Name: Kasinathan “Murali” M.
Place: Molena, Georgia
Relationship: Wise Elder & Friend
Days after signing my offer letter from Google in 2012 – thus putting an end to what was an intensive post-graduation bout of unemployment and stress – I boarded a bus from Detroit to Atlanta to attend a National Heartfulness Meditation Gathering. Once there, I sought career advice from my mentor and friend, Kasinathan Muralidharan, or Murali Uncle, as I call him.
We had met in India a few years prior, and since then I’d grown close with his eldest daughter. Murali is not only a Ph.d in Molecular Biology, but one of a select group of men I’ve been fortunate enough to meet who not only operates at the highest levels in his professional life as a businessman, but also his personal life as a husband and father.
Honestly, the depth of love and caring that he and his wife inspired in their daughters has created a family unit that I strive to emulate, hence why I sought him out.
So, I approached him that October with a question. As I was about to begin my career, I wanted to know what advice he had for me as I got started.
From there, he went on to deliver some truly Epic Advice.
Family Time Comes First, Always
Naturally, he didn’t break character and resisted my question. That’s what makes him so great. Very humbly, he shared that he didn’t think he was the best positioned person to impart such knowledge to me.
Just as naturally, I didn’t break character either and pushed. 🙂
“You know Trevor,” he began, “if I had to say, then there’s two things that I’ve always done that I think are important. First, I never took work home with me. Maybe I’d check email once in the morning, and sometimes do a little work after dinner. But rarely. I put family time first, always. Sure, this cost me meetings, and maybe even some promotions and reputation. But I don’t regret it. For what tradeoff? A little bit more money but missing my daughters grow up? No way.”
Normally I would dismiss such a comment as fluff. But, Murali is literally living this advice. As the Senior Director of a major global company, I can only imagine what it took to get there. Yet, at the same time, his family is one of the closest families I have ever had the privilege of being around. So, he must truly be “walking the talk.”
Then, he continued.
Never Work For A Bad Boss
“The second piece of advice I have is about who you work for. Life is too short to work for someone you don’t like. When you work for a bad boss it will affect your entire life. So, never be afraid to walk away from someone or something if its a bad situation, even early into the contract. Again, life is too short to work for a jerk.”
I couldn’t appreciate yet at that stage of my career just how insightful his words were. But now, 5 years later with a few company changes in tow, I know exactly what he meant.
Whether it’s a mean client, a micro-manager, a toxic colleague, or an asshole boss, it really does negatively affect everything else, and it’s irresponsible & ignorant to try to convince oneself otherwise. So, I’ve learned to cut.
At such moments I think of Murali’s advice and it gives me the courage to cleave the superfluous, even if means a period of unknowing or some loss of reputation. I know from him that I must prioritize peace of mind for myself and my family above all else.
So thank you, Murali, for such Epic Advice. I have tried to put it into practice daily since you shared it, and hope that the lives of those reading are similarly inspired & enriched by your words & life.