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Management, Volition

That was My Way!

Why Not?

Why not live again; why not laugh again; why not have fun again?

Why not live the same organizational life that I was blessed to lead for the last thirty years. Well, almost 90% of those years was fun, was a challenge, was a life worth living, full of unknown bends, knowing not what lay ahead, carpetbagging all the way!

I know that the term carpetbagger has a pejorative slant to it. So what! When I hit the road as a ‘sales guy’ thirty years back, that label too was no less pejorative. It was dude-ish to be an Engineer, a Doctor or a Government Officer. A sales guy was someone who could not make it to those dude-ish professions. For me, I did not even try to be one. Since, the flooding waters of life swept me to the dusty and grimy lanes of Selling and I had no choice but to survive. And yes, like many, I did…

I did it My Way!

Every time I looked in temerity around the corner, spread out in front was an uncharted jungle that I knew not. I gingerly took my first steps forward with my carpet bag of philosophy and the need for moving ahead. With every sortie, I learnt more than I ever knew. But, each time ended up getting bored with what I did well in. I sniffed around for more that could challenge me with its limits. I was always lucky to find some barriers, some challengers, mostly worth their name in salt. I moved from one trade to another, from one industry to the other and later from one function to another or from one domain of boredom (some may call it comfort) to another land of unknowns only to be rewarded with new hurdles, new enlightenment and always a new power of identity.

Most importantly, it was a journey that always left me enriched with loads of understanding, empathy, knowledge and scores of experiences of discovering new opportunities. I met so many people, so many interesting, intelligent and vibrant personalities, who became my friends, my associates, my inspiration, my leaders, my protégées and teachers. My parents and my society had given me the culture to respect greatness, knowledge and capability. I have been so lucky all these years to find so many whom I could respect, spar with, learn from and and measure upto.

Last few years, I took a breather, allowed by my organisation – I thank their wisdom – till it became quite a weight on my bored shoulders. My mind repeatedly raced into thoughts to unshackle myself from this ‘breather’. All around me were younger people, a lot of them who had grown up with me. I enjoyed the shade while they were romping on between horizons. I tried to regale myself with their successes, their trysts with their destinies, offering them scholarly advice when they stopped by. My children too were growing up and it was likewise a joy to usher them on and pester them with my foresights borne out of my hindsight.

I almost started enjoying my ‘Banaprastha’ – the 3rd of the four stages of human life prescribed by Vedantic scriptures – only to be jarred awake once in a while by the thought that I was not yet ready to wrap up, I had still years to live, but not with many ideas how to do that. At this juncture, a realization starting crystallizing in my mind – I was not really so much required by most in my advisory role – Like my grown up children, some had moved on and many were almost at the threshold of breaking free.

I wrestled with this artificial Banaprastha. I huffed & puffed, I lectured and pontificated, I held court and berated. I gradually sensed the impatience of my erstwhile followers and peers. I concluded that I need to break free as banaprastha did not belong in an organization. An organisation is about ‘Grihastha’ –  the second stage of human life, where one’s Karma is to build, to create and consume. I decided to return to ‘Brahmacharya’ – the first stage of human life, that of a student and register for a Ph.D. I knew it was not going to be easy. I knew it would be a path full of hurdles and hardship. But, the mere thought of such obstacles, fired up the embers in my mind. I was alive again – ready to haul up my carpet bag. Started dusting the bag up and was just getting ready, when like of the old, came an offer to start another innings in organizational existence. I was flummoxed for a while! I had given up organizational life in my mind for sometime and to live it again was like going back to Grihastha.

The Ph.D. offer was not yet in my hand and hence was not really an option. The new role offered in my organisaiton was about something I relished in the years gone by – to create, to build, to develop – to live for a dream! So what if I was not in the circuit for sometime. So what if I did not know all that had transpired in the meanwhile. So what if I was not clear about what exactly needs to be done. Hey! that is what I had always done all these years –  peeking around the bends, jumping into uncertainties, playing with risks and making something out of unknowns. That was My way…

But, somewhere deep in my mind I had a sense of guilt. Should I be dancing again when so many youngsters are there waiting for their chance to take the bulls by their horns. Do I deserve to be happy again in the same way as earlier while so many have their aspirations in the budding phase. For the first time in my life, I slept over the decision to jump out of the corner into the new lanes of life. For the first time in my life, I conferred with my family and friends.

