Mantra to fare well in your career – Bless those bounders that hound you out

Most of you would have done that. Curse to high hell the company and / or the team that you were leaving behind. Wishing it folds up, being sucked into the vacuum created by your leaving. “They should know better than kicking me out”. You mutter, while stuffing the “Dadda, mamma, me and our home” impressionist scribbling done by your 2 year old into the staples box.

Such is human tendency. Especially the tender, raw nerve that’s touched upon by not having a farewell or worse being send off by one-line email, “wishing him/her all the very best in his/her future end…”. Understandable.

Pink is not exactly the color-célèbre, when it comes to slips.

But my dear fellow travelers hear me out. There is never more a foolish wish to be praying for than asking for the plague of the company you are leaving behind to disintegrate and those pests of peers and superiors to disperse all over. Instead you must pray for them all to do extra-ordinarily well, the company listed in the best of the bourses, their ESOPs multiplied a 100 times, with salaries tripled and promotions hastened and that they outprice themselves from the job market. Think I am extremely stupid? Read on.

A long time ago, in the era when masters were mentally, morally and spiritually superior to their follower monks; there lived master Wai and his naïve yet faithful follower WaiMudu. Master Wai was a wandering soul, seeking nirvana that is anywhere but the place he is present in. (The modern career-minded may recognize this hopping nature of the monk and nod approvingly at the breaks in his spiritual CV; for then as now parking in one place never got you anywhere). Breaking down complex philosophical commentaries into simple quotes, showing the path to worldly riches in seven simple steps, managing life in one-minute or saving cheese…you get the drift, were few of the philanthropic deeds the monk indulged in for the benefit of the humanity.

During one such wanderings, he passed through a village. Knocking at the first house that lay in his path, Wai asked for a glass of water and some meal to go with it. “What the… Look at you, you %&#$. You look hail and healthy. Why can’t you *&^%$#!@ earn your daily bread instead of doling out worthless and unsolicited advices to us. &^%$ off”. First the barrage. Then the bang of the door in his face. Wiping the spittoon off his weathered yet smiling visage, Wai proceeded to the next house. And the next one. One street after another, not profiting either in the way of quenching thirst or quelling hunger Wai and Waimudu, a disparaging and derisive crowd behind them, stepped out of the village.

Waimudu was muttering under his breath what he would like to be done to the villagers (his recently enhanced vocabulary coming in handy), when to his utter disbelief, there proceeded from the mouth of his master, the following:

May this village prosper for a 1000 years and all its inhabitants and their future generations make merry like no other. May they have timely rains and bumper crops; turn stinking rich and build palaces in this very place

Waimudu did not know what to make of this insanity. Nor he had the inclination to clear his doubts then and there for a
grumbling stomach is not an ideal audience for the voice of reasoning.

Slowly but steadily their weary legs bore them towards another village.

Lo. What a world of change! On sighting them, the humble and caring villagers fell over each other to offer them worldly comforts. One elderly person washed their mud-caked feet, another wiped them dry. One housewife held an umbrella from the scorching sun while another started fanning them. Cushions were brought to make their seating comfortable; plates were laid and simple yet delicious food was offered. Sweetmeats and fruits appeared and vanished at the same pace. Packing some for the journey ahead, for one known not when the next such benevolent village will come their way, the contended master, follower duo left the village, leaving behind a joyous bunch of simple minded folks.

Waimudu, squeezing a juicy mango was contemplating the order and magnitude of blessings he wanted to bestow on the large hearted villagers, when once again his disbelieving ears perked up at the following contrarian words, which proceeded from his master Wai:

“May this village be hit with a disastrous famine and the villagers disperse in all directions”

Incredulous as they were, Waimudu couldn’t hold on any longer and confronted his master, all his righteous indignation boiling and bubbling over.

“What sort of insanity is this master? Where you were kicked and spat at and driven out like a dirty distempered dog; you wanted heavens to shower prosperity on them. And where our parched tongues and simmering stomachs were truly and selflessly served, you cursed them to rot in hell!”

