Appa, what do you really do?

A light hearted take on my profession, through the eyes of my 7 year old.


Yes, son?

What do you and your friends really do at office?

We help people.

Do you give them money?

We help in other ways. We help them become better.

Why? Are they sick?

Oh, one doesn’t need to be sick, to want to be better. You already run fast, but still want to run faster, don’t you?

Yes, and I want to swim faster too. And jump higher. But Appa, what do adults want to do better?

Some want to think better and solve problems.

So they can do jigsaw puzzles like I do? Bigger puzzles?

Yes, something like that. To solve bigger puzzles in office, they need to have something called holistic thinking and we help with that.

And I always complete my puzzles, and don’t leave gaps and I see that the pieces fit together properly, and I keep the puzzle back in its box properly.

Super! That’s called ownership, and adults need that too.

But do people in office do jigsaw puzzles all day? Don’t they play other games?

Sure they do. There are games where they need to do something courageous, on their own, without asking for permission.

Courageous? Like when I went to school on my bicycle, on my own?

Absolutely. Adults use a different word for it… Initiative.

Adults always have big words for everything.

I’m afraid so, son. And it confuses them. So I make it simpler for them to learn.

Mommy says: To make it simple, do only one thing at a time. When you eat, you eat. When you play, you play.

That’s how we do it too, son. We get them to focus on one thing at a time, while they are learning. Then we show them how they can do it better. When they try it, we stay near them to help if they falter.

Falter? Do you mean fall? Like when I took off the trainer wheels on my bicycle, and you ran with me, to catch me if I fall?

Yes, that’s exactly right. Except that you learnt very quickly. But adults are slower… we stay with them for a few months.

Next time when someone asks me what you do, I’m going to say “My dad helps office people play their game better. And he doesn’t leave till they are able to”.

Sounds good, son!



Shirish Kher offers advisory services for L&D teams, where he helps them create impact for the businesses they serve . He is also the Founder of HumSarathi, a network of people who help Entrepreneurs find time for priorities, by developing their L2 cadre. Shirish brings with him 15 years of in-the-trenches L&D experience, as a trainer and coach. More about his work at