You are Fired..!

by joyjit
“It was amazing 7 years in this hotel and I will really miss being here” were the last words of Mr. Purohit before he wiped his eyes and moved towards the team to shake hands with all present in his farewell party.
He looked at me & then whispered in my ears “be careful very tough days are coming, you can only save the team”. I dint know what to say to Mr. Purohit, he has been like a mentor, a leader and all of us have learnt a lot from him so far. Business has slowed down in the city and the average rates of hotel rooms have slowly died down. Its fierce competition we see everywhere & our hotel is also of no exception. The owning company today has three hotels and it all came from the money we made here for the last 12 years, but nobody remembers the past and today the son of our owners wants a more dynamic and young team. The pink slips has just started and as a human resources head it was not difficult for me to guess the future.
“Sir, a juice or coke to drink?” asked Sameer, my assistant in human resources. Young manager and very popular among the owning company, at times I get worried but so far he has been the perfect support to me.
“No Sam… don’t feel like, can’t believe Mahendra our new CEO, told Mr. Purohit to go” I replied. It was tough to imagine a 28 year old kid, fresh pass out from US Hospitality College, dictating and changing the way we did business for the last 12 years.
“The crack was evident & generation gap was too much to handle, I know this was coming” said Sam. He added, “Tomorrow Mahendra wants to see the last two years annual appraisals for the HOD – hope you know that”.
“Yes, have seen the email and have told Gargi to prepare a file with photocopies in it” I was trying to think when I told Sam about this email. “How do you know about this review Sam?” I asked suspiciously.
“I saw Gargi doing it and she told me about your instructions” said Sam.
Gargi needs to learn to do certain works confidentially and as a human resource supervisor she needs to be more discreet with my instructions. I was not very happy about Sam knowing about the review and spreading the news would create a lot of unrest among the staff and negative outlook. I was not sure whether Sam was trying to bypass me & establish closer relationship with Mahendra. I need to have an open chat with Sam tomorrow.
“Boss don’t worry our HR team is in still in good books and he is only targeting the revenue earning departments” said Sam.
“How do you know that?” I asked, since this was clear that Mahendra has found his informer and now he would have all his homework done before he meets us. But this was no not needed, Sam comes from a decent well to do family and his age was still supporting him to fulfill his dream but definitely this shortcut wasn’t necessary.
“Sir see his pattern of work, it is very evident. He has asked for the profit and loss statements of last 03 years the moment he stepped in his office. Then the next file was the weekly productivity report from sales and then all our sales contracts” replied Sam.
That was a lot of information and I was surprised to hear it from Sam. “You seem to know a lot about Mahendra” I smiled.
“Not much but I know somebody who has studied with our CEO during his college days and he said, he was always money minded” replied Sam.
There was an expression of happiness & pride on Sam face and I was somehow not liking it. It was a farewell party for our mentor and the person who was shielding us for all these years and now he is gone. But somehow I understood this was just a beginning and many more heads to roll.
I went up, closed my office & left for the day. I was worried about tomorrow since Mahendra has his heart work less for him and only believes in figures and facts.

“Are you not going out for your walk”... I opened my eyes and saw Ritu looking at me. I quickly took my mobile out from the pillow and saw it was already passed 6.45 am.
“The alarm dint ring today..? “ I asked Ritu. She gave me a smile which definitely meant I should stop imagining... I also dint try further, was thinking what would happen if I lost my job too. Ritu is a housewife and I only told her to concentrate on Shuvam, when he was born & leave her job from Max Insurance...
Shuvam was still sleeping and was soon turning to 07 years. He has been the happiest blessing in my life so far but my work schedule rarely accommodates his naughtiness and mischiefs. I hear it from Ritu & feel him grow up so fast. Miss him growing up but it remains just as another stone in the heart, does not move with the flow.
“You are still in your bed…I got the tea for you” said Ritu looking at me. I smiled, jumped out of the bed and ran towards the bathroom, dint want to hear anything more from my punctual wife...
” see you in 15” I shouted from the bathroom.
“You look tensed, you sounded different last night when you were talking over the phone last nite, is something wrong at office again...” asked Ritu holding the tea mug at the dining table.
“It was farewell party for Mr. Purohit and today we have some important decisions to take on a few departments heads. Mahendra wants a new team.” I replied. “The team looks up to me and everybody seems to have the same questions, their fate!”
