Work Ethics Begin at the First Interview

My first job was with a company that I had audited as an article during my Chartered Accountancy. There was no formal interview. That was in 1968. After about 5 years, I wanted to go for a change of job. Here’s a snippet of my interview with the finance director of a British company with operations in India, Mr. Shepherd:

He: Badri, you have credentials good enough to get you a job with any of the top companies. How do we know that you will continue to stay with us?

Me: Mr. Shepherd, I promise you I will not leave you before completing 4 years. But I cannot promise to stay with you beyond 5 years.

He: Why do you say that?

Me: I am confident that I will train my assistant to take over my job completely within 4 years. I will have nothing new to contribute after 5 years in the same job. Unless I get a different opportunity, it will not be in your interest to retain me after 5 years.


He: What is your role in periodical management reporting with your present employer?

Me: I have introduced annual budgeting, monthly profit statement and detailed variance analysis of actual over budget.


He: What is the profit level of your present employers?

Me: The latest published financials of the company reveal a profit of  xxx crores.


He: Are they making enough profits this year, rather, what are their current profits?

Me: I am sorry Mr. Shepherd, professional ethics do not permit me to answer this question.


He: Badri, when can you join us? Can you join us tomorrow?

They gave me an appointment letter with a grade higher than the maximum scale they advertised.


In interviews, I believe it makes a better impact, if a candidate:

  • Clearly and confidently speaks about his own thoughts and intentions rather than shifting blame on those with whom he was associated so far.
  • Never spills out the trade secrets and disclose information, which the earlier employers passed on to him in good faith or he had access to while executing the duties.


Maintaining these  basic ethics gives confidence to himself and to the new employer.


Editedby Meeta Kabra

A Mother’s Selflessness

We were living in Bellary when I got an admit to St. Joseph College, Bangalore for my under-graduation in 1966. I stayed in the hostel, which as a very special case, was provided to me free of cost by the college authorities. I couldn’t afford meals at the hostel mess, thus had a special waiver to make my own arrangements for food. From the limited funds I got from home, I subscribed for a monthly coupon at an Udipi restaurant at Rs.60 per month for two limited meals a day which was good enough for my needs.

This was my first time away from home, I missed my parents. After about a month of moving to Bangalore, I took advantage of a long weekend and went home.

My mother was at the door and was surprised to see me. Her first question was, ‘Why did you come home?’ Taken aback, I asked her what she meant. I told her that I missed her and have come home for just the weekend, ‘Are you not happy that I have come home?’

She said, ‘I love to see you all the time. But I can’t be selfish. In future, avoid visits as much as possible.’ ……….a long pause, with tears in her eyes…….expecting me to ask further questions, she continued, ‘You get meals twice a day at your hostel while I can feed you only once a day…’


Edited by: Meeta Kabra

My Unexpected Well Wishers

Year 1962

I was studying in Bellary and secured 1st class in SSLC, which was an exceptional achievement during those days.  1st class passings were rare. My dad encouraged me to go for the best possible education for my bachelor course in commerce. I applied for admission to the best of the colleges in the state, St Joseph’s College at Bangalore.

I was called for an interview.  Father D’Souza, the principal of St Joseph’s College, didn’t take too long to approve my admission to the college.

The college had a large student hostel which was very difficult to get an admit to.  Normally the hostel authorities didn’t even entertain inquiries for hostel admission.  Exceptionally, of his own accord, Fr. D’Souza asked me if I’d like admission to the hostel.

Fr. D’Souza:  Do you need admission to the college’s student hostel?

Me:                 I don’t know, Father

Fr. D’Souza: Why? Oh, you have arrangements to live in Bangalore?

Me:                 No, father.  I don’t know where I’ll live.

Fr. D’Souza: In that case, take provisional admission to the hostel before it is full.

Me:                 I cannot afford it, Father.

Fr. D’Souza: Then, where will you stay?

Me:                  I don’t know.  But I know I cannot afford the hostel, Father.


Fr. D’Souza left to go to the next room.  I was worried; had my uncertain answer deprived me of an admission to the college too?  After about 5 minutes, he returned with Fr. Colaco, the college Vice Principal and Dean of the Hostel.

My head was low with slight fear as they both looked at me.

Fr. Colaco:  We don’t have any policy for free boarding seats in the Hostel

Fr. D’Souza: But we have a proposal for you.


Fr. Colaco:   The teaching faculty of the college gets free boarding at a hostel closeby.  However, they share the mess expenses.  As a very special case, I can allot you a room in that hostel.


Me:                 Thank you very much, I am obliged Father.  But, I may not be able to bear the cost of the mess expenses either.

Fr. D’Souza: Then, is there a way we can help you?

Me:                 Yes Father.  Please let me live there and waive me from having to join the hostel’s mess.


They looked at each other and maybe they signaled.

Fr. Colaco:    That is possible.  We can give you just a place to stay.

Fr. D’Souza: How will you manage food though?

Me:                I will manage with some economical arrangement outside.

Fr. Colaco:   But you will not get good food outside.

Me:               Father, my intention is to get the best of education here.  Food doesn’t matter much.

Fr. Colaco:  Ok. I will send a note to Victoria Hostel. God Bless You, my son.

Fr. D’Souza: God Bless You.

Me:              Thank you Father (D’Souza).  Thank you Father (Colaco)

When I came out of the Principal’s room, I had tears in my eyes reflecting my happiness.  Why they had tears, I do not fully know.

I carry those blessings to date.

I arranged for food on monthly coupon package system with an Udipi Restaurant, located between the College and the Hostel.

I was living in a hostel where I could associate and interact with some of not only well-known Commerce professors but also of other faculties. This I guess is what they call, a blessing in disguise.

Written by Badri Baldawa

Edited by: Meeta Kabra

How Lies Boomrang:


The year was 1972-73.

Pushpa and I were married for about 10 years or so and lived at Ruwi, Sultanate of Oman. Pushpa was down with cold, cough, and fever. She was in no mood to go to the clinic to get the medication prescribed. Now, the corporate doctor on duty, Dr Samuel,  gave prescriptions only after examining the patient.  She would never budge from this principle.

A brilliant brainwave struck! Why not go to the Doctor and present myself to her as the patient. I could act out all the symptoms that Pushpa had and the doctor would prescribe/provide the medicines which Pushpa can have.

I acted convincingly.

Doctor said, “Loosen your waist belt and lie face down”. I had to do what she asked me to do, even if I didn’t understand why. She came up and injected the medicines, “Go, you will be alright today. You don’t need any other medicines.”


Edited by Meeta Kabra