25 September 2012

When Kishor joined the company as Office Manager, his task was well laid out: Establish discipline in the staff and step up overall productivity. He started going abut the task systematically. He had worked in similar capacity in his previous company (which he had left in favour of better prospects). And in the previous organisation, he had won good acclaim for his performance. With that background, Kishor launched the new assignment with confidence and started making the difference almost immediately. All appreciated his work.

However, at lunch, Kishor would not join others and preferred sitting at a corner table and eat alone while reading from a book which he would take out from his office table. If somebody tried to talk to him, Kishor would close the book and talk amiably. But after a few minutes, he would excuse himself from the conversation and delve once again into the book. Kishor never joined his colleagues at the club where most of his management colleagues patronised. If at all he went to the club, he would proceed straight to the library and immersed himself in books.
Soon, others started wondering what had happened to him. They also felt that Kishor was being rude to all of them. Yet, minus this aloofness, Kishor was amiable, and was willing to talk to anybody and everybody. Yet, he never participated in gossip sessions and did not indulge in any loose talk, And that angered the colleagues who started cooking stories involving Kishor.
One evening, some colleagues surrounded Kishor and started making fun of him. For a while, he tolerated the nonsense but soon decided to withdraw from the group. But as he was about to leave, one colleague teased him and Kishor was rattled. Then and there, he decided to stay put and explain to his colleagues why he behaved in certain manner. He said,”I realise what you expect from me. But I am running short on time and have to finish certain tasks in a limited period. So, I don’t spend much time with you guys. The task before me is to take examinations in Law besides working on this job assignment. I wish to be a lawyer. My exams are drawing near and I must finish my course before I appear for the tests.
“Also friends, I come from a financially deprived class. My Father has left loads of debt on my head. And today, if I happen to fail in exams, I will have nowhere to go. I have an old and ailing mother at home, and two sisters to be married off. So, I am a man in hurry. I hope, you understand my predicament. I like to be around with all of you, but am running against time,” Kishor concluded, his face serious and eyes rather misty.
Immediately, the group’s mood changed. Atul extended his hand and patted Kishor on the shoulder. Others followed suit and wished Kishor all the best.
Such stories are found in any workplace. On most occasions, others do not understand why a person behaves in a particular manner. They jump to conclusions. They poke fun at the guy. They indulge in loose talk about him. And all this spoils the atmosphere so much that the fellow’s mind turns bitter.
In such cases, management cannot do anything, since the issue does not affect the overall work per se. Yet, in Kishor’s case, seniors watched carefully how Kishor handled the situation. They realised how successfully he could communicate his situation to his colleagues. That went in Kishor’s favour. For, the moment Kishor passed his final year law examination, the company appointed him to take care of the legal department, a definite promotion that came with a decent hike in pay. However, the guy in such situations has to toughen himself and keep doing the right thing, and wait for the right moment to take colleagues into confidence. And when to take that step depends upon the guy’s ability to tackle the challenge well.

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