This morning the following email popped up in my inbox. I was completely surprised to get this from a colleague who is now at the peak of his career.
It is an honest assessment of his career over the last two decades. I find it simply beautiful. So smooth and easy. It makes me happy to have in some ways touched a life. It is so thrilling. I assure you — it is as thrilling, exciting and sensuous as a lover’s first kiss. It reaffirms my guess that we are essentially all connected and the greatest happiness comes when we take part, give and share whatever we have with fellow travelers.
But what I see as the greatest strength of Mr. Pathi is his sense of soft authentic gratitude. This letter overflows with that. I found him to be an authentic human being – so rare to find these days — a vanishing tribe or better – an endangered species to the point of extinction.
The greatest crisis
that faces civilization at this point of time is — people losing faith in themselves, people losing hope and people forgetting to help, share and give to the happiness of others with empathy.
It gives me great satisfaction and happiness when I am able to encourage a fellow human being to have faith in himself; not to lose hope and deal with life with great empathy. To me the greatest qualities that can take a human being anywhere in the world to do good for others and self are a) Simplicity b) Patience
c) Compassion. If only I can help others see those qualities in themselves I would take my life to be fulfilled! What more do I want? Sure, there is nothing more to life than that.
Now over to Mr. Pathi’s introspection over a 20 year period.
I write this mail on the occasion of completing 20 years of career.
Please read this.
Thank you and warm regards
My self apprisal after 20 years of Career.
It is natural for humans to look back in time, when they are getting old. As advancing in age, we recollect fond memories, forget the bad ones and to pride over the achievements of the past.
It is usual, that the hope for the future drives when we are young and sweet memories sail us thru. the old age.
With this preface, if I look back into my last 20 years, professionally, I found the sweet memories.
1. Graduating in Mechanical Engineering from BITS, Pilani, gave me a quest to learn more in Mechanical Engineering to be called a Mechanical Engineer.
I thank my parents for their blessings and support and financing my education at BITS. I had to cope with home sickness and new environment at BITS. This phase was tough and taught me many a lessons.
2. Worked in Power plants in Operations, Commissioning and Maintenance for 3 years. (first formative phase of my engineering capability)
I thank 3 persons who influenced me a lot. Dr. B.L.Bihani (then the CEO of J.K.Paper), Engr. S.C.Garg, ( then the GM of Power Plant in J.K.Paper) and Engr. Viswanadham ( a fine engineer and a humble human being who played an important role as my mentor in Power plant).
3. Worked as domain consultant in the field of Asset / Maintenance Management for 4 years. (second formative phase of my engineering capability)
Though I was groomed as Power Plant Engineer, in my earlier phase, I felt the urge to know a better way of doing maintenance. Thanks to Engr. Dibyendu De, who selected me in a job interview, knowing very well that I do not know the ABC of Condition Monitoring and he was sure that I had an urge to learn and excel. Under his guidance, I grew to call myself an Engineer. Perhaps, I was not aware of my capabilities fully, while I was working under him. This is typical of Indian students. Soon I realized how capable I am while serving as Head of the Department in Jindal Steel and Power and later in Saline Water Conversion Corporation.
Engr. Dibyendu De is a genius and his understanding of many subjects (difficult to list them) is so profound that it is difficult to say, which are the subjects he mastered. Beyond the Engineering and Technical stuff, he is fine human being who helped me to get insights into life. If I have to use only one word to describe him, it is guru.
4. Worked as Head of the Department in Power and Desalination plant and Steel & Power Plant for 6 years.
This 6 years, I call them my performing years of Engineering. The learning curve which was steep in the last 7 years, started to flatten.
Such was the capability of Engr. De to shape me as an engineer, I used to solve the maintenance problems faced in the plants of Jindal and SWCC, with effortless ease. This boosted my confidence and gave me the satisfaction as an engineer. I fondly remember, once Engr. De asked us( me and my colleagues) what you want to be. I wrote, I want to be known in my field of expertise. Thanks to Engr. Dibyendu De, this became true.
5. Going for SAP Certification in Plant Maintenance.
I did certification in SAP PM with my own money(which was expensive), in 2005. This study, preparation and clearing the exam were a challenge because I was re-doing the regular study after 16 years from passing from the college. After clearing the certification exam, I wept uncontrollably. The tears were the tears of joy and my emotions overwhelmed not because I cleared the exam, but because I proved again to myself that I did it.
I thank my friend D.Srinivas who motivated me to do SAP certification. He also shifted from Marketing career in L&T to SAP career. The change was not smooth for him.
6. Worked in SAP as PM consultant and Project Manager for 6.5 years in various companies including, Satyam, IBM, Wipro, CSC.
There was a career shift from Engineering domain to IT domain perceived by recruiters. I never felt the difference, that I changed my career from Engineering to IT. To me, the difference was minor, as it was a natural progression.
Thanks to Kishore Josyula, a senior (in BITS, L&T, Satyam and CSC) and a good friend, who guided me in SAP jobs. He was instrumental in Satyam job and CSC job. He also guided me to take up the right kind of roles for fast track career growth in IT. When I was interviewed for G50 position in CSC, he was in G60. He exhibited rare qualities of humans, when he strongly recommended me for a higher pay scale though he was drawing lower than the one he recommended for me. He also regularly suggests me on the personal financial management( I am poor at it).
The IT companies started utilizing my experience in consulting and managerial skills to their advantage, though made me start my career again. I played the same game of IT to change jobs frequently to gain my position and pay. I took every challenge which came my way throughout my career. But in CSC, I was reluctant to play the role of Project Manager, especially surrounded by hypocrisy. I was not interested in the kind of stress, this role would bring me. On Kishore’s advice, I took it up and delivered. IT career also gave me a satisfaction, the highest being the role of Project Manager for Kiewit off-shore team of 80 members.
This was the time, I started looking back at the career. For some reason the mind wanted to take the roles which are stress free.
I started to realize one thing that I need to prove to myself, what I am. If I prove myself, it is proved to the rest of the world automatically. I learnt this from Engr. De. I asked him many times, how was my performance in seminar or training. After a long time he replied with questions. What was my feeling?. Did I felt the joy of doing it? Was there positive energy flowing from the participants?. I started realizing this slowly. I fondly remember his appreciation after the problem solving session at IOC, Haldia.
Today I am feeling satisfied in my career. If my financial situation allows me to retire and still fulfill my responsibilities, I will be happy to retire from service, with a satisfaction.
I have one wish, Maintenance Management in its true sense is a subject which is hardly taught anywhere. After having experienced in this field want to transfer this knowledge to new engineering graduates, who aspire for a career in Maintenance Management. Will I do it? and How? I do not have answers to this. May be I will find one.
7. I joined Khafji Joint Operations, Saudi Arabia as CMMS Engineer.
Doing this job on a relaxed note. I am writing this my self-appraisal of 20 years, as I do not have to do anything here.
I thank my wife and son for bearing with my changes in career and the disturbance, I bring to them. They are kind to bear with me always.
Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have had.
At times an assessment like this over the ‘long now’ simply brings clarity and focus about the few essentials we need to effectively deal with in life. No?