“It’s sad but whatever happens, is always for good...” said Ritu holding my hands in hers. “You are doing your job and I am sure you are forced to take this decisions”
“But I don’t know what is in my fate also as well, Mahendra looks getting close to Sameer.” I got up and went towards the bathroom, have to reach office early and see the file which would get handed over to Mahendra.
“Papa I saw a dragon today, it came to bite me and I killed it with the gun you bought me last week” said Shuvam, from his bed with big round eyes. People says he looks more like Ritu but I really don’t care since I can see him getting my likes and dislikes.
“Oh my god.. I am sooo proud of my son, you killed the dragon alone” I said hugging Shuvam. “Was the dragon throwing fire out of his mouth and had wings”
“Yes he was throwing fire, he has a long tale also” said Shuvam. He wanted all my toys and came to bite me” said Shuvam complaining.
“Yes you should always punish bad people with your gun and save good people, never harm the good people with gun” I said holding Shuvam in my arms.
“Ok enough of stories, time to get ready for school” Ritu entered the room and Shuvam got busy telling the dragon story again.

The HOD appraisal file of last two years was on my table, It had an excel sheet with summaries of the scorings and also a note on any disciplinary actions, letters in their files.
As I scrolled down, Jayesh names was very prominent, met expectations was his score and two warning letter in his file. He was a good engineer but a bit too aggressive. We tried explaining him on few occasions but the change was never permanent.
The next name was of Kishan, met expectations and one warning letter but also had additional verbal warnings documented in previous occasions. A good sales head but again gets heated up very fast and bit abusive at times. His staffs complained in a few occasions but Kishan drives revenues, market knows him well and hence we were bit lenient.
I was actually worried about Jayesh, he has been with us for a few years and he just got his sister married and bought a new apartment this year. He would be financially weak, I don’t know why people can’t control their emotions and get personal.
“Good morning Sir… you are early today” it was Gargi at my cabin door. I smiled and replied, “Yes thought of going thru the file you made last evening”.
“Is it all right, as to what you said” she asked.
“Almost there... Good, would you please order a coffee for me” I continued “By the way, in HR when you are given a confidential assignment, you should execute the same in such manners, not showing it to other colleague’s. “
Gargi nodded and as she was going out of my office I said, “Keep similar exercise ready for 2nd in commands of each departments.” She acknowledge and went out.
“Bro... is it our turn today...” it was Subroto our finance head at the door. I looked up “I saw your car in parking and thought of coming to your office, anyways you would have the first news” said Subroto.
“I have no news yet but rough days ahead for sure, yes HR always has the dirty job of knowing it before and breaking the news too...” I said.
“Yup I know, he has asked for last 05 years P&L, contracts and copy of all licenses” said Subroto. He continued, “Kidde has good knowledge, knows what to see and action”.
“I know you never had a good relation with Mr. Purohit but you cannot deny that he is responsible for what we are today in revenues, events, socializing and city ranking.” I replied.
“Trust me I never expected him to leave so early, I have seen him tougher, it was purely a case of egos” said Subroto.
“Good morning boss “said Sameer at the door of the cabin. “ You would chair the morning meeting today onwards? “He asked.
“I would see you in the meeting room” said Subroto as he got up to leave.
“Yes Sam I would hold the fort till the next king, but any more news from your network. “ I asked.
“I just know they would aggressively reduce cost” he replied. The coffee arrived and I dint know what to say to Sam, that was clearly evident hence nothing new in the news.
I went back to the file which Gargi made and looked at my name, excelled expectations was written for last two years and an award by the Hotelier HR council of India last year written in remarks. I was wondering hope that might keep me safe!
The morning meeting was over in few minutes, HOD hardly spoke and nobody seemed to be in right frame. I tried lightening it up but dint help much. We called for a tea together & hope all HOD comes to attend it at 4 pm.
Back in office, I just received the newsletter from HR India Forum and was very happy to see my article being there on staff motivation. It’s always difficult to motivate a team which is full of fear and job security. I was going through the same article which I have written, just hoping to find a link on how to handle the current team stress levels.
The revenue figures just came in the mail and I opened the same, there was a wedding last night and was hoping to see some decent figures. I was just seeing the monthly figures for last month in my screen when Sam walked in...” Sir Mahendra is here in his office and asked for the HOD file...”
I picked up the same from my table and handed over the same to him. He quietly walked out of the office with the same.

