Once upon a time, a king, disguised as a common man, visits his country side. One evening, as he arrives at a very remote small village, he is soon surrounded by a bunch of curious children. He instantly starts a conversation with them. He is impressed by one enthusiastic ten year old boy named Vikram. Vikram talks to the king about his dream of studying in the best school at the capital of the kingdom one day and ultimately become a minister to serve the king. The king is moved by the clarity of Vikram’s dream and his belief that it will come true one day. Next morning, the king reveals his true self and asks Vikram to come to the capital along with him.
Vikram is admitted to the best school in the capital. In due course of time, he passes out of university with flying colours. Then he gets placed in a job in the king’s government. He cannot believe his luck as he earns his first salary. He works even harder and saves enough over the years to own a house. Then he starts a family. He now works harder than before and keeps getting promoted in his job. His reputation as a sincere, dedicated and capable employee spreads around. And one day, he is appointed as a minister of the king. As a minister, he implements innovative ideas and services to improve the millions of lives in the kingdom. He becomes very famous and respectable. Vikram, the boy, now a grown-up man is living his dream life. He owes his success to the king, his mentor.
And one day, the king dies.
Feeling devastated, un-consolable from the sorrows, Vikram leaves the capital for his village. After walking the whole day, he arrives in a cottage where a sage lives. Looking at the crestfallen Vikram, the sage comforts him. Vikram narrates the story of his dream life. And now that the king is gone, he has no motivation and interest to continue to work as a minister.
The sage listens to Vikram in silence and finally asks him one question, “Do you know yourself well?” – What are you good at? What are you not so good at? What you love doing? Why you love what you love doing? What makes you feel happy? What makes you feel fulfilled?
Vikram thinks over the question the whole night. He recounts the happiest moments of his life – from the rendezvous with the beloved late king to his appointment as a minster. He also rewinds the lessons he has learnt from his failures. He realizes that he has felt immense satisfaction and fulfilment, when he has unleashed his creative potential at work; when his work has ultimately made a positive difference to the millions of lives in the kingdom; when he has been in absolute love with what he is doing. No other achievements have given him such lasting happiness and fulfilment.
Next day morning, he thanks the sage, says him good bye and heads back to the capital. The sage smiles silently and wonders at the power of self-actualised and self-driven humans.
Let’s see how the story of Vikram applies into our own lives
When we, at Team cajobportal.com, interact with fresh graduates, be it CAs or MBAs, the first thing they want to ask us about the job is:
“Madam, can you please share the CTC, split between fixed and variable, cash component etc.?”
It is super-cool to give this status update on Face book “Placed @ 8 lacs at a leading Big-4 Kolkata” etc.
JDs and location come across as secondary priorities.
Investment Banking/Consulting was the most sought career for the youngsters at PGP-1 during our stint on campus at PGPX @ IIM Ahmedabad.
Summers at Credit Suisse or Citi or J P Morgan or Mckinsey or BCG or Bain
Are you aware of the super long hours – a renowned consulting firm stated in its Pre-Placement PPT-
“We expect you to work 9 to 6 and then take a break and work 9 to 6”?
No problem; I’ll manage
Work-life balance ??
5 -10-15-20 years down the line, when the Diminishing Marginal Utility of money sets in, priorities change!
You realize you are only earning for the bank, interior decorators, hotels, caterers and travel agencies
Candidates at this juncture of life are now seeking something so different, some wanting to reboot life!
“I wanted to pursue a career in taxation as a fresher but got lured by a KPO job that offered 2X salary but now the stereotype work bugs me like anything”
“I am comfortably placed @ 52 lacs in Mumbai as CFO of an MNC. But now I want to shift to Pune as I want to stay with my daughter who is in Class 8. Pay is secondary”
“I have quit that fancy 2 cr+ I-Banking job and started my own venture in trading cutting tools. Primary reason was I wanted to spend more time with family”
“I want to work in a start-up and do something which can impact society, maybe mentor some youngsters”
“I want to teach the underprivileged”
We must have been motivated by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – physiological, safety & security, loving or social and self esteem. These are external stimuli giving temporary happiness but seldom giving lasting fulfilment. Do we know ourselves well enough? The answers to this question will help us to understand self-actualization, the highest need of Maslow’s pyramid and the ultimate source of inspiration. It ignites the power within us, makes us self-driven to be in absolute love with what we do and why we love what we do. Work is no longer a list of to-do tasks; but a craft that we enjoy expressing our creativity for a higher noble purpose.
Have we ever thought about what keeps the adrenaline rushing for Narayana Murthy, Azim Premji or Ratan Tata? They all love being entrepreneurs to generate employments for the people; to generate and share wealth with the people and making a difference to lives around them. What is nobler than spreading happiness around? Ratan Tata still continue to actively encourage start-ups and invest in them, even post a two decade long innings at the helm of affairs at the Tata Group
I often wondered what kept motivating a former CMD at a Navratna
“Sir, why, at the age of 76, do you continue to work as a consultant to a private sector company, when your son is an IAS officer; your pension is quite sufficient.
Why can’t you just relax?”
He answered “I’ll ask you this question when you are asked to stay within the confines of your home for a week post retirement @ 60”
The iconic Amitach Bacchan has acted in more than 180 movies, in a career spanning more than four decades. On his 71st birthday in 2013, someone asked him, “When are you going to retire from Bollywood?” He replied, “I want to work till my last breath”. For him, acting is not just a job, but a way of expressing his creativity and impact society ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0G71BooEoM)
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam collapsed during a lecture at the IIM Shillong and left for his heavenly abode. We used to see him taking such keen interest in the little innovative ideas of National Innovation Foundation award winners that were to display at RJM auditorium @IIMA. The desire to ignite young minds kept inspiring his abundant energy. He loved interacting with students and was on his job till his last breath.
Do you also want to work till your last breath???
And are your Talent Acquisition frameworks designed to identify those who want to work beyond the lure of the paycheck, those who want to work till their last breath
Have a great week ahead 🙂
Sonia Singal & Team cajobportal.com
HMP House,4 Fairlie Place,Kolkata-1