Smiling and looking indulgently at his bristling ward, Wai said:

“Son, without reflecting upon the consequences and acting in the heat of the moment, imagine what would happen if I had reversed my words on the respective village.

The kindly villagers would prosper yet stay put. The kickers would disperse all over the world, to surface and cross our paths in some other village where the same fate would then await us. It is better they prosper where they are, see no reason to leave the place and in the process contain the damage they can wrought on fellow human beings and limiting the poison they are capable of spreading.

The givers on the other hand, should move about the world and seed such DNA of sharing and caring; helping wanderers like us to make our living”

I firmly believe Waimudu was my ancestor and his blood runs in me. I may not have learnt much to become a master. But I learnt enough to pray for the buggers I leave behind earn their stripes where they are, not crossing my path or ending up as my peers or bosses in the next company I land a job in.

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34 Comments Add yours

  1. Neha Sharma Thakkar says:

    Hi Arun,

    Very niece piece to read !!!!!!

  2. Anupama says:

    I like the way you draw parallels with stories. And I like the fact that it is positive. It is important to look at things positively, else life falls apart.
    Great writing! Looking forward to many more!

  3. Shiv Muttoo says:

    Nice to see you moving away from Ancient India to Ancient China – we needed the change of scene! And you are absolutely right about limiting the damage by getting the deadwood to remain rooted to the same spot. I see it happening around me as well – the good people are out of here spreading the light, the deadwood remains. Alas, we are still part of the latter set.

  4. Prasad says:

    Good positive thinking!
    On the otherside, punishing the good for the sake of spreading across is a NOT good thought either. Good when mixed with mostly bad eventually turns bad(in my openion). Majority wins right! Also, encouraging evil by wishing prosper is evil too. They would spread like virus, taking over the world. Just my few cents.

  5. Krishna Sangam says:

    Arun – Well said!
    A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, and a successful outcome of every situation and action…but we all tend to see the negative side of things more often.

    We hear people say – “Think positive!”, to someone who feels down and worried about the future when there’s a pink slip in the face. Most people do not take these words seriously, as they do not know what they really mean, or do not consider them as useful and effective.

    Your story warrants that postivity and to me it proves the age old mathematical rule -product of a ‘negative’ (Being kicked out) and another ‘negative’ (Starting all over) is ‘POSITIVE’. (Takes one into a whole new world)

    Keep writing!

    for Krishna Sangam.

  6. Suzanne Larsen Balaoing, GPHR says:

    Arun-
    Very interesting- from a cultural perspective, I would say. While I like the concept of “starving” the evil, I think that is not what would have happened. I think “evil rewarded” thrives and expands (from personal experience). I think , from a copmlex dynamic systems perspective, evil is it’s own undoing- provided it is not supported.

    However, not wishing harm on another is a whole other item. I would say it is wise practice this from the perspective of several culrural spiritual philosophies- that it only truly impacts/changes you. If you choose hatred, you become hatred- if you choose compassion, you become compassion. For me, reason enough alone to strive…

  7. adrienne williams says:

    Hi Arun,
    Well, your blog hit a nerve with me. On November 5, 2009, I was told in a phone call after the work day had ended that my services were no longer needed, and I was to return at 12 noon the next day to pack up my belongings. There was no explanation as to why I was being let go at that time. I knew that my contract was going to end by December, but why a month before? And then, I found out that the company that placed me was REPLACING me for the month until the permanent person arrived. Had I done something so wrong for a business to want to replace me with 1 month to go after I had been there for 22 months? What had I done wrong? Who did I anger? Everything felt so personal, I could not stop thinking about the situation, and sometimes, crying.

    All I wanted was for that company to fail, miserably. How could such a horrid group of people continue to be successful? How could this senior management team attract the best and brightest when they didn’t know how to treat their own? How could a group led by a self serving, always right, and totally ruthless run a company dedicated to the poor and elderly in my city?

    I am having a difficult time reconciling the master’s words with my experience. It’s hard for me to see how their success would not spread throughout the city because of the good work they were doing? Believe me, it pains me that they are successful with the most thoughtless, ruthless and inhuman management team.

