Why Should Reunion Only Be About Alma Maters?

What comes to your mind first when you spot the word “çompany”? A business organisation selling goods and services, right?

How many of you first associated the term to mean “being with a person”? Fewer, I’d guess. Well, I will come back to this later. When you leave a company (and here I refer to it as an organisation), you are likely to have mixed feelings. You may remember some instances fondly while there may be some bitter memories too. The net result of all sum total memories determines what you feel about your former workplace. Whether you recollect your time in it with pleasure. Or feel a sick taste in your mouth.

This piece is not about where I worked before. It is about where I am now.

I am halfway into my eighteenth year in my current place of work which coincidentally has 18 in its name. When you work as long as I have in the same place, chances are you will feel for it in more ways than one.  There’s something about 18 which is a part of me. The number is special to me now. So much so, that all car registration numbers in my family add up to 18. It is something that I have acquired over the years. Before I joined my current place of work, the same number meant nothing to me.

What’s in a number, you may ask? I just feel good about it. But the number is not the only thing I feel good about. My workplace has many good things about it. Mostly, it is the people. Both past and present.

Let me dwell a bit on the past. One of the best things about my current workplace is a super-strong-knit alumni. I know the word is associated with school, college, or university. But what the heck, it seems to be the right word to use here. For lack of a better alternative.

What makes the X18 alumni body special? First and foremost, it is led by an exemplary individual who knows how to bring people together. I guess that’s the reason he chose Human Resources as his calling. I am referring to Rajneesh Singh, the ultimate people’s person. He has nurtured this group for over 10 years since he quit Network 18 to start his own venture.  When he floated his own start-up, three of his team members left to join him. Not as employees. But partners. As their boss, he could have offered them important positions without necessarily offering them a partnership. And who knows, they may have joined. But I don’t think that crossed his mind. Such is Rajneesh Singh. He views his team members as his equals. I know I digressed a bit, but only to reflect the thought behind the man.

Back to X18.

What else makes X18 special, besides Rajneesh’s leadership? It is “the people”. It’s a fabulous bunch where the camaraderie is palpable when they unite. When you go back home after meeting them, you are likely to miss their company.  I come back to where I started writing this piece.

What’s fascinating is not just the company the constituents of this team worked for – the workplace where they fondly recollect their time spent. It is as much about the company they kept within the company they worked for. In other words, it is equally the companionship they miss.

It is an exciting combination – where the organisation and the people inside it – together make the place memorable. In short, it is the company, and the company within the company that add up to make a difference. No workplace is perfect. In fact, a perfect workplace perhaps does not exist. But once you deduct the hard feelings from the blissful memories about your place of work, if the net outcome still feels good, you are in a good place.

Last weekend, the X18 family reunited in Delhi NCR. If there’s one line that sums up the feelings expressed by many at the reunion, and – what I have repeatedly heard over a decade and a half from other X18 members – it is a line from Bryan Adams’s popular hit Summer of ‘69:

“Those were the best days of my life.”

Staying with music, there’s one more from the same singer that strikes a major chord with both the past and present members of the 18- work-family: 18 till I die.

Whether you work here now or in the past, there’s a little bit of 18 that becomes a part of you.

What Can You Take Away? Some of you may feel the same way about your present or past workplace and/or the people who make/made it a great place. Celebrate it. Stay in touch. Get together whenever possible. Why should reunion and alumni only be about school, college or university? And it’s not just to bond, party, and shake a leg. You can help each other as a group. Groups have power behind the numbers. A group can do more than an individual can. Because of the diversity and variety that its members bring to it.

Regroup. Reunite. Relive. The X18 way.

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