This is a fiction based story of a project manager, inspired by a real life incident of my relative few months ago. But I don’t feel it’s a story of only one person, its story of every person who loves their family more than anything.
Being a project manager doesn’t mean that you are the boss at home also. At my home, my wife is the boss and manager both. She manages my daily routine, home, children, parents everything, and I must say in very effective and efficient manner. She consults me only in the decision making, but execution and management of every work at home is totally controlled by her. I mostly busy in official work and don’t get time to participate at every domestic or homely affair.
But my wife never complained me about it. She never argued like other wives; you are not putting time at home; do you know how your son is doing at school; do you know what are the things needed at home; today I need to go alone in the party of your best friend as you are busy at office as always. I hardly get such complaints from my wife. She manages everything in very cool and calm manner without any complaints or tears. But why should she complain, after all I am the one who creates this home and family. I am the only earning member of family. I am the one who is earning wealth to make their life happy, prosperous and comfortable. They must be proud at me. Many times when such thoughts about not giving time to family and society comes in my mind, I solace myself with such justification about earning and wealth.
One day I asked to my wife while she was cooking something in kitchen”why you didn’t complain me like other wives about not giving time to home and family? How you manage everything alone without any complaints or tears. “She not even looked at me and replied while stirring something in frying pan “It’s my home, children and family honey, so why tears or complaints in doing something for them!” I just shocked after listening this. What I was thinking that she is not complaining because I am the super hero of family who create this family and earning wealth for it so it’s her duty to manage this wealth and family. And what she replied that she is doing this because she loves to do this. Shame on me! How selfish and materialistic I am! How my thinking becomes so materialistic and selfish while working in global IT industry. Though her answer was wrapped with love, sacrifice and selflessness; it widens my guilty feeling for not giving time to family and home.
Anyways days goes on; my life is moving on same track. I usually wake up at 9 in morning; reach office at around 10:30; return home between 8 to 9 PM; take dinner followed by walk and watching TV and finally time to say good night to the day. Weekends mostly vanishes in finishing important pending work, meeting friends and relatives, watching movie, relaxing and sleeping. Sometime my wife manages a picnic in weekend, although I mostly not prefer it. Life is going in same monotones way for me.
One day after our weekly project status meeting, we project managers were chatting on tea. One of colleague was talking about his son; his son made a robot prototype in science exhibition at school. He was very proudly described us how his son designed complex circuitry of robot in such a little age. Another colleague told that his daughter designed web pages in HTML and java script. She is just 10, but has a good command on these web languages. Similarly another colleague was very proud that his child is able to operate computer system in the age of just five years. I maintained silence in such discussion because I don’t know much about my son. I am not aware about his hobbies and likings; not knows how he is doing at school. All I know about him is that he is doing well at school, and his teacher and my wife both are happy with his progress. But are there any responsibilities of me for him. As a father, I should also spend some time to know him, teach something to him apart from routine school study. On that day I felt that I should do something in this direction.
Next day, I decided to spend one hour with my son in evening. I managed to leave a little early in evening. First two days I just observed his actions. He loves to do only two things; first is watching cartoon and other is playing mouth organ. He loves to see cartoon that are full of fiction and violence; and plays mouth organ randomly without any order. There is no sense in cartoon and no music in mouth organ. What they create is just non-sense and noise. He wastes complete evening in such non productive activities.
I wanted to teach something to my son; some kind of knowledge that he can use in future; some kind of skill that nourish his talent. But what I have? After all I don’t have any special skills that I can give to my child. I was introspected myself and suddenly I realized that I have something that makes me very special and, that knowledge and skill is very useful for my child in future. As a master degree holder in information technology, I knew everything about a computer system. MS Office packages, software, hardware, installation, configuration, operating system, internet…I have lot of knowledge in every area even more than his school teacher. This knowledge is very useful for him in future. Whatever field he will decide as career, this knowledge help him everywhere. I decided to teach everything about computer to my son.
So here I am on the mission. I made all the planning for this project. After all, who knows better about planning other than a project manager? But here I am the manager and labour both and my client is my child. I need to teach my client but in a manner that he can learn with interest. After all a client is like a god and above all he is my darling customer. First two days, I just teach normal operations on computer like switch on, shut down, left click, right click etc. I started with 20-30 minutes session initially. After finishing the session, he again returned to his favourite work i.e. cartoon or mouth organ. I realized a strange happiness on his face due to this session. He was happy because his father finally gets time for him. But there were a person who is happier than both of us. She is my wife looking happy and satisfied to see both of us.
