“Before and beyond money”- 9 August 2011

Ajit had an impressive personality – well built, good-looking. In just a few years after he joined as a junior, he had risen in the ranks to become Number Two in his section. His juniors respected him, and peers appreciated him. He seemed to work hard. He seemed to work with focus. Many people in the organisation considered him a rising star.

Yet, Ajit’s rise became rather slow after an initial start. He seemed stuck in the groove. A few seniors noticed the block and suggested to him possible ways out of the quagmire. Yet, Ajit did not seem to appreciate the good-natured advice. And of late, he started showing signs of constant irritation and snapped at anybody who tried to be friendly with him. And he also kept blaming the big bosses for his getting stuck in the groove. He believed, the big bosses were against him for no reason and were blocking his path of progress in the organisation.
Listening to all those complaints and irritated statements of Ajit, one senior opened a talk with the big boss. “What’s the matter, Sir? Why is the fellow complaining constantly? Why aren’t we promoting him? He seems to be quite a good guy”, he wondered.
The big boss let out a sigh. He said, “Look, I have no personal problem with the fellow, but I have observed that he is interested more in money and not in genuine progress. He fakes his expense-account items, inflates his bills and I have caught his sly efforts on many occasions. He has already reached a stage after which ethics would count more than one’s desire to make more money somehow. Of course, if we promote him, he will get more money. But then, our organisation is looking for guys with sound ethical values so that they rise above money and serve the cause. At these stages, what I look for is values the guys have. I expect them to place ethical values before money, and then rise beyond money and join the highway to higher echelons of our structure. Ajit is falling short in this area.”
Ajit’s is not an isolated case, however. During my years of industrial counseling, I have come across many such people whose values are muddled up, whose goals are confused, and whose priorities are unclear. Of course, I have also come across examples of some smart people who rose above the mundane and charted for themselves a career graph that would be everybody’s envy.
One such example is of Sunjog, a middle-level executive in a FMCG company. Everybody seemed to love him. Everybody seemed to trust him. Bosses were happy with him, and peers adored him, a few jealous heads apart. The bosses often loaded Sunjog with lots of work and newer projects. The fellow never complained, kept smiling, and kept doing things most diligently and determinedly. On many occasions, Sunjog would do a lot of extra work without any financial or material reward. His friends criticised him for that, but Sunjog was not bothered. He did all his assignments with a sense of devotion, unmindful of the derisive laughter of many colleagues. He often said to his charming wife, “I do not work only for money. I have a higher aim.” She did not understand but trusted him for his judgement.
One day, a big break came for Sunjog. The management chose him to go abroad for a specialised training. Once he returned, Sunjog was absorbed into higher levels of management and became a director of a division at a shockingly young age of 30 years, something unheard of in his company. At a celebration party, one of his senior colleagues asked Sunjog’s wife, “What is the secret of your husband’s phenomenal rise? You must be aware of it!” The girl blushed, and said, “I do not know if there is any secret, but I know one thing – Sunjog does not work only for money; he works for a higher aim. He works for his personal satisfaction, for his self-actualisation. I don’t quite understand some of this stuff, but I have heard him talk of this aim of his. Perhaps, this is the secret, you know! ”
I realise that this may be a difficult path to tread for the average person. Yet, my experience shows that if one follows this path, rewards come faster. For, in that case, one is focused on the proper goals. The contrast between the cases of Ajit and Sunjog shows this clearly.

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