It all started when the salary rise was announced. It was disappointing. It was not to my expectation. Very less! Lower than even prevailing inflation rate! This was not fair to me. My efforts which had created 4 permanent customers for the company in the last one year have been over-looked. More than the amount, the complete absence of recognition was hurting more.
I was not sure how to make my boss know that I was disappointed. I had no clue how to react. My boss conveniently did not call me for the next 2-3 days. May be, he did not want to face me when my anger was still afresh. I did make my displeasure known to the HR manager, as expected he said that he was just following the management’s directions.
I heard stories of how two of my colleagues who were equally dejected reached out to the boss and communicated their disappointments. May be, they were told to be patient till next performance review or may have been told about poor profitability of the company. If they had confronted by asking if the amount of increment was indicating what the management is thinking about their respective performances, the boss would have handled it by heaping eulogies on their efficient working style and contribution. He would have punctuated his statements with “we expect more”.
The subsequent one week, I was virtually idling. Thinking-less and Action-less! Not that there is not enough to do. If the thinking cap is worn, enough tasks can be identified. But absolutely no enthusiasm! Completely inert! The reason should be found out. What has caused this inertia? I must wait for the feeling of guilt to start surfacing in me and am sure sooner than later it will. I was confident that the guilt will touch the action nerve in me.
“Sir, May I come in?” – Ritesh who works in the Purchases department entered my chamber one day. Ritesh has been with the company for more than 14 years. He is an under-graduate, who had to start earning very early due to untimely demise of his father. Being an industrious guy, the bosses like him very much and joy fully entrust more and more work to him. But somehow they never saw him worth of much needed growth that he desired. Unspoken thinking of the bosses may have been – “he is not even a graduate and can’t sell himself in the job market. So he is bound to work for us only”.
Obviously, Ritesh is disappointed this time around too. “Sir, I have been taken for granted this time also. You have worked for many companies. You will know what an employer will look for when selecting a new employee. May I ask your guidance and suggestions on areas where I need to improve, so that I start working on them one by one….hopefully, in a year’s time, I should get some thing”
Ritesh’s call for help was ardent. I could feel the thoughtful sadness which his passionate words were trying to conceal.
Next few months, I and Ritesh interacted frequently in our respective free times. We sat in coffee-shops after work. I could re-vive my abundant skills of pep-talking. I had narrated many of my career shifts in the past which paved the path to where I am today. I made attempts to clear the cob-webs in his thinking patterns, conditioned by pro-longed stay in the same organization. I had stated several case-studies which re-iterated that there could be more than one right answer to one question and so one need to be open for new methods and new systems and, in his case, new environments. Thinking in this way, Ritesh himself concurred, would help remove the stress one feels about working in new place.
I once had invited him for Dinner at my home. He was surprised to see the two big book-shelves. I gently probed his reading habits. He admitted he hardly reads. I selected perhaps the easiest book to read – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I hoped that this book would stimulate his growth ambition. He took the book with him. Never asked him later if he read the book or not.
Several years passed by. I had migrated to some other part of the country. With some work and some luck, I could manage my career well. I became the Business Head of a medium sized company. The un-easiness and inertia that I felt over unfair annual appraisal many years ago have all been erased out of my conscious memory. Even when I remember it now, I do not feel the bitterness of it. I fondly re-collect those events as stepping stones to where I stand today. This clarity was not possible then, when I was acting out those events and was playing the part of “hapless victim who had been handed-out a raw-deal” One needs to move on further on the life path to be able to see the past events in a proper perspective.
I was in a job interview. There were many candidates appearing for the post of General Manager – Materials. I was getting bored. None of the candidates were impressive. I was cribbing to HR manager that we should fire the head-hunter we hired. HR manager was apologetic and insisted on me staying in the panel for some more time as there is only one candidate was remaining.
I saw the name – Ritesh Bakshi on the resume which my colleague handed over to me. It did ring something in me. Then I went through the resume ; I realized it was an old friend. I regained the joyful enthusiasm after the sensation of pleasant shock. I told the HR manager to call the candidate in.