Every manager wants his project goes on smoothly. But if everything happens so smoothly always than why there is need of a project manager. Soon my child is getting bored with this activity. His interest has finished in just two days. Even craze of papa’s company also not holds his interest. After all it is the work that keeps away him from his favourite cartoon and mouth organ. My wife allows him to watch cartoon and play mouth organ only in evening and he don’t want to compromise even for a second of his time for this activity. He steps in with heavy heart when I called him to switch on the computer. “Papa, can we do this tomorrow, today I have to watch special episode of Disneyland.” “Today, I am really feeling sleepy”. His pleas are started. But I am not the one who likes to give up easily. I teach a topic to him for 20-30 minutes against his wishes and give exercise for next 30-40 minutes daily. But his interest graph is continuously diminishing in such exercise. Whenever he looks me busy in other work or sees my eyes not on him, he starts playing mouth organ. He usually keeps this instrument with him everywhere. Sometime I tried to take away this instrument from him but he almost starts crying for it and there is no option left for me except return it. Somehow I feel he loves this instrument more than anything. And my constraint is that I can’t see tears in his eyes; I want to ensure that everything should happen in cool and calm manner.
God listen my son’s wishes very soon. I get some crucial work at office and become busy in it. I am not able to manage one hour daily for my child. Late evening calls and meetings keep me working till 9 in evening. And after that there is no energy left in me to sit with my child in night. I manage only two or three days in a week for this activity. My rough phase becomes honeymoon period for my son. When I didn’t come early, he not even switches on the system. He just enjoys whole evening with cartoons and mouth organ. My wife also not forces him to work on computer in my absence. But I don’t want her to do that; she is already handling so much of my responsibility and after all it is the matter between father and son.
When everything happens correctly, credit goes to team work but when something gets wrong, it is the leader’s turn to face the heat from front. I had a heated argument with client at office on that day. He was not satisfied with the quality of our delivery; and I was the one who explains them that the delivery is fine as per the quality standards set by mutual understanding. Argument goes on for almost two hours from both sides but no collusion drawn at the end. I was moving to my desk after such a tense meeting and suddenly some gossip strikes at my ear and hold my step for a while. “You know our dear PM gets a new latest configured laptop from company.” It was some employees working under me. “But what he does on latest configured machine. It’s us who do all the work and need such latest configured machine. What he does anything special except maintaining excel sheets and sending mail?” All the people in that cube start laughing loud after hearing the excel sheet talk. I used “Icing on the cake” many times in the positive context but today I indeed feel this metaphor in opposite context. This gossip is enough to give an edge to my tense mood. I am the one who manage everything here and these people are saying I am not doing anything. Day one, I attended a meeting with client for delay in some deliverables. Day two, I look on to a team member who gets tired with heavy work load and working late in night and weekends. Day three, I am agreeing my company to approve my request of extra physical resource for my project. This is how my calendar looks like. These people come, sit, do allotted work and return home in evening happily; and I am the one who get work to make everyone happy, client, team members and company. But who cares about such work, all they noticed is just excel sheets and mail. I felt so much tensed on that day so I cancelled all meeting in evening and returned home early.
My wife opened the door with gorgeous smile as always at home. Thanks god! There is something to relief me in such hectic day. My parents along with my wife were watching their favourite daily soap in drawing room. I entered in bedroom to change clothes and noticed my son playing mouth organ there. He stopped playing by looking me and keep instrument beside him. I went to my wife directly “why you didn’t tell him to start computer and do the exercise given by me today.” I asked her without stopping for a breath. “Don’t worry; he is doing what he likes to do. Don’t give extra pressure to him” My wife replied with relaxing voice. “What pressure! I want he learns the things that brightens his future. Can’t you just ensure that it happen everyday “I am not in mood to stop arguing on that day. “Just chill honey! Let me find his area of interest. We should not force him to do anything half heartened. And don’t worry about future; he is doing well in academics as well as personnel life. If you want I can show his progress chart in excel sheet to you.” Everyone on the room laughed at her excel sheet talk. My wife, mom, and father everyone except me; it was a good joke but I am not in mood of fun today. All I feel at that moment was that no one is there along with me; client, team members, my seniors, son, parents everyone was there in opposite side of me. And now my dear wife also turns the phase.
