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DECISION MAKING MADE EASY

DECISION MAKING MADE EASY

Srinivas Kumar is a bright and studious student doing his final year engineering graduation from a reputed engineering college in Chennai. Srinivas hails from a lower middle-class family. His father is an honest clerk with the Government organization and his mother a housewife. He nurtured a vision to become electronics engineer right from his childhood and he was ecstatic that he would end up becoming one in another 8 months.

His parents supported him though engineering education from this college is ‘out of bounds’ for them. His father spent most of his savings on him. They were looking forward to the day when Srinivas would complete his graduation and get into a good job.

The college used to get plenty of campus placements being a premier institution and Srinivas is assured of good offers this time having secured good GPA to be within the Top 5 ranks in the college. Placement season is to begin in another one month. Srinivas understood that it is likely to be delayed this year as there were talks about opening the college for classroom sessions in September-2021.

Srinivas’s father Sundaram had the shock of his life during the dinner the previous night. Since the colleges are still in Lockdown due to COVID19, the family made it a routine to have dinner together that too early dinner before 7.30 PM every evening. After picking up the ‘podi dosas’ in his plate, Sundaram initiates the conversation.

“How is the campus placement coming along in your college? Are you keeping track? Have you received the list of companies? Which companies have you applied for? Keep a watch.” Sundaram was anxious that Srinivas should get good job. He is waiting for this moment.

“I am not going to apply for campus placement Dad”

“Are you mad?  Why would you not apply?” Sundaram could not control his anger.

“I am planning to pursue post-graduation. Some of my friends are applying for post-graduation and they told me that I stand better chance to get postgraduate admission in a reputed college in the USA with scholarship”

“Their fathers must be making a lot of money and they can afford. You must be thankful that we somehow managed to make you a graduate”

“I am grateful to you and Amma, No doubt.  But I dream to pursue higher education. My passion is in academic research, and I don’t want to take up job now.  Is it wrong to dream and pursue the passion? My professor gave a lecture about DREAMING last week and it is still reverberating in my mind.”

“Dreaming is OK but it should not be a fantasy. Our DREAM should be realistic and reasonable”

“No Dad. My professor told us NOT TO LIMIT THE DREAMS” Srinivas controls his impatience. He knows well that arguments are not going to help him in this case.

Srinivas remembers the interesting quote used by his professor in his lecture. That lecture transformed him.  He now wonders why is his father discouraging him.

“Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don't let anyone limit your dreams”

Donovan Bailey

“Do you understand that your sister is joining college this year. I have to take care of your sister as well.  Don’t be selfish. Think of your sister as well.”

“Don’t worry Dad.  I am trying for scholarship. Additionally, my friends have already enquired that I can get educational loan. They also told me that I can work part time in the USA to earn my sustenance. I will not come to you for support”

“You are being misguided. Don’t think it is that easy to get scholarship and loan. It is not easy to earn in the USA. You will only get the job of a cab driver. What is the fun of taking up menial job in another country when posh jobs are waiting for you here?  Would you earn enough in academic research? Better sense to take job in Google or Microsoft or Adobe. They all come to your college. They are the best paymasters. Your life will be settled if you get good campus placement. You won’t get this pay package even after 2 years of travails” “My friend’s son got a job in Accenture 2 years back and he has already purchased a new palatial house. Be sensible” Balram gives a long lecture.

“Pay package is not everything in life, Appa, my mentor said. There are many people who quit their high paying jobs to invest in their passion.  My passion is in research”

“Passion is fine. But consider reality as well. I feel you are being stupid. Take a good offer and your life will be settled. Don’t make hasty decision because some stupid friends are telling you” Sundaram pleaded.

“But why should you avoid campus recruitment even if you decide to take up higher studies. Attend campus recruitment and reserve your job” Sundaram adds.

“But I will be blocking the chance of another student. Our placement head told us last week not to opt for campus placement unless we are sure of accepting the job offer. They brought in lot of conditions now” Srinivas clarifies.

“I am confused dad. My heart says higher education, but I am also getting tempted to take up job offer if the offer is attractive”

“Why are you confusing him?  Let him take up whatever he is interested in.  He is a sensible boy” Saradha, Srinivas’s mother comes to Srinivas’s help.

“You keep quiet.  Don’t spoil him” Sundaram gets irritated with his wife. 

“Leave me alone. I am getting thoroughly confused. You are not helping me” Srinivas gets irritated. He is getting confused with different people giving different opinion and no two opinion is concurring. Nobody is helping me to make a logical decision, He thinks.

He could not finalize a decision for the next one week and indecision affected his project work. He slipped schedule for the submission of the synopsis of his final year project. He could not focus on the work.

Saradha could not afford to see his son suffering because of indecision. She tries to convince Sundaram but could not.  Sundaram remains firm in his stand. Saradha tries her luck by convincing Srinivas to take up campus placement. Srinivas could not agree readily.

Saradha takes Srinivas to her brother Balram for counselling on a Sunday evening.  Balram is a Leadership Trainer and has been the role model for Srinivas.

Balram patiently listens to all the details about the problem. After listening to everything from Srinivas and Saradha he asks, “What is your problem now?”

“Getting confused with different opinions coming from different people.  Advice galore. There is no dearth of advice” Srinivas gives a sigh.

Balram smiles. It looked like he is familiar with the problem statement. “Ok you want me to take a decision on your behalf?”

“Yes” Srinivas is happy that he is getting relieved of the burden of decision making.  He has respect and confidence on Balram that he will take right decision.

“But you are making the same mistake. If I make the decision for you, it will turn out to be another advice! You will further get confused and you will start blaming me also for giving advice galore. You have to take the decision yourself based on your perspectives” Balram smiles and pats on Srinivas’s shoulder.

“But I am not able to make a decision and that is disturbing me. I would have probably remained happy if I had not scored well and if the options in front of me are limited”.

“That is a wrong thinking. Choices in front of you is not the problem. Issue is that you are not able to decide. Having many options is a blessing. You should be happy that only chosen few get choices. You should be happy that you got choice and you will end up happy with whatever the decision you take” Balram stops so that his words sink in.

Balram continues “I will not make the decision for you, but I will help you to take a rational decision. You will confidently go behind pursuing your decision once your mind is at peace with your decision”.

“How would I make my mind to be at peace?”

“By making a calculated decision”

“How to make calculated decision? It is madness…” Srinivas is frustrated.

“I will brief you about a methodology for rational decision making. There are many methods to bring in method in madness. I will teach you a method known as KT method i.e. Kepner Tregoe methodBalram starts the lesson on ‘Decision Making’.

Srinivas is indifferent but started listening intently because of the respect for his uncle. Srinivas is not in a mood to listen to another lesson.

“What are your Decision Criteria?”  Balram fires the first teaser.

To be continued...

About the Author

Jaganathan T is the Managing Director of IT Services company FutureCalls Technology Private Limited. Jaganthan is an accomplished author and motivational speaker by passion. He has written and published two books ‘Management Immemorial – Learnings from Literature’ and ‘Grandma in The Board Room’. Author can be reached at authorjagan@gmail.com.