Introduction Since the entire world is commercial, we tend to look down upon relatives and friends who are in the lower economic classes. Such people are often insulted in marriages or other social functions. Similarly, there are very dirty bosses in factories who make life miserable for their subordinates. There is absolutely no freedom and no appreciation for good work. Such shameless bosses also take credit for the work done by subordinates. This makes the situation even worse.
The "how to manage" solutions or tips flow only out of the experience. There is no basic template. Yet, one can always search for alternatives, particularly when there are too many good courses and good jobs and careers. These can be discussed with specific reference to a) Preserving unique identity in families b) Having a unique personality at work c) Managing social relations in immediate neighborhood d) Setting an example for others and e) Making the rich understand their folly.
Preserving unique identity in families In most families, the rich and the most influential, who hold positions of power and prestige in big corporations, tend to look down upon those relatives and even friends who are not so unique in terms of economic or social status. They insult them openly at times. If you are in such a very unfortunate position, never ever give up. You have every right to a) totally avoid such people by giving such functions a miss b) Attend the function but get away from the scene as quickly as possible c) Attend the function and get to talk only to those who will respect you and have good relationships with you and d) Wait for an opportunity to reason out with some good person in such families, about the futility of such bad behavior. If there is a marriage that can never be avoided, you could perhaps give the small gift that you would be able to give from your own resources, greet the couple a happy married life, but walk out without having the lunch or dinner. Doing so does not mean any insult to the relatives. In fact, this author has seen heartless relatives saying "good riddance" when someone would tell them that the relatively poor people had gone without taking lunch or dinner. There is nothing that you have lost. On the contrary, you have everything to gain. You would never ever miss anything in life. Your pride would be intact.
This is a real-world story. The names are not given as the concerned persons would not even like an indirect reference. The father was an ordinary clerk in the State Government. One of the two other brothers studied at IIM, Ahmedabad and the other at Harvard Business School, USA. Their sons were also highly educated. In every marriage, the wives of these brothers would insult the relatively poor family. In fact, to salvage their pride, the family avoided any contact with the richer relatives. Their sons were very furious. Both of them studied very well. One went on to do his IIT Mechanical course and then migrated to the USA, where he joined Google after his Master's degree. A full decade passed by. The other two brothers did not even bother to say hello to their brother, who sought a transfer to a remote South Tamil Nadu town. The other son did medicine and became a consultant to the fabulous Apollo hospital, Chennai. He was a famous surgeon. The subsequent events happened as if it were straight from a Tamil movie. One rich brother lost his wife, and his only son and his wife ill-treated him. Though he was rich, there was nobody to take care of him. He had to undergo major surgery for cancer and someone suggested that a famous surgeon of Apollo would do a great job. The doctor did not know that he was treating his own uncle. The latter learned about the doctor from hospital sources. After the surgery was over and he was recovering in the hospital, the patient called for the doctor, hugged him and asked him forgiveness. The doctor was not able to recognize his uncle, whom he had seen sixteen years ago!! Since his father was the eldest son, he had done the last rights of his mother. ( the medico's grandmother). The two rich sons did not come at all. Hence, the families were never in touch. When the medico learned that he had treated his own uncle, he was badly shaken. The boy's father came running all the way from Tirunelveli. The reunion happened after so many years. The brothers hugged each other and swore to forget the past.
Till his last moments, the younger brother got to stay only at Tirunelveli. He survived for forty months, but when cancer became very severe, he was gone. The rich son grudgingly came all the way to Tirunelveli to perform the last rites of his father. This is exactly what can happen if we ill-treat our own relatives. Time does not stop for anyone. Those who are poor today can become rich. For instance, the boy under reference, who went on to join Google was a gold medalist. He earned huge sums of money and built a mansion for his parents in his native village.
Having a unique personality at workThere is this fastest growing Private sector bank, that has the green color in its logo. It's working conditions now, are world-class. However, thirty years ago, it was still growing and it's IT infrastructure was just beginning to take shape. A very young officer, who was posted in the Corporate advances department after two years of work experience in a branch, had a horrible time with a boss, who was just plus two and had grown from the ranks. Since he was not qualified, he would often chide the youngster, finding some reason to even publicly find fault with the most minor of mistakes. Fortunately, the youngster had his uncle who worked with a famous Mutual Fund. He impressed upon this young man to join the then famous CFA qualification from the Hyderabad institute. Three years of hard work made him qualify in most of the papers and within 40 months, he had passed the CFA qualification. The youngster boldly resigned his job and joined the UTI Mutual Fund in Mumbai, in a new job.
The change helped. He went on to become a very well known Fund Manager. He had some international exposure in Singapore as well. There is no need to compromise all your pride and your unique capabilities and surrender to the whims and fancies of useless bosses. There are too many doors open today. Look around and learn a lot from the assertive young men, who would rather do their own thing than being directed by autocratic or stupid bosses or both.
Managing social relations in immediate neighborhood How do you do this? Even if you are not very rich, you can always be rich at heart. You can, for example, volunteer to work in a temple or a church. You can do your bit to renovate some old temple. You could motivate the local youngsters to take up rainwater harvesting in a big way. You could do whatever is possible to get things in place for the very poor people. Like questioning the authorities when the rations are not properly distributed through the Public Distribution System. Of course, you could be kind and exchange a word or two with those who are very poor and do not have any resources at their command. The scope of such work is so huge. You will be recognized as a good man.
Setting an example for othersIf you do whatever has been just mentioned in the above paragraph, you will have set an example. If you never cheat on income taxes and educate your children, they are bound to be value-driven. They will also follow the ethical path. Do not bother too much about insults from the rich. Most of them are ignorant and carried away when they get money. They tend to think that they are far supreme. They are not. In fact, only ordinary mortals go about systematically setting examples for others to follow. Look around and explore opportunities to do this. You will have plenty of them.
Making the rich understand their folly Since the poor family was known to the author, he came to know what happened from one of the relatives. (the mother of the medico). This can often happen to anyone. The rich start behaving so irrationally. Money makes them behave in the ways they do. Money simply blinds them to the larger facts of life. Imagine what had happened to the rich brother. He had enough money, but his own son ditched him. Money does not make everything. Relationships do. Caring and sharing do play a big role. You need to understand this. When the time comes, the rich will automatically understand their folly. What happens if they do not understand their folly? Forget it. Forget them. You are not the loser anyway.
Conclusion Life teaches us many lessons. When we learn about some event in some family, we get to understand that the world is never only about money. Yes, money is important, but it has its limitations as the case study here clearly shows. You need to draw a line. How you do it is in your hands.