The year ends.Will Hypocrisy?

The year is coming to a close. Now is the time to mull over the life lessons learnt over the past year. And also think over the priorities and goals for the coming year.

Some valuable insights were gained from experiences throughout this year.

  1. The life is rolling in its own pace. It is not a sheltered tent. Most of the time, we are forced to walk into harsh environments which we have tried to avoid all along. And in those environments, we learn and discover our own strengths and weaknesses.
  2. An attribute which we have always considered to be our strength becomes our undoing.  I had always thought that being impatient  towards lack of movement has helped me grow in my career. but my present view is that it is precisely this particular quality which has made me take decisions in a haste.
  3. It is always wise not to take decisions when the mind is confused. That should not be taken as being indecisive.
  4. A known devil is better than an unknown angel. A cliché, but I forgot to abide by this last January.
  5. It is not necessary to understand everything about the environment one finds himself in.  Most of the time, there is nothing to understand.

What are the core beliefs which should guide my actions in the coming year?

  1. Just being.
  2. Do not be concerned so much about the posturing of others. They are just posturing, as the word itself describes, and not words / actions born out of convictions. 
  3. Learn to distinguish the behaviour patterns of people and to strategize in dealing with them.
  4. Learn to communicate ideas confidently.   This is one area where I need to show dramatic improvement to take my career to higher levels.
  5. Do not be under compulsion in no circumstances.  Wilful positive action is the only way.
  6. Learn to show displeasure in a dispassionate way.  Do keep your emotions under your control all the time.
  7. And most important of all, do not feel the urge to change anything or anyone. This life is just perfect.


On a Monday, I had to stay off from work  due to ill-health. Tuesday morning, CEO during his briefing was trying to arouse my anger.

“What happened to the order that was expected to be shipped before year-end? It wont happen as was expected, right? were you sleeping over it?”

I refused to lose my temper.

“I briefed you last week itself that their internal control systems do not permit suppliers to send documents through Bank and they were asking me to accept their standard procedure sending shipment documents directly to them without the involvement of bank. I did not accept it and finally they agreed for it. Unfortunately necessary approvals were to be taken from their financial department to this effect. But their financial manager is expected only in January 1st week..unless this is finalised, PO cannot be issued by them…without PO, I am not willing to ship out the material”  

Calmly, I explained again to him second time. This did not seem to have subside his inner anger.

“well, you have decided that in the next month’s board meeting, your boss will have to hear criticisms from fellow board members…”

I said “sir, even if this shipment had gone, it would have given us a sales of Rs 7 Lacs only….”

He mumbled “yeah..I know…I am not interested in your statistics”

He started another pronged argument “You have slowed down your progress in your discussions with your customers”

I answered him back “If you could name the customer, I shall be able explain the status update, reasons for progress and lack of it”

I was successful so far in not showing off my anger at his provoking tone and line of questioning.

“You did not turn up yesterday…dont understand why you keep on falling sick often”

This was his last weapon. If there was a meter installed to show my inner anger, I am sure it must have reached its maximum level.  I converted my anger into silence. I did not look at his eyes. I knew if I had seen his eyes,   my anger may have found verbal expressions. I just looked elsewhere and pretended to ignore it.

His words had hit me very hard and I became bitter internally for many hours after the interaction.  What does he want? Does he not want me to take leave even if I am sick?  I don’t understand the logic.  I have not seen Bosses wanting to control so much – They play Gods and will even dictate on when the sub-ordinates can fall sick.

Luckily, I have only one meeting in a day and did not have to see him again that day.

Next day when I came to office, one of the ants informed me with glee in his eyes that CEO won’t come that day. He had fallen sick. He did not turn up next day also.

I had to speak to him on phone one of those days. During the talk, I asked him how was his health.

He said “Very bad…throat infection, body ache, vomitting…..has not stopped for the last two days…its terrible”

I told him “yeah…I can well imagine…I had gone through the same on Monday when I took off….take care…get well soon”

Liars Galore

Next few weeks proceeded without much events. Routinely, I went about working on various sales leads. Some time in October, I had proposed to CEO that I would like to travel to France for an upcoming Food exhibition, perhaps the biggest trade fair in our line of business. My proposal listed out the customers whom I will be meeting with and likely quantum of business that I hope to finalize immediately on return from the fair. I also had explained in the proposal visiting the trade fair is the most economical thing to do in International Business when scouting for new customers.

CEO listened to my proposal patiently and then immediately replied that it is not possible to accept the tour proposal. He cited that there is not much liquidity in the business and a few capital expenses being planned. While he would be glad to send me abroad for business promotion in normal circumstances, he felt that the time is not ripe yet. He informed me that he is working on bringing in more finance into the company.

After a couple of days, I heard from his new secretary (Ms.H had resigned from the company sometime back) that CEO and the Director are planning to Travel to Europe again. This time their aim is to explore possibilities to set up a trading subsidiary there for which some meetings with consultants, bankers and investment brokers have been arranged. After Europe, I was told that they will fly into China for meeting with potential supply partners. My customer visits can always wait as securing business is least of their worries.

 I have all the freedom to go about securing export business through telephonic calls and Emails. Yeah I am free to do anything except travelling. In the modern communications age,  when phones and emails are available. is there a need for Exports Managers to see the customers’ faces?

CEO’s case is different. He has to work harder than the Managers. He needs to see the faces, stay in expensive hotels and fly in business class.  


The Pizza chain budged at last and confirmed a trial order. The customer found a problem in the first shipment itself. The labels did not carry the manufacturing dates. When the complaint came in, I contacted the QA head and told him about the problem. Without any reaction, he said to me that he will check it and then revert. I waited for 2 days and there was no revert. On the 3rd day, I sent him an email on this subject, soliciting his comments on what went wrong and what are the proposed corrective steps. The customer was getting impatient and was repeatedly asking me to take back the consignment. On 4th day, I got a call from the VP.

“I keep calling you on phone since last 3-4 days. Why are you not picking the calls?”

“you called me? when?”

“I called you many times. please check your phone”

“excuse me, you never called me”

“are you saying I am a liar”

“no I am not saying anything”

“will u please pick my calls when I call you…pls give me that assurance…..tell me who are you talking to in pizza chain…I know everybody there……I talk to them almost every week…pls give me the phone number of Mr.A.L….I will convince him..I dont know what you have explained to him about this…but I can handle him quite nicely….let me call you back after sorting it out…..pick up my call this time…ok?”

I did not know what hit me. I have been battling with the customer alone on this problem for the last 4 days. VP did not call me back that day. Before leaving the office, I gave a call to Mr.A.L. and asked him if he received any call from VP. He said no one called and again said to me in a curt way that our goods are blocking their warehousing space.

Next day morning, one of the ants approached me and asked for the precise address of the warehouse from where the goods are to be picked up from. I learned that VP had instructed to him about it. I did not know whats happening. I called the VP on phone and he picked it up. I asked him if he had a word with Mr.A.L.

“oh…I tried repeatedly…and then I was told by the operator (How come operator picked up Mr.A.L.’s mobile?) that A.L. is out of station and will be back only after a week……I thought it is better to resolve the issue with re-labelling of the tins….because I always believe in timely customer service”

Timely customer service after 7 days….impressive!