“Get ready for big act”-14 June 2011

In school and college, Mala was always an average student, scoring enough to get through any examination decently. Yet this good-looking girl had something special in her personality. She saw really big dreams and was ready to work hard to pursue those. When she came in to join the Quality Control department of the big company as a trainee, her first question to her sectional head was “Do we have training programmes here? If we have, then will you please recommend my name? I am deeply interested.” The boss smiled, half in wonderment and half in amusement. ‘She seems to be in a hurry,’ he exclaimed.
He was, of course, right. Mala was deeply interested in making fullest use of the time she had. As a trainee, she did not any direct responsibility. So, she busied herself in every possible activity that would enrich her. Her search for training programmes was part of that urge, which made her bosses at all levels happy. She kept getting nominated for various training programmes and kept benefiting.
But then a little problem cropped up. Others in the section started criticising Mala. In her they found an easy target for loose talk and unwarranted barbs. The biggest charge was that Mala was hobnobbing with too many things. But beyond that, they could say nothing. For, Mala was proving to be an efficient hand. And to a colleague who was taunting her, she said, “Look Deepak, I attend training programmes because I want to learn.” The colleague felt that training programmes did not help at all. Mala differed. She said, “For me, the training programmes are very useful. I have learned something from each of those. “
By the end of her training period of 18 months, Mala had established herself as a very useful and almost indispensable member of the team. She also brought a few internal organisational awards for the section due to her diligence and dedication. Jealousies and taunts, barbed comments and loose talk did not bother Mala at all. She kept doing things she planned and started forging ahead.
Within three years, a big reward came. Mala was promoted to head Quality Control section of the company’s new facility. Colleagues gossiped, taunted, laughed derisively, fumed and fretted, for all of which Mala had no time. She was working for the big act, a dream which she shared with only her parents.
Even with newer responsibilities, Mala did not stop her search for good training programmes – in-house and elsewhere. She also got invited to conduct training sessions for juniors in the company. By now, things had begun changing favourably for Mala. Gossip died out, and taunts changed into grudging admiration. Mala was on her way up, getting more and more prepared for the big act.
What was the big act, however?
For Mala, the big act was to be get into a leadership position. At a company party, the CEO accosted Mala. “Yes, young lady, how are you? And what are your plans?,” he asked. Firmly but politely, Mala said, “Sir, by now, I have begun feeling that I have something to give to others, to share with others – my expertise in certain areas, and my ability to motivate others. I am looking for opportunity.” The CEO said nothing except, “Good”.
A few days later, CEO’s secretary called. She said, “Mala, boss would like to see you at 3 pm today. There will be other board members there. Welcome.”
What transpired at the meeting with the CEO and board members was like a dream-come-true for anybody. Mala got a very big jump up the ladder, breaking all norms. And she was also invited for quarterly board meetings where only very few of the officers were allowed. Before she was even 30, Mala had entered the company’s big league.
At tea after her first board meeting, the CEO asked, “Yes Mala, how do you feel? Did you like it here? Is this the big act you were talking about?”
Mala replied politely, “Thank you, Sir, for allowing me to make this humble beginning of the big act.”

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