A boy was employed in a certain gentleman’s house as a gardener. The boy was not very sure what his employer thought of him and his work. One day, he struck upon a novel idea and this is what happened.
The boy goes to a road-side telephone booth and dials a number. Another guy, a stranger, is waiting outside the booth to make a call. The door of the booth is half-open. So the stranger could listen to all the conversation that took place between the boy and the called party. The conversation went as follows.
Boy: “Sir (his employer at the other end of the phone line), can you give me the job of becoming your gardener?”
Gentleman: “I already have one who is doing that job for me.”
Boy: “Sir, I will do your garden-work for half the price you are paying to the person who is doing the same work now.”
Gentleman: “I am happy with the person who is presently working for me.”
Boy: “Sir, in addition to looking after your garden, I’ll sweep the floor and the stairs of your house and I will do this additional work at no extra cost to you, Sir.”
Gentleman: “No, thank you very much.”
Boy: “Why do you refuse, Sir? I’m giving you a very good deal, indeed a cheap deal, for the same work.”
Gentleman: “True; but the work of the person currently employed is very good. Also, his conduct and behavior are very good. I have no complaints against him. So, why should I replace him?”
The boy looked fully satisfied gauging by the smile his hairless face bore. He then hung up the phone and began to walk away from the booth. The stranger, who was listening to all these, went behind the boy and stopped him.
Stranger: “Boy, I am impressed by your attitude and I want to offer you a job.”
Boy: “No, thanks.”
Stranger: “But why? Just now, a minute ago and over the telephone, I overheard you pleading for work. Were not you?”
Boy: “Yes, indeed, what you say you heard is correct. But it is not really what you think it is. To be honest with you, I was only checking my own performance at the job because I am the one who is working for the man I talked to!”
This is called “Self-Appraisal: 21st century style.”
Saying so, the boy bade good-bye to the stranger and walked away with a great feeling of satisfaction on his face.
By Dr. Sachidanand Das
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