Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 26, 2021
This week, as part of the collaboration between Rotary and Toastmasters, we welcomed Harjeet Panesar from the Millwoods Vocabulaires Toastmasters Club. Harjeet is a Professional Engineer and past colleague of Dmitri from Thurber Engineering.
Harjeet spoke to us about Perspective and how we are not truly able to understand other people until we can see things from their perspective, and when we do, it helps to make the world a better place.
He illustrated this point by giving us some examples from his personal experience. Harjeet said that he grew up and received his engineering education in Punjab, India. On graduation his first job was in Dubai. From there he came to Canada. When he arrived in Vancouver, he purchased a calling card, but when he went to pay for the five dollar card, he became upset when he found that the actual cost was sixty five cents more. When he asked why, they told him it was for taxes. He did not understand. In the countries where he had previously lived there was no tax on goods. Once he had been here for a short while he came to appreciate all the benefits that type of tax provided and was more accepting of the tax. His perspective had changed.
He gave another example. When he came to Canada, he had left his wife behind in India. His first job here was the night shift or graveyard shift, at a seven eleven store.  When he told his wife about his job, she made no comment at first. On the second call he made to her she was quite upset and told him that he had to quit his job in the graveyard. I was then that he realized she did not understand the term graveyard as it is used here in Canada to describe the night shift. Once he explained this to her, she was much relieved. Her perspective had changed.
One last example he gave was some sage advice he had received from Dmitri, when he was Harjeet’s manager. Harjeet had been promoted to a managerial position and Dmitri called him in one day and gave him some advice on decision making. He told him that every time he had to make a difficult decision, he should try to imagine how others will see things from their perspective. Harjeet said that that advice has served him well.
In closing, he said that everyone sees things differently. We need to put ourselves in the shoes of others to fully understand their point of view and prevent misunderstandings.