Thursday, 12 November 2015

“Hello Secretary! You Cannot Become a Professor. But I can Become the Secretary of a College” ―Professor M.S.Rao

"Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds." ― Franklin Roosevelt

Some of the private pharmacy, medical and engineering colleges in Telangana State are run by business people, arrack contractors, real estate agents and financiers. Some of them do not have formal education and a very few of them are degree holders. There are a very few with high educational background who are passionate to establish educational institutions. Most of the owners from these private colleges don’t know the meaning of passion and excellence. They are eager to make money by setting up educational institutions. As a result, many private engineering, pharmacy, and medical colleges came up thus downgrading the quality of education. Here is an interesting story of Professor Mani who worked as a professor in the MBA department of a private engineering college in Hyderabad.

Mani was a passionate professor with a big heart to make a difference in the lives of students. He often thought about students and interacted with other educators in the campus to exchange knowledge and intellectual ideas and insights. The college was run by family members headed by Secretary with postgraduate qualification.  The college was founded by secretary’s father who was a visionary leader with values. The secretary did not know the true value of the educational institution as it was set up by his father who rose from ranks. Since the secretary got everything on the platter, he did not realize the challenges involved in founding and establishing an educational institution. Therefore, he took everything for granted.  The secretary was noted for several unethical practices and most of his policies were unfriendly to faculty and non-teaching staff. After the death of secretary’s father, things went worse as there was none to correct the secretary. The secretary became more autocratic with a feudal mindset.  

The image of the educational institution was falling down due to the hostile attitude of the secretary. Additionally, the secretary gradually removed the principals and senior professors appointed by his late father to have more control on the college. And most of the senior professors and faculty left after the death of the founder. The secretary conducted several meetings regularly to find out the reasons about the declining image of the institution and intake of the students.  Mani was also in the meetings regularly. He gave feedback to make policies that are faculty friendly with decent salaries and to improve the image of the educational institution by encouraging research and investing in infrastructure. Since Mani was a loyal professor to the institution, he had great heart to contribute his best to revamp the institution to take it to great heights.

The secretary did not appreciate the views and inputs given by Mani. Instead of taking Mani’s views and suggestions positively, he took them personally. One day, the secretary called Mani to his office and expressed his displeasure. Mani was a honest and straight forward professor with ethics and etiquette. He didn’t believe in flattery. The following conversation took place between the secretary and Professor Mani.  

Secretary: I didn’t appreciate the way you expressed your views about the college in the recent meeting.
Professor:  You conducted meeting to get ideas from all sources to overhaul the educational institution. As everybody expressed, I also expressed my views to convert our educational institution into excellence.
Secretary:  You emphasized more on hiking the salaries of faculty and building infrastructure. I did not like it when you mentioned about the hike in salaries.
Professor:  When you pay decent salaries, you get the best faculty who can improve the output in the college and enhance employability and employment. They can contribute quality research papers to add value to the institution. Infrastructure is an imperative to enable the students to learn well apart from enhancing the image of our institution.
Secretary: I am talking only about the hike in salaries, not infrastructure. Additionally, you must learn how to behave with me. You cannot behave the way you behave with your students.
Professor:  Please don’t mix up issues. Our discussion is about revamping the college, not about my behavior. Secondly, I always have a heart to make our institution better, and to educate students effectively. Please avoid talking about my behavior.
Secretary: If I want, I can remove you from employment.
Professor: I am not concerned about my employment as I am always marketable since I am a PhD holder. I am only concerned about the declining image of our institution since I have been serving in this institution for many years.
Secretary:  You don’t have to be concerned about my institution as I know how to develop it. If you give inputs in this way and behave in this manner, I can remove you from employment.
Professor: If you remove me from employment, there are a plenty of employment opportunities for me. Hence, I am not worried about my employment.
Secretary: Don’t come to college from tomorrow onwards.
Professor: It is a great relief to me. You don’t know the value of a professor. You take faculty for granted. You don’t realize the importance of a spanner until you lose it. When you miss me, you will realize that you made a great mistake.
Secretary: I will hire another professor by paying less salary.
Professor:  Since you are the secretary for this college, you can make your own decisions. But one thing you must note here: If I want to become the secretary of an educational institution, I can become. But you cannot become a professor in any college as PhD is a must to become a professor.

The egoistic and sadistic secretary was shocked with professor Mani’s response. The secretary fired professor from employment. He had the habit of cheating faculty by not paying salary to the leaving employees. He did not pay salary to Mani for the leaving month. Subsequently Professor Mani started an educational institution with the help of his friends and became a successful entrepreneur.  But the pity is that secretary tried to do PhD but he could never complete and compete with Professor Mani. Finally, the image of the institution declined with the exit of quality professors, and it was closed forever.

The conclusion is value people as people. Respect people. Don’t take them for granted just because they are serving loyally for many years.

"One of the secrets of a long and fruitful life is to forgive everybody everything every night before you go to bed." ― Bernard Baruch

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Professor M.S.Rao, India
Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India
Listed in Marquis Who's Who in the World in 2013
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Twitter: @professormsrao  
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  1. Excellent conversation between secretary and professor! Secretary is like a donkey and Professor is like a horse. Can a donkey become a horse? No. It is not possible.

  2. Interesting story! It is time to clear colleges from culprits and criminals to build a healthy education system in India.