Have you ever wondered about what experiences different people go through, which makes them the person they are today? Well, I do that often. Being a social person, I meet a lot of people and I love talking to them, knowing about them and their lives. I often ask people about one experience in their professional life that changed them or made them the person they are today. After asking this to several people, here are the three most interesting instances I came across. The best part about them is that they are actually such simple instances that might not have been important back then, but shows significance in the long run.
(For the purpose of maintaining confidentiality and privacy, the names have been changed)
Mrs. P has always been a calm and composed woman. She loves children and teaching, and thus, being a teacher was her best suited career choice. After attaining a Bachelor’s degree in Education, she started working as a kindergarten teacher. Although she loved her work and got along with the kids fairly well, it wasn’t until she came across ne particular child that her understanding of her job and her role in it became clear. M was a cute little boy who came to the school where P taught. However, there were other teachers too who taught M, but he was most attached to and would not listen to anyone else or go to anyone else. One day, P’s senior was taking class and M got into trouble with her. The teacher yelled at him and he stood in a corner crying. When he was being yelled at, his eyes searched for P and when he found her, he silently cried and kept looking at her. It was almost like he was begging P to come and save him from being shouted at. It was at this moment that P realized why the little boy was so fond of her – he sees a protective mother figure in her since he is away from his own mother in school. All this while, she had been thinking that being a kindergarten teacher is as simple as being a school teacher. However, she learned with M’s incident that when children come to school, they are leaving behind their mother – the first primary caretaker of their life. This generated separation anxiety in them. When they find a mother figure in their school teacher, they feel safe and thus, respond well, learn better and show signs of growth quickly. Once P understood this, i.e. her role in the job, she was able to connect with more children and be a successful teacher.
We have been taught the importance of quality over quantity time and again in life. Despite that, most of us generally tend to overlook the quality of a product. For people working in companies that offer products and services to the consumers, quality should be the top most priority. Mr. S was once driving back home from a long day at work. On his way back, he stopped at a small vendor who sold freshly roasted peanuts on the corner of a road. Since this incident took place several years back, the cost of one paper cone of peanuts was merely 5Rs. The vendor filled a cone with peanuts and outstretched his hand to give it to Mr. S. However, he immediately withdrew his hand and stashed the cone away without an explanation. On probing him for why he behaved that way, the vendor replied saying – “the peanuts were slightly burnt and would not taste nice, and since I’m taking money for those handful of peanuts, I must serve good quality to the customer. Give me 5 minutes sir, I’ll roast a new batch of peanuts for you”. Mr. S was stumped on hearing this. The peanuts cost just 5Rs. and he would not have really cared for them to be perfect. But if a small vendor can be so concerned about the quality of product her serves to the customer, then why can’t the big guys do the same? Mr. S is a businessman – the CEO of a kids’ garment manufacturing company. Ever since this incident, he has an increased respect for consumers, quality of his product and appreciation for the vendor’s honesty.
Mr. K is a young film enthusiast and aspiring film director of about 24 years of age. He started working at the age of 16 and has been in the industry ever since. Belonging to a family who is into filmmaking since generations, his family encouraged him to take on projects and do what he thought was right. Besides working as an assistant director on several big projects, in his free time, he also reads a lot of books and writes stories for his own film which he dreams of directing soon. He dropped out of his last year in college when he got a great opportunity to pursue his dreams. Soon enough, he started his own production house with a friend as his business partner. Both of them wanted to get into main stream filmmaking, but they knew their path was a rocky road. They started doing wedding short-films and online digital media making. They would deliver the service and the end product to the best of their abilities. However, their company had stopped growing. Since his partner was now married and his wife was in the same company, the couple was happy with the way things were – they both had a company of their own, they liked their work and were satisfied with the money they were making. Mr. K, on the other hand, was extremely disappointed with the work as well as himself. He had different dreams and aspirations from that of his partners. He waited patiently for a change to occur, hoping things will turn around. But a difference of opinion soon began to build up between the partners. Tired of working for something that he did not believe in, that did not give him any kind of job satisfaction or any sense of self-fulfillment, he decided to quit the company altogether. Starting the company in the first place was his idea – it was his baby. But there was little he could do to change his partner’s mind about the work they were doing. It wasn’t a rash decision or a hasty one, it was a well-thought of decision which he took after a long time of contemplating and analyzing. In his words “he took back his hand before he burned himself in the process of keeping the flame alive.” Mr. K is still finding his way to pursue his dreams and achieve his goals, but leaving his own company left him shaken and he learnt an important lesson of life – although you have to start small for the big goals you want to achieve, you should never digress from your chosen path because it will only lead you astray.
What I learn from the life experiences of these three people is this:
1. I understand the value of understanding your role in a particular job profile. Unless you have clarity in what you have to do at work, you will not succeed.
2. Never overlook quality over the price or quantity. Customers trust you to provide the best, exceed their expectations.
3. Do not go astray from your goals even if you lose the plot sometimes. Trace your way back to square one and start anew. It is the only way you will make your dreams come true.