Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Running Away From Problem

Today I would like to tell you a story, enjoy….
It was usual warm April morning in Delhi. Rakshit was preparing to-do list before going office. He had developed this habit from the start of his career when he was working as junior faculty in one of the training institute in his home town. He continued to follow this habit even though he did not like his job in his current organization. Daily he go to office thinking that things will improve and he will start liking his job but that never happened. Thinking of the list of tasks he wanted, or rather his team lead Aalekha wanted him, to finish he went to office.
Rakshit was serene person and was always doing his job sincerely whether he likes it or not. Today also he started working as usual but he was not able to concentrate, he was feeling some uneasiness within himself and was suddenly feeling very sad without any known reason. He got up from his chair and looked around, but everything looked very normal. Some people were working and listing music on their headphone, some were browsing Internet keeping track of their investment in share market on BSE , NEC web sites and some were busy in gossiping, everything was normal but Rakshit was not at peace he finally decided to wash his face with cold water and have some hot coffee. After drinking whole cup of coffee he felt better and started doing his work.
“Rakshit, can you come with me for a second ?” asked Ranjan Saini, Rakshit’s boss. It was 5:15 in the evening and Rakshit had just came from pantry with a cup of coffee when Ranjan summoned him. Rakshit’s stomach churned hearing his manager’s call at this moment. The uneasiness he was feeling in the morning returned back. Ranjan usually does not talk directly to him but always ask Aalekha to communicate. But since last few days he comes directly to him and talks about the work and deteriorating condition of the organization.
Rakshit followed his boss thinking that it shall be a project discussion. but looking at the serious expression on Ranjan’s face, Rakshit finally asked, with great difficulty, “Sir, Is this my last day in the office ?”
Ranjan didn’t reply.
When they reached near “Agastya” conference room Ranjan told Rakshit “Anjuman wants to talk to you” .
that’s it Rakshit thought.
Anjuman and Meghna, Finance manager and his assistant, were waiting for Rakshit in conference room. They greeted Rakshit and asked him, pointing to a chair opposite to them, to take a seat. Ranjan took a seat near Anjuman. There was absolute silence for some time.
“As you know Rakshit, since last one year our company is not in a good shape. To survive in this tough time company is forced to take some difficult decisions. We are very sorry to say that our company is not able to retain all of its talent. Today will be your last working day in this organization.” Ranjan broke the silence with his Indo-American accent which Rakshit always find very irritating . “Anjuman will explain you all the formalities and the severance details. Please feel free to question anything if you think is not appropriate.” Ranjan continued.
Rakshit smiled and nodded obediently. It was recession time and every now and then people were fired from their jobs and in his case he was sure that this will happen to him as well.
“Ours is highly ethical company and we will not issue a termination letter, which may affect you in finding another job, instead you have to resign and we will issue you the proper reliving letter.” Anjuman interrupted Rakshit’s thought and continued “but before that let me give you the severance details. As you might be knowing that as per the appointment letter that we had given you at the time of joining we only have to pay you the amount of the notice period if we chose to terminate you but as I said ours is very ethical company and you have been a good employee we don’t want to do any injustice to you, so as a gesture, along with one month’s salary we are giving you three more months salary. Here are the details”. Anjuman handed over a sheet of paper with some numbers.
Rakshit was not able to comprehend what was written in that sheet, his mind was somewhere else. He wrote the resignation letter as dictated by Anjuman and he signed where ever Anjuman told him to. Ironically, two months back on the same day he had drafted his resignation letter and it was still laying there in the draft folder of his mail box but he did not had courage to leave the job without having second option in hand. It was not that he had not tired for other job but it was a recession time and companies were reducing their head count so he wasn’t able to find any other suitable job. But now he was feeling very relieved and very happy because he was forced to take a decision which he was avoiding for so long. He was not thinking of his future or his career at all, instead he thanked god for saving him from mental breakdown, because if he had to continue to work with Aalekha, he would defiantly have fell victim of depression.
“Are you OK ? ” Ranjan asked looking at a smile on Rakshit’s face.
“Yes I’m fine”
“You have to submit your American Express card along with your ID and access card before you leave.” Anjuman told Rakshit. “Do you come by your own vehicle or come by company transport ? If you want, We can provide you Cab to drop you to your house.”
“thanks, but I come by my scooter, no need for Cab” Rakshit replied.
“You can collect all your stuff, housekeeping will give you parcel-box if you need one.”
“No need for parcel-box, I don’t keep many things in office but I have some personal data in my computer, and I want to take those” asked Rakshit.
“See, first of all you should not keep your personal data on office computer, non of us does that, office computer is for official use only. At present your computer log-in ID is blocked and you can not access anything, your access card is also deactivated. But if you have something really important then Ranjan and one IT guy will come with you and if they approve then only you can take your data otherwise, you know, for security reasons we can not allow you to take anything.” Anjuman replied and feeling internally very happy at his authority.
Rakshit wanted to finish up all these as soon as possible so he said “nothing important, I don’t want it, just forget it”.
“Ok Rakshit, this is your reliving letter and this is your demand draft, you can en cash this at any time you want. Is there anything else we can do for you? Feel free to contact any of us at any time for any help you want from us.” after a long silence Anjuman stood up to indicate that its over now and you can go.
Rakshit went to his seat, for the last time, on 5th floor, with Ranjan, to collect few things he had in his drawer. The coffee cup, which he had left just half an hour ago, was laying on his desk, still unfinished and looked like it was waiting for him to come and finish it. Rakshit didn’t know how to react in such situation and his heart was swinging between two totally contradicting feelings, on one hand he was feeling very happy that he no longer has to face his completely hopeless team lead Aalekha who has made his life hell, now he will no longer be her scapegoat, now he will no longer be held responsible for her blunders. but on other hand he was feeling very sad as well. He has spent 23 months of his life, almost 10 hours a day, in this office, working sincerely and with full dedication putting work ahead of his person life. every corner of this office seemed to be knowing him, he was feeling emotional and tried to think of something else. He tried to talk to Ranjan but Ranjan was looking more serious than him. So he packed his things quietly and took a glance over his cubicle to see if Aalekha was there. but as he had guessed she was not there. silently, in his heart he was cursing her for this day.
“I am done Ranjan” Rakshit told Ranjan after packing his little stuff.
They went silently to the elevator and waited for it to come up when Nirav join them.
“Hey Rakshit, Where are you going at this time? Leaving early today ? ” Nirav asked, unaware of Rakshit’s lay off. Nirav was one of very few person Rakshit usually talked to. Though he was much senior to him but they talked freely and he was aware of Rakshit’s issues with Aalekha.
“Nirav, your mouse is slipping.” pointing to Nirav’s laptop, Ranjan tried to avoid him.
“Rakshit, if you need any kind of help please let me know. And I’m sure you will soon get even better job” Ranjan told Rakshit in consoling tone.
Without uttering a word Rakshit went to the scooter parking and sat on his scooter for a moment and asked himself, Was this avoidable ? The straight answer, from his heart, came; NO. Rakshit had tried enough to settle down things with Aalekha. He had, many times, directly talked with Aalekha to resolve the differences between them, for the differences which he was actually not aware of. But Aalekha was a kind of person who always feels very insecure about everything and this insecurity came from her incapability of handling the pressure and actually not knowing the work she was getting paid for. So whenever any problem comes, the first thing she does is to find some one,in her team or in other team, to put blame on and tries to save her ass. Rakshit was not good at playing such blame game and always took all blames on him, though, he was not the only victim of Aalekha’s torture . Rakshit had also tried to talked to his boss to change his group or his work so that he do not have to report Aalekha but as most of the bosses does he also did the same thing, listened to Rakshit and gave him philosophical answer which practically meant ‘No I won’t do that’. Rakshit remember one of his talk with Ranjan,”Rakshit, I can understand you but you know these are the problem we can find in our personal life also and you have to come out of this strongly. Changing a group won’t solve your problem, why are you running away from the problem ? ” There was a reason why his boss didn’t support him though he knew that Rakshit was right.
Today was his happiest moment, in this company, since he joined 23 months back. The only thing worrying him was, two days later it was his first wedding anniversary and he had called his family, staying 1000km away from Delhi, to celebrate it with them. he didn’t know how they will react.
Finally he started his scooter, looked at the company building for the last time and literally, drew away from the problem !!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Only Innocent Phase of Life

