Once, one of the executives in my company submitted the vouchers of his overseas travel expenditures to our accounts department. Since the total amount was big, the accounts officer verified it carefully and suspected that some figures had been blown out of proportion. He marked the amounts in red and forwarded the vouchers to me for my approval. When I read the figures, I immediately realised that the executive was really taking undue advantage of his position as well as our company’s reimbursement policy. He had mentioned in his vouchers that he had travelled locally by a cab everywhere throughout his business tour and had to spend a hefty amount as the cab fare was expensive. It was his bad luck that only a month earlier I myself had travelled to the same country and also used a cab. Hence I knew all the fares there.
I called the executive and handed him the vouchers approved and signed. Then I asked him a simple question, “You are a senior and highly paid executive in our company. Why are you tempted to make easy money in this way?” He was totally embarrassed to know that I had found out about his deceitful trickery. I didn’t scold him in harsh words. Instead I gently explained to him, “Look. I don’t have any intention to make you feel ashamed. You are holding a responsible position in our company which is like a family. I don’t care even if you walked and claimed a taxi fare for it, but I will surely observe how successfully you completed the given task. To me the mission is more important than commission. With such dishonesty you are actually deceiving yourself and not me or our company.” The executive left my cabin without uttering a single word. After some time he resigned from our company and switched to another one. I didn’t stop him as I was completely sure that he wouldn’t be able to set any goal in his life other than making money unscrupulously.
I remember an incidence from my childhood. During my school days I would sell raw tamarinds in leisure time to schoolgirls and housewives and hand over the entire amount from the sales to my mother. One day my mother abruptly ordered me to stop this enterprise and advised me to concentrate on my studies. When I asked her the reason, she said, “Son, I previously encouraged your activity only to make you understand the value of hard work and not the gleam of money. I want to see you set some bigger goals in life and I believe that education can do it better.” Since then I have always nurtured the habit of setting different short term goals and long term missions in life. They keep me busy, industrious and creative.
Friends, I like a quote by an inspirational writer Lailah Gifty Akita- Man is not merely born to make money, but to fulfil his mission.