Work your way up in Business

I remember years back, some ulama asked me to be the chairman for their society. I consulted Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel رحمة الله عليه who advised me to refuse the offer explaining that in the Jameat office, he started off packing hampers. Then after some time and experience he took on a higher post, and once he mastered that he took a post higher until eventually, he became chairman for the society. From this we learn that in any business or organisation, we must work right at the bottom first, and then work our way up.

This will allow us to thoroughly understand each stage and department in our organisations. Otherwise, if an individual goes straight for the chairman seat he will be unaware of how each department works, leading him to making the wrong decisions. Furthermore, people will be able to pull the wool over his eyes easily because this man may be a chairman, but he has no clue what goes on at grass root levels, he’s too high up to see and notice what the labourers see and notice.

Many times, we see a young person go into his dad’s business but he wants to work in the office immediately. No, this is not the way it works. First, he must be given a broom and he should sweep the floor. Then he can pack the shelves, offload the van and do stock rotation. Slowly he will work his way up until eventually, when the time is right, he will become experienced enough to sit in the office and meet the representatives and seniors.
That opportunity will come but first, our sons should start off from the bottom, learning what the business is all about.

When a person goes straight to the top, he will not appreciate what the labourers do because he hasn’t done it himself. But for example, if he has experienced offloading, he will know how long it takes. Say it took your son half an hour. Now when your son reaches the chairman seat and his employers are taking an hour, he will know they’re wasting time. But if they’ve been away for 15 minutes, he will understand that they need more time. So rather than shouting, he would be empathetic.

Often rather than our sons requesting a senior position, we as parents make the mistake of putting our sons right at the top. That’s why the business goes down; the father spends a lifetime struggling and working his way up in someone else’s shop, and now years later, he’s successfully running his very own business. But when he brings his son into the business, he says that my son is a prince, he can’t sweep or pack shelves, he’s going to go straight to the office! That’s a mistake – this son will never understand the business that way. Plus, it is possible that pride and arrogance will enter the heart of this child.

So we must first give them an opportunity to learn from the bottom, otherwise, how will they teach others from the top?

May Allah grant us all the tawfiq, Aameen.

— Hazrat Maulana Dawood Seedat حفظه الله

The above is an extract from Hazrat’s majlis on 14/4/2016.

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