One of the best things about having your own business is, perhaps, the freedom from corporate politics. As the owner and primary decision-maker at my store, I’m free to make all the rules, as well as to ensure consistency in implementation of those rules. Whether it is work timings, or designated work space, or company policies, the rules, once set, don’t need to change unless there is a valid practical reason to change them. Unlike some corporate offices I’ve worked in previously, where they were solely dependent on the personal whims of managers and team leaders.
I remember one company in particular where I experienced a really bad case of corporate politics. It was my first job in Delhi – a BPO in Okhla Industrial Area. The promised “night shift allowance” was linked to attendance, and the catch was that we weren’t allowed a single day of leave during training and probation! So, we never got to see that particular allowance on most of our monthly salary slips during probation.
The performance-based incentives were dependent on our scores on ALL the client SLAs taken together. In our process, we had three. For two of those three parameters, my scores were in the “maximum incentive” slab, but nobody knew my scores on the third parameter. Every week, my name was in the list of top scorers for two of the parameters, but, for the third, there was no data available with anyone for my Employee ID. I was told that they could not calculate my incentives without the complete data and that I would get all the back-dated incentives as soon as they got my missing scores. I could do nothing except wait for that day.
Our leave records were also manipulated by our TLs. If you happened to be a personal favorite of your TL, you could take 15 days leave in a month, even during probation, and still receive the full month’s pay, plus the night shift allowance. If not, they could deduct two days’ pay against one “TL-cancelled-shift” because the pick-up cab couldn’t find its way to your place in the Delhi winter fog!
Even if you were present, there was no guarantee you’d find a workstation. And if you did manage to find one, you’d find yourself logged out from it, with some other agent sitting there, when you returned from your meal break! Then you would have to wait till someone else left for break, so you could make a grab for his/her workstation! In this way, the official nine-hour shift easily extended to at least 11-12 hours daily.
There was nobody who could help you out with these issues. None of the seniors took any responsibility for anything. If there were any designated SPOCs for these concerns, nobody told you who they were. There was no clear escalation process for the employees either.
Now you can only take this crap for so long. After a certain point, you start thinking you want an “out”. After eight months, I had reached that point, but I wasn’t sure what I’d do if I indeed opted “out”.
At the end of my shift every morning, on my way back home, I used to stop at a PCO to talk to Dad, who lived in Patna back then. (Yes, we didn’t have cell phones in those days.) That particular morning, it seemed to be less busy than normal at the PCO, so I was able to have a long chat with him. I sat there and discussed everything in detail with him, told him about all that was going on in office, shared my feelings about it with him, as well as my indecisiveness about continuing work there or quitting, and if quitting, then doing what. There was also the matter of my pending incentives.
My Dad then reminded me of why I’d gone to Delhi in the first place - for the experience. He said I wasn’t there to work for the money; if I wasn’t enjoying the experience, I could leave. He told me that those incentives weren’t more important than my peace of mind and that if I wanted to experience working at some other company, I could remain in Delhi for some time and try to look for a new job. If not, I could come back to Patna. In short, he let me know that I was free to decide whatever I wanted to do and he supported me either way.
His calm and cool-headed treatment of the situation, and his unconditional support, helped me get clarity in my own thoughts. After our chat that day, I felt mentally lighter and stronger.
That’s the best part about having a family. Just knowing that they are with you, no matter what, makes all the difference in the world. You feel like you’re ready to take on anything, come what may! Life can keep throwing its little “ups and downs” along your path, but if you have the unconditional support of your loved ones, overcoming challenges and moving on becomes so much easier. What may seem daunting all alone, looks like an exciting adventure with your loved ones beside you. The "togetherness" of "today" gives you the courage to deal with "tomorrow".
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P.S. - About that job... well, I decided to take a week’s break, told my flat-mate about my plans (i.e. "leave current job after getting this month’s salary, try to find a new job within next two months, go back to Patna if I can’t") and fortunately, found another job in that very same week, with a much better work atmosphere and a much higher pay package as well! Perfect timing, you see! :D
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