Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thoughts on seeing a person getting fired..

 Our QA person comes to office after a ten day vacation to a popular destination. He showed us the photos of his vacation. I and my colleague went through all the pics which were in hundreds. He was beaming showing us the pics saying that he was planning this vacation from a long time. I was very happy for him.

Little did we know that all that change on Monday. On monday he came to office as usual. Our CTO also came to office. He is a very busy person so he travels quite a lot. Generally our QA person comes to lunch with us. On Monday, we forget to call him when we went to lunch. When we were having lunch, my colleague Murali reminded me we forgot to invite him. I went inside after lunch and when i saw him I put a sorry face showing the expression that I forgot to call him for lunch. We opened our mailboxes and we were in for a shock. Our CTO sent a mail.  "We thank XX for his services to the company. He will no longer be part of our team effective immediately" (Emphasis mine). Yes thats it, by the time we saw the mail, we couldn't see that person. I called him and he said he was down stairs smoking. He said that it happened very casually. They said that his job was being performed from some other location and he would not be needed. He will be given one more pay check for 15 days (because he has completed two years, otherwise he will be given just one week pay) and then from there he is all by himself. The company has filed his visa, green card, so I think the person was pretty much committed to this company.

I was shell shocked with this incident. I have heard numerous times that Americans have a hire and fire policy. But I have never seen it in action so closely. The fact that it is done without any prior intimation and they way they just said - effective immediately- and closing all access (Laptop was taken) made me feel very bad. I for once felt very lucky that we were just contractors from a different company and so even if we were fired, we will be sent back to India. I really applaud my company for retaining everyone during the downturn even when it was difficult. I don't say that they have to keep every employee even if they don't have any work or however bad they are but I feel they should be given proper intimation as soon as the manager knows and not being so surgical (effective immediately) would be lot better.

This also shows the perils of coming on a H1 visa to the land of opportunities. Luckily our QA person's wife also works. So he can get by with her salary atleast. Imagine a person coming on H1 and losing his job. Even if it take just one month to get a new job, just imagine the stress he would be in till he gets a job. If intimated before, it goes a long way in making the transition easier and the employee is more likely to have a favorable view of the comapny. It is in the best interest of the employee as well as the employer for  the employer has to be more humane during this time.

Reminded of lot of things after this - Of the many things  the famous quote of Narayana Murthy of Infosys - "Love your job but not your company"  - well said by the man of experience. I am also reminded of what rude shocks you get when you are caught off guard by the company from the movie Up in the air. To know what I mean watch the video below

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