“Focus, the best medicine”- 4 March 2014

Dinesh entered his first job with a sense of ease. He was fortunate to have been educated in some of the best institutions in the world. His confidence was high and abilities commensurate to take him ahead. Plus, Dinesh also had a strong physique and looked as if he was in total command. Naturally, his colleagues got attracted to him. Very soon, Dinesh became an integral part of the munch-time group in which gossip ruled the roost. Dinesh was always a front-runner in those sessions.

Mayank’s case was in sharp contrast to that of Dinesh. Mayank came from a family of very modest means, went to neighbourhood schools and attended a local college. Though he was a good student and often passed with distinction in several subjects, his personal grooming was certainly of a local flavour. He was in the same batch of new entrants as Dinesh and was assigned the same department. Since he came from a modest financial background, Mayank brought his lunch-pack from home and did not join the group in the canteen every afternoon. He sat at his desk, ate his lunch, exchanged pleasantries with colleagues, and got back to work.
Many times, Dinesh would invite Mayank for coffee, and the two would have long sessions in after-hours. At lunchtime, however, Mayank was simply not available. Occasionally, he did meet his colleagues for coffee at the vending machine after lunch, but never left the department. That often led Dinesh and his friends make fun of Mayank’s what they called queer behaviour. Mayank, of course, was not bothered, and kept doing his things with a sense of dedication.
In just a few months when mid-year assessment took place, Mayank got high marks and also a raise, while Dinesh got a word of caution about his conduct at workplace. “Don’t waste your time in loose talk. Look at Mayank, and learn something” his boss told him sternly.
Unfortunately, instead of learning a lesson, Dinesh developed a bitter feeling — towards the boss, the company, and also Mayank. ‘That guy must have poisoned boss’s mind’, he muttered under his breath.
That was a bad point for Dinesh. For, then onwards, he fell in a wrong groove and often indulged in brazen criticism of the management.
One evening, however, Mayank pulled Dinesh aside and talked to him at length. “Dinesh, please understand how things move here. This is a traditional company. Though we have a professional management, their ways are traditional and they do not appreciate loose talk. Stop joining the gossip group. Those guys have come to the end of their roads, but you have a long way ahead. Try to understand this, and mould yourself accordingly. That will benefit you.”
Instead of taking the friendly word in correct perspective, Dinesh got angry and teased Mayank for being a ‘chamcha’ of the management. “You got your raise because you are a ‘chamcha’. And because I am not one, I did not get my raise,” he said.
Mayank said, “Please Dinesh, don’t think like that. My quality is my sense of focus and decorum. I am so focused on my work goal that I think of nothing else. I never even talk to the boss. In fact, boss himself asked me once or twice if I did have friends in office. When he asked that, my work-station neighbour told him that I had lots of friends. The boss then smiled and went away. I can never be a ‘chamcha’, as you have accused.”
Unfortunately, many people display tendencies which Dinesh did. They have everything with them, but lack a sense of focus. What makes the difference in a professional setting is focus. That does not mean that the person does not have to enjoy life in general. But what matters is an awareness that a professional has to make a clear distinction between what is necessary at workplace and how to conduct one-self there. The stories of Dinesh and Mayank highlight that point well. This could be the story for every organisation.


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