficiaries are. I believe I suffer from OCD being in perpetual state of evaluating causes for suboptimal performance, purely to help improve the same.
And when improvement evades in the name of business compulsions, feeling of being insulted takes over. Reconciling with sub-optimal performance of the wards when they ignore advise to meet business compulsions, is a tough call.
I am reminded of advise i received from one of my mentors, who had observed my habit of getting attached to outcomes which I considered must. He told me, when ever I would go to him agitated on our failure to achieve results we had thrived for in the interest of organization, that I need to develop 'shakshi bhav'. Such an attitude does not mean I stop working in the manner i do, that is in the interest of the beneficiaries and organization, but having done what i should, get detached from outcome. Since there are multiple factors affecting outcome.
Today, i saw one mail, which one of those bright young wards had sent to client, recording discussions we had. And the crucial points made by me, which I thought drove the nail to close the issue, were missed. What irritated me is that the ward had ignored me and avoided me before writing the mail. Feelings of being insulted were very acidic in nature.
I was reminded of my mentor's advice. The acid is neutralized. I am all sweetness. I am a 'shakshi' now.