Job Satisfaction: Subroto Bagchi

23 Dec

In his latest “Times of Mind” article, Subroto Bagchi takes a (by-now-expected) unusual take on the entire concept of Job Satisfaction. He asks whether jobs are living things that can ever ‘satisfy’ us. As he says,

“Jobs are not meant to satisfy us. Jobs are not animate things that have knowledge of who we are, what we are seeking and what our special needs could be”


“Few of us ever ask the boss to be rewarded with a tough and dirty job. We only look for the ‘plum’ ones. Yet, there are people, who given a tough and dirty job, make it strategic: they transform the job in unbelievable ways. In a typical career span, there must be at least four such solid stints in one’s life to make the person a solid professional. All the great people I know have been in the trenches for much of their lives, and their inventory of bruises outnumber(s) the commendations they have received. The occasional commendations stay on the wall. It is the bruises that these people carry with pride.”

When I started my career, and for years afterwards, I was in continual, never-ending search for job satisfaction. Over time, as I matured (?), it was replaced with the realization that every “first day at work” was exciting, every “first year” satisfying, but then it sort of tapered off every single time.

If it happens once, fate! Twice, coincidence! But more than that and it must be something internal, something to do with me, rather than with the job/company!

I also realized that the times when I felt “fulfilled” weren’t necessarily the times that were the happiest, or the times when my bosses, colleagues, family or the company were catering to my every need. They were usually the times I was contributing the most, the times I was in “flow”, the times I was “satisfying the job”.

You can read the full article here.


Posted by on December 23, 2005 in Career, Life, Thoughts


15 responses to “Job Satisfaction: Subroto Bagchi

  1. snand

    December 29, 2005 at 5:56 am

    great idea

  2. Sanjay

    February 20, 2007 at 10:55 am

    My reply to subroto Bagchi, not in many words.

    Well its a different ball game when you are sitting at the pinnacle of success and having your bank balances overflowing, people looking upto you. Mr.Subroto Bagchi would not be the only person in this world who has struggled and had open views about jobs and their satisfaction its only he can afford to make speeches like this because he has turned successful. I would love to hear Mr.Subroto Bagchi during his struggling days when I am sure he would not even have dreamed of making it so big. Mr.Subroto Bagchi has to understand that all successful people dont struggle and all those who struggle don’t be successful, Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani did not go thru the struggle which their father did but they have taken reliance to a new height today and contine to do so. Mr.Subroto Bagchi dont make general statements which are hard to digest for the common man. If you are successful enjoy the success while it lasts.

    Sanjay Kumar S.Hegde

  3. Just Mohit

    February 20, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Hi Sanjay, only the words quoted above are Mr. Bagchi’s. Rest of the article was my musings. And while I have not reached the pinnacle of success that he has (in fact I am the “common man” of your comment), I certainly agree with him.
    Moreover, Subroto hasn’t said “all successful people go through struggle”…as you seem to think. He has said “all great people”. There is a small difference!
    Further, to take your example of the Ambani brothers, while you seem to think they did not go through any struggle, I, for one would disagree, since taking Reliance to the new heights that they have, could not have happened without it’s share of pain.

  4. Sanjay

    February 20, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    Hello Mohit, Talking in perspective is easier than facing a practical situation, All Subroto is stating is vague philosophies which applying in today’s situation is not practical. Well I said that Ambani brothers did not have to go through the struggle what their father did. Talking about people less privileged people and talking about their satisfaction from another’s point of view, judging whether they are satisfied or not, comparing to your job and evaluating satisfaction is like comparing apples and oranges. Subroto is in the last stage of the Maslow’s pyramid and is self actualizing, hence his views would appeal to people at his level and people who would want to over optimistic and turn a blind eye to practical realities. Nothing personal with Mr.Subroto but at that level often I feel the person is blinded of reality.

  5. Just Mohit

    February 24, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    Hey Sanjay, appreciate your comment. There are times when I feel exactly as you say. However, whenever I have a quiet moment, I find myself agreeing with Subroto. He isn’t just stating vague philosophies after he has made it in life. He has been talking & writing about these things for years now. And even when you disagree with him at times (as I do), you have to agree that he does have a perspective to offer.

  6. Aditya

    March 11, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Guys, I for one have worked with Subroto closely and hence may be biased in my opinion nevertheless here goes.

