The golden moments in my career: self confidence, key for success.
If you like your work and focus on achieving something during your career, I feel sure that there could be certain golden moments in your career which you cannot easily forget. After retirement from a hectic career, during which you could make some really good contributions, just ruminating on these golden moments could rejuvenate your weakening body and may be, contribute to your good mental feeling and health.
In my case, though I would only claim to be an ordinary mortal, my brief stint of about one and a heal years in the Science Advisory Council to Prime Minister was my golden period in my career.
There are many reasons for this. I had never expected that this chance would come to me, I had just joined in my newly promoted post of Under Secretary in the Department of Electronics and was just about to complete a year. I could not claim to have had a strong background in science and technology, (the post was occupied by a scientist who had a doctorate degree), I had only heard the names of the great scientists who formed the Committee. You would ask ‘how dare you dreamt about getting this job ?’ Well, the answer lay in my strong belief in two qualities everyone should remember, if he/she is to really succeed. These two are: one, the willingness to learn at each step (there is no need for prior experience in the job) and two, there has to be a strong belief in your own capabilities – the self-confidence, coupled with an attitude, ‘come what may, I can handle and win,’
It was the golden moment for other reasons too. I was the only candidate recommended for selection to the post by identification. The appointment was approved by Hon’ble Shivraj Patil, then Minister of State for S&T. I had by then four publications to my credit, on S&T, with background in S&T, (having worked with Prof.M.G.K. Menon, earlier), on a broad basis. I had excellent administrative capabilities, recognized by Prof. Menon and which could ‘create a demand’ for my services, when he badly needed a good P.A.when he was Director, TIFR, and based on my working with him for over a year in that capacity, he again was pressing for my continuation with him, when he moved to Delhi, as his headquarters.
On day one of my working with SAC-PM, I could impress the entire committee by keeping a simple one-page note on ‘how to claim your TA/DA on tour’ (they were all confused about this issue) which answered all their queries and solved all their problems on this front. (first impression is always the best impression, they say!). This infused a kind of confidence in all members that this man could deliver.
All papers meant for the Council’s meetings were prepared much in advance, with clarity and well arranged in neat folders. Individual likes of some members for a ‘beeda’
during break, blacker coffee for the Chairman etc. proved to be added benefits for the members, for which arrangements had to be there.
There were questions of logistics in terms of transport arrangements for the members,meetings to be coordinated with Cabinet Secretary, meetings/presentations at PM ‘s office, arrangements for slide projectors, refreshments, lunches, minutes preparation, follow-ups, preparation of recommendations to Prime Minister, annual report and so on. For me, all these provided enough challenges, considering the importance of the Science Advisory Council to Prime Minister.
It was the first time that I dared to comment, in my own first meeting of the Council for a rehearsal of a presentation to the Prime Minister, on one of the slides made by one member. The change suggested by me was accepted and the slide was re-made.
Of course on my first day of my taking over the post, my juniors, who were to report to me, were frustrated at the thought of having to work with an administrator (who had no experience in S&T). They even held a silent protest through non-cooperation and ‘questioning’ my rights to mark certain papers to them to deal with and comment upon. All this changed soon, and, at the time of parting company with them at the end of my term, they realized my real ‘worth’ and praised me too.
The time came finally to depart. The period of my assignment on deputation was over
and I was to return to the Department of Electronics. What a fine innings in my career, I used to reminisce. And, of course, there were praises from the Members of the Council
for my work.
One member talked of the critical period of the Council where I could play a useful role, another talked of how efficient and meticulous I was. Yet another said, ‘the joy and satisfaction that I received working with you was more than what you would have got by working with the Council.’ The Chairman pleaded with the Secretary of the Department of Electronics for continuation of my services with them for some more time. What more I needed. Isn’t all this true of what I said in the beginning – the one key requirement for any job, self confidence!