I finally succumbed. Made my creaky self stand up again. The engine sputtered and muttered, but stayed on. The steering shivered for a few days, but now drives steady. The gears were rusty, but caught on. I am striking out again in my jalopy. But, one thing IS different. I know this would be the last flutter, the last organizational corner I jump out from. Grihastha if it has to be, so it will be…for a few more years.

Lucky me…I thank all those who taught me without my knowing, the art of jumping out from the corner, hitting the new lanes on the run and finding a home of serendipity! Habits die hard and I am no exception. It is back to old ways – living Beyond Expectations!

© Amit Chatterjee

url: http://www.beyondex.in

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About amitbeyondex

Amit practices as a Change | Growth Facilitator for Individuals, Managers & Organisations. He draws upon over two decades of practical experience in building up people, teams and businesses in Indo - German companies. ‘Beyond Expectations’ (www.beyondex.in) is a growth facilitation service to help Companies & Managers uncover their own positives, priorities, real options and arrive at their own decisions through their own convictions & resolutions. Amit facilitates you to come up with your own definition for Growth, Success and Happiness. He is neither a teacher nor a consultant. He is a practitioner, who dives deep into what is natural and facilitates the discovery of potentials. Amit specialises in mentoring German companies that need to develop their Organisations & Businesses in India. He facilitates the entire process; from Strategy Creation - Change Management - to Execution. He facilitates the Selection & Grooming of Top Management teams; helps the Management to develop appropriate Organisation Design, Structure, Roles & Performance management. He is always available to your Managers as a bouncing board for their ideas and uses question techniques to help people discover Options and make Choices! Amit has been a Guest Faculty at IIM, Bangalore & AIT Business School, Bangkok on Leadership & Change Management. He does workshops on invitation on Growth Management and has conducted such sessions with companies like Lufthansa, Ansell Inc., Cognizant Technologies, WeP Peripherals, Biological E, Magene Biotech, SLN Technologies, DOZCO, etc.


10 thoughts on “That was My Way!

  1. Welcome back.

    Posted by Amit Sharma | October 17, 2012, 8:46 am
  2. Hi Amit,

    I loved the way you have written your story. It reminds me of a something, which I read recently somewhere on the internet called “AN INSPIRATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE STORY”. I liked it so kept a copy with me. I am pasting the texts below:


    Many years ago there was a little village on a rocky seacoast, where storms often battered and seas were ever treacherous. Many ships were driven onto the rocks by the storms, and the lives of many sailors were lost because of the raging seas.

    One day the people decided among themselves that they should establish a lighthouse and life saving station on a little peninsula on the coast, to warn ships away from the rocks and to save the lives of those who were cast into the icy waters. They approached the government and began to secure the necessary funds for their project. Soon they set forth and built a tower, and set a beacon in it; they organized a lookout system; and they bought boats and learned how to man them; and soon they were in business. The business of saving lives!

    Soon the effects of what they were doing became known far and wide. Fewer ships went on the rocks; and when such a tragedy did occur, and the alarm was sounded, the people risked their own lives to rescue those who had been cast into the raging, icy waters. Within a few short years, people came from great distance to study their lighthouse, and to use it as a model.

    One day someone suggested that, since they all spent so much time at the lighthouse that they should gather there occasionally and enjoy good fellowship. And soon they began to get together (at first infrequently, and then more often) at the lighthouse. In fact, many people began to build their homes near the lighthouse. Then when the lookout sounded the alarm, they were there, ready to go out.

