What comes first?

March 19, 2012 at 10:08 am | Posted in Blogroll, Real-life experiences | Leave a comment

Indian Rail budget was presented last Wednesday and was followed by lot of drama with the Railway Minister being asked to resign by his party supremo. I was a little surprised by the order of priority narrated by him in his response as “My country comes first, then family and then the party”. Normally we tend to assume that bigger the system, more important it is. Following that logic, he would be expected to say “My country comes first, then the party and finally the family”.

This reminded me of my own couple of experiences. The first occurred almost a quarter century back. I had just landed at Indore airport from an official tour by the evening flight. I saw many of my colleagues along with a few directors at the airport to receive some important guests. A dinner was planned in honor of the guests and I was told to join in. It happened to be my son’s birthday and he was eagerly waiting for me at home to join a small party we had planned for his friends. I had to make a choice and without hesitation I chose to leave for home. My colleagues were aghast and cautioned me of displeasure I would cause by my decision. But I had my priority clear.

Second incidence is much more recent, just a quarter of year back. In December last year, I was to conduct a Webinar from office and there was a family emergency. I was in two minds as I knew my wife needed me by her side to support her. However, she was firm and asked me to go for the webinar. She even asked me to switch off my cell so that I would not be disturbed, though she had to manage it all alone till I rushed back home around midnight as soon as the webinar was over.

We have always believed that rather than blindly following the hierarchy of priorities, just because everybody says so, it is much better to decide from case to case. The guiding principle is where we are needed most. In the first example, there were many others to take care of the guests whereas my son would have been very disappointed. In the second case, my absence would have meant a last minute cancellation of the webinar, causing inconvenience to many who had taken time out from their busy schedules to attend.

Have you faced similar situations? What was your basis of choosing one over the other?



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