Monday, March 07, 2011

Kaam ki baat

The other day I ordered a Domino's pizza and the bill was Rs 484.

"Sorry ma'am I don't have change," said the delivery boy.

I was a bit annoyed. When the local kirana shop sends change, surely Domino's should be following a similar common-sense system.

"It's ok, you can keep the change," I told him. "But do tell your manager that we expect better from Domino's."

About fifteen minutes later, the doorbell rang. It was the same boy, with Rs 16 in hand.

"It's ok!" I said. "I told you to keep the change."

"No ma'am," said the boy."It's my duty."

He went on to relate how grateful he is to work at the pizza place, because all his pocket money comes from this job. While he does go to college, he has to work in order to support himself as well.

This boy may not have many of the advantages that other kids his age have. But I am sure, in the longer run, he will do very well for himself. Working at Domino's he is not just earning money, but inculcating values.

Which will stand him in good stead throughout his life.

But how many students in this country would be willing to work at a Domino's? You simply won't find kids from 'good families' in these jobs.

"Tumhe abhi naukri karne ki koi zaroorat nahin hai, focus on your studies' - is what the parents say.

And the kids happily nod and accept. (Whether they focus on studies is, of course, a different matter altogether).

Another common refrain from parents is:"Kaam karne ke liye to zindagi padi hai, abhi bachchon ko enjoy karne do."

And if kids do need to take up a job - just for the experience - let it be a desk job or office job. I mean imagine walking into McDonalds and seeing our Chunnus and Munnus standing behind the counter.

Log kya kahenge and all that jazz.

Personally, I think that all students would benefit immensely - personally and professionally - if they worked while they studied. But this applies particularly to those pursuing courses like bachelor's of management.

Imagine the experience you get working at a Cafe Coffee Day - from operations, to cash flow management to understanding customers.

But, again, do our BMS or BBA colleges encourage students to take up such work?

Rather, most students are looking for 'internship' with reputed organisations. Preferably, based in an office and not out there 'on the field'.

At forums I am often asked, "How can we make our youth more entrepreneurial?"

And I have to throw the ball back into the oldies court and say,"Stop making life so cushy!"

Loving your children does not mean making them lazy, giving them a sense of entitlement. Encourage them to work!

In the West, kids are told to even fund their own college education. Indian parents will faint at the thought. So, pay the fees, feed and clothe your kids. But must you fund their every whim and fancy beyond that?

Let them understand and savour the value of money.

Give them the pleasure of earning their next mobile phone.

Share with pride that your son or daughter is working at the mall. That you encouraged them to do it, and think every student should.

Work for the money, and also the sheer fun of it.

Work for the experience, to know ki duniya mein hota kya hai.

Because we grow up in a cocoon - a comfort zone - from which many of us never fully break out.

We grow, because it is a biological imperative. But we become moths, blindly attracted to the thoughts and ideas of others.

Start working for yourself - and on yourself. Discover your own power, and the beauty within.

Evolve into a butterfly.

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