By Suma Varughese
When the same problem comes to you repeatedly, it is time to confront it
Sunday dinner was Italian. Minestrone soup followed by pasta. Avijit was in gastronomic heaven. Dad had invited two of his ex-colleagues from the MNC he had once worked with. Pradeep Sinha and Zubin Contractor were nice young men who had enormous respect for him.
Dad broke the silence by asking his visitors, “So, how are things?
Zubin cleared his throat and said, “Actually, sir, we both have some issues.”
Dad looked expectant. Zubin continued, “Well, sir, Nitin Kapoor, my boss, is insecure. He seems to see me as a threat.
He badmouths me to all my colleagues, and nothing I do pleases him. We have been having constant confrontations.
I seem to be fated to have bad bosses. Even in my earlier jobs my bosses would harass me. Should I just leave this one too?”
Dad rubbed his chin with his left hand thoughtfully and answered, “Bad bosses seem to be a pattern in your life,” he observed. “That being so, you need to find a way to handle this problem and not just run away from it. When the universe gives us the same problem again and again, it is proof that we are meant to deal with it and grow through it.”
Zubin looked intrigued. “I hadn’t thought about it that way,” he said. “But how can I handle another man’s insecurity?”
Dad said, “From what I know of Nitin, he is not such a bad guy. He just has a people problem. In the first place, are you doing anything to make him insecure?”
Zubin looked uncomfortable, “Now that I think of it, there have been more than a few occasions when he was very upset because I resolved some issues without bringing them to his notice.”
“There you are,” said Dad. “No wonder he is insecure. You have to respect his position and keep him in the loop. Even if you have the solution to the problem, you should take h i s permission to implement it. The hierarchy needs to be respected.”
“ You are right,” said Zubin , looking sober. “What should I do?” “Is there anything you like about Nitin?” asked Dad.
“The man is a creative genius. He is a legend. There is so much to learn from him!” exclaimed Zubin.
”Tell him that. Have a straight conversation. Apologise for having over-ridden his authority, tell him it will not happen again, assure him of your intention to make your equation with him work and that should be that, I think.” Zubin nodded gratefully.
Dad turned to Pradeep, “And you?” he asked.
“Mine is a different issue,” Pradeep said. “I do not have a problem with the boss, but I am so tired of this city and of having to commute two hours and staying in a hole in the wall. I have a chance to go to the Gulf. The money is very good but the job is boring. I am in a quandary as to what to do.”
Ajoba leaned forward and said, “You seem to be running away from something rather than going towards something. That may not be wise. In my experience, each time I have taken an assignment in order to escape my current situation, it has been the wrong decision.”
“Ajoba is right,” said Dad. “It might help to ask yourself what you want, rather than what you don’t want. Also, think long-term, not short-term. Ask yourself what you really want from life?”
Pradeep looked relieved. “Thanks sir, I will think of it.”
Avijit chipped in, “Just choose the place that has the prettier girls. You can’t go wrong.”
Everyone laughed. “Good to know you are clear about your priorities,” said Dad sardonically, helping himself to some more pasta.
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