So there I was the other day with the missus, Pastrami and a friend at the Hard Rock Cafe here in Worli. Some of you know Pastrami who makes frequent appearances in this blog in a suave speaking role. He is this smart, rich investment banking types who makes truck loads of money by doing something in distressed assets and private placement and equity investments and clandestine selling of office equipment when noone else is around on the weekends and so on.
"Cogito Ergo Lump Sum" would be the ideal Latin motto for him.
Our conversation focussed around the fourth member of the group who was an HR professional in a bank. (We normally do not hang out with the type but the person involved had a sense of humour and had agreed to share the bill. And that is as good as any reason for a genuine, sincere one night friendship stand.)
So we were being told how HRPro, as we will call the fourth member, had to recently fire something like 54 or so employees and how it is always a painful and regretful thing to do.
HRPro told us how some of the people had joined with genuine hopes of making careers in the bank but were now being asked to leave due to internal cost-cutting reasons.
"They are often shocked and dumbstruck for a while. And us HR people find it difficult not to feel terrible for ourselves. Some of them have damp eyes and things."
Most of them leave gracefully but the odd few do demand justifications.
Of course this is out of the question as this means sharing the bank's deepest darkest HR policy to identify potential lay-offs which include methods like "Throw a dart at the organization chart", which is quick and rhymes too, and "Random number generating and sorting in Excel" and other such well researched methodologies.
In some situations the lay-off meetings can get overly emotional and the HR team has to use every last trick they learnt in HR school including "pepper spray".
But in the end its an unpleasant experience for everyone involved.
Now I have an interesting personal trait myself that is just begging to be utilized by the Indian corporate world.
Everywhere I have worked my team head is out of the place within nine months. Often they do not even know I exist and I hardly speak to them after the initial team meetings and team lunches or whatever. But rest assured that by the end of the year the guy is long gone.
Its happened four out of four times. The first guy played his Media Player too loudly in his cabin which shared a wall with the CEO. The second guy made a minor modification in the weekly sales reports where he mistakenly typed "revenue" where it should have said "cheque no." or some such innocent mistake apparently over several months. The third fellow turned out to have the business acumen of raisins and the fourth and final guy got a better offer somewhere else.
Now clearly with such a strong trend you might wonder if I had anything to do with this puzzling cessation series. "No way that is a coincidence! You must have plotted their downfalls to usurp the position for yourself! You evil scheming MBA you!" is what you might be thinking to yourself.
Well that is just preposterous of you to presume something like that. I had NO ROLE WHATSOEVER to play in their swift downfalls.
Well obviously the departure of a leader does make life difficult for people in companies. This leads to lack of vision and direction.
So as Ravi Shastri once said, "It was time for someone to stand up and be counted and lead the team to a tour of <chuckle> Bangladesh!". Therefore I did the right thing and made sure my willingness to replace the recently departed was communicated promptly and sometimes even before the said person had been informed of his cessation.
"I just want to tell you that if, god forbid, something were to happen to the excellent and committed Mr. Jhaveri I am always in a position to pitch in..." I'd say to comfort the CEO. "...also you must check out the cool punjabi music he plays next door when your not around. It's awesome!"
So if you have a difficult boss or a CEO that needs ejecting you know who to call for a quick consulting project. Just make sure I am in the vicinity of the guy's cubicle and you can confidently post up the vacancy on Monster the day I walk in.
p.s. Yes the notice period can be managed as well for a nominal fee.