“Who will cry when you die?”

Posted: February 2, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

My dear friend (and I’d rather call him friend than ex-boss!), Simar referred to the book by this title, few times. I never managed to read the book, but the title intrigued me, and stayed with me.

Events of Saturday brought back this phrase to my mind. As I walked the four floors of the offices of Compare Infobase Ltd., to shake hands with most of the team members, to bid goodbye to them, on my last day at work there, I was touched by several very emotional reactions.

Some young members of the team, at least 2 levels down in the reporting hierarchy, with whom I had brief interactions over time, were verbal enough to tell me, “Sir, you can’t leave us. What will we do without you? Who will teach us?”. No, I was not a “teacher”, I was the Chief Operating Officer. But I guess, I might have managed to share some knowledge over time.

I spotted many a moist eyes, as I walked around and met managers, programmers, team leaders. There were genuine feelings of loss that they were going through, and I sensed many voices choke, as they shook their hands with me.

A couple of direct reportees – senior managers – got quite emotional. And to top it all, my friend / boss /CEO, Simar, could not completely hold back his feelings.

I was overwhelmed by the many flattering words, combined with examples, that my colleagues shared at the farewell. Also appreciated, not just the gift that they gave me, but also the large farewell card, signed with special messages by my many colleagues there. A few insisted on coming down till the car, as I left for the airport.

Very touching. Quite embarrassing also – especially, the car-drop part!

As I looked back on the day’s events on my way to the airport, I thought of this book title, “Who will cry when you die?”.

Do we leave some mark where we go? Are we touching lives? Do our actions and words inspire others, and make a change in their being?

As entrepreneurs, modesty and humility is in our being. Because we have a long agenda, and there’s always things to do. So even the intermediate victories are enjoyed momentarily, before we move on, to the next agenda. We don’t make much of it.

Likewise, as experienced persons, we have a lot in our heads, and we share bits and pieces of it, casually, in interacting with our teams and colleagues. Okay, sometimes we impart specific knowledge in training sessions and the like. But more often, it’s the casual interactions, which we may ourselves not make much ado about, but for the recipient, who is still in the early days of her career, that small bit is very valuable!

As I thought about the reactions that I got on Saturday, I realized that it was in spite of having been:

  • responsible for bringing in structured reporting, which put far more accountability on everyone; ordinarily, it should have not been a popular thing to do!
  • a strong voice to change the culture from being ‘accommodative to low performers’ (by giving them opportunities in other areas, etc.) to being a proponent of ‘if there is a clear question on performance, there is no room for the person’ theory,
  • unfortunately, at the helm of affairs and at the forefront, during the period when we needed to do few rounds of layoffs; it’s never pleasant, but what had to be done, had to be done.

There were other factors too, which were clearly steering some people away from a comfort zone. So I was glad that in spite of all these, there was appreciation and admiration of my efforts and my tenure there.

I was feeling equally bad to move on, especially after seeing this reaction. If circumstances were a little different, I would have continued and tried to lead the company to even greater heights.Well, that was not to be…

For now, I cherish the farewell. I appreciate the emotions of the team.

But most of all, I recognize the impact that my experience, my sincere involvement with the team, my bits of training, my knowledge, can make. It’s something to recognize, and to utilize well, for the benefit of any organization that I am associated with, now and in future!!

  1. Shilpa Srivastava says:

    Hello Sir

    By reading your blog I could relate to the scenario there in Compare Delhi office. Just was wondering we didn’t even get a chance to do that.
    It was an enriching experience with you to say the least.


  2. simarprit says:

    Sanjay, a colleague lost – a friend gained. May you achieve exceptional success in whatever you choose to do.

  3. Goutam Sathia says:

    Job is like a flowing river, it furtiles the land whereever it passes through. All the best for your next dynamic persuit.

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