Updated: Oct 5, 2020
“Congratulations, glad that you got a promotion. Happy for Renu that he has been thoughtful bout you”, I held my hand out to greet our young lad with great amount of appreciation in my heart. “I got promoted not due to Renu Sirs thoughtfulness, I got it due to my hard-working nature, thank you for your wishes Sir” was the quick reply from Sekar who has been intern with us for less than a year. My heart had skipped few beats then, this was couple of years ago.
In 2011, I was explaining criticality and importance of 'being employable' besides college education in a class of emerging engineering graduates. I was constantly hearing hush voices from rear benches. I enquired the topic of discussions amongst those sitting in the last bench. Then, there were few words and glances exchanged among four students, they chuckled immediately after. I smiled, walked up to them and requested them to share the joke among all their class fellows, there were not forth coming. I appealed again to share the joke with everyone, this time with a stern face, no response from anyone, they were staring the floor. I return to my place, collected my belongings and left the class. It was only after they were reprimanded by the HoD in his chamber that I returned to the class to resume my guest lecture.
Circa 2010, I was training a group of working professionals and explaining a paragraph from the book “Eat that Frog!” by Brain Tracy. There were this group of three who went into a huddle near the door of the training room and left the session hurriedly, only to return after 8 minutes. Apparently, they had gone out for a smoke. I almost barged into the office of MD of the company who had engaged me for this training and informed about the attitude of his colleagues. Mr. MD responded that they were senior members of his organisations and were department heads. I returned to the session, completed training for rest of the day and short closed my assignment.
I was mulling above incidences for very long time after they occurred, my thoughts were always around ‘could I have ignored the incident and continued my services or move on as-is’. Several thoughts hovered around these themes. Was also very moved by what-if thoughts that kept coming, most of them negative. Over a period of time these thoughts died and I moved on. ‘You get back what you throw around’, Boomerang. Lo, these characters and incidence were back into my life.
One day I got a connect request on LinkedIn from Sekar, I don’t see the stature of anyone who sends me connection request, I gladly accept them. I accepted Sekar’s invite. Immediately next was his messages indicating that he is out job for almost eight months and needed my assistance as he was in a very bad financial condition.
Spring of 2017, a professor known to me for several years called me referring few young entrepreneurs for coaching. I landed up providing coaching services related to not-so-good people situation. Young start-ups had issues on their employee retention. The bosses were complaining about their employee’s inability to focus on immediate and organisational critical tasks. Years ago, they too had lack of focus siting at the rear bench.
During tea break in one of my training sessions last summer, a well-groomed middle-aged gentleman walked up to me, introduced himself and started sharing his experiences about the topic I was speaking on. He sought permission to sit while he continued his conversation. Somewhere he mentioned that he recently had angioplasty and was under medication for his heart condition. With his attention, studiousness, challenging ideas and punctuality was my best coachee. I had encountered his negative behaviour a decade ago.
Were people victim of the situation and surroundings? Did they consumed bitter pill that profession and personal life threw at them and cured themselves? I am not aware of their story, but I have kind of made up my mind over the years –
Humans are wired to be judgemental and carry it forward too, a specific negative human act could be atypical. Scanning for negatives is natural, but presence of negatives could be temporary.
Subtle acts of others bring in awareness in you, understand those, your actions should be true to your conscious and demonstrate integrity.
There would be several chances to mend negative behaviours, some use them, many don’t. Some learn from opportunities and reach higher believing that ‘success is predictable’… many let it pass and are found sulking.