Thursday, September 1, 2016

Jottings : Slice of life - 39

Jottings : Slice of life - 39
He was a young man. In his mid thirties. Articulate, extremely technical, had his bachelors from one of India's premium colleges and moved to the United states five years ago. He had come in on a Work visa which allowed him to change jobs. And he did change. Not once, but thrice in five years. He nows works for quite a respectable IT firm for a project in Downtown Atlanta.
We were a group of five, sitting in a coffee shop after our workout at the Gym. I normally skip this gathering, but today they insisted I join them for a quick cup of coffee. Nothing better to do on a Sunday evening, I consented. After customary small talk, drinks and snacks ordered, our conversation weaned towards employee satisfaction and switching jobs. Apparently Ajay ( name changed) was contemplating one more change. And all others, in the same age group and profession as him, were debating their value in their respective organizations, and how each of them considered themselves to be thorough professionals who were being grossly underpaid. They were slandering their managers, and making jokes on how they did their jobs.
Ajay broke out " You know what Guys. I am know I am technically good, and I am willing to sell my services to the highest bidder. If Company B is offering me more to do the same job than company A, I have no qualms switching. Its not about loyalty, or any of that. Its purely monetary. I dont see anything wrong with that.."
Others nodded their head in concurrence. Vikram ( name changed) joined in " yap, thats right. Being a professional means to extract the right price for your work. Its a different thing if you are not good. But if you are, and willing to advertise your expertise, then let the highest bidder be happy.."
There was lot of energy in those youngsters. you could see them bubbling with ambition and confidence in themselves. They must be, no doubt good at what they do. But, as i sat listening to their effervescent conversation, and raw energy, I felt a little uncomfortable about their belief and use of the of the term Professional. I didn't say anything though, and abstained from participating in their bonhomie. After ten minutes or so, Raj , a slightly elderly member of this group, turned to me and asked
"Bala, you are quiet on this topic. dont you agree with what these guys are saying..?"
"Well, Not entirely. Let me tell what I agree upon first. I do agree upon the fact that an expert must eventually be paid well for his contribution. Especially, if they are completely devoted to their specialization with passion and devotion. But what I do not agree is your definition of a Professional, which is selling your passion, your expertise to the highest bidder. You see, A professional is one who gets paid for his devotion to his talent and commitment to a job. They will finish what they are doing before they move on, and a Mercenary is one who may be as talented , if not more than a professional, but sets a price to his soul and compromises his current job in hand, and is ever unhappy and unsteady in the present. As an example, An army of ordinary soldiers are more likely to be trusted, believed and likely to grow than a band of talented ruffians who will switch allegiance for money. It may work in the short run, but over period of time, one loses trust.
I am not saying, money is not important. It most definitely is. But then, there is a time to move on as well. You dont weigh your current job only on the scale of money, unless you are grossly underpaid, exploited and you are stupid to be still there. But that is rare, and an exception in most cases. For most of us, a time will come, when an inner barometer will unfailingly tell us that we should move on. And when such a movement happens, it will not be only for money, but other things as well - Broader roles, wider responsibilities and greater focus.
I may be old school. I dont know. But this is how I look at this conversation we have been having..."
Vicky broke in with a laugh " Bala, being a teacher, you cannot help lecturing, Can you?..." All of them joined in the laughter.
"I didn't volunteer to speak Vikram. When asked, I give my opinion.."
Evening had quietly turned to dusk, and red fringes around blue clouds were gently announcing the arrival of darkness. We said our goodbyes, and the group slowly left, a little more contemplative and less garrulous than before.
God bless...
yours in mortality,

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