The phone rang in the afternoon and it said, “Mr. Sudhir can you come upstairs to my office please...” it was Mahendra. I dint know what to expect and as I took the elevator to his office, I could only pray.
“Come in please” came the reply as I knocked his office. I stepped in and said, “Good morning wanted to discuss”.
“Yes I have a few clarifications, would you like some coffee...” asked Mahendra as he pointed out to sit.
“That would be great “...I thanked him as he scrolled his laptop screen. He reached out his phone, ordered our coffee and looked at me.
“You have been with us for quite some time and congrats you got the leadership award from the fraternity” said Mahendra.
I nodded and smiled “Yes have been witness to lots of ups and down but we always sailed through... Never was in troubled water for long”.
“What is your opinion on change?” asked Mahendra.
“ It’s always good provided aimed at the right direction backed after research and factual analysis, a knee jerk reaction only to satisfy personal ego or motivation is definitely not a change – though it is often mistaken as change.” I replied and then realized probably it was a bit personal and should have been diplomatic.
“Yes I agree with it completely and that what I indent to achieve so that we can regain our lost glory” replied Mahendra looking at his screen.
The coffee arrived and as we sipped in, “why did we live with such high pay roll cost for the last few years and no steps for multitasking was initiated “was the next question.
“The high pay roll cost was to have the best talent associated with us and there has been very less attrition. If you closely watch we were always within budget and consistent. The increase has been less than 1% and at the same time the training expenses have gone up by 3 – 5% which clearly indicated we invested in people & believe in keeping people updated and fresh.” I replied in one breath.
Mahendra dint seem influenced by my answer and was busy with his computer. He looked at me and said, “what would you say on your cafeteria cost being so high, surely shows some accounting issues in the kitchen and nobody watching it”..
It went on for the next two hour with various questions, explanations and feedbacks, though I tried my best explaining Mahendra but he dint look convinced always with the same. It appeared he has already made his mind and not looking for any new scope.
Our conversation ended with discussion on Sameer, it was quite evident Sam was one of his favorites and he made no mistake in being vocal on it.
As I closed the door behind coming out of Mahendra office, it was dark in front of my eyes... I took the stairs to reach late in my office. It was clear, Sam would be the next human resources head, my services, dedication and innovations for the last half decade was of no value to him.
I entered my office and locked it from behind, I wanted to run away, my worst fear was almost coming true. Shuvam birthday was next week and we have already booked the venue. How do I face Ritu and what to say…..I get up in the morning and then do what?
What do I say to others, how about facing my friends, parents and above all the residents of my apartment? They would see me at home every day and guess it right... The news would spread and I don’t know what to say...
Ritu is not working and how do I support my family... My rents, EMI, medicines for my parents, school fees of Shuvam…
The telephone rang and as I picked up, “Sir are you all right, your doors are locked, and Mr. Subroto came twice & went back” asked Sam from the other side.
“Come in Sam…” I replied and kept the phone down.
I watched Sam enter, as I unlocked the door. Told him to sit and went back to my chair. “What did you do Sam... Mahendra is very happy about you..?” I asked.
Sam looked surprised by my question, “Nothing Sir... Trust me I have never informed him about anything…”
“How does he know about all figures...? Subroto is experience enough to share what an owner needs to know” I was boiling from inside since the real P&L comes to us before being shared with owners, a standard practice done by all finance heads.
“Sir Mahendra is smart and my interactions have been only on subjects which you are already aware of... “Said Sam.
“He is back from US only for last three months and he would not know membership commissions being added to miscellaneous incomes of the hotel….” I said angrily.
“Sir I have no information’s on the same...& don’t know how to make you believe that” replied Sam.
I asked again, “ The CSR allotted money going to help Marco family after his accidental death…are you telling me he has heard it from his family” my patience was running out since this facts were only known to the senior leadership team of the hotel and human resource team”.
I continued, “What do you have to say on Hunar Shah Rojgar, the govt. employment scheme where we choose students from the nearby slum and banquet casuals who comes to work with us and enroll them for the scheme”
“But sir there is nothing wrong we are doing” asked Sam.
I shouted at Sam...“ It is not about doing right or wrong but how he has all the information. He also knows that we have been chosen for the award from Govt. on enrolling the maximum students for the employment scheme. Are you telling me Mahendra read all the information’s in the newspaper”
“He even knows about the monthly token money going to Govt. offices to clear our files early… Sam are you telling me none of us informed him all these “I was sure the noise by then has travelled out of my office.
