Realities of life

Years ago, I hired a journalist (a sub-editor) from India’s top-notch English newspaper to write blog articles for a startup I was then running.

That newspaper was so reputed that I did not even test his knowledge of writing — that would have been like testing if a New York Times reporter’s grammar is good.

The day this person joined, I asked him to write the first draft of a blog on a given topic. When I received the draft, it was so poorly written that I was a bit confused — did he not understand the task properly?

So I explained again and asked him to do another draft. While marginally better, it was still pretty bad.

I was left wondering — how did he survive as part of an editorial team at a vaunted newspaper?

Over the years, I have realized that sometimes, one’s resume and past organizations don’t tell all that much. I knew an investment banker with 20 years at an MNC bank whose knowledge of finance was less than that of a bank cashier.

Here are two big lessons I have learned.

Working in good companies may give a learning opportunity but what we make of it is really up to us. The brand on a resume can be very deceptive.

Secondly, in many organizations, once a person gets in, as long as they don’t antagonize people who matter, they keep going up. And ironically, the more senior the rank, the less likely that one would be thrown out for incompetence.

Even in the most glitzy organizations, you find people in fine suits, who don’t know the basics.

Life can really be crazy.

– Rajan


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