By N.K.A. Ballal, Retd. Sr. Vice-President, ITDC
An upset girl stormed into her home shouting at nobody in particular. “No one in my office has any respect for my work, I am so frustrated.” Her father who was watching her drama quietly told her “calm down, have this glass of water. I have a small gift for you. It is time you drove your car to the office and I have decided to give my old car to you. But before you take it, I want you to do a small errand. Take this car to a mechanic and ask them the resale value of this car, first thing in the morning.”
The girl did not understand the reason for this strange request of her father. But nevertheless she did as told by her father. She came back and told her father “the mechanic offered to buy this car for 50,000 rupees and that too as a favour to you.” The father then asked his daughter to visit the kabadiwala and find out the value of the car. The kabadi offered just Rs. 20,000. Lastly the gentleman asked his daughter to go and check the value at the vintage car club. The daughter was in for a shock. The car club members were ready to offer upto Rs. 5 lakh since this was an antique car, still in operation and in good condition too !
The father then explained to the daughter. “You personally went to all the three places and saw yourself the different value the car fetched. If one wants any product or service to be appreciated then one has to go to the right place. So shouting and getting angry that your services are not being valued has no meaning since you chose to continue to work in that office. If your services are not being appreciated, quit the office and look for an office which values your inputs. You will find one.”
An excellent WhatsApp story, makes one feel happy. But what is the ground reality at least in India. Do you really get a job or a vocation at will? No, not at all. My own son-in-law, who is a chemical engineer from iit, is working as a banker in Singapore! I had so many mbas working as receptionists and accounts clerks in hotels all over India. There are hundreds of such examples all over.
In the above story, the father assumed that his daughter’s vision was right. What if her boss was right in rejecting her vision and ideas? I have personally attended hundreds of presentations in which young hopefuls present their views and most of them think that they have the right answers for the woes of the company. But when the boss has to decide taking a helicopter view of the issues, he sees it in a different perspective and takes a decision which in his view is right for the company.
Most of the new bright recruits, fresh from the college, come with brand new bookish ideas. They feel that all the present sops are to be junked and new ones implemented. My daughter was working for an Australian Bank and she once told me that the bank relied upon a very old software platform called “Midance.” They wanted to change this and so they invested about 30 million dollars for a new software. The result, a huge flop and so quietly they dumped the new system and went back to their tried and trusted software.
I have been given to understand that in the US many old companies still operate on an antique software platform called “Cobol.” I am not against change but change for the sake of changing is not good.
In India, unemployment is so high young hopefuls study a subject and end up doing something else for their livelihood. For the post of peons, I have interviewed hundreds of Master’s degree holders and rejected them too. There is another issue. The quality of education is not even across the country. I have come across scores of double grads who cannot write a simple sentence of english. So ultimately what happens is that certain colleges get preference and their students get placed. There is a golden rule in an interview. Never appoint an over-qualified man for any post since he or she accepts the post in sheer desperation but are so much frustrated inside, it shows in their work output.
In India, Government jobs are premium, that too jobs which are potential for bribes and side money like Excise, Customs, Police, Registration, Sales Tax, Revenue Department, etc., in the State Government and one has to shell out money to get placed in any position. After getting posted, one has to shell out money to get premium posting too. Of course, the big advantage is that if one gets a premium posting then one can recover the bribe money in no time.
Anyway, my sermon on the job market does not take away the right of any individual to look for a job of his choice which gives him or her inner satisfaction. Choosing a job is in your hands but not choosing your boss! So, if you want your ideas to be heard, one should be lucky to have a boss with receptive ears.
To conclude, if one has to change, then one needs to get out of his or her comfort zone and this is what no one wants. That is the reason there is a resistance to any change, private or Government. So youngsters need to be patient and persuasive. They can bring some subtle changes with gentle persuasion.