On life…and learning

Posts Tagged ‘Professional

5 Things Great Employees Do After They Resign

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OK; so you have called it a day and have decided to move on from your current job. Just like most of us, you would also like to believe you are a ‘great employee’. All through your tenure, you were an employee held in good esteem by your organization. You had a considerably long association too. Now, you’ve just resigned and in some time you would be moving on to something new, maybe something better, something different. Great! Now, let’s serve the notice period…

In my experience of hiring thousands of people in my career, I have observed myriad, albeit strange developments in the operating patterns of both employees and employers, after the resignation is tendered and exit-formalities commence. Sometimes, these behaviours aren’t spot-on and befitting a ‘professional’.

Here are the 5 things that I think ‘truly great’ employees do after they have resigned and are serving the notice-period:

  1. A ‘Truly Great Employee’ would not speak ill of her organization, team or supervisor; she’d spread absolutely no negativity around.
  2. She won’t walk around notifying about her ‘resignation’ to all and sundry. She would discuss and allow the supervisor to plan a communication, as to ‘when, to who all and how’ and then stay true to the plan.
  3. She would not stop putting her total dedication and heart in her work, till the very last day and ensure a fair handover.
  4. She would not use the current offer to ‘bargain, just to ‘enjoy’, even when there isn’t any intention to stay. That’s just not done.
  5. She would say, ‘Thank You’ and mean it. And not just to the boss or immediate colleagues, but also to the stakeholders, to associates in other functions and the support staff. She would just not simply drop an email thank-you note while walking out, would rather walk up to all such fellow-workers and express her appreciation in person.

To my mind, that’s what ‘truly great employees’ do when they resign. And they do so even if their experience with the company and/or the manager wasn’t exactly enriching or rewarding, or even when their manager/organization starts treating them differently post resignation. They behave mature and stay committed till the last day of work and even thereafter. And by saying that, I do not mean in any way that feedback, even candid one, should not be given; in fact, one must give constructive feedback during the exit interview process. What I am stressing here is the personal conduct of the employee should remain dignified and graceful. An impactful statement I heard from a senior leader the other day, “Never let your good name be destroyed”; a great employee would stay true to these words, even in the parting days.

Have you similar or some other behaviours in people after they resign? How did you act when you tendered your last resignation? Do share…

Are You A ‘Professional’?

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ProfessionalNearly everyday, I meet scores of gainfully employed people, not only those who work with my organization, but also from several other companies, self-employed ones, students, doctors, chartered accountants, et al (that is inevitable if you are based in the corporate district of Gurgaon!). And more often than not after such interactions, I am left gasping about the ever-increasing gap between just any working executive or entrepreneur and a real professional.

In the mad rush of the working lives we live in, I often find people mistaking every working person to be a professional. How incorrect now that would be?

theprofessionalFew years ago, Subroto Bagchi, or Gardener as he is titled and fondly known as, wrote a very compelling book redefining workplace excellence – ‘The Professional’. In many ways, it was a path-breaking work, and in this book, he gave all of us what I call the true meaning of the word ‘Professional’. (Subroto is Chairman and co-founder of Mindtree Ltd.).

Here is it: I am quoting from Chapter 2 of the book; pp 3-6.


“What are the chances that you work in an entry level position or even a middle level job in a hotel, a hospital, a software company, or a government organization? Or, for that matter, you could be a self-employed professional like a doctor, a lawyer, or a journalist. In all probability you are educated, know English, and are working with (or have interacted with) the corporate sector. Perhaps, an MBA, or a student at an engineering college? You probably consider yourself a professional, or on the road to becoming one. Definitely your station in life is well above someone whose job is to bury unclaimed corpses from city hospitals.

I want to introduce the idea of who a professional is through a man whose life is dealing with dead bodies. Unclaimed dead bodies. This is not someone who is conventionally associated with the term professional.

His name is Mahadeva. He came to Bangalore as a child when one day his mother simply walked out on her entire village and her own family in a huff. Mother and son lived on the streets; she worked to support him. Until the day she became very unwell. She brought herself and her son to the government-run Victoria Hospital. There she was admitted in a state of delirium and her little son, Mahadeva, made the street outside the hospital his home.

He found many playmates among the urchins there and soon that world engulfed him. It was the first time he had had anyone to play with. For little Mahadeva, it was his first experience of kinship and he lost himself completely in this new world. It was pure happenstance that one day someone told him that his mother had died. Where had he been when that happened?

Died? What was that?

The hospital had been unable to wait for him and has disposed of the body.

Now Mahadeva had nowhere to go. No family.

A few people in the hospital ward where his mother had been admitted raised some money to help him go back to his village. He refused. Instead, he grew up running errands in the hospital. The hanger-on, who had helped with his mother’s admission process and made a living by running errands for patients, asked him to move in with him. He was an old man who had no one either.

Mahadeva grew up under his tutelage; the hospital became his universe. And then, one day, the cops asked him to bury an unclaimed body and paid him Rs 200 for the job. This was when Mahadeva entered his profession and eventually became the go-to-guy for burying the city’s unclaimed corpses. Every time police picked up a dead body that had no claimants, Mahadeva was summoned. He had to do a turnkey job: Pull the stiff body in it and take it to a burial ground, dig the ground to bury the dead – all by himself, and for only Rs 200. After doing the job, he would hang around in the hospital to be summoned to dispose of the next unclaimed body.

Mahadeva did his work with such dedication, focus, care and concern that soon he was very much in demand. His work grew and he bought his own horse-drawn carriage, and between his horse and himself he was the undertaker to the abandoned.

One day, the horse died.

