Work hard, but enjoy your job – Ravi Varrier spending 40 years in a company!

Rashmi Naveen Gopal
Thursday, November 23, 2017

Spending long working years with a company may not be a big deal if you are a sincere employee. But starting your career with a company as a junior staff and climbing the pinnacle up to the ‘General Manager’ in a multibillion dollar company is not a small thing. This is what makes Ravi Varrier different from others.

Ravi Varrier has spent 40 productive years in Kuwait and has thoroughly enjoyed his tenure with Al-Rashed International Group. He has been an inspiration to the Indians living in Kuwait. Started his career as a junior staff and over a period of 40 years grown to the level of GM in the same company.

Al Rashed International Shipping Company has spread it wings all over the world catering to all types of shipping requirements. No doubt, they are a leading edge shipping industry in Middle East.

In an exclusive chat with indiansinkuwait.com, Ravi Varrier shares his experience in shipping industry and life. Excerpts:

IIK: You have spent 40 years of life in Kuwait. How do you feel?
Ravi Varrier: It has been exciting, and enjoyable and an honor for me to complete 40 years of service in the same company. Not many will be lucky to achieve this Milestone. Thank God and Al Rashed family for this achievement!

IIK: What drew you to Kuwait at the age of eighteen? Could you also explain Kuwait of those years and your early experience?
RV: At a time when it was just a dream for many Indians to come to Gulf, Thanks to the support of my aunt who lived in Kuwait, I got a Visa and reached Kuwait on 6/6/77. Within 10 days of reaching, I commenced my career in Al Rashed International Shipping Company and the journey still continues. During those days Kuwait was full of opportunities and for someone who wanted to grow by working hard, was the right place to be.

IIK: From a position of junior assistant to the top management level of the company, how was your journey with this company?
RV: I started working with Al Rashed Company as a junior assistant. I was young and full of dreams about the future. Did all sorts of jobs, always keen to learn from my seniors and worked very hard. I was fortunate to work directly under GM Ghassan Zein. Whom I consider as Godfather. Thereafter, my career graph took off. In 1989, I was promoted to the middle management as a shipping manager and in 1992, I was elevated as The General Manager of the company. "Success makes sacrifices worthwhile" Thank God! :)



IIK: You were here while Gulf war broke out. How do you recall?
RV: The previous day of the attack was a Thursday. I had been to Al Mohallab Mall to watch a movie and went to bed late night. The next day morning I was shocked to see tanks rolling up the streets of Kuwait City....it was Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait, a 2-day operation which resulted in the seven-month-long Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. During this time, many of us returned to India! To reach Mumbai we had to fly to Bagdad via Basra. and to Jordan and take another flight to Bombay.
Back in Kerala, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life! I used to spend time watching BBC, visiting my close friends and A small temple where I was just praying for normalcy be restored soon!
Once the news of Kuwait liberation broke on midnight of February 25, 1991, I immediately got a call from the Al Rashed family and here I am..

IIK: Followed by a call from the Al Rashid family in 1991 you came back to Kuwait. What was the condition of the war hit Kuwait and the company then?
RV: Kuwait was war ravaged and bore a pitiful sight. There were dark smokes all around. Iraqi troops had plundered and looted the city of Kuwait.

We had to start all over from scratch, cleaned up the office and stayed here for almost 8 months. Many days The conference hall doubled as my bed room!

Gradually, few of Old employees returned. Some from Dubai, and some from other countries
Dubai was booming then after the Iran-Iraq war, in 1989 and the Iraq-Kuwait war, in 1990 and I could visualize a great Opportunity lying ahead.

IIK: After a few months of non-operation, the economic and security crisis, how did the company pick up and flourish to the top of business?
RV: "Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you take off and fly. “I didn't see it then, but it turned out that this was the best thing that could have ever happened to me..
When we resumed work after the crisis, being a beginner again, less sure about everything, freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

We recruited new employees. Soon I was made the General Manager.
I somehow had the courage to follow my intuitions, and much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on!
Again, Thanks to God for making it happen and Alrashed family for the free hand given!
The situation in Kuwait was entirely different. We were short of machineries, manpower etc.
Yet we managed. We were mostly depending on Dubai during that phase.

