A lot of us tend to spend a large chunk of our lives chasing things that are inconsequential to our larger existence. Take for example, you want a job at first to earn a decent living. But then you want more – a six-figure salary, a separate cabin with a beautiful view, a fancy designation and other perks that come with it. You tend to look up to people who have more and down on people who have less. As a result, people who seemingly have ‘less’ tend to be embarrassed about their achievements.
The ex-MD of Google, Parminder Singh, shared a beautiful story about a lesson he learnt from Shunu Sen who was the ex-marketing director at Hindustan Lever, was considered a ‘marketing guru’ and passed away in 2003 at the age of 63. At the time, Parminder Singh was working as a sales manager for Apple and Shunu Sen was a big deal by then.
While he was working for Apple, Singh was apparently a little embarrassed about his office. He had a ‘humble’ 10×10 cabin but his job required him to meet CEOs, movie stars and top politicians. He was always apprehensive about meeting them in his cabin because, to him, it was too small.
“Let me first explain the embarrassment. Representing Apple opened access to CEOs, movie stars, top politicians, the who’s who! I proudly interacted with them, but was secretly apprehensive that they might want to visit my office. Because I worked out of a humble 10×10 cabin in a business centre. Devoted Apple fans, often wanted to visit. And I usually replied with an evasive, ‘Yes, sure. I’ll arrange that sometime’,” he wrote.
When he first met Shunu Sen, he was setting up his own company Quadra Advisory and wanted iMacs for his company. A few months later, he met him again. This time, Sen was invited to deliver the keynote at the latest iMac launch.
“He had started using a wheelchair. On the launch day, as I accompanied him from the entrance of Hotel Le Meridian to the event hall, he asked the dreaded question, ‘Hey, I haven’t ever visited your office. I would love to come over for a coffee.’ I hemmed and hawed, wondering if my business centre entrance is even wide enough for the wheelchair. It was best to be upfront. ‘Shunu, I wouldn’t like to disappoint you. It’s a very small office. Let’s meet somewhere outside.’,” Singh wrote.
It was then that Shunu Sen taught him a valuable lesson.
“He suddenly stopped his wheelchair. Looked up at me with those peering eyes through the large glasses, and said, ‘Sure. But never measure your worth with the size of your office or the grandness of your title. Your worth is measured by the value you create for your employer, society and the world’,” Singh revealed.
Have a look at his full post here:
I was incredibly proud of working at Apple, and a bit embarrassed! Till I met Shunu Sen.
Let me first explain the embarrassment. Representing Apple opened access to CEOs, movie stars, top politicians, the who's who! I proudly interacted with them, but was secretly apprehensive… pic.twitter.com/Hb54Yj7Trf
— Parminder Singh (@parrysingh) August 18, 2023
This story touched the hearts of many people online who shared their own two cents. Have a look:
He was wonderful. I would meet him every week to take down his column on marketing for The Asian Age. And it was an education for me. It would be the entire day, and I learnt so much more than just what he dictated for his column. He would ask my opinion, imagine, a 22 year old.
— Kiran Manral (@KiranManral) August 18, 2023
Such a great lesson to learn from here Parminder ji. 😊❤️🙏
We should not evaluate people materialistically but basis the value they bring to the table.
I learnt it early from my mentor that Leadership is about leading without titles and asking the right questions irrespective…
— Prateik Das (@PrateikDas) August 18, 2023
Lovely story. I was lucky to interact with him once, and also with Irfan Khan, longtime PR & Comms head of what was Hindustan Lever then. They don’t make ’em like them any longer. I studied across the road from their office & always looked up at that building with high regard.
— Ashok Lalla (@ashoklalla) August 18, 2023
Even if you are working for someone, be an asset & never a liability. Excel in your chosen craft. 🙏
— Naresh Nambisan | നരേഷ് 🧘♂️ (@nareshbahrain) August 18, 2023
“Your worth is measured by the value you create for your employer, society and the world.”
Beautiful! Love it!
— Amar Rajpal (@Amarrajpal) August 18, 2023
This is a lesson too valuable to be ever forgotten. 🙂