Varun Baruah, National Institute of Technology, Silchar Alumnus: It is Really Vital to Abolish ‘Sir/Madam’ Culture from Government Offices

Varun Baruah, the product manager of Razorthink Inc. ( http://www.razorthink.com) is a supporter of No Sir No Madam cause.  Razorthink is an AI Data Scientist technology that uncovers real-time customer insights that was never possible before.

Varun is a bachelor of technology in electronics and communication engineering from the renowned National Institute of Technology (NIT), Silchar.  He has had the opportunity of working for companies such as Tata Consultancy Services and Ericsson.  Moreover, he was also the co-founder of a startup named as ‘Outsell’ (http://www.letsoutsell.com).

He believes that parity and respecting people at the workplace is essential for an open communication.  Subsequently, he heeds to the same principles in his organization as well.  However, he states — When I started my career, I was working in an MNC which still adhered to ‘Sir/Madam’ customs.  It was only later in my career that I was introduced to No Sir No Madam ideology.  Even when I was part of Outsell, we ensured to follow a salutation ridden culture at the workplace.  I could notice the positive change in the communication chains as compared to that when I was working previously in a private sector company.

He continues, “’Sir/Madam’ greeting has just become a formality over the years.  Although, I have observed that many organizations have now started to inculcate No Sir No Madam habit.  Rightly so, as it helps in removing the fear of communicating with anyone.  A person feels much more comfortable while conversing with someone on a first-name basis.  No Sir No Madam convention also instills a lot of transparency in communication.”

Varun also mentions that he corresponds with his clients without using pronouns.  He voices — Initially, I start off by addressing them as ‘Mr.’ or ‘Mrs.’ followed by their first-name.  Later on, as we get comfortable in our communication, I start referring to them by their first-name.  Therefore, I feel that this is the right way of communicating with clients as no one is doing each other a favor.  They have approached me because they know I am skilled at what I do.  Similarly, they are paying us, so, no one should have to bow down in front of each other just to get the work completed.

He ventures on the prevalence of ‘Sir/Madam’ tradition in a government office.  Varun opines, “You can never address any government official without a salutation.  They will not acknowledge your presence and be rude to if you refer to them by their first-name.  I personally have had experiences where the assistant or clerk at a bureaucrat’s office has informed me to address the officer as ‘Sir/Madam’.  I reckon that it is time we get rid of the salutation edict in public offices as well.  Top level administrators and officers should understand and work towards eradicating ‘Sir/Madam’ tradition from their respective offices.”

Furthermore, he shares his thoughts on the indifference caused by ‘Sir/Madam’ order in blue-collar worker’s lives.  He articulates — People doing petty jobs are not respected enough for their job.  It is difficult to imagine a day without them.  In my company, everyone depends on the peons and the bottom level guys for all kinds of work.  Therefore, I ensure to give them their due respect by treating them as equal and conversing with them on a first-name basis.

Varun adds, “Younger generation, as it do not cling to salutation while communicating with anyone.  Be it at workplace or while dealing with the maids or labourers.  It is only the older generation that resists embracing No Sir no Madam decree.”

He suggests that besides approaching corporations, public sector is the place that needs major restructuring.  People ought to educate public office administrators about the boons of first-name culture.

Varun ceases by proposing —‘Sir/Madam’ tradition instills fear in the mind of a person, even if he is willingly addressing someone with a salutation.  Therefore, adopt No Sir No Madam thesis to remove such inhibitions.  As respect comes from heart and not just by using salutations.”

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