“Are you guys busy” it was Subroto at my office door looking at both of us.
“Please come in… I was about to call you.” I replied. Sam got up from his chair and said, “It’s up to you to believe me but I know I have not done anything against my team or management”
As Sam walked out, “we will discuss this later…” I replied to Sam.
“Anything to worry... How was your meeting with Mahendra ? “Asked Subroto.
“He has too much of news which he does not need to know” I replied looking at my computer. There was a meeting request from Mahendra again for tomorrow at 11 am in his office.
“How would Mahendra know about our monthly donations to Marco family till his son gets into college, I heard you from outside” asked Subroto.
“That was precisely my questions to Sam...” I said accepting the meeting tomorrow.
“My staff has seen him going to Mahendra office at odd hours of the day...” replied Subroto. “You should have been more careful brother. I don’t know how much information has gone & what his strategies is”
“I don’t know what is it stored for us but I have a meeting with Mahendra at 11 am tomorrow.” I replied.
“One more “asked Subroto, I could see his folded eye brows.
It was not a good sign when people work in a company with so much fear, at the end the times of autocrat working styles are fast disappearing. It is proven enough times happy employees results in happy customers and more business.
“See you tomorrow then” Subroto said opening my cabin door. I smiled back and said” Yes, let’s hope for the best”...
It was 4.30 pm and I have missed my lunch & tea with HOD, time flew and I dint even felt hungry. Probably it would be good to practice two times meals per day for the coming bad days. Mahendra has too much of information’s, enough to nail a GM and human resource head. Mr. Purohit was gone and I could feel my noose tightening up.
“Let’s see what is it in store “I said to myself getting up from the chair, there was a staff cafeteria community meeting now for me to attend.

“The PTM is there next week for Shuvam” said Ritu as I sipped the morning tea.
I thought for a while trying to figure out what PTM stands for & finally asked, “What is PTM?”
There was a look of shock on Ritu face, “parent teacher meeting.. What is wrong with you..all ok in office ?”
I dint want to answer that and said, “next week still has a few days to go… we will decide closer to date” I concentrated more on the newspaper today. It is Wednesday and usually Times of India has the accent with it, four full pages with advertised jobs. It is always better to dry the hay when there is sunshine.
“Would you be late tonight?” Ritu asked.
I tried remembering for any evening commitments but couldn’t remember, “You have any plans or just like that” I asked.
“We have to buy a gift for Tanushree birthday, it’s this Sunday” replied Ritu.
It sounded so unnecessary to me, Tanushree stayed in the same building in two floors below us and Ritu and she have gone outings few times in past. I was not sure what her husband does and don’t remember his face.
“Is it that important to attend, we might have some financial crisis ahead and it’s important that we be careful from now” I replied.
“They have invited us all and Tanu came personally to our apartment to invite us and you are saying to avoid it. I have already promised her that we would come and was planning to help her in the morning. Don’t worry on office, it’s just a bad piece of cloud in the sky and will soon blow away” replied Ritu.
I dint know what to say, how much I wanted to believe Ritu but something inside me was telling me a news awaiting today.
The morning meeting went smooth and as I was back in my office, Gargi came running to me, “Sir my mother has slipped in the bathroom and I have to urgently do home”. I could see tears rolling down in her eyes and she was shaking. “
I immediately told her to go back and called Kishore, our security manager to accompany & assist her. The bad news have started coming and I was sure something was coming up today.
“Brother let’s have a coffee together, if you have time” it was Subroto at the door. We ordered the coffee and sat down. I told him about my feelings and mishap in Gargi house.
“Even I got a sad news today in the morning, some relative of my wife had a heart attack today early saved from an accident today” said Subroto. I did not know what to say or think what. I have already started getting negative feelings and probably that is getting transmitted. We just looked at each other without saying any words.
“May I come in” Debu, our room service staff was at the door with the coffee. We both were looking at him unwrap the cookies platter, pouring the coffee…
“Do you have any info from MD office...? “I asked.
“No but Mr. Agrawal was saying MD has become very less frequent in office and Mahendra only looks after all business decisions” replied Subroto.
I was just thinking of all options in case I have to hang my boots, MD knows me well and has appreciated me numerous times in the past but with Mahendra now in power don’t know what would be the results. May be the same can be kept as a option.
“Do you think we can take outside help” asked Subroto. I looked at him & said, “What outside help do you want?”
