Think about what is said rather than what you want to hear

Think about what is said rather than what you want to hear

 Managers with career dilemmas turn to a friend or colleague whom they trust. However, views from casual acquaintances who are not formally assigned any role of being a well-wisher can also be valuable. They offer ideas like gentle drops of rain that fall around you without making their presence felt too strongly, nor being intrusive. 



It is amazing how we listen to what we want to listen to and ignore other things. It is good to keep an open mind and listen. After all, you always have the choice to accept or reject a particular view after thinking about it.

When I grew up in Calcutta, it was a premier mercantile city, still carrying famous box-wallah tradition. Any young person walking around the office areas like Fairlie Place and Brabourne Road would yearn for a management trainee job in a business firms-Andrew Yule, Balmer Lawrie, Bird and Company, and Martin Burn, names that have now virtually vanished. 

I was all of eighteen and was in my final year B. Sc. course, resident at the college hostel. Father de Bonhomie, the principal of St Xavier''s College, asked me whether I would like to be recommended for a trainee''s job at McKinnon McKenzie. It was a fine firm, he could suggest only two from the whole college, and the salary would be Rs 450 per month. I calmly said that I was honored to be recommended; in reality, I was thrilled. I did not consult my father, who had by then moved to Bombay. 

With a borrowed suit and soaring dreams, I interviewed at the McKinnon office. After being seen by two managers, I saw one Mr. Mohi Das, the managing director. As I recall, he was an ''old person'' (may be 55 years or so at that time!), and wore light, coloured lenses. He asked me several thoughtful questions. Just as I was getting convinced that I had done well and might actually get the job, he drew up close to me and asked, "Son, may I call you that way? Don''t get me wrong, but you are only eighteen. You can have the job; we can train you quite well. But, tell me, do you need the job? How is the family situation?" 

I was a bit offended, what did my family situation have to do with the job? He clarified, "Well, I have spent my career through the 1940s and 1950s in one set of circumstances, but you will spend your career in an entirely different set of circumstances. I feel you should get a professional degree. You can always get this kind of job, son-unless the family situation requires you to get a job right now".

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