JournalismPakistan.com June 8, 2013
My friend is upset. His most prized staff member has walked. Sneaked around behind his back and got himself another job and then came in and said, I am leaving from the first.
My friend, who prides himself on being a bit of a guiding hand and helping people make careers, is suitably aghast. Gob smacked is the phrase that comes to mind.
After a bit of sputtering he says, how can you be so incredibly ungrateful, do you remember what you were when you came here, you couldn’t even hit a keyboard, where do you think you learnt your stuff, mister, here, from me, the car, the rent, the encouragement, mine, I made you what you are.
I have been offered more money, it is a more senior job, I am giving you one month’s notice.
By now, shock renders place to rage and my friend tells him to get on his bike now, this instance, clear your desks, hand over your workload to the others and beat it, as of this minute.
Now, it is the turn of the dismissed employee to be shocked. He isn’t expecting this and hasn’t catered for it. I can work the month, he says.
Out, yells my friend, now, you’ll get your money, come for cancellation tomorrow.
Standard clichéd situation, happens all the time.
But who is right?
My friend; I have nothing against his going, I wish him well, it is just the sneaking around behind my back and getting a job secretly, he could have confided in me, after all I did for him.
Argument: when we leave a job it is a strategic move, when someone leaves it is great betrayal. Do we honestly believe a staffer can expect us to help him if he walks in and says, oh by the way, can you help me get another job or guess what, I am thinking of leaving you and I’d really appreciate it if you could help me get a better deal than what you are giving me, thanks a lot.
What choice is there but to do it secretly?
Take the employee. He cannot be endlessly grateful. Sure, you did a lot for him but it isn’t sort of eternal commitment. And your helping him had an element of helping yourself, it wasn’t all altruistic. If you didn’t need him you’d have said, thanks very much, off you go now, find a job.
Where it becomes indefensible is when there is no rancor, no hostility, only greed and the staff member acts in bad faith. He takes away your clients or uses your contacts, carries off your privileged information or joins the opposition and lies to you about it. That sort of behavior is a fairly frequent occurrence in expat lands and deserves censure.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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