No matter what my wife said, I went to other room and took mouth organ from my son. “Why are you not doing the exercise given by me today?” I asked to my son in very angry voice. “Dad….dad…I just confirmed with mummy.” My son replied in trembling voice. “Just stand up, switch on the computer and do your exercise. And don’t play this mouth organ further.” I found this instrument as major blockage in the success of my mission. I stood and put the instrument in my cupboard and locked it. “I don’t want to see this instrument in your hand anymore” I ordered like a dictator. “Dad…Dad…Please returns it to me” my son requested in crying voice. “No, now you will not play this instrument further” I announced my final order. “Dad…Dad…Please give it to me….I want it…mom…please tell dad to return it to me” My son start crying loudly. But I am not in mood to listen anyone today. Anger is the state of mind when you very well know, you are doing something wrong but you just can’t stop yourself to do so. Crying face, tears are not affecting me today. My son cried there for almost ten minutes but he didn’t see me melting even a bit. Finally, he switched on the computer and started his exercise with heavy heart.
My wife was stood there in the corner of room and watched whole drama like audience. I can sense unhappiness from her face but she didn’t say anything to me that time. This is the quality of my wife, I like most; she very well know when to play aggressive and when to maintain silence and be defensive. Anyway I just switch on my laptop and logged in to Gmail to check my personnel mail; just to change the mood. There are some funny mails from my friends. Suddenly I looked a mail in mailbox from Nityam Krishnan. Nityam..i just recall my memories. Nityam was one of my sub-ordinates who left the company two months back. Nityam was the kind of employee, every manager wants in his team. He did every work assigned to him with hundred percent efforts. He helped all his team members and always ready to do any kind of work for team. I must say he was the hard working, skilful person; a very valuable resource for any organization. But I didn’t find him much ambitious. I don’t know why but I didn’t find any will in him to grow and move high in career. As a project manager, almost every person come to me with complains, constraints, concerns and comments but Nityam never came to me with any such comments. Anyways I opened his mail and it says in such a way –
I hope you are doing well in life. It’s almost two month completed to me after leaving organization. I am very happy to inform you that I get job as a chef in Hotel Oberoy at Calcutta. Here I am working under the famous culinary specialist Navneet Kapur. I also started a distance learning degree course in culinary.
Cooking is my hobby from childhood. After completing college, I want to start my career in cooking. But my father didn’t want me to do that. He wanted me to do some serious kind of work. He insisted me to join Software Company. I joined Software Company to make my father happy. Meanwhile I also worked hard to groom my hobby so that I can make earning from it in future. Fortunately, after two years I got job in such five star hotel. I agreed my father for this career finally and left Software Company.
Today, I want a favour from you. I want you to send feedback of my work as software professional to my father. You just write whatever you feel about my work. I know you might be wondering why I want such feedback but I want to insure my father knows that I did the task assigned by him with full dedication and hard work. I was equally good in both career; software professional and cook. It’s not he was wrong in understanding me two years back; in fact it was the best decision at that time, it gave me time to nourish my talent and also provided financial security.
I hope you understand it and send this feedback to him. It really makes him happy. Email-id of my father is email@example.com
Nityam Madan Mohan Krishnan
I finished with reading the mail from Nityam and noticed my son standing beside me. “Dad, I finished today’s exercise.” I went to the computer desk and checked his exercise. Today, first time my son typed complete page in MS word without any mistake. Also he did some formatting on heading and quotations. “Well done son! It looks fantastic to me.” I told him happily. “Ok, I am going to sleep.” He started moving to bedroom. “Wait…wait…where did you purchase this mouth organ?” My son holds his feet after hearing this question. “Mom purchased it for me from market.” My son answered in soft but feared voice. “Why you demanded only this instrument” I inquired more eagerly “I saw a person in market playing it, I like its voice and thought I should play with it so insist mom to buy it. But don’t worry I will not play it in front of you anymore.“ My son still didn’t feel comfortable. “I want you to play it for me “I told him in soft voice. “No…No…I couldn’t…” My son didn’t know what to say at this moment. I unlocked the cupboard and gave instrument to him. I put my hand on his head with love, kissed on cheek and told him to play it. Now I get a smile in his face. He took the mouth organ and started to play it randomly as always. There is no music in his play but it looks very sweet to me at that time. I bent over sofa, closed my eyes and thought what should I write to father of Nityam while enjoying my son’s mouth organ. I am satisfied that finally I got some moments of peace in such hectic day and my son is happy that he finally get his favourite instrument back. But there is one person who is happier than both of us. She was in the audience seat in whole turmoil and currently smiling happily but with full of surprises; looks she wants to ask me – what changed my mood so dramatically?