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Are you the last person the captain would like to throw out of his ship ?

I will start with the assumption that we all know someone who is better than us in terms of experience, knowledge, vision and is worth reporting to. I know of several.

Imagine being on a ship with this individual as the captain. As the ship sets sail, we find that there are several others along with us in it. We are not on it as mere passengers. We are all expected to help make the journey a smooth one. Most importantly, we are expected to arrive at our destination at the right time and in good shape. And then proceed to our next destination. We do have the choice to get off at any destination, if individually, we believe we have arrived at ours.

What do you see and observe as you embark and get on with this journey? Let me share my set of observations from my journey.

To make our lives a little easier, the captain did assign us some high level roles and responsibilities. I noticed with surprise that in some cases, some individuals were assigned tougher jobs than what they seemed to be qualified for while it was the other way around in some other cases. I wondered, but I left it to the captain, after all he probably knew about each one of us more than what each of us did about ourselves. My friendly peer though wasn't impressed, but he didn't care. "Hey, I'm getting what I need and I'm in this journey until we arrive at my destination", he muttered to me.

And then it happened on day 4. A storm which appeared from nowhere. The waves battered the ship and some of us panicked. We forgot about our specific roles and responsibilities and while some were busy ensuring the safety of their personal belongings, some were trying to control the ship and doing what they could to help the captain as he shouted out instructions. This was obviously not the first time for him and he seemed to know what to do. After what seemed like a lifetime, the storm cleared.

When we took stock after a breather, we realised the extent of damages. Apart from having lost some of our supplies, we found that a number of people including our chef and a few members of his team were injured. So too was the case with some of the members who had the ability to take care of the engines. Left with no choice, all the relatively healthy ones were left to not only work on damage control but to keep the ship going towards our destination. And that is when I made many discoveries. I noticed how some people around me easily slid into new roles. Some who had never made tea in their lives were chatting up with the injured chef and his team to understand how to get the kitchen started up. Some who had never dirtied their hands were trying to figure out how to get the engine room functioning as efficiently as before. And some were trying to figure out how to help people in various stages of distress. That is when I realised that a bulk of these people were those in whom the captain had entrusted greater responsibilities than I had imagined they could handle. These people had not been re-assigned these roles, they just assumed charge and began to take decisions.

A few days later, when everyone and everything around was back to near normal, I noticed that everybody had gone back to doing what they were originally responsible for when we had begun the journey. Except for the few who thought that the captain had neither planned the journey well nor had anticipated the storm. The rest of us are now onto our 5th destination. The captain himself got off at the 4th (much to our disappointment. He had reached his destination, he said). We ensured a wonderful send-off and thanked him for the many experiences he had provided.

Incidentally, the chef too is no longer our chef now. Looks like he had picked up new abilities along the way. He is now, our new captain. He does cook up a great meal for us on his off days though! Me ? After having baked bread for a long time, I'm now in charge of the engine room.

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