    MindTree was faced with acute pratical problems in the year 2001-2 due to the dot com bust. Many small companies perished in it but with MindTree it was different it came out stronger and not because he was in the pinnacle of success in fact it seemed like the highway to hell. But he alongwith the leadership team restructured the business, moved people around the world ( Subroto moved to head US immediately ) managed investor confidence and most difficult of them all retained their entire team despite announcing a pay cut for the entire company which included the leadership team taknig the maximum hit followed by the middle management and then freshers. The key here is that he managed to offer a pay cut and yet motivate everyone in the company. I was employee no 312th in Mindtree and hence part of the team that took a pay cut. What he did not only for himself but for the whole of the team is made everyone relook at their jobs. Instead of looking at it as ” a low paying job with an IT start up ,in the midst of a dot com bust” he made everyone beleive that their jobs were ” not just a job, it was something more , each one of the team members was a part of a big family and were trying to do anything and everything that would help save our HOUSE from being blown away as MANY Lives Depended on us > that of the Karnataka spastics society, the careers of budding engineers /MBAs who had put faith in the company and left MNC offers to join this start up from campuses. Even in those troubled times he and Ashok took the decision of sacking a senior employee who had done an LTA fraud but was about to get us a million dollar deal. What happenned next is history. Mindtree moved from strength to strength. The employees oversubscribed for its IPO by 6 times a highest ever. The market returned favour by 106 times oversubscription on a week when all IPOS had hit rock bottom in the stock exchange.

    The respect Subroto has and his team has in the eyes of investors and customers is not something he got because he imagined he was on the maslows apex pole. It came to him because he really beleived in what he said and what Mohit has quoted him saying. There are many who can talk philosophy but one who has LIVED it and has something to show for it , surely knows what hes talking. Subroto is one such guy. Maybe you can drop him a line and meet him when hes in your city and 5 mins with him might make you rethink, not that anyone cares for that to happen but it may just propek yet another man into the apex of the maslows stuff from Cairo.

  7. Just Mohit

    March 11, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    Great comment Aditya. Thank you so much. You are fortunate for having had the chance to work with Subroto.

  8. Aditya

    March 16, 2007 at 11:27 am

    It sure was an amazing experience. The only one wherre I have seen, that success came as a result of doing things the right way. rarely do you see such an example. maybe folks dont stick around long enough..doing the right things.

  9. Sagnik

    June 30, 2007 at 8:49 am

    I have been reading Mr. Bagchis articles for some time now. I have even tried to memerize some of his quotes. I feel the way he delivers his speech or the way he writes is astounding and we can all learn a great deal from him.
    In fact, some of his views and comments ,i have tried to incorporate in my day to day life.
    It is not that i entirely would like to follow him blind folded, but combined with our own jurisdiction can be very helpful.
    In one of his articles he writes that his father was a supporter of the britsh raj on the other hand his mother was a staunch supporter of indian independence. So in the same house hold both the people had different opinions.
    What we can learn from the above is we can listen to people wih different opinions and at the end make our own decisions.

  10. Kiran Vuyyuru

    October 2, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Though, I am reading this article quite late & did not get a chance to work with Mr. Subroto, I admire his ideas & thoughts. I never used to miss his Times Of India articles. He is someone, from whom you can learn a lot. He is a combat ship with lots of learning from life, Simple living, good sense of humor. If you listen to his speech for a sec, you would keep on listening to him. And may be the way you perceive things around you would mature. And I agree that, great & successful people are those who would have seen the tough times as well. My be you are successful even with out much of struggles. But to the lessons learned from these struggles adds that extra edge of ‘great’.

  11. Niranjan Manjunath

    October 31, 2008 at 10:02 am

    I had the privilege of talking to Mr. Bagchi yesterday. Within the 30 minutes of conversation that I had with him, he showed me few perspectives of life which could be transformational if I dig a litter deeper. I have to agree that such a sense of depth does not necessarily come from merely having a philosophical perspective towards life but from having to really go through the experience of rising above the ordinary in those extra-ordinary times and being that leader who is readily available when people want him. He is yet a simple and humble human being. I cannot stop but admire him.

  12. Suresh S Gani

    November 4, 2008 at 9:46 am

    I’m very humble to read his Books, and also I want to say here is; as Sanjay mentioned names of Ambani brothers, they has to struggle to some extent to retain their asset what they have inherited if not as much their father Dheerubhai Ambani had struggled.

  13. Sukerna

    February 2, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Like Mr. Bagchi, I too grew up in the state of Orissa. unlike him, I had a relatively softer upbringing. Like him, I had fire in my belly and a deep sense of commitment. Unlike him, I quit Asia and the world of business, to retire before touching forty years of age.
    All I can say is with commitment and passion, one cannot stop by-products like money and ‘ business success ‘ from coming our way. When the focus is on achieving measurable material success, these milestones become questionable and elusive. As long as the focus is on value addition, nobody can stop a person from achieving great heights.
    That was my two-bit and hope to hear from others who disagree. This is the only way I can educate myself further.

  14. Lubna

    February 7, 2009 at 7:19 am

    Hello Mohit,
    Amazing isnt’ it. Your post dated 2005, still invites comments. But then this article is amazing. It is up there pinned on my softboard, as a daily reminder that work can be fun and satisfying but there is also a greater need to satisfy the job.

  15. Amit

    January 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Hi, I just realized the dates after reading Lubna’s post. Really amazing !


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