    The secret for me? To get out from under thinking that this was personal and that I had done something wrong. I finally realized that it wasn’t me who had done anything wrong — it was their ineptitude in treating people that caused me to feel that way. If I had done something wrong, a high performing company would give proper feedback and set expectations clearly – I would know what I was to do and the standards by which I should operate.

    Eventually, I got through the personal piece and was lucky enough to believe in the saying that when one door closes, another one opens….and here I am, getting ready to open a fast and casual cafe……

  8. Ravi Sinha says:

    I no longer search for an ideal workplace. Over the years I have realised that it has to begin with me. So my suggestion is to contribute in whatever little way we all can do to make it a perfect work culture.

  9. Pooja Upadhyaya says:

    Hey Arun

    Great Article

    Quite an idealistic view of looking at the situation.

    My View

    Its a very personal expereince and effect it makes on our financies and psychology varies from non existent or worst nightmare.it can be a positive change too for some.

    The feeling of unemployment would be difficult for a person who doesn’t want to sit idle.
    Most us place a high level of esteem on the Job Title we have like CEO, Manager, CAO, Head ………sr. ex …..

    Its kind of loosing your identity which may reflect on loosing the respect from family , loosing assets, how I will be able to feed my family(questions), will I get a new job, its all loosing your self esteem.

    How can you think of a normal human being not reacting even after loosing the selfesteem not everybody is quite understanding to keep their esteem up even in these cisrcumstances.

    So cursing the employers is not really cursing them its just bursting out your anger ,anxiety and frustration(in case of aggressive personality) of loosing your worth or self esteem which is quite normal.

    its with time you develop that undertsanding too that the change was good and then we adapt to new environment .
    the survival extinct humans have they somehow get into something which keeps them going.

    if I look at the ratio of people who are taking revenge after they have been kicked out of the organisation would not be more then 1%.

    so its all normal human behaviour.

  10. lavender says:

    Scats, You do come up with spurts of dazzling light when least expecting. Rightfully said, the good has to be spread, while the bad, the toxic has to be barrelled, shut and buried within itself. Wonder if anyone still believes, – ‘what goes out comes around……..’just a thought 🙂
    Have fun!!!

  11. Rao Kunche says:

    As always a well written piece. Been enjoying your blog for a long time now. Do keep them coming, your insights into life & carrer have been both enjoyable and enriching.

  12. shankar Guru says:

    That’s great Arun,
    It’s Enemies that can make one strong, as enemies are true valuers.
    Thanks to your blog.
    Cheers

  13. sunil says:

    Arun, I just had an experience that had me behaving like waimudi and I loved what wai says. Toxic waste must be contained in one place and if it has to thrive (if toxins can do that), better in that wasted place. Beautiful story. Great start to the new year!

  14. anita noronha says:

    Very nicely put Arun. I empathized with many of your blogs…wish the wisdom had hit earlier. Better late than never!
    Yes we need to be ‘in the world’, with some amount of smart networking & thinking. Even entrepreneurs need to work with people they love to hate.
    May the force be with the new, reinvented you! Lets stay connected
    regards,
    anita

  15. Arun,
    You are a master of understanding the power of change, goodness and human spirit. Thank you for this wonderful parable….it lightened my load today. Thank you!
    Sandra

  16. Alissa Lane says:

    That was a nice perspective. One might be inclined to wish ill upon the selfish people at first thought. But after reading through, it’s always better for you personally,and the world, if we try to leave good behind wherever we go, even if they don’t “seem” to deserve it.

  17. Meenakshi says:

    I am glad I found this blog. Makes me think about the many different perspectives. This piece is so well written! I cannot imagine an ideal work place… as long as there are people involved, there are going to be good and bad experiences. The same scenario probably holds good in a family or with other relationships too is what i mean to say. Gives me a feeling that there is no scope left to change attitudes and behavior, to become a better society. I do not want to give up hope as yet. Also, those who did not offer food are doing the right thing from their perspective… compelling the person (saint) to work for his living and ensuring that he does not choose an easy way out. That said, society values power and money so much, we are part of the same society and we ourselves want to abuse power to take revenge or at least to prove a point. I guess that is what power and powerlessness does to our psyche. I think I would pray for greater exposure and experiences in life that will help people recognize good from bad…

  18. Suman says:

    A very different take on an everyday reality. Nicely written but this mindset would certainly be difficult to remember/ practice when actually faced with such a situation.

