Sunday, February 17, 2008

My Fish Philosophy

We all want to make it big in life. And only big names give you bigger opportunities. So, target is to get into a better engineering college or a higher ranked management school to get that big opportunity. Big names do not visit small campuses. The notion is you don’t get a good job in a small company. There is certainly difference between job and work. You may have a job but may not be working. You may be working but you cannot call it a job. What they do at big brand companies is totally different, more valuable and ofcourse better paying. What one does there is a good job. What others do is just work. Right?

What big brands do certainly would be valuable and that’s why they have become bigger and a more valued company. Being much bigger and more prosperous, they certainly can pay well. But is what they do different? The sales guy sells, the marketer creates that USP, the finance guy ensures working capital; the HR official tries to keep people engaged. I guess in all companies that’s what all these people do in their respective domains. Isn’t it? But then, everyone wants to be the best. Every company wants to be No. 1. So whose pressure is bigger? No. 2 racing to become No. 1? Or No. 1 trying to maintain his position at the top? Their pressures being different, I presume their strategies are different. Strategies being different, shouldn’t they do different things? May be, Mr. Shiv Khera is right. Winners don’t do different things. They do things differently.

I started working as I was not from a big named or high ranking campus. To put records straight, I loved my work. I still do. Infact, sometimes, I am tempted to call it a good job. But how I wish I could say that. Or, in other words, wish I could lie a little better.

Anyways, having seen some of the seemingly big brands closely, working in small subsidiaries of some and interacted actively with others, I have come to a safe conclusion for the moment that they certainly do something different. They make sure it’s either different people doing the same job or the same people doing different jobs. So, a sales professional after a while would get into marketing, finance professional would start his HR stint soon and a finance professional would be asked to run a business. When job rotations like these happen, it is planned well. However, if it is the first set of rules - different people called in to do the same job it has to be well planned. Heads have to roll. Cabins have to be vacated and name plates have to change. There are indirect remarks, slow accusations, false disagreements, direct confrontations which finally end in quick exits and even quicker replacements. It is not an easy sight. In both situations, for the company, big or small, it is an important thing to do. When it is important, someone important will be impacted.

Growing up, I used to reckon, how important is being important? During one of those days I had read somewhere, “it is nice to be important, but it is important to be nice”. I doubt, somewhere in the effort of being nice, I missed becoming as competitive as it was required to be. And till today, I keep asking the same question to people. What is important, being a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond?

I have the same buying confusion, to buy an aquarium with variety of fishes or a gold fish in a small round vase?