“Benefits of discipline”- 22 November 2011
Sushant was a relative new member of the corporate staff of the big company. He had worked elsewhere earlier and came with a strong recommendation from his previous boss who had closed down his India operations. Sushant did not want to move out, and so sought a job locally. When he came on board, Sushant made friends with one and all, and was all the time smiling. Yet, he did not seem to lose much time in office gossip or kitty groups. Yet, in a few weeks, all came to know about Sushant’s multiple interests. He worked in plays. He was a good badminton player. He always spent a lot of time with his two children and wife. He also took part in various office activities and the bosses sought him out if they wanted to organize any ceremony or host a seminar. Sushant was everywhere, smiling, willing to help, and soon became popular with all.
Of course, this gave rise to a lots of jealousies and also hostile remarks about Sushant’s lack of concentration on work. Loose talk had it that Sushant never focused on his assignments and got ahead of others by indulging in various tactics to please the bosses. Of course, Sushant wasn’t worried, but the big boss was. For, the loose talk that Sushant employed various tactics to please the bosses meant the bosses did not bother about the completion of assignments by the staff. That was hardly so. In fact, the bosses were known for their strictness in favour of discipline. Yet this bad name! They were worried. For, on their part, they had never granted Sushant any concessions about work assignments. On the contrary, they were often pleased that he was always doing his work on schedule. Then, why the bad name, they wondered.
One day, things came to a head. A group of senior employees barged into the big boss’s office and complained against favouritism to Sushant: He got all the lift. He got all the concessions not to do work. He got all the time to waste when they were neck-deep in piles of files. The bosses told them sternly, however, that there was not one single assignment left incomplete by Sushant. This surprised and angered the delegation. The boss was trying to shield Sushant, they alleged.
When arguments got hot, the boss called Sushant. He said, “Young man, they have complaints against you. Can you answer those? The gist of the complaints is that you do not work and so you have all the time to do all sorts of things in office and outside it. I know the answer. I have told them, too. But what is your take? I would like to hear its straight from you.”
Sushant smiled and said, “I am sorry Sir, I have no specific answer. For, as you know, I always complete my work assignments in time and properly. That I have enough time at hand to get involved in other activities is not my fault. On the contrary, it is my plus point. I have tried to explain things in detail to all these friends of mine, but they don’t seem interested.
“Let me put it this way: I am a stickler for time. I come in at the correct time and work from the very first minute to the last. I rise for lunch at correct time and return to my work-station on the dot. And I plan my work meticulously so that I waste no time and I accomplish more. At home, too, my wife and I always do things meticulously on time. And because we save time, we have all the time to do things which many others cannot do. But Sir, when I tried to explain this to all these friends, they laughed at me and ragged me that I was doing more than my salary’s worthy. This is, of course, funny, but I cannot do anything more to convince these people.”
What Sushant said was straight and simple. He had a lot of time because he did not waste time. He also saved a lot of time by doing things meticulously. And therefore, he had more time at hand to do extra activities which others could not get involved in.
The big boss was quite happy. He grinned at the delegation and asked, “Tell me fellows, what will like to do – create a diligent work ethic and have ample time at hand, or keep wasting a lot of time and then keep complaining?”
The angry delegation just left, confused and rather non-plussed.