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Of superiors and Darth Vader

August 31, 2011

Along my blogging career (which admittedly is short. Probably not “a career” as such) you may heard that I learn a lot of things during my working life. Tonight I’d like to share another one. I think you should know that how big you think you are, there’s always somebody bigger. No, not in the size department. It’s at work. There’s always a bigger fish, isn’t it? If you’re a CEO, you report to the Board of Directors. If you’re in the Board of Directors, you report to the shareholders. OK, the aforementioned examples are rather high level ones. Let’s just play at the realistic level. You are a manager and you report to your superior, whoever he/she may be.

My point is, when you’re a subordinate, your work is assessed and judged by your superior. Whatever your work may be. As for me, my work consists of drafting and of course, management amongst others. To talk about judging somebody’s management performance is also quite high level. So let’s look at the simple one i.e. drafting. I draft a lot of documents. Agreements, letters, specific covenants, awards that kind of thing. And the quality is subject to continuous scrutiny, which is not a problem to me. Anyway, there are times when you bring your work to your superior, who checks it out. Along the way he/she will make observations and corrections. And I believe there are times when you think, “hey, what I did was perfectly fine. Why the need to correct/amend/add?”. I do get that as well.

The thing is, it’s always about personal style and preference isn’t it? What you think is fine may not be so to your boss. You can feel good about what you’ve done and later get mercilessly shot down. At times it becomes a source of great frustration. There are also times when you make changes after changes. And it still gets shot down. When you’re a subordinate, it’s always, “oh, he’s not so good at what he does”. When you’re the boss, it always, “he’s like that. You’ve got to play his game/dance to his tune”, or something like that. This is not a rant. Doesn’t really happen to me regularly but just an observation. I think I do that to my subordinates as well.

The other thing is, do you notice that when you’re the boss, you are suddenly able to come up with things that will bewilder your subordinates? I honestly believe that when you’re a superior, it comes pretty much naturally. You know that time when you’re in a meeting with your superior and he says something that makes you go, “why didn’t I think of that?” or, “I think he’s making a good point”, or something like that. For those of you who are climbing the ladder, believe me it’s true. When you are given the chance to lead, you suddenly find yourself thinking more creatively and with a better perspective. Can’t explain it. So if you do look up to somebody because of the way he/she conducts him/herself and the way they think and say things, do not have a tinge of worry. When you reach that level, it’s natural.

Moving swiftly on. I like Star Wars. Of course as a kid, all the swashbuckling Jedi stuff enthralls me. Never heard any sound like the light saber before. And to come up with such technology in the 70’s is pretty cool. In the first trilogy you have Luke, Han Solo, Lando etc. Then because the series made a lot of money, George Lucas decided to make another 3 movies, the prequels. Then you have Anakin, Obi-Wan (the younger one, played really well by Ewan McGregor), Qui-Gon Jinn and a few others. However, my favourite of them all is Darth Vader. There are a few reasons why. Here’s a guy who’s an epitome of the modern man. He’s very emotional, but at the same time ruthless like nobody’s business. You see him display his deep emotions towards Padme. He loves her so much that he’d rather go to the Dark Side in order to save her from dying during childbirth (although he didn’t get to save her anyway). The emotional side is also evident during his final showdown with Luke and the Emperor. Hey, girls like emotional guys, right?

And the ruthless side. The guy doesn’t ever hesitate, does he? He’ll kill you with his powerful Dark Side-acquired mental “weapon”. Cross him and that’s the end of you. Too many times in life I pause for too long, taking too much time to think before acting. That’s precisely why I envy Vader. You cross me, I kill you. I want to blow up Alderaan (Princess Leia’s home planet), I go for it, no second thoughts. I want to kill Count Dooku, I do it. No second thoughts there either. Life would be much simpler. Unlike now. I want to buy something, a whole bloody thought process goes into it. Will I need it in the long term? Will it be useful? Dang. I want to take a major step (which unlike Vader, doesn’t involve depriving anybody of their supply of air), another whole long thought process is done. (Disclaimer: I’m suspending reality a fair bit here).

If only it was that simple. Oh, before I forget, I have a Darth Vader mug.



Luke, seriously. I am your father.


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