Managed to perfection

I forget the bloke who defined man-age-ment as an activity that makes man age mentally at a real fast clip. Nevertheless, to me it definitely seems that he is a little too close for comfort.

Age has always been a tricky thing when it comes to management. Is there a right age when a person becomes mentally and emotionally fit to be a manager? How about the widely held axiom of someone being ‘too-young-to-study-management’, as he doesn’t have enough work experience under his belt to assimilate the nuances of management? When does a corporate top-dog become over-the-hill when it comes to learning new tricks, because of him being too entrenched in the traditional, old-fashioned ways of management thinking? Are such questions addressing the unquestionable realities of management or unquestioned myths perpetuated through over-simplified categorizations?

Such questions may sound rhetorical to an innocent bystander, but for a newly christened PGPX student like me they are way too close to home to be ignored. In this day and age when the world is waking up to newer and newer management institutes and with the older institutes squeezing the alphabet to roll out newer and newer programs, where does PGPX stand? What is so special about it? If I am allowed the luxury of just one word, I would answer ‘age’ and here is why.

For starters, PGPX is conceived and delivered by IIMA which is at that right age to explode on the international scene. Not too young like the ISBs of the world even though not yet in the league of the age-old Harvards. And it happens to be located right in the east, where the sun is rising again and where the maxim of ‘age-old’ wisdom means more than just a euphemism for conventional straight-jacketed thinking. Now, how about the PGPX participants, what do they have going for them? I say age again.

Age is a tricky thing when it comes to life also and I say this not just because I feel younger now than when I was a student the last time, more than a decade back. Startling indeed this revelation and when it started going against my loosely held senses, I buckled up to come up with some fake ‘theory’ on man aging which goes something like this.

My ‘Theory of Relativity’ in aging states that there are 3 dimensions to the age of a person; the first one being the absolute biological age about which only film actresses are allowed to lie about. I am doing pretty well on this score because I know that I am only about as old as a Tendulkar or a Leander paes. And thank god that they don’t look that old. I earnestly hope that they continue to take good care of themselves because otherwise I will have the onerous job of firing them and looking for other people as points of reference to feel good about my age. The point I am trying to make is, if Mick Jagger happens to be your reference point, then age is not going to stop you from getting up everyday, day after day, ready to rock the world and nothing else is going to matter.

The second dimension is the perceptive age, the ‘how old do you look’, which is sadly open to hazardous guesses by people who haven’t gone to school with you. One can work on improving this by using a two pronged approach. There is this straight forward, superficial way of applying make up, taking care of wanted and unwanted hair in wanted and unwanted places and stuff like that. The other approach is a little more deceitful where you are proactively nice to people all around you so that they don’t try to embarrass you by second guessing your age or asking you publicly about it. I have to admit that I have had more success with the latter approach even though sometimes you can get sucked into an overtly nice interaction and eventually get sucker punched into revealing quantitative information like age, salary, credit card number and what not. So I always watch where I am going with this approach.

The third and the most important dimension of age, generates the tingling sensation of “how old do you feel”. This will be a sum total of your ability to get things done both physically and mentally, your maturity about people, things, situations, your philosophy about life etc. etc. This is all about graceful aging and if you are not happy with what you experience here, you already feel like you are on the wrong side of the slope. On the other hand, if this happens to be on your side, you get the never say dye attitude, even when some grey hairs starts popping out of nowhere to make your aging process a little dis-grey-ceful. All said and done, sometimes I still do feel like I should never say never again and wake up to the fact that I am not too young to dye. Aah, these grey hairs.

All in all, this 3D approach tells me that even if I ignore the first two dimensions, the third one puts you squarely in charge and enables you to feel only as old or young as you really want to. And a program like PGPX has been made to order, for people like me who want to explore this third dimension. Instead of fiercely protecting what has worked or feeling jaded about what hasn’t, instead of welcoming mid-life crises or contemplating retire-early-plans, it inspires you to commit to reinventing yourself, laying everything that has been accomplished till now on the line and starting anew. And talking about reference points, I am happy to say that PGPX has brought such energetic and passionate fellows into its fold, ones who make you feel like a kid all over again, who I can’t name for obvious reasons but can only SALUTE.

So to all of you out there who are old enough, but simultaneously also feel young enough without an apparent paradox, I implore you to welcome the PGPX spirit into your life. Especially so, if you are at a stAGE in your life where you feel like you are only scratching the surface of your true potential and you keep dreaming about this whole, wide, world out there, where you truly belong. Because nothing can beat the exhilaration of feeling younger and new-age; without resigning yourself to inside-the-box tricks like scratching your birth certificate.

Biju

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5 Replies to “Managed to perfection”

  1. As I grow older, I feel that age is more of an asset than a liability! As the oldest guy in PGPX, I find that my views (even though inane at times) are given attention and consideration. When I started the apping process for MBA, many told me “don’t be foolish”, “no school is going to look at a 50 yr old”. And here I am, in the best program of the best institute! I am sure I will gain immensely through interaction with my younger and exceptionally talented batchmates.

    an AGE old salute

    Rakesh

  2. To me age is more or less an arbit number!.

    While working on a on-campus job as a ‘computer consultant’ in a US Univ, a ‘old’ (old by Indian standards) lady stopped by my desk and asked for a computer. She looked 55+ and was carrying a sack full of books. She some how did not fit the crowd (which comprised of 16+ years college undergrads) She also flashed her ID (which was mandatory to use computers in the lab) and settled in front of a computer. The same sequence continued for more than a week and during this time I got to know her better. I was surprised to see that she was doing PhD in Sociology. She started her second innings at the age of 52! I saw her every evening for 3 months, working diligently on her term paper. Now that is commitment!

    -Ankur

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