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As he moved up the career ladder, the way he addressed me changed…

Year 1, fresh out of campus, Kiran would greet me as “Good Morning / Hello Ma’m”. Despite discouraging him, he seemed adamant about the ‘Ma’m’. (I understand. I too find it hard to address my seniors and corporate gurus by their name. With Indian upbringing, at all ages, we gladly address our elderly neighbors as ‘Aunty’ and ‘Uncle’)

Year 2, Kiran moved one grade up. He modified his greetings to “Hi Ma’m”. (Sounded good!)

Year 3, he clearly seemed equipped to front-end our clients; we sent him for a 6-month overseas project. Upon his return to our offshore delivery center, I was met with a “Hi Arthy”. (Sorry(?) Come again!)

Year 4, our client depended much on Kiran for his technical savviness and wanted him as a permanent SPOC onsite. And so, he took off on a transfer to Kuwait. More than a year later, he flew down to Chennai for our company’s anniversary celebrations. Happily busy with my dance practice, I heard someone greet me from behind “Hey, Hi!”. (Well, by now, I was glad he at least remembered to greet me)

‘No Sirs – No Ma’ms’ rule has been prevalent and popular across industries for a couple of decades now. But honestly… it is hard not to judge someone who changes the way they greet or engage with others, especially mentors/positive-influencers, based on the career or financial or life-style advancement they make. Here is where the real ‘Star-Characters’ (not Star-Performers) emerge and stand out from the crowd.

“If you’re a tree, your character and attitude are the roots. Keep ‘em strong.”


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