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First day at office is always a day to remember and memories are still fresh in me about the day I reported to work on day one in my previous engagements. Reaching home, sounding anxious, my wife would ask me “how was the day in new office, iCert? Exciting?”. It was a casual remark “hey, it resembles more like college, most of the crew at an average age of 24 with both the Management Executives in their twenties and single. I stood out – more like a faculty.

Second day was “colorful”.

Ten days later I would rename it as ‘carnival’.

Not all days are Sundays. True. When the colleague seated behind would slam her forehead “gawd, I just called this guy thrice. Incredible, but he was so polite to a fault excusing as always ‘it’s alright madam. I understand’”. I would empathize her predicament “it happens when you key-in the excel sheet that a number can be misread and redialed – again and again.” Halting my bike at 8pm in my portico, sometimes my wife still at office and son seated in tuition class next door, in the stillness of silence, I often introspect about the unfolding of the day, and that one was grilling and grueling. Try calling number after number, and the reception from the other end can range from nice to nasty. I heard one caller being so rude and that too to a woman. Uncouth, and uncivilized. Instantly I asked her to redial and give me the phone, which she politely declined stating ‘we have heard it before and will hear again. Life is like that…..’ that resigned look said it all. Doing the same task makes it mundane and the monotony can drive you to madness. It’s the lighter moments on the floor which is a welcome relief else we will go crazy…..nuts…..loony…

When the HR ushered me to the conference room, it was the curiosity that got better in me wondering the fuss about the commotion, and there up in the front of the conference table stood two employees – a gentleman and lady – both a bit jaded and jittery, whilst most of those assembled eyed the cake and the coke bottle. HR broke the ice “congratulation for completing 1 year of active service in iCert Global”. I was very new then and their names didn’t register but their faces I would never forget. And the audacity of that guy who chose to question the Director “sir, it marvels me as how you manage to muster such effort”, and the response was repaid in the same currency “motivated from guys like you.” Completing one year in IT industry is no big deal, especially ‘freshers’ and there would be one too many cakes to cut in that case, but putting up one year here makes you a ‘veteran’. And it’s so appropriate for us to assemble and applaud.

Life is full of events and hence called ‘eventful’? One incident in the morning is worth mentioning. You will have to bear my anecdotes as I rant as a raconteur but can’t expect the same in everyone. Two colleagues were in front of my desk and I was busy studying some information when their pitch made me look up. A fair, tall guy questioning one his team member “I have targets to achieve and might miss the boat“ to which the team member protested vehemently “sir, even the sun and star take break every day and you deny us of the same. Please be considerate”. Wait a minute!. wasn’t he the same guy who cut the cake and another name I learnt to respect. What a presence of mind to quote the sun and stars to drive home the message of ‘we aren’t machines but mortals. So have a heart!’. Awesome!

In any company, balancing professional and personal lives is gonna be a pain point. Something very hard to negotiate like maneuvering in the crowded streets of Bangalore during peak hours. As professionals we are known to be solid like rocks, but also admit that at times we too are fragile like a flower and from bold bottled down to brittle. A colleague sitting next to me complained to the system administrator about her system ‘ is not working’, and he was busy in some other chore that seemed more important. Half an hour later, the patience severely tested, she complains more audibly “it’s been 30 minutes since I escalated to your attention’ and the sys admin erupts “what do you think I am doing? Huh? There are other people also. You aren’t the only one with issue. Wait for your turn.” It was a royal snub. Exchanges like these are routine in the professional road. Some choose to unload, some prefer to lock it in themselves. But I was more keen about the aftermath of the altercation. How the sys admin would handle the situation as the snubbed ‘lady’ is akin to a wounded tigress who was baying for blood. Sulking in her seat and muttering something that was incoherent and inaudible, she was staring at the blank monitor when the sys admin appeared from nowhere with a genuine apology and won my heart. Man! That’s THE way to handle. ”sorry, I flew off the handle. Thing sort of got out of hands and I wronged you for no fault. I would fix it in a minute” and they were buddies back again. This, people, is the defining moment. The character to acknowledge one’ own mistake and apologize and make due amends. Hats off to you mate!!

But that said, all is not hunky dory. In my career path, courtesy is never to be compromised and one should always praise in public and punish in private. That’s the maxim of my theory of management. At times of aggravation, a guy I adore , remarks “mate, life is like a chess board. We cannot get into a white square without crossing the black”. Pearls of wisdom from all the corners of this place that enlighten me and continue to do so. The HR, in a casual tone complimented, my cuff and collar shirt – something I didn’t know and my wife was taken aback ‘oh come on, for goodness sake, we have been shopping at the same showroom for the past 5 years and you don’t this term?’ She was both right and wrong. We shopped – that’s true, but it was for her 90% and 10% for my son. I have enough of my own through gifts [I hate these goodies as gifts. Only my brother knows my true gift which I treasure , true to Abraham Lincoln’ quote “my best friend will present me a book that I have never read”]. So these guys become my teacher and I will remain an avid student all my life, trying to know as many words possible.

The purpose in penning this long prose is to tap the potential in every team member. There can be number of eminent ‘thinkers’ whose mind still harbor those words and I say ‘let it sail and Bon voyage’. You are an author in your right and might. During the secret Santa ‘talent parade’, many took me by surprise and frightening shock. The ensemble had amazing artist who could dance, sing and act – all impromptu. Not a line or move was rehearsed and yet it was breathtaking. A female co-worker’s gracious moves and rhythmic steps was mind blowing that my wife remarked ‘is she a professional?’ and I corrected ‘classical’, and another colleague's dance left me in a daze that I questioned later “you participated in your college culturals, right?” Every employee was sporting enough to participate and perform with fun and fanfare, and I would have never known about their prowess – rather potential. One lady sang so melodiously that it was music to my ears, and I hail her as the ‘nightingale of iCert’. Any time our spirits sink due to stress. We do request to sing a song which she readily obliges.

The most incredible and impressive aspect in this employment is the opportunities provided for the “Differently-abled’ people. I shook hands with that new face and question about his native and he replied “I have hearing problem and speech too” and for a moment I stood there transfixed. I warmly shook his hands welcoming with a “pleasure meeting you’ and never miss to greet whenever and wherever I meet him. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) or professional benevolence, iCert Global proved that you don’t have to be enlisted in the fortune 500 or rake in millions as turnover. In a small way, we still can contribute to the society through people who are ‘specially-abled’ qualify to be recruited. To me this wasn’t just munificence or CSR, but very noble and responsible. An individual career path is carved and can carry oneself with pride as being ‘specially and significantly’ abled. You don’t have to big shot in business – just a big heart will do. Awesome!!!

Long way to go iCert!! In a gentle way, you can shake the world!! Making the Mahatma proud!

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