Amol was aware acutely of the shortcomings with which he entered the company with many other young executives. Even though he came from a prestigious B-school, he knew that most others had an added advantage over him because of their family backgrounds. Most of them came from financially well-off families, that gave the advantage of certain sophistication that Amol lacked because of his lower middle-class grooming. His parents had taught him many good values and he stuck to those unwaveringly. He dressed well. He worked well. He had learnt the art of making friends. Yet, Amol was aware that he had to work much harder to acquire for himself a level playing field if he wanted to stay in the race.
As a B-school student, he had studied Organisational Behaviour not just as a subject but also as a matter of interest beyond curriculum. He had realised that most institutions boast of certain traditions and certain historical points of reference. So, as he started his stint as a junior executive in the administration section, Amol started concentrating on knowing the traditions and conventions of his company. He spent a lot of time in the company’s library, and also in talking to seniors who had served the organisation for years, even decades.
Others in his batch would look at him with ridicule and disdain. Amol, of course, was hurt to begin with. But then, a kind senior told him to exercise patience and restraint. “You follow your calling, Amol,” he said. He also advised the young man to take part in all activities of the young brigade, but stay aloof from loose talk and irresponsible banter.
Amol was happy with the guidance and followed the advice. And it was not before long that he realised that whatever he was trying to achieve could be within his grasp if he persisted for a while more. For, at an in-company seminar on institutional values, Amol came out with a presentation that almost mesmerised one and all. The CEO, a tall, handsome man in his late fifties, called Amol over for an exclusive coffee session. He took active interest in the young executive and offered him valuable guidance on how to go about doing the work with greater efficiency.
Such a special treatment made all others from the young brigade take notice. The outcome was two-pronged. Some admired him, but some others dubbed Amol as a ‘chamcha’ of the CEO. Amol felt hurt once again. He rushed to his senior friend for advice. The senior manager who had seen many an up and down in his career as well as in the company told Amol point blank, “Look young man, if this had not happened, I would have been surprised. But I repeat my advice. Have patience. Exercise restraint, and you will reap the benefits.”
Amol agreed, and continued his efforts to achieve greater excellence in his assignments. He was crude in his table manners, and felt confused particularly in the club where all stood holding their glasses and talking a peculiar lingo that Amol failed to comprehend. For, in his home, he had never had any exposure to such conduct. he never drank and smoked, and spent his evenings at the company gym. Others poked fun at him, gave him funny names, and declared that the fellow was not going to go much distance even if he was a ‘chamcha’ of the CEO.
And when the CEO retired in a couple of years, all felt that Amol would be without moorings. Amol did not feel anything like that. He continued his work as diligently as ever. Soon, the new man in too noticed his good work and nominated him for an international seminar on management at Singapore.
Now, the critics did not have a chance to say anything. For, the new CEO was a greater no-nonsense man than his predecessor. He was darned strict and did not mind calling a spade a spade. He did not spare even Amol on one occasion. Yet, when time came to select a guy for Singapore seminar, it was Amol who got support from all top bosses.
The point to make is simple: Work is not something that is to be taken lightly. It is a serious business that calls for fullest possible dedication and attention. In today’s environs, one cannot take one’s progress for granted. One has to work for it. And let us realise that Amol’s is not an isolated story and is just a representative one.