Everyone is Learning and Evolving

As kids, we’ve all heard the ‘cap seller and monkeys’ story, wherein on a hot afternoon the cap seller decides to take a nap under a tree till the sun sets. When he wakes up, he finds his bag (with all the caps) missing. When he cluelessly looks up, he sees a lot of monkeys on the tree and they are all wearing his caps. He shouts at the monkeys…and they yell back at him. He then realises that the monkeys are just imitating him. So he throws down the cap he is wearing…and the monkeys do the same. The cap seller walks away happily with all his caps.

Modern day storytellers have come out with a classic sequel to this story. It goes like this…

Years later the cap seller’s grandson also becomes a cap seller. And the same thing happens to him…he takes a nap under a tree to get some rest and the monkeys on the tree take away all his caps. When he wakes up, he gets to know what has happened. He then remembers what his grandfather told him about the nature of monkeys. So he shouts at the monkeys…and they yell back at him. He thinks that his grandfather’s ‘gyan’ is working. Then he throws his cap down…this time the monkeys don’t throw away the caps. He repeats the ‘cap throwing’ act several times…it has no impact on the monkeys. Then one of the monkeys (presumably their leader) comes down, punches a tight slap on the cap seller’s face and says, “You think only you had a grandfather?”

The lesson to be learnt here is that as we are moving up the Corporate ladder, it’s not just we who are gaining experience…everyone else (including our previous and present colleagues, superiors, subordinates, partners, associates) too are learning and evolving. The PR fraternity is no different. Someone whom you worked / partnered with some 10 – 15 years ago, about whom you have a certain impression (good, bad or ugly) would have become a completely different person over these 10 – 15 years to what you assumed her / him to be. It’s because these 10 – 15 years have not passed just for you…it’s passed for them too, with loads of experiences and learnings on the way.

So one should continuously look at learning and bettering oneself as an individual. One or two successes on the way should not deter anyone from trying to improve further as an individual and / or as an employee. As one tries new things to fight off sluggishness, she / he may make mistakes or fail occasionally…it’s part and parcel of any job. Here it’s imperative to view such mistakes as a learning opportunity and to remember the fact that even ‘the best’ in the profession make mistakes.

Another important lesson everyone learns at work is the importance of networking with other people. Whether it’s a professional colleague, friend or relative, each relationship one builds with another individual adds one more cushion of support to the career one is building for oneself.

Also bad days at work are a norm and not just restricted to the PR industry. And as one progresses in one’s career, they being to understand that it’s all in the mind. A client coverage not appearing or not coming out as expected is reason enough for a junior PR executive (who has just started her / his career) to have a ‘bad day’…but it won’t be so for the team leader because she / he has experienced it several times over the years. These experiences have brought about the understanding that every day isn’t going to be the best day and that some days can be downright challenging.

As a Communication professional, one of the most valuable lessons that I have learnt over the years is to focus on changing the way something is being done rather than trying to change an individual or a group of individuals. Many a time the problem is with the way an initiative is being undertaken. Instead of trying to change the team members involved, a team leader must first try to change the way she / he views the process…and this thought process comes with experience.

Last Word

A career in PR can provide us with lot more than just a decent income, benefits and on-the-job experience…there are actually some good life lessons (patience and perseverance being at the top of the list) that can be learnt at the PR workplace. Willingness to learn and evolve from these lessons can help us grow both on the personal and professional fronts.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Vijay Shekhar
Vice President at Concept Public Relations
With over 23 years of experience as a communications professional, Vijay has always been on the consultancy side of the table and has worked on a wide slate of accounts spanning across sectors. He holds a B. Com and an MBA (Human Resources) from the University of Pune.

Vijay likes to watch old Hindi classic films and listen to old Hindi film songs, and has an enviable collection of both of these. He enjoys reading autobiographies and biographies, and also short stories, his favourite authors being R. K. Narayan, Munshi Premchand, Leo Tolstoy and Guy de Maupassant. Vijay also has a hobby of collecting news clippings (from newspapers and magazines) of important events across the globe…events that can be truly classified as ‘Breaking News’ or ‘Front Page News’.

Be the first to comment on "Everyone is Learning and Evolving"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.