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Do you know your self-worth?

June 9, 2016


Heard this anecdote from a friend.


When President John F. Kennedy visited NASA in 1962, he noticed a janitor cleaning the place, so he went and introduced himself to the janitor and asked “What are you doing?” To which the janitor responded “Well, Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon.”


We have much to learn from this.


To most people, the janitor may have been just cleaning the building but if you look deeply, and synthesize the issue you will appreciate the janitors sense of self-worth and his belief in his contribution – in helping make history irrespective of how others perceived him and his work.

What we can learn from this…

  1. Team work
  2. Recognize and Appreciate your self-worth
  3. All contributions – however big or small – work towards the development of the organisation



The janitor could easily have lamented – cursed his luck and blamed the various Gods (attitude especially observed in India)/his parents/government and faulted his bosses for not having recognized his worth by providing him with a cushy job that he perceived he was worth of! Like “MOST” he could have felt resentful that he was doing the lowliest job in hierarchy on a non-existent salary! But the janitor at NASA was proud of his work.


What ‘MOST/LAZY’ people fail to recognise or ignore the fact that the job you get is proportional to your educational qualifications, your acquired soft skills, dedication and hard-work.


But most lazy people believe that “Who you know?”+”How much money to have to corrupt person in position” and if need be “are they willing to apply force” get that cushy job by jumping the queue and landing the job even though they do not possess the qualifications, experience or skills required for job!


Not sure if this is a universal phenomenon…But in India, we have this strange obsession of  people who are very desirous of acquiring a “Government Job” irrespective at which level! There are “few” Post Graduates and PhDs vying for government attender posts too! Few observations were made:

  • Are they on bad times that they are willing to take the lowliest job in that organisation?
  • Are they incompetent and know their true worth that they will be unable to contribute and survive in a competitive environment?
  • Are they knowledgeable that the Attender/PA posts so lucrative for two reasons 1. Power position 2. Corrupt earnings?


When interacted with a few – found that all the above observations held true…. but the most shocking revelation was that most brides parents gave girls in marriage to a boy holding a government job believing that since nobody is removed from a permanent government post their daughters future will be secure! That is one of the reasons boys vie to land a government job and in turn also benefit from “huge dowry”!


Earlier the charm of government job was the Pension (a handsome amount) one got on retirement and also the number of Casual/Earned/Medical Leave one could apply for but the most attractive of all was ‘most’ people assumed that one need not ‘work’ – was free for most part of the day, where flexible timings were maintained depending on ones understanding and equation with fellow workers and higher ups. Surprisingly “MOST” higher ups largely ignored those who were lazy as these lazy people would anyway do a half baked job and the onus fell on the person assigning work to complete it and they also kept a distance from “lazy people with a loud mouth” for fear of backlash and harassed the already over worked ones! Their reasoning was work should be done and not kept pending irrespective of who does it!

Nobody could question the person who shirked work or demand a response for behaviour/attitude of person in question, as he/she would easily get their union to represent them against higher ups for harassment (when in reality it is them harassing their officers and colleagues) or if nothing works out…conveniently request a transfer via the connections he/she maintained with the bosses higher ups! And continue in the next new place in the same way.


All these tactics do not work in private or MNCs. Where timings are maintained via biometric systems. Leaves are marked and salary is deduced should they be exceeded the allotted number. Work is allocated and their work and quality of output is continuously monitored at all levels. Unions are not encouraged and those intent on creating a union are removed from the job for going against company policy. Certain legal documents listing organisation policies are signed by all the employees before taking the job at MNC. If the employee does not adhere to these policies, legal action can be initiated against them. All these usually keep the employees working in private/MNC toeing the line.


To bring about change

  1. Government jobs should not recruit permanent employees. Employees should be on Contract for 1-5 years depending. Only when someone shows output should they be promoted with designation and salary.
  2. All government jobs should have a one 1-3 months “exchange program” with MNCs, which will be mutually beneficial.


Disclaimer/Note: All government jobs and government servants cannot be fitted in the above model – there are always exceptions everywhere. Comment is generalised by words like “most” “few” and not insinuating or targeting any one person or profession or institution.


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