  19. Uday says:

    Arun,

    Pink slips are responsible for creation of entrepreneurs in the world. Thank your ex-bosses for freeing you for better things than just cleaning up their mess or spoon feeding them. Falling into hot water is a good way to learn swimming. Indians made the grade in foreign countries just because they could not make it in India. Keralites and Sindhis have made it big wherever they have gone.

    Father, forgive all pink slippers – for they know not what they do. Bless them so that they prosper and fulfil their destiny!

  20. Shane Johnson says:

    When you look at the world in a narrow way, how narrow it seems! When you look at it in a mean way, how mean it is! When you look at it selfishly, how selfish it is! But when you look at it in a broad, generous, friendly spirit, what wonderful people you find in it.
    – Horace Rutledge

  21. Hareesh Bhargavan says:

    All the crooks and criminals to prosper for a 1000 years and all the noble and kind to endure hardships and disperse.

    Gr8 excuse to accept the unacceptable and endure the unendurable, till the time is ripe for an unassailable revenge.

  22. Anju Malhotra says:

    good lessons are often learnt from simple mantras…cheers to spreading the mantra……

  23. Dorella says:

    Very well-written. Full of deep insight.

    “Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better”.
    ~King Whitney Jr.

  24. Kishore Parthasarathy says:

    Awesome read Arun! However, in the real world you are bound to work with the people u never wish to see again in life! Murphy will make sure u meet these kinds regularly. Hopefully these inevitable “bad” encounters only make u better and help u get the best out of you (no harm in being optimistic ;))

  25. Pavan Kishore says:

    This is a Beautiful story & so true it is. Well done.

    There are quite a few people in the world who keep asking “Why do bad things happen to good people” & this story will help them better comprehend the vagaries of life.

    That said there are other reasons why we need to be grateful & thankful even to the company that gives us the P slip.
    1) How we deal with others also determine how we deal with ourselve & vice versa which in turn is reflective of our inner state.
    2) We attract circumstances in life according to who we are (at an unconscious level).
    3) The circumstances that we have attracted at this moment are precisely the one’s that are necessary for our own inner growth.

  26. Sri says:

    Good one Arun.. Keep posting such a thoughtful n wonderful blogs..

  27. Subhro says:

    It is easier said than done, when a doctor asks a patient to swallow a bitter medicine without advising him of his ailment or forces a perfectly healthy person to swallow the medicine the patient inevitability curses the doctor, now drawing comparisons here when in an organisation a superior acts in a vindicative manner and the subordinate gets affected , the feeling are mutual in both the cases.

    Cheers
    Subhro

  28. Rahul says:

    Hey Arun.

    Nice post…….. Thanks for reminding a lesson that I almost forgot…..

  29. Ashish Karnad says:

    Easier said than done sir. Especially when you realise that the people who you trusted have stabbed you behind your back. I would pray that these buggers do so badly in life and end up in a scenario where the roles are reversed i.e. I get to their position they get into mine. I will then behave in the exact opposite manner in which they behaved with me. That will put them to shame and maybe teach them a lesson or two. This is better than saying let them do what they are doing in thier current space and being happy that they are not spreading it.

  30. Munish says:

    Interesting thought. This is the way of life. In every ignoble act there is some virtue hidden. This world is full of duality, which brings in multiple perpectives. It depends on you which side you look at. The key to success is consistency in thought and patience.

  31. Very well written. More like a Bitter medicine, good for health but taste bitter at the tongue. I feel in career, the same is true. You need to get in to bad situations to work the best. Cozy things that happen and appear good are career limiters/derailers.

    But you need to understand that and take strides!! That is the issue…..

  32. Shirin Ara says:

    Simply great!!! Wonderful!

    Cheers

    Shirin Ara

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