“May be get local political leaders involved etc” he had that excited look in his face.
I smiled since I knew the meeting between Mahendra and the local consulate has already happened last week with some weekend entertainment in the junior suite.
“Let God be with us” said Subroto before he left for his office after the coffee.
I got busy with some pending contracts and dint know what time it was when suddenly... “Sir Mahendra sir calling you...” it was Sam at the door.
I looked at my watch, it was 10:50 am and it was scheduled as sent earlier. I took a deep breath and looked at Sam, he dint have any reaction did not look worried at all. Probably he knows what’s coming and so not worried at all. I took the elevator outside my office and before entering CEO office, just prayed once.

Mahendra was not in office and Stella, his office assistance handed over a file to me. I was out in 5 minutes, there was no meeting. Stella told me CEO has asked for my inputs in next 24 hours.
The file was in an envelope stating confidential written on top of it. I was very eager to tear and open it but kept my cool and slowly took the fire escape stairs to come back to my office. I told nobody to disturb me before I entered into my office.
I locked the door, adjusted the AC remote to lower the temperature and slowly took the file out of the envelope. It was a pink color file with just “Staff May 2015” written on it.
As I turned open the file, the first divider said, “Transfers... “As I flipped thru, cross exposures, counseling, probations, retirement schemes and last page had promotions written on it. “
I was still sitting quiet and opened the page for promotions, there were only three names and Sam was one of them. He was made the human resources manager. Suddenly there was darkness all around me and I couldn’t see anything…
I sat there for a few minutes, then smiled since I knew this was coming. Sam has done it and somehow I was not getting angry neither surprised. Tears rolled out since I have worked really hard for this hotel and this company & today I become so useless to them.
My fingers turned to the page retirement scheme and saw few pages on Mahendra`s proposal for voluntary retirement. There were 19 names written there as suggested and mostly from gardening, security and engineering. I was expecting my name to be there but probably he wanted to discuss after he gets my inputs on others.
Suddenly I was feeling very weak and seemed I was getting fever. The AC was feeling too cold and experiencing a heavy head. I dialed Stellas desk and told her I was leaving for the day.
I called Kishore, told him to organize a car drop for me and told him to drive back my car in the evening.
Somehow I dragged myself through the elevator and the corridors, it seemed the clock has suddenly come to a standstill. I could not believe Sameer could do this to me and take my chair.
As the car started, “Drive slowly” I said to Praveesh.
I wanted to get prepared on what to say Ritu, she wanted to go shopping in the evening and I dint know how to face her. I closed my eyes and thought about my financials, jewelries and my small piece of land in my ancestral village. This would take us through a few days till I manage to get another job.
“Good afternoon Sir” said the security guard in my apartment and I opened my eyes. I wish Praveesh would have driven more slowly, I needed more time to think on how to reveal these to Ritu.
I got out of the car and took the fire exit stairs to come up, I had some time to think on what next. I was worried since I dint want the news to go to the market and my parents to know. I had the house loan and hence cannot sell it, the land would be ideal & would keep us floating for a few weeks for sure. I was thinking of the ways where we could cut down expenses and wish Ritu understood me. The maid, the driver and weekends eating out was first in my list. Shuvam birthday party was next week and I dint know how to handle it...
I stood in front of my apartment door and was still trying to think on how to start with Ritu.. I pressed the bell after some time and Ritu opened the door.
“Ohhh I dint expect you to be so early” she said with a smile. I dropped myself to the sofa and she asked me “are you all right..?”
“Get me a glass of water” I tried to look normal. Time has come to reveal my worst fear and there was no alternate left for me.
“Here there is a courier for you from your company” said Ritu as she handed over the glass to me. She sat beside me and asked again, “Are you ok, did something happen to you at office today..?”
The courier envelope was from my CEO office and I could well understand the content. The news was being revealed in a separate style and instead of telling directly to me it was via courier. I slowly tried opening the same but somehow felt my hands trembling, I was worn out completely.
“ Ritu open it for me and read..” I pleaded, looking at her. I sank back to rest in the sofa watching her and waiting to hear from her so that I don’t have to reveal the truth to her. She has always supported me and been beside me, once she reads the letter she would understand the situation and what I have undergone. But she would probably never understand how much I will miss this hotel.
Ritu looked at me, took the envelope from my hand, teared it open and took out the letter. “It is from your CEO” and started reading, “This is with immense pleasure we are happy to announce the promotion of you ………"
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