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When the moment passes

When the moment passes
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First Published: Thu, Aug 20 2009. 09 30 PM IST
Updated: Thu, Aug 20 2009. 09 30 PM IST
As you surely know, this column regularly receives emails from readers in the thousands of kilobytes. And we frequently reprint some of these letters in this column for the benefit of our readers. (Obviously, we take all precautions to conceal the identity of the letter writer. Through false names and by sometimes rewriting entire portions of the letter with new plots and protagonists.)
In this vein, Cubiclenama recently received the following email from a reader:
“Dear Cubiclenama,
Two weeks ago I was severely reprimanded by my boss for a minor error. I got ‘millions’ and ‘lakhs’ mixed up in our quarterly results press release. This did not happen in a good way and our stock price tanked somewhat by 67%. There was also one minor mix-up between dollars and rupees.
Instead of reacting to this in a professional, restrained manner—laughing it off over pints of Carlsberg—boss pulled me up and screamed like a maniac. This too in front of the entire office. Devastated, I immediately decided to find a new job.
Three days later I begged, pleaded and emotionally blackmailed a batchmate of mine from business school to arrange an interview with the venture capital firm he works for. I was extremely desperate. The interviews went well. I got a new position and signed the offer letter on the spot.
But later, while ecstatically composing my resignation letter, I realized I may have screwed up. My career decision was taken as a means of retaliating at my insensitive boss. Perhaps I should give him a second chance and bond with him again during the recently announced finance and accounts department off-site in Bali in late October.
What do I do? Was I too hasty? How can I wiggle out of my commitment? I should at least wait till early November before I decide, no? The indecision is terrible. I feel like killing myself. What do I do?
P.S. They will book Bali tickets next Monday.
Germanium Interloper (name changed)”
Aha! Do I see a glint of familiarity in the eyes of more than one reader? Surely a few of you have found yourself in the predicament that Germanium Interloper finds him/herself in?
Who hasn’t picked up a new job, signed on the dotted lines and then gone back home only to realize it was a terrible idea? Sometimes this flash of regret hits within moments of walking out of your new employer’s front door when you realize that the firm has a computerized swipe card system that logs in-and-out times.
Other people realize too late—often after they have updated LinkedIn and Facebook profiles—that the new employer’s definition of “cost to company” was very liberal indeed.
True story: I knew a guy who once joined an IT company in Mumbai only to realize that the cost to company he was promised on campus during placements included, I kid not, the rental and utilities cost of the office space he occupied in his cabin. Unfortunately this was in Nariman Point and the poor fellow, net net, had to pay his employer Rs2,300 every month in compensation.
OK, I made that last bit up.
But this dilemma is by no means a new one. Sure, that moment when you realize you are no longer dependent on your former employer is sheer, sweet ecstasy.
Few joys in working life are greater than sitting through a sales meeting, knowing full well that exit interviews are but days away. “Let me tell you what to do with this KRA form you little…” are the starting words of a popular line of thought among imminent departees.
But what to do when common sense returns? When the impetuous futility of it dawns?
Now one popular, albeit, unprofessional approach is to simply not revert to your new employer. According to one recent newspaper article, the most popular means of turning down a new job offer in India is disappearing without trace. This approach smacks of unprofessionalism. But then it is clean and pain-free. For you.
A more professional approach is to intimate your decision in old-fashioned written. Emails with titles such as “With reference to our meeting”, “Reg: Job Offr—Now I dnt wnt” and “From Sidin Vadukut, Nigeria Scam” can help. No one will check them right away. Snail mail is even better.
But the industry best practice, I am told, is to use a reasonably credible lie. The recruiter will know you are lying, you know he knows you’re lying and everyone parts amicably.
Moderate fibs include “Brand new project that I alone can lead”, “Had no idea of 21-month notice period” and “I’ve had flu-like symptoms all week”.
What do you do when you get a job offer you suddenly don’t want? Send email. Even short ones. We’ll make the rest up.
Cubiclenama takes a fortnightly look at the pleasures and perils of corporate life. Your comments are welcome at cubiclenama@livemint.com
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First Published: Thu, Aug 20 2009. 09 30 PM IST
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