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Monday, November 14, 2011

BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY

Andrew Carnegie the great American industrialist and philanthropist once said that there are three types of people in this world. The first types of people are those that always live on the margin and they do as little work as possible and if unsupervised they would choose not to do any work at all. The amount of work this group of people do is not even close to what their positions dictate. They follow the minimalist approach where they do only as much as it is necessary to just survive in the system to get paid at the end of each month. They can be identified easily as they don’t seem to stick too long in any place. Normally a year is sufficient for them to begin to get exposed.
  
The second groups of people are those that will do what is stipulated in their job descriptions and nothing beyond that. They follow a system of work by the clock and follow the 9:30 to 5:30 schedule and nothing beyond that. These are honest and genuine people but bound by self drawn limitations. I call such people as people who work within a defined contract structure and if they are required to put in additional hours they look for quick rewards.

The third types of people as defined by Carnegie are those that will go beyond the call of their duty. They seem to have everything going for themselves. Despite their work that goes beyond their office hours they are able to bring a better work-life balance in comparison to the other two groups of people. This type of attitude towards their duty is what I call as one of the secrets of all success stories. Here I want to be very carefully as I may unknowingly give the impression to the reader that I am defining success by the amount of wealth one accumulates. I am sure many of you will remember the famous John D. Rockefeller to whom the wealth that he accumulated did not bring him happiness. In fact today his success is not measured by the amount of wealth he accumulated during his lifetime but more by the wealth that he gave away for the cause of education and medical care.

This is a true story of a man who started his second innings after having lost all he had. There was one thing that he did not lose and that was habit of working beyond the call of duty. I am deliberately not using his real name so that I don’t reveal his identity. Karan was a middle aged man in his 40s and started his career with a modest beginning. He rose to become a Manager in a Manufacturing unit in the state of Punjab. Fate would not support him and one fine day he found himself on the street with nowhere to go. Karan after recovering from the after-shock decided to take matters in his hand and not wait for the invisible hand of God to work for him. By stroke of luck he chanced upon an opportunity to reach New York a land where dreams are made. He was able to get a daily wages job in a grocery store which gave him just enough to survive. He slept at night in the store itself and went all out to help his boss better the business. Over the next one year of his work at the store, he had been able to impress his boss with his level of honesty, integrity and hard work that his boss decided to ask him to open a vegetable store in front of the Grocery store with a deal that Karan would keep all the earning and give his boss 20 percent from the profits.

Karan used his savings to open a vegetable store in front of the Grocery store of his boss. He worked hard and even started home delivery to his good customers. The news of his service to customers spread like a wild fire in the Indian community and his customer base increase many fold. With his new found success he was able to rent a shop in the same market and started a grocery store like his boss. He always went beyond the call of duty in his work and it started paying him high dividends. To cut the long story short, today Karan is one of the largest importers of Indian grocery items in the United States of America. He is a multi-millionaire but still works with the same dedication that he started his small business operation. He never forgot his boss who stood by him in times of need; they are today the best of friend and are doing business together as partners.

Is there a moral to this story? Answer will depend on which category of people you would classify yourself into.

Think how you can reach beyond the call of duty…




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