By | Prabodh Sirur | Vice President – HR at Manipal Technologies Ltd.
Actually, the subject of this article is anger management.
My two and a half stories for you.
Shehnaz, one of our labour contractors, wanted to meet me. I was all prepared, …. I knew the rates at which we hired her people, ….. I knew the demands she would be making (generally asking for higher service charges!)…. and was ready with my answers.
The clock was ticking and I was becoming impatient. Shehnaz had not turned up on time. Like every client, I was angry. At micro level, I was muttering – How can she take me for granted, does she not value my time, I am going to give her a piece of my mind ……., at macro level – our country is going to dogs because of such behaviour, when will we improve?……
During my muttering, my eyes went to the small book that was lying on my table. It was a book on Game Theory loaned to me by my colleague who had been reminding me to return it.
Instead of fretting and vexing, I thought it better to go through the book. At last, she walked into my office, profusely apologizing and was prepared to go back without the meeting. I had finished the book by the time she came in.
I thanked her for being late. She went nuts. I must have been the first client in her life doing this.
Then on, whenever there is a topic of Game Theory, I remember Shehnaz.
Once our big boss, Justin, was visiting us from the UK; someone took this opportunity to invite him for our colleague’s farewell party. The whole senior management team was present and we all had a great dinner together. Only the last task had remained, that of saying great words about Anil, who was leaving us and asking Justin to hand over the gift. But before we could carry on with this, Justin excused himself for a UK call.
Justin’s call was going on and on; we all started getting fidgety.
The women members started calling home to tell they would be late; a small group gathered to grumble about how badly the goras treat Indians etc. etc.; some other group was busy discussing business. Our Anil had no interest in any of this. He had to hover between the two groups and to wait for Justin’s call to end.
I suddenly remembered that I had been waiting for long to read a famous play Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Waiting for Godot is a landmark in literature. It is about ‘the suffering being’, it is about waiting for something to alleviate boredom, it is an existentialist take on life, it is about waiting for something to happen that will never happen. I knew many things about this play but had not read it yet. This was my moment; my moment to read Waiting for Godot.
I looked for it on my mobile and started reading it. I don’t know how long Justin’s call lasted but was definitely thankful to him. He had created an opportunity for me to do something that I always wanted to.
My colleagues Ajoy, Rakesh and I would carpool to the office. Whenever I was late to pick Ajoy, I would call him and say, “Ajoy, I will be late by 15 minutes just to give you quality time to spend with your wife.” Ajoy always thanked me for my ‘gift’ to him.
I sincerely hope you benefit from my experience.
Remember to save links to good articles onto your mobile so that you can share them to your clients whenever you feel you will reach late for your meetings! But remember to set expectations about this beforehand. I am sure you will always be remembered by them. Do it at your own risk!
Postscript: Here is a painting from an Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne (1839–1906), to remind us that innovation/challenging the status quo are what make us different.
Cézanne was an important painter to form the bridge between Impressionism and Cubism. His most famous painting The Bathers is considered to be the masterpiece of modern art and is featured in BBC series of 100 greatest paintings.
Somehow I like this one from Cézanne.This painting called The Brook was painted during 1898-1900.