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Thankless Job

I recently visited the civic administration's office to obtain some important document.

This is a work I would have gladly shoved on somebody else's shoulders because I had heard and had myself experienced in the past, that you cannot hope to get your work done in the civic office on a single visit; you had to make several trips before you could expect to get your work done.

Anyway, there was no one on whom I could shift the responsibility; I had to go myself. I located the appropriate department and told an officer of my requirement. The officer directed me to a clerk. The clerk sifted through a number of physical files to find the relevant one. She had to move quite a few files to withdraw the correct one, and they had to be rearranged again. I felt grateful to her.

I carried the file to the officer. Needless to say the document was not issued because certain procedure had to be followed. I was, of course, prepared for that since I had entered the office fully convinced I will have to make several trips before I could lay my hands on the document.

I took the file back to the clerk and thanked her. "Thank you," I told her. Now, perhaps it was because I was dejected as my work was not done that I spoke to her in almost an inaudible voice.

"What! What did you say?" the woman almost yelled at me, causing others in the office to look in our direction.

I was taken aback by this sudden outburst. What was she yelling at me for? I had only thanked her!

I said "Thank you", I told her more clearly, and she calmed down.

On my way home I was still puzzling over the woman's behaviour when like an 'Eureka moment' I solved the riddle. This is the answer that suggested to me:

It was rare for a person to get work done on a single visit to the office. For this reason it was likely that people, who had taken leave from work or postponed other personal matters to visit the civic office, felt exasperated when their visit proved futile. This, in turn, could lead to angry words. The employees in the civic office, therefore, were more used to hear angry words than a "Thank you".

When I thanked her inaudibly, the clerk probably thought I had made some offensive remarks. That explained her sudden outburst.

All my annoyance against the clerk vanished when this explanation suggested to me. In fact, I felt a pang of sympathy for her; it must be really awful to have to hear angry words for eight hours every working day of the week. I could only laugh away the discomfiture I had been subjected to.

Some useful links for
your career:


  • Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
  • IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
  • Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
  • IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu