Introduction In one of his many Corporate experiences, this author was caught in a catch 22 situation. Since the family needed job security, jumping the job was not possible. The issue was a horrible insecure boss, who created the worst working environment. A major HR initiative, piloted by this author single-handedly made his interaction full time with a very highly regarded HR consultant. He knew the inside story and simply said, "ithuvum kadanthu pogum" in Tamil, which simply means "this-will-also-pass" in English. He went on to narrate many instances of HR professionals who had seen even worse times. And how they got over the same. In particular, some lessons do flow from such experiences. And of several others whom this author had met with in some conference or the other. In particular, it does help to a) Count the positives and keep on working hard b) Avoid confrontation at any cost c) Enable the family to fully support you d) Concentrate on building competencies e)Constantly observe and learn from the real-world and f) Never be insulated from outside (external) developments in your profession. The steps s are more focused on office situations. The personal issues are not the focus here. Those things would deserve at least another two more articles.
Count the positives and keep on working hard The learned consultant did narrate what he had advised someone else, who had even a more horrible experience with two different but horrible bosses. He had even contemplated suicide. Yet, the same consultant had asked him to enroll himself for a distance learning certificate from a leading Management Institute in HR. This learning was so useful. He was immersed in it and even took part in that learning to his work situation. His performance improved and when he caught the attention of the CEO, he had an opportunity of ventilating his frustration with that gentleman. The CEO acted swiftly and gave a piece of mind to the boss. The HR executive was given total autonomy in a new HR initiative and was transferred to the Corporate Office, with a promotion. All this happened only because of the patience of the person and his attitude to think through the problem. He had counted on the positives. He was way ahead of his boss, who had a legal background and was so poor in even understanding the basics of HR initiatives. He would chide every subordinate for their ability to "think practically". This "practical" argument was often an excuse for fiercely safeguarding the status-quo and the CEO could easily see through his game. As regards this author, the already good habit of recording all learning and the real world experiences as they occurred, in various dairies for over sixteen years has helped him learn the "how to" lessons.
Avoid confrontation at any cost The futility of confrontation is often seen in so many situations. We just need to ask "what next?" questions and just do our jobs. In fact, when this is done, the bosses cannot play too much politics, as the records will speak for themselves. These are days when every executive has to necessarily make powerpoint presentations on projects or even normal work. There is no scope for window-dressing. It will become obvious that you had done your best anyway and put you in a safe zone. Confrontations with bosses do not help. The ability to grin and bear it helps a great deal, though.
Enable the family to fully support you Most housewives are educated. They are also employed. Interacting with them and sharing all problems will open up channels of communication and will enable them to support you. This is extremely important. The emotional support received from family members, is a big plus in tough times. It helps one to rejuvenate himself or herself and look forward to facing every single issue with a lot of optimism. This has to be done very systematically.
Concentrate on building competencies An ordinary mechanical engineering graduate from a third-grade engineering college, near Vellore, had just a temporary job with a company on a pittance of a salary. His services were open to three different bosses, each of whom made him slog for hours on end. The powerpoint presentations were to be made by this young man. Brickbats would fly from all directions. However, there was a silver lining. One of the bosses would grant him holiday on Saturday for extra work done during weekdays. This was a blessing in disguise, as he enrolled for an Rs. 26,000 course in SAP HR on weekends. This poor guy would travel all the way to Chennai and come back around 11 PM. The three-month grind on weekends made him sick. But he managed to survive. He got a job in Bangalore in a very small company. He got to work on a project that made him get the vital SAP HR experience. Within three years, he jumped to another organization and today is happily married with a salary of over Rs. 65,000 per month. All this happened only because he slogged it out, improving his competencies. If he had complained only about his bosses, nothing could have happened. The eight-month endurance test in the first company with three different but horrible bosses, helped him to build a great deal of endurance.
Constantly observe and learn from the real-world During the toughest of times, learning from very humble and simple people would do us a world of good. Even during the very normal times, this author would buy six "idlis" from a local mobile shop that gets busy after 6 PM and distribute that free of cost to very old people nearby. The owner of the eatery would say, "Sami, why don't you taste it at least once?". Only once did this author have a small bite of one iddli. The word "Sami" is often mentioned to refer to anyone who is educated. The learning on a particular evening was simply very good. After a horrible day at the office, when he was just about to complete distributing the idlis for free, this author noticed two pairs of people. It was almost 9 PM. The four of them joked with the owner and asked for idlis and parota. The lady was so busy preparing the same with the help of her assistant. (related to her). At that point in time, each idli costs Rs. 3 only and a parota Rs. 5 only. Today, it is just one rupee more for both categories. The oil used is pre-heated palm oil. Halfway down their dinner, one of the men said that Akka ( sister, that is the owner) would have to bear with them till Saturday, at least four days away, as the broker had not given them the wages. ( all four were working in a construction project at Avadi, and would take a bus to a place called Arakkonam and then the EMU train, for which they had monthly passes). Pat came the reply from the owner: you see, you are poor and am poor too. If we don't help each other, what will happen to our lives? (She would make around Rs.175 per night as profit in those days. She is still around making some Rs.275 per day now). Endurance at its best. Endurance to face tough times and also treat regular customers very well. It later transpired that she had at least forty such regular customers. Her working capital came from a very nice person who would give her interest-free loans. The words rang a big bell in this author. Enough to make him enter the office one hour early and complete the work scheduled for the first half of the day. Resilience is what we can always learn from such people.
Never be insulated from external developments in your profession The boy referred to above, who is now an SAP professional, was a big success only because he was updated on the particular private institute. He chose the right time to strike. Such updates on all external happenings is vital. Once you are through with what it takes to get there, you will positively will. Tough times never last. Tough people do. Remember this famous phrase and success will be yours.
Conclusion The simplest steps in building the vital "this-will-also-pass" attitude and mindset have been discussed in some detail in the aforesaid paragraphs. The learning is always a continuous work in progress. Let us keep on learning and doing whatever it takes to keep living very happily, to the maximum extent possible.