Few acquaintances last in our minds forever. Meeting Rakesh Salwan ( I have changed the name because of confidential issues) was one of them. Rakesh currently is Head of Marketing with one of the global product companies. I met him around 2 years back and that time he was sitting on a bench in the park with his thoughts engulfing his mind so much so that he was all alone amongst the crowd of people around him.
I went there for a walk and saw a man, in the mid-’30s (I might be wrong but that is not important) engrossed in his own thoughts. Expressions were coming and going off his face. I have a habit (Good or Bad, I don’t know) of talking to strangers very easily. I couldn’t stop myself and went close to him. I asked, “ARE YOU OK?” He looked up. Expressionless. Kept silent and then said “I am OK. After all there is nothing you can do about it.” And went back to his own world of thoughts. I also said “OK! Take Care” and went away.
I crossed him again after around 10 minutes and this time he just looked up and said: “I am Jobless.”
I was surprised when I heard that. Surprised not because he was jobless but because of his sudden words which I was not expecting.
I stopped and sat near him on the bench. He was looking toward the ground staring at the green grass. I am sure he was not even noticing how beautiful the grass was looking. All green with few dews drops as well.
“I am jobless. My organization laid me off. I spent 15 years in the corporate world and worked with 2 multinationals. I did exceptionally well and worked hard. The management always appreciated my efforts and rewarded me with promotions in each cycle. But I don’t know that day they just called me and said ‘We can’t continue with your services. The business is slow and can’t afford you. All the Best for future work’ and that is it. My life changed and I got the tag of Jobless.” He stopped and before I could say anything, he started again
“Now no one wants to look at my profile.” He looked up and pointed towards all the other people in the park. All have jobs. All have a routine. My last office is working normally. All my colleagues (Ex Colleagues. He emphasized) are still punching in their cards and working. The canteen is full of my friends. But I am not there.
I am Jobless. It seems someone has pulled off all the money from my purse along with that card that read
It seems, the midst of such treasurers of Gold, I am sitting helplessly.”
I had nothing to say. And I believe he didn’t even want me to say anything. He just wanted a listening ear. My eyes were stuck on him. I wanted to speak but felt too heavy at heart. He was a man and as it’s said “MEN DON’T CRY”. So, tears were not out but his voice was heavy.
I sat there silently. He took a pause. After taking a deep breath he spoke again and this time he was looking into my eyes.
“Will my son ever see me going to the office again in the morning?
Will he ever wait for me to come back?
Will he ever say, “ Papa . Please take out time for me?”
Will he ever look up to me?
He looked back on the ground and spoke again. This time his voice was full of pain – pain that I could feel at my heart.
“Will I be able to pay off my EMIs.
Will I be able to pay his fees? I got him in one of the best schools in the city.
WILL HE EVER LOOK UPTO ME? He repeated this unknowingly.
He said a lot of other things but all just hinted towards one fear
“ WILL I BE JOBLESS FOREVER”
He is Head of Marketing for one of the Product companies. I happened to come across his profile on Linkedin and recognized his face. Checked his career graph and it said
“HEAD OF MARKETING “ – OCT 2018 – Present
The day, in the park, flashed back in a gist. That Conversation (I believe I should not call it Conversation. I was more of a listener). My memories went back to that day. The last line he said was
“WILL I BE JOBLESS FOREVER”
After this he kept quiet. His eyes were filled with a watery substance. Were they tears? No! I didn’t want to give the name of TEARS to his “FEAR”. Yes, He was scared to death that day. Scared about his family’s future.
I waited for some time. Then kept my hand on his and said,
“ NO. You will not. JUST GETUP and PLAN”
And I went away. Didn’t had much to say. I was choked.
And today I see his profile. That time I did think of him for a few days rather, a few months. But then, so typical of we humans, got busy in daily chores.
So today looking at his profile, I thought – He had to struggle with his mind for almost 4 months. I met him in the month of July and he got the job in October.
With so many thoughts flashing my mind, I sent him a connection request with a note –
“ How was the journey from the park Bench to the Chair”
And in few minutes came reply….
“9………09”..Please call asap.
I called him and his voice was thrilled.
“Thank you for everything”
That confused me. I said “ THANK ME??? For what? What did I do?”
He paused. I could see a smile on his face through the phone.
“You transformed my thoughts. I still remember your last words. He quoted me
“ NO. YOU WILL NOT. GET UP AND PLAN”
That day after you left, I felt energized. I don’t know but some positivity engulfed me. I went back home and planned my job search.
1. I listed down names of organizations where I can add value
2. I read about those organizations and did my homework. Figured out how they are handling their marketing campaigns and what value-add I can do for them. I crafted emails and sent them to CXOs highlighting how I can change their brand image.
3. I looked for JDs and tailor-made my resume before sending it to anyone
4. I started networking and planning
And I got my offer letter on 24 Sep 2018 and joined on Oct 1
I planned my move. And its all because of you.
Today also I was just listening to him (Patiently)
I smiled and we promised to stay in touch and kept the call.
The call ended and I got a WhatsApp image from him. It had a painting mounted on a wall which read
“ GET UP AND PLAN”
Below was written – By a stranger who taught me the importance of planning. Hope to see you soon
I was just smiling. Sometimes a listening ear works wonders and few words can change someone’s life