Professional or Personal

It was a very emotional day for me at work yesterday. After slogging like anything for the last three and a half years, we had a party to celebrate the grand success of our project. A huge group of around 50 gathered to look back at the journey which was filled with innumerable challenges and had more than a fair share of difficulties and low times. But by the end of it one thing clearly emerged...we had been professional in discharging our work but we had been emotioanlly tied to the project and to one another and had crossed into the realms of personal.

We all know how cliched the word "Professional" is in a workplace. But yesterday i realized that no matter how much professionalism is important, personal touch is worth its weight in gold. Its the personal touch which keeps people from going beyond the call of duty to take up other's responsibility, to help each other in times of need and at times overlook the odd mistake understanding the circumstances they were committed. As we talked in length over drinks and then lunch, i was amazed at how much those small personal incidents are etched in everyone's minds.

The client program director delivered a very impromptu and very emotional thanking speech where she went through and thanked everyone present and singled out a few for exemplary contribution. I was singled out for having guided the client team through uncertain times and helping them through a very difficult integration initiative and for developing a innovative cost saving tool for them. Her voice broke when she said that we would all miss you....

In the evening, the client director for business and customer management came by to meet me on her way out to Canada. I have been working very closely with her for the entire duration of my stay here and we share an excellent working relationship which i would hate to call "Professional". We hugged and she cried like a child....i was so overwhelmed that i would not control my tears either. I told her that the world is a small place and we would definitely get to meet someday. People talk about fancy terms like networking and how important it is to know as many people as possible in B school. I think if you can establish that personal touch with atleast a few people i would say that its worth more that gold.

Its ironic that as we strive to be better professionally, we need to be better personally. Its that part of us that probably is very difficult to be taught or changed. Its a gift for those whom it comes naturally. I just hope that i come out of my next one year at school with a few of these wonderful personal bonds.