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Two taxi drivers, two different lessons.

Some of the best lessons are learnt from sources that you do not expect. I've had two contrasting lessons from two people of the same profession. Two taxi drivers. Two extremely different learning points.

A couple of months ago, as i got on a cab, the driver knew I was late and he suggested a route that I never knew existed. He suggested a lesser known route and upon my affirmation, instead of going on the highway,  he drove through a network of smaller minor roads which hitherto did not exist to me. To my surprise, the journey was cut down by a full 10 minutes and I was on time for the scheduled appointment. Had I stuck with the decision to follow a route that was familiar to me, i might not have reached my appointment on time. To me, this was a brilliant driver who was able to travel the unconventional route in order to do his best for his customer. The other valuable lesson that he taught me was to be open enough towards suggestions and be flexible enough for change, it might work towards one's favour eventually.

A few weeks later, I got onto a taxi of which the  driver felt that I was a good listening buddy. Throughout the journey, he shared the unfortunate plight of his child at his workplace; how a colleague with far lesser working experience was chosen over his child for a managerial position despite the fact that his child had better educational qualifications. Unable to face the disappoinment, his child decided to leave the organisation at a time where the job market was not in a good state. His child then applied for a job with another company which provided better remunerations. There was no outcome from the application and as a result, his child had to settle for a job which imposes tight deadlines and sales target. Being unable to meet the deadlines and targets, his child decided to leave the organisation.  

While i sincerely sympathised with the plight of his child from the bottom of my heart initially, the sympathy began to somewhat fade as the sharing went on.  This highlights a common problem amongst many - myself included;  we feel a strong sense of entitlement towards many things. We expect our experience and our educational qualifications to garner a certain remuneration. We expect our talent to be rewarded immediately. Lets face the reality of the world, it is never fair. The sooner we get used to this fact, the easier it is for us to cope with the challenges of this life. Even if we do have a rare talent, an idea that could bring betterment to the world or even something that the world could benefit from us, there are many instances around the world where it took a lot of door knocking, years of preparation and years of finetuning to eventually get one's goals realised. I've seen similar situations happening right in front of me. Someone with lesser work experience and seemingly 'inferior' achieves  a better appraisal from the management. Well, the reason why we seem to feel that the other party is inferior to us and therefore the rewards should not rightfully be awarded to him or her is simple; we are simply analysing from our own point of view.

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In any organisation, the ones who achieve a higher position are the ones that are valued to a greater extent, according to the goals of the organisation. It might be a perceived value, or it might be real. At times, it may be as simple as the existence of better chemistry with the superiors.

The existence of any form of enterprise would be the same. To generate profits. Hence the employee who speaks the language of the organisation best would experience better rewards than one who does not.

The alternative to self pity would be to embrace the reality as it is. If you are aiming for a certain position in an organisation, do your homework, find out what the requirements are and decide how to make yourself and your contributions visible to the employers - of course in an ethical manner. If you decide to work in a prestigious organisation which is picky in its choice of staff, find out how to volunteer for certain events where you can network with some of its members. Where there's a will, there's a way. Self pity and a strong sense of entitlement would not bring us much good if we do not possess a rare talent useful to the organisation that we are aiming to be part of. It would be more beneficial for us to humble down and learn how to make ourselves more useful to any organisation. Pride does come before fall. Pride creates an artificial wall, it puts us on a pedestal that may not be valued by the society at large. It is easier said than done but to focus on making oneself marketable and to adapt to changes and the requirements of the job market would be far beneficial one's long term economic viability. After all - the child of the second cab driver i talked to might face another employer who might disappoint him

Abraham A. L

Originally written on 5th December 2015

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