‘Talaq! Talaq! Talaq!’

Commander VK Jaitly 

Surabhi adopted the name of Saira and married Syed, his immediate senior in the BPO against the wishes of her parents. Syed was a smart boy and Surabhi was also very smart girl from a small town of Shahjahanpur. Though Syed was about six years elder to Surabhi but it was a match that can be called made for each other. Their friend circle was very modern and liberal and so were Syed and Saira. Everyone felt that they were an ideal couple. But some differences surfaced when Saira visited Syed’s hometown after about six months of marriage. Things went out of hand on the very first anniversary day, and in a fit of anger Syed slapped Saira (Surabhi) and Saira just couldn’t take it and started crying and shouted back at Syed in an abusive manner. And that was the end of their short lived marriage. Syed had pronounced ‘Talaq! Talaq! Talaq!’ to Saira.

Within a few minutes, Syed had realised his mistake. But it was too late. The arrow had been shot that can’t be retrieved back.

In the corporate world too, I have seen some senior people throwing their very good employees sometimes in a fit of anger. It amounts to just ‘Talaq! Talaq! Talaq!’ without any chance being given to the employee even to question why he was being thrown out. 

In 2003, one of my very close and highly capable friend was heading the Indian operations of a top multi-national company. He had taken the company to great height in last two years, almost doubling the sales figures Y to Y. The morale of the employees was at its peak. A party in a 5 star hotel was planned in the evening to celebrate. The regional boss had also landed from Singapore to participate in the celebrations. My friend gets a call from his boss at about 3 pm to see him in the hotel room. My friend goes to meet his boss thinking that there might be some discussions about the evening party or the plans for the next year. But my friend never returned to the office. ‘Talaq! Talaq! Talaq!’ Some of the personal belongings of my friend were packed in a box and delivered to him at his house. 

I was totally taken aback. How can this happen to a top man heading India operations? The party and the celebrations continued in the evening. But there was a lot of hush hush rumours. There was no revolt from the employees. But their morale was down and it took almost six months for the new Indian head to bring the company on track.

While reading these paragraphs, you may also be reminded of some instances of this sort where the services of some manager or the employee were terminated without giving any chance to the other person to give his/her explanation. The senior person has always some very sound logic for his/her abrupt action of ‘Talaq! Talaq! Talaq!’ but my observation is that most of the time such decisions are based on the personal whims and fancies of the senior guy.

I am an advocate of removing the pebbles that don’t allow your company to move forward. Those who read my article of last month: ‘Insider vs Outsider’ will remember that you have to remove even a very small pebble from your shoes as it just doesn’t allow you to walk any further. But when you throw someone senior from your organization, you got to be very careful. Remember the amount of effort you had taken to hire him/her. Then the amount of expertise this person will take away when you pronounce ‘Talaq! Talaq! Talaq!’ to him/her.

I have seen some companies in very dire state when such a person who has been thrown out unceremoniously joins your competitor. This person behaves like a wounded lion, becomes committed to his/her new company with the sole aim of teaching a lesson to the previous company, no: the previous boss. He/she is in revengeful mood and shall try to strike hard and cause maximum damage to the previous organization.

There are times when a senior person has to do some weeding out. But it should be done in a cordial manner. The relationship with the individual should be maintained. It should be golden hand shake. The outgoing person should be given a formal farewell of a level suited to his/her stature in the company. The reasons for his/her departure from the company need not be made public. There can be a few farewell speeches and a small token of remembrance. The send-off should be in such a way that the person leaving the company should always speak good about that organization.

And in case ‘Talaq! Talaq! Talaq!’ is from the employee side, just because he/she has got a very good offer from some other company. That is also not in a good spirit. Any employee however senior or junior he/she may be has the right to change the job. But leaving a job all of a sudden without any notice can put the company in a very tight spot. If an employee decides to change his/her job, it is expected that he/she must give a notice to his/her boss and the HR department.

Unfortunately, in case of Syed and Saira, there was no question of Saira (Surabhi) pronouncing ‘Talaq! Talaq! Talaq!’ to Syed.