The photocopy guy


As I enter into corporate world again, I and many of my friends, we know and sense the worry. The worry of not having some work that matches the expectation of young blood. On few days all we end up doing is photocopying some material for the seniors. Probably this is the reason that informally in few of the companies there is even a term for interns and freshers– photocopy guy.

The blog I am writing is more relevant to the people who have faced this situation or are facing this now. It is from the experience of one of the very senior leaders in my organization. Though the prior permission has been taken to write this experience lets name that person Ram- mainly because he was also like a common guy that we come across in our everyday life.

Ram’s career was growing at slow pace. In his career of around 15 years, now he was heading a small division of a firm which was part of one of the biggest and reputed conglomerates in India. The firm wanted to get some new projects and hence they decided to prepare a brochure of their own. All division heads were asked to highlight their work and some of their achievements. There was a lady coordinator Reena, who was leading this activity. From the inputs of all the divisions, Reena prepared a draft brochure and sent it to everyone to check it prior to printing it. The copy came to Ram after few other divisions gave their nod. As anyone else would have done Ram directly went to his division’s write up. He checked if there was any flaw, there wasn’t any. Everything was perfect, neither any grammatical error nor any aesthetics issue. Everything seemed good and so he gave his nod to Reena. Ram kept one copy for himself.

In the evening when Ram wasn’t occupied with any work, his eyes fell on the brochure again and he developed a desire to check out about other divisions. They had also written it well, but what ram noticed distinctively was that everyone started writing it in the same way. The first few lines were repetitive that – ‘we at this firm do this and that….’ He talked to Reena and conveyed that even though individual division’s work looks fine but looking at the overall brochure from reader’s point of view there are some changes that shall be made. In turn, Reena discussed this with everyone and they decided to redesign few of the things in it. This time she was taking help of Ram at every step. The brochure that came out was appreciated by everyone, mainly the customers.

After few months looking at previous experience, the company thought of publishing few results in a fashion the previous brochure was made. By this time Reena was working with some other firm. So, the printing guy was given some instruction by the central team to take inputs and design it on his own. But he felt need to get help and conveyed to the central team that ‘some guy named Ram was helping last time we were making it.’ The team asked Ram if he can help and Ram happily agreed to lend a hand even though he was pre-occupied himself. He worked on it with the printer. The result came out well again.

As we know, once you help someone, next time the person will come to you when he or she is in need. Now every time there was something to disclose outside or publish, it was going to Ram for review. The central team from conglomerate got to know about this and they started involving him in publication for the group before it gets published. To do all this, Ram had to know more and more about the group, the group companies and he made his genuine efforts in it so that none of his work is substandard. Over the period he got to know each and every nerve of the organization.

Now, this was the time when conglomerate was looking for opportunities of oversea expansion. In one such potential opportunity, high-level officials of other country invited the conglomerate to come and discuss the possibility of any synergy. The team that was supposed to go had no specific assignment, they had to represent the firm and explore the possible opportunities. Hence the team included: COO, CFO, head of two of the biggest firms in the conglomerate and a fifth person unknown to most of the people eying this meeting. This person was Ram. Ram was not in the team by luck, but because of the fact that he knew organization so well by then, that he could represent it well.

The meeting was successful. Ram’s career took flight after this meeting and he headed various big departments; he even reached to CEO level of few companies. All that he had to do was own some part of other’s work and help them. As we hear from many new joinees, that they mainly find themselves doing some work like photocopying documents or furnishing some document or ppt which is hardly adding any value. Maybe we never know, or can not foresee, which work is going to take that flight for our career.

PS: Even I am waiting for that one page which while photocopying gets me to the work I truly deserve and take flight for my career. 🙂

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