IIK: What difference do you find in between the early days of company and today?
RV: The Post invasion years were golden years for Kuwait. The nation started bouncing back with enhanced energy. Business grew by default and we could leverage most of it through our brand image.

Of course, No business can grow without an element of risk in decision making. We also survived and grew along with such calculated risks taken.

We started with shipping and we now offer diversified services related to not only Shipping, but complete solutions related to shipping and logistics, Viz.........

Again, Thanks to Al Rashed family for having the confidence in me and giving me a free hand!
Should also mention here, those days the team spirit among the employees was commendable!
There was reliability and trustworthiness amongst the team!

People used to work closely and honesty and transparency were the basis for success.
I am of the opinion that one should not work only for money but should work only if he loves the job and derives job satisfaction!

In today's modern corporate world, developing teamwork skills in the workplace is imperative to survive in this competitive environment.

IIK: During your journey for the past 40 years, what you consider as the most memorable moment?
RV: There are many such moments. The best of them is sharing a close relationship with Al Rashed family.
The long acquaintance with Al Rashed also gave me opportunities to be familiar with many citizens of Kuwait and expatriates. I owe them a lot for the love and respect that they bestow on me.



IIK: What is your major expectation about growth of the company in the future?
RV: There is still scope for growth in logistics sector in Kuwait. Putting in place adequate performance management systems will open up opportunities for expansion.
FYI We are in the process of doing a port symphony, liaising with international companies...
We do have many such projects lined up viz. the Al Soor Project

IIK: What advice do you give the fellow Indians in Kuwait?
RV: Having come to a country to make your future, it is necessary to abide by the law of the land and be a good citizen. Academic qualification alone is not enough, one has to develop analytical skills simultaneously and be open with a positive attitude. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. It is important to freeze every opportunity to build a career by hard and smart work. Always try to find a balance between your profession and family. Spend quality time with your children. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. Take control of your life, and that begins with having control of your own time. Your time is a valuable asset, use it well and wisely.

Reshmi Naveen Gopal is a freelance writer. She is a post graduate in Communication and Journalism. She has worked with main stream print media and online journals. She has been a faculty in communication and journalism at a couple of colleges.
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Express your comment on this article

 
It was that timely luck
Posted on Monday, December 4, 2017

Dear Ravi- Real truth acutally is was becoz of the aftermath of the Invasion luck favoured you and got the GM post becoz of that arab nationality Ghassan could not arrive --- Remember what your role as GM definetely you favoured to your sponsor for your & their needs but remember hope u also shown light and sympathy to your staff working under you and timely gave their ex gratia benefits - Every human in top management thinks they have reached HEAVEN but yes but not on the cost of the weak and surpressing them... Many are highly qualified and worked sincerely for more than 30 years but never not allowed to be known to get a growth.
Anyway whatever you have achieved Only God knows and surely you will be reconciled and hope if many are hurted may they replace it by forgiveness''' Remember Money is root of every evil " that this will be known at the 11th hour --- But remember by saying Hard work and love your work is a joke or Filmi saying --- All are winners and all are working hard to survivie

MARW- WAGLE
Posted on Sunday, December 3, 2017

Great appreciate for all your hard works and all the best for future.
this is gulf water in this gulf deep sea the stones are floating and coal are drowned.

zak
Posted on Monday, November 27, 2017

Dear Mr.Ravi...you are one of the lucky few who got a GODFATHER (the GM ) and yourself admitting that your career graph took off cause of him....but in the real world there are thousands of people who worked hard and served loyally 30 years with same company..but they are still waiting months for their indemnities and a proper retirement... so all the philosophy of hard work and love your work is mostly a myth... luck plays a more crucial role......anyways good luck.

SK
Posted on Sunday, November 26, 2017


Good message... here... really... most of the people scared about para.. katta para.. because they themselves put katta para to others.. so naturally they expect from others too.. no teamwork nowadays...unfortunately very few people got good boss who is understanding... and consider ones efficiency..
Should also mention here, those days the team spirit among the employees was commendable! There was reliability and trustworthiness among the team! People used to work closely and honesty and transparency were the basis for success.
I am of the opinion that one should not work only for money but should work only if he loves the job and derives job satisfaction!

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