Many years back while in business for my father, an interior designer, we would get a contract for the home of the managing director or chairman of a big company. Now in all probability I had already visited him in his office and seen him as a powerful person, but at home, he was oh so different. Suddenly I was at ease and not intimidated by him, his expensive suit or his fancy office.

I decided to find out what change had happened between the visit to the office and his home, and have decided I’ll take the role of the powerful man, but at his home, bear with me as we do a role play:

The doorbell rings, I, now the MD, but at home, open the door, and there’s the plumber I’d called yesterday at my office.

He gasps in surprise; yesterday when he’d seen me at my office, he had seen me behind a mahogany desk, in the fanciest of offices, with a secretary sitting outside, who had made him wait awhile before she let him in. He had seen me as a busy man, and a powerful one at that. As he spoke with me, he had stuttered and stammered, completely out of place in the magnificent surroundings. He had nodded while I told him about the plumbing job at home, and I’d wondered whether he’d heard anything.

 ‘Have a cup of tea!’ I had told him, but he had mumbled something about being late for another appointment, which I knew was a lie, and he had rushed away. He was too embarrassed to sit on the fancy couch in my office, for that matter he even stood as he spoke to me.

But now as he looks at me, from the open door, there is a smile on his face. “Is it the same man?” I wonder, even as I realize I am still wearing the creased and crumpled pajamas I had worn through the night. The vest on my chest isn't much better. The plumber saunters in, at ease with himself and with me. I am a tad irritated with his light manner and the way he treats me, but soon understand, that this easy manner seems to work as he understands my plumbing problem and explains how easy it is to repair the same.

I smile, happy I have someone who understands. He smiles too and gets on with his job.

I wonder what has changed from yesterday to today? Then look down at crumbled clothes, creased vest and in the mirror, see my disheveled hair and unshaved face, and then I understand. In my vulnerability he was comfortable. When no tailored suit separated him from me, communication was man to man.

The plumbing job was good, vulnerability had won!

Sometimes the suit is unsuitable, when you want to get a job done..! 

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