Why I will never forgive DY Works
At the outset, let me clarify that the article title is not a ‘click-bait’. More importantly, the article is not a ‘rant’ even though the title may seem to indicate it. Rather it’s just the opposite.
I wish to narrate of my experience at DY Works — a top-notch Indian brand consultancy where I worked early-on in my career. The experience was such that it evokes fond memories. More so, it was such a good experience that even after years, I regard the institution with the highest respect — something that no other place I’ve worked with can match up with.
Mark my deliberate use of the term ‘institution’ rather than a workplace or company or an organisation. Trust me, in every sense, it deserves to be called an institution.
During the period I was there, not only I but almost everyone there at that point in time, will agree that we learnt, we grew and experienced a culture that was not only progressive, but obsessively human. DY Works was an environment with principles that encouraged professional ethics and crucially, high respect among people at large — be it internal staff, client-partners or even the one-off vendors.
The culture of respect reflected in the strongly bonded teams along with a uniform sense belonging at the group level. It was natural, thus, that team leaders could encourage their individual team members to spread wings. They had their backs and firmly.
Examples were ample where team members, however, junior were never thrown under the bus, especially in front of clients. This allowed mistakes to occur that an individual would do once, but never again. They contributed as lessons and growth. No wonder, ownership was high among individuals. Leaders set examples by never passing stress down but rather held together with teams for resolutions.
What’s more, DY Works had the power to say ‘NO’. As people, we were encouraged to say it wherever necessary. This included in assessing the need for client to undertake an exercise with the agency to begin with and saying NO if there wasn’t a need. This, when agencies jump on any project whether they have expertise or not. Significantly, during projects we also did not need to sugarcoat, and could push back if we believed in our solutions as team. Calling a spade a spade was not insubordination or a covert diktat.
That lead to high transparency and trust within teams and with the clients. Every voice was important. Giving wings at all levels was an endeavour. Respect was simply a consequence that grew. And in this process, the individual and the company grew.
Not to forget, the fundamentals of processes were so clear — billings, documentation, collections, follow-ups, etc. that it only was like a cherry on the cake.
So, in the preceding paragraphs, I listed generically the DY Works I lived with. I have incident after incident that I would love to rattle out. I would love to share names and tell my stories. But I restrict myself here. Though I want to add that they know who they are. I have been blessed to work and interact with each of them.
To add, today, though I strongly detest the concept of ‘workplaces as family’, I would agree that DY Works was living the concept, without shouting out as much.
I reemphasise the culture of respect and environment I thrived in. I grew to be the individual who trusted people fearlessly, respected people fiercely and whatever would be my role, it would never be a job. I became the individual who came to believe that it is always people first, and you grow in environments that you can grow.
That’s where it came crashing down
Alas! I was to deal with rude shocks post my stint at DY Works. My expectations were to be shattered. My efforts to be the ‘happy elf’ I was at DY Works and to create the same environment at other places taking people along were to be badly shattered. My belief systems were to be jolted.
DY Works taught me the best of being a good professional, a team player, and respecting people. But I had to accept becoming a minion. DY Works taught me to adhere to principles and love my place of work and really have backs of my peers and subordinates. Yet, I had to witness that people could be crushed all over. The all-pervasive bosses could have last word. Teams could exist for namesake. Vendors could be looked down upon.
It is painful that I experienced the best of culture and the best of being human, and now, if not impossible, such an experience seems remote.
In my quest to keep living the best I had experienced and to create the best that could be, especially, a culture of respect, I would hit a wall. Therefore, I must say that I will never forgive DY Works for being so good. Sometimes, I think it might have been better to never had such a wonderful experience and build expectations. I, at times, wish I could have seen my assignments as ‘just another job’ or ‘speaking up’ and ‘trusting colleagues’ would not have been ingrained so well in me due to my experience at DY Works.
In my interview assignment with DY Works, I got a remark ‘Original Thinking. Fearless Expression’. Every minute of my life, I wore that badge with pride at DY Works. They don’t make them like you anymore.
Thank you DY Works! I remain grateful despite the angst that I now hold against you for instilling in me values that I got mocked for and for being so good an experience that I yearn for it everywhere I go, knowing that I may never get it.