    Next, it was decided that if they were going to spend so much time there, they must make the place more comfortable. So arrangements were made to heat the lighthouse. The gray walls were painted a brilliant white. Some of the walls were paneled; rugs were put on the floors to disguise the bare concrete; a fine kitchen was installed with a handsome stove; and generally speaking the lighthouse became a nice place to spend your time waiting for the alarm to be sounded. Everything about the lighthouse was made comfortable and nice. The lighthouse soon became the center of life in the little town that grew up around it.

    One night a fierce storm blew in, as storms had blown in for years. Many ships were tossed on the jagged rocks, and the men at the lighthouse spent long hours picking sailors from the bitter cold icy waters and taking them to the lighthouse, where they were fed and provided with dry clothing. This had happened many times over the years, but this time, after the storm subsided and the sailors had all left the lighthouse, there were some men who were angry. It seems the storm had made them leave the comfort of the lighthouse, and go out into the wet, dangerous seas; and they got cold; very cold. The sailors, when they were delivered to the lighthouse, soiled the carpets. The kitchen was a mess, not to mention the stove. After a brief meeting it was first decided that sailors, when they were brought to the lighthouse, should be taken to the basement, not to the nice upper areas.

    Some time later, another storm blew in; and about one half of the men went out in the boats, and again picked sailors from the frigid waters. This time the ship, which had broken apart on the rocks, was from another nation; and the men who manned her spoke another language, and even worse were of a different color. After this storm, a few more men joined those who refused to enter the sea. They decided that men like these did not belong in the lighthouse at all; some said they felt that the lighthouses’ job was not supposed to be saving sailors from other lands, because they were so much different. There were those, too, who objected to leaving the comfort of the lighthouse to go out into the storm. These men petitioned the government and they also agreed. So, finally, it was decided that the beacon would be kept lit, but the rescue work would be discontinued.

    A small group disagreed, however, and went down the coast, a short distance, and started a new lighthouse. This small group decided that they should establish the biggest life saving station on the little peninsula, and so they did. Every day they warned ships and sometimes attempted to save lives from the icy water. Fame of the new lighthouse grew and the lighthouse back up the bay eventually turned out its beacon. Some people say the beacon can still be seen today in you and I. Oh yes, they also say the small group running the new lighthouse were those once rescued from the raging seas.

    We as people all have a choice to make with regards to our rescue work. We can choose to allow our lives to become comfortable and we can find ourselves very content. And often times we may find that we have turned out our beacon of hope for one another. Or perhaps, I hope and pray that we find ourselves lighting and saving the path of others both in our words and deeds.

    So whether you decide to be the light-house or you decide now to sail through the waves, I feel for sure that the purpose is the same “FOR THE GREATER COMMON GOOD!!”

    Best Regards,


    Posted by Rahul Chaubey | October 17, 2012, 10:45 am
    • Dear Rahul, That is quite overwhelming. I have no pretensions of being anything more than running my choices as I deem best in the context that I can rhyme with and d what I can do with my life. A lighthouse is built by ‘others’ not oneself and it also helpful if others are around and see the use of it. The simple lighthouse is nothing more that it is…anyways, it cannot be anything different as that is what it was designed to be.

      Thanks a lot for your connecting with your thoughts and wish you the best always. Warm regards, Amit

      Posted by amitbeyondex | October 18, 2012, 12:45 am
  3. Welcome back,,,
    A long way through…
    and some more way ahead, together…

    Posted by rupaksengupta | October 18, 2012, 1:40 am
  4. Hi Amit,

    I always new that some day you would come out of your ‘Banaprastha’. Good to see you back in the battle field with your ‘kalashnikov’. Personally my experience is that it makes you feel a lot younger and energetic jumping into uncertainities. Your statement Feeling guilty is not correct. May be you are one of the best and that is the reason you have been chosen. Yougsters are waiting for you to teach them how to take the bull by its horns.

    My best wishes for your new role and becoming young again.


    N Krishna Rao.

    Posted by N Krishna Rao. | November 16, 2012, 10:33 am
  5. Hi Amit,

    I presume you are busy once again. No posts???

    Posted by N Krishna Rao | January 25, 2013, 12:36 pm

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