“No man's life can be encompassed in one telling. There is no way to give each year its allotted weight, to include each event, each person who helped to shape a lifetime. What can be done is to be faithful in spirit to the record and to try to find one's way to the heart of the man”.
These opening lines from the Oscar winning movie Gandhi sum up my feelings as I put pen to paper and try to share my experiences so far. As part of a motley group of MBA recruits who converged into Infosys Mysore campus on May 7th 2007 I have savored all aspects of this journey so far.
At times, I have often doubted the roaring pace at which life was unfolding. I have been asking too many questions, more often to myself--- starting from philosophical/elevated questions like-
- What it is that I want from life?
- What if I don’t realize anything out of it?
- What if I am after the wrong goals?
- Wasn’t life all about the journey and not about a sense of arrival?
… to more serious questions like-
- How does one get ON THE SPOT AWARDs in Infosys?
I wish I had a few clever lines to say about my experience so far in Infosys. Wish I had my own Ten Commandments or 7 Habits to share. This will make me look right and wise alright. But then I’m not too good at this, never was. Yet, I will try to pen down my thoughts; what-ever inferences you want to make out of it would be the takeaway, the sum total of my being.
They say that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings can change the course of history. It can choose to nibble on nectar, or can unleash a storm by just flapping its wings. Life has always been defined by the choices that we make- some makes us stronger, some turn out to be very anti-climactic and some remain banal yet vital to a greater cause. One part seeks the wisdom- other part is swayed by the jazz and the show. Is there a go-between? The need to be part of a clan, to be the Collective Souls - is so ingrained in our social DNA that we have an invisible bond invariably preventing us from moving away from the herd. As they say, the nowhere man, the John Galts don’t exist for long… they fade away soon enough! I jumped, I tried to fly, and I stumbled while climbing ladders. Thankfully, somewhere along the way I realized that I was actually a fish and I was born to swim rather than jump ladders.
Cognitive dissonance has played a great role in the choices that I have made. More often than not it has been a gut feel, a call based more on intuition rather than cold facts. From playing the bumbling Bertie Wooster to the wise Jeeves, I have burnt my fingers as well as mid-night candles trying to find my space and prove my worth. Sometimes things work out better than expected and it feels nice to know that there are people out there who appreciate your hard work even though it might just be a part of your Job description. When you feel wel-comed and valued, the long hours and stretch don’t feel like a job. You walk the extra mile. Period.
And to set the record straight I have worked as a product consultant, handled requirement workshops, ran after clients for sign offs, created and executed testing, worked for the client as their Production Manager and so on. Each one of these have made me what I’m today- the bad experiences have made me stronger while the good experiences have made me to dream bigger.
There is no mantra that can guarantee endless success. There are no exalted sermons that I can give which you don’t know already. More often than not it’s a result of many small things done the right way which lead to enduring success. Here are a few things that I have tried to follow in my own idiosyncratic way over the course of my Infosys journey-
- Knowledge Sharing
- Extend. Explore. Excel
- Learn on the job; learn something new
- Network with peer group and team members
- Learn from the experts
- Enjoy what you are doing
Knowing that I’m here for the long run, and belonging to a part of India where being laid back is just a way of life- I am not too swayed to join the rat race and bandwagon. Over these years, I have grown and have learnt a lot- from my peers, from a job well done and also from the challenges. From working with clients in freezing Norway to the corporate HQ of the world’s largest CPG company, to working on innovative product/solution ideas in the vibrant retail, CPG space - it has been an interesting journey. Given a chance, I would perhaps keep the story so far as it is--- with just a few commas and dots interweaved in the story.
I don’t have a one-stop-fix-it-all mantra to succeed in my job. The closest continuous improvement philosophy that I try to imbibe would be Kaizen which amongst other things means "change for the better". We all make mistakes; I perhaps make them more than others. I have to try extra hard to keep pace with the others. But the name of the game is to keep on trying.
I hope I have made my point without saying much! I would like to sign off with these immortal lines from ‘IF’ by R Kipling-
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same