Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sid's Problem

I met Sid after a long time yesterday. Long time as in - ten years. Such an interval is not so long that a person should change beyond recognition. But frankly speaking, this is what  almost happened. Had he not taken the initiative to greet me , i might have passed him by.His visage had altered enormously. As i talked to him, i was pained to see lines of dejection & frustration on his face. He had been a topper in school & college & we all expected that he would make a brilliant career. But his whole personality screamed that our hopes, & his own , had been dashed to the ground.
As we sipped tea in a nearby cafe, he came out with all that had transpired with him till date. It was a sorry saga of dreams, plans &expectations gone awry. That night i could not sleep as i lay thinking why a bright student like him had not succeeded in his career. None could deny that he was intelligent as well as a competent &conscientious worker. Then why did he not excel in his job as we all had expected him to ?I did not need to probe him, because an avalanche of feelings came tumbling out when he saw my concern.We parted after he had had his say,but i kept ruminating over it until i was overtaken by sleep. Ultimately i zeroed in upon four of his personality traits which must have queered the pitch for him.
I think the biggest factor which thwarted Sid's progress was his rigidity. Had he been more flexible, he would have done well. He was very set in his habits & ideas. Being highly principled & proud of it ; he did not see the need to change himself to fit into the set-up he had joined. There was an undercurrent of disdain for others too, since the majority today believes in altering it's values to suit the occasion;whereas he  lived by the courage of his convictions. It is not surprising therefore, that his behavior attracted disapproval,criticism & hostility. Add to this , his habit of thinking he was always right--which he almost always was; given his knowledge & caliber. But it did not go well with the rest of the staff. So you can well imagine why he became the target of jabs & taunts from colleagues & seniors alike. 
Not only was Sid rigid, he was also a loner,possessing a stern & reserved countenance. He did not welcome friendly overtures from others, with the result that he was virtually friendless in his work-place. Had he been more outgoing, many would have appreciated his inner worth, but he did not allow this to happen. As a result he was always sidelined. This hurt him but he was not able to mend matters.
Sid was good in his job, but nil in self-promotion. He just could not brag about his achievements. In these days of cut-throat competition there is no dearth of hawks who usurp credit even if it rightfully belongs to someone else. Sid being Sid, he did not attempt to set the record straight. Thus his efforts largely went unrecognised & unrewarded.
The final catch in his personality was , his aversion to any sort of authority. Perhaps he thought himself to be more competent than his boss. Or maybe all authority figures reminded him of his father , with whom he had a precarious relationship. Whatever be the reason, he had been unsuccessful in arriving at an amicable tuning with his boss. Naturally this factor proved to be the final nail in the coffin.

All said & done, not only did he work in a hostile environment ; he also had no job satisfaction. This turmoil had been going on in my mind all through the night. By morning the picture was crystal clear. Without wasting further time, i contacted Sid & conveyed to him my analysis of the situation . We met again at the cafe where i exhorted him to -----

1) Erase this belief in his own infallibility, which to a large extent , was responsible for the chasm between him & the rest of the staff.

2) Take initiative & make friends. Till now he had his family , classmates & childhood friends to provide him emotional warmth &security. Now he was in alien surroundings & he needed to build a support system for himself. A network of friendly colleagues would not only give him mental peace but also remove the various misunderstandings & apprehensions which they had about him.

3) Open his eyes & appreciate the good points in others.

4) Trust them & confide in them whenever he needed to unburden himself . This could be done only after he was convinced of their goodwill & friendship.

5) Give help & ask for it whenever necessary.

6) Work as a team .

7) Be more vocal about his achievements.

8) Look at his boss without bias or prejudice. Relate to him positively.

9)Try to relate with his colleagues after office hours.

My suggestions were meant to help him synchronize himself with his work place,but they only touched the psychological aspects of his predicament.For more practical & mundane guidelines i referred him to this site.

Sid listened to my views very attentively. After all he too felt that he needed to rethink his strategy . Now he was looking at the whole picture in a new light.He agreed that these measures were sure to ring in positive changes. He vowed to act on them & start anew. I wished him all the luck & as we parted i could already see the clouds of gloom lifting from his countenance!!!