People who had watched Mahadeva all these years came together and bought him an auto-rickshaw. The white auto-rickshaw, his hearse, carries the picture of the horse in the memory of the animal who helped him take thousands of people to be laid to rest. It became the logo of his business and appears on his business card today.

Mahadeva has buried more than 42,000 corpses in his lifetime and his dedication has earned him phenomenal public recognition. Local petrol pumps do not charge him when his hearse is topped up and the chief minister of Karnataka felicitated him for his selfless service to the abandoned citizens of Bangalore. Mahadeva is proud of his work and his business, and today his son has joined him.

Mahadeva: the high performer, and a true professional.

What are the two qualities that Mahadeva has which differentiate a professional from someone who is simply professionally qualified?

One, is the ability to work unsupervised, and, two, the ability to certify the completion of one’s work.

Whenever Mahadeva got a call to reach the morgue, day or night, hail or high water, he arrived. Most of the time, it was a gruesome experience dealing with a dead body; there was no telling what had been the cause of death or state of decomposition.

In his business, Mahadeva does not choose his clients. He accepts them in whatever size, shape or state they come. He treats them with respect and care, with due dignity, covering them with a white sheet and placing a garland around their necks before burying them. The day he buried the man who had taken him home after his mother died, he had cried. He was special and Mahadeva had bought a garland as a mark of his respect. That day, it occurred to him that he should be garlanding all the bodies he buried, not just his benefactor’s. Everyone deserves respect and no one should feel ‘unwanted’ in death, even if life had treated them that way.

The cops do not supervise Mahadeva. He is not an employee of the hospital; he is the outsourcing agency the hospital has engaged for disposing of all unwanted cadavers. He does not have a boss who writes his appraisal, giving him constructive feedback for continuous improvement.

In most work environments, people who produce anything of economic value usually need supervision. A person who needs supervision is no professional. He is an amateur, maybe even an apprentice.

Whenever Mahadeva picks up a corpse, it goes straight to the burial ground – no place else. He completes the task with immediacy it demands. And he certifies his own completion of the task: between the dead and the living, there is no one to question him.”


Thought provoking, isn’t it? What do you think?

The Wall. Retires…

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Rahul Dravid retires from international cricket…a glorious, incomparable career comes to an end.

As I was hearing this news since yesterday; thoughts of another sports legend kept coming back to me – Pete Sampras. He and Rahul are very similar, in more than one ways. Their grit, the way they mastered the games they played, the way they are adulated, the glorious run they had and in the way they both will go down the memory lane as two of the most revered of all those who played their game. However, I am reminded of Pete because like Rahul, he was a true gentleman of the game he played.

A keen follower of tennis that I am, I recall reading this piece on Sampras very long ago; it left a strong impression on my mind and helped shape my formative years. Today, I am reminded of it as a befitting similarity it has with that of Rahul’s persona…

“Pete Sampras doesn’t want to destroy the Establishment. He doesn’t scream obscenities, grab his privates, tricolour his hair or date groupies. What he does is smack a tennis ball harder and more accurately than perhaps anyone in the world. “I was always taught to concentrate on the ball, nothing else,” he says, “I know I’m not showy or flamboyant. But this works for me. I am not changing.”

 At the 1992 US Open, Sampras was practicing one day when Martina Navratilova walked up. “Hello, Mr. Summer,” Navratilova said, alluding to Sampras’ winning streak of two tournaments and ultimately 16 matches that summer.

“Uh…no, Ms. Navratilova,” the young, shy man said, “My name is Sampras.”

That is how Dravid played his game, all these years. As an enduringly successful professional, success came to him as an outcome of perseverance, self-discipline and hard work and it did not lead to any unruly or ungentlemanly behaviour. Even when the jury was all out for him to retire several years ago itself, he never retorted via words. Failure did not push him to show his frustrations, either on or off the field. Only gritty knocks followed the rough, trying phases. He demonstrated how one has to deal with challenges more internal than external; take failures in stride and never give in.

In ‘Success Built To Last’, the best-selling and very well-researched book on defining the traits of the successful people, Porras, Emery and Thompson state, ‘Enduringly successful people have found that the answer to their life’s purpose is buried not in the passionate love or pain alone, but in the struggle over both together, working in strange harmony.’ To our Jammy too, greatness came at the intersection of pain and passion.

Today, while announcing his retirement, Rahul, as always, was his calmest best and spoke measured words. What struck me the most was when he said in the press conference, “…it is the time for me to make the way for the younger players…”

Tomorrow, the newspapers will be full of the farewell scripts, accolades and opinions, et al for Rahul. No matter what, no one will be short of praise. However, it will matter whether we indeed remember him through our own conducts, specially the younger generation. Whether we would imbibe what he taught us, from his actions on & off the field. Many of us shall reminisce Rahul as a true professional, a gritty sportsman; as a man of strong character. If character is what you do when no one is watching, then perhaps sportsmanship is conduct with everybody watching! Frankly, the cricket industry would probably survive without sportsmanship. It is so large and so well financed. However, in the much critically acclaimed IPL era of the young and brash, it would be refreshing if more players realized that there is a room to win with flair and style and even get rich and still keep the values that first brought us to the game, just the way Dravid did all these years…

I sincerely do hope Virat Kohli is listening…

Thank you, Jammy. For all that you did for the Indian cricket, for the game of cricket. The sport’s fan, all over the world, shall always remember you ever as one who left the game better that he found it.


Photo-credit 1: coloringinthedark.wordpress.com

Photo-credit 2: art.com

Written by RRGwrites

March 9, 2012 at 1:56 PM

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