Today while returning from gym, early in the morning, I saw school going tots waiting for their school bus to come. Groomed in half sleeve white shirt and chocolaty colored chaddi fully loaded with heavy school bag on their back and king size lunch box in one hand with 600ml Thumps up bottle used as water-bag in other hand, they looked like warriors going to conquer the world, full of energy full of confidence they were ready to face any challenges world put in front of them.

Childhood is the only innocent phase of our life, during rest of the life we just pretend to be innocent. We can not be ourselves once we grow up. We have to wear different masks at different time and at different places.

I remember one indecent from my early childhood, when I was in class 4th or 5th, I came 4th in internal examination while I had expected myself to be in top 3. I was furious about not getting place in top 3 I stood up and in front of whole class I accused my teacher of giving more numbers to her son, studying with me in the same class, and helping him to occupy the 2nd position!!! that was the truth and we all believed, including class teachers of other classes, that only because of her, her son always makes it to top 3. Can I tell, with the same innocence, to my boss that he is promoting the other guy, who is not at all deserving, just because he is relative of someone in top management or he always butters him up ? No absolutely not I just can’t do that… We all are wearing a mask of good son good brother good husband good father good grandson etc etc… when we are at home with our family.

To hide the guilt of not being able to express ourselves, we have invented a very good word called professionalism. Your colleague has done some big blunder but you can’t express your anger freely you have to maintain professionalism you have to act professionally. But just look at the children, if you are playing with them in their team and make a slightest mistake they will blast you like anything. Of course we do express ourselves against someone whom we do not know or who is not directly affecting us in any ways like criticizing articles and blogs on internet or shouting at watchmen or abusing beggar etc ..

Let child enjoy its childhood fully, let’s not be too ambitious with child and burden it with too many things. Its ok if it did not get the gold medal in gymnastics its ok if not selected for quiz competition or got only 80% not 95%. Because one day they will grow up and they will loose this innocence they will loose their freedom of expressing themselves freely and they have to enter the so called real, practical world where they will have to live a life based on terms and conditions dictated by society, their actions and thoughts will be affected by many unknown factors.