Your behavior a disgrace to XIC. Please put in your resignation and return ID card immediately. (sic)

This is to inform you that you have been terminated from the service according to clause 2 of the appointment letter…

For all those who came in late, you may not know that I was working with a leading media company in India at its head-office in Mumbai. Ever since I saw the imposing heritage structure, it was my dream to walk inside the premises as an employee. Not many get the privilege of realizing their dream in the very first instance they try. I did!

Although my name was never going to be seen or read by a good part of Mumbai, who swore by the most-read English daily, it still could be traced at a corner of the second page of a supplement that came along with the daily. This supplement however, was read by only those who had the time to stretch their legs, sit back and scan through the happenings of their locality. My job profile included editing and proof-reading some terribly written articles. After editing some of them, I was quite often tempted to include my name as well in the byline. So my actual post was that of a sub-editor cum reporter, although I reported for the supplement only once and am yet to see my byline in print for that! I am glad I haven’t seen my byline for that particular article for it was more a glorification of the supplement itself, as the event I covered was co-sponsored by the broadsheet.

I wasn’t great at editing and my immediate boss (IB) made that clear just second week into my job! Some of my friends still feel that the decision I made wasn’t a wise one since I left an institution that boasts of being second to none in the media industry. But they are still to understand the reasons why I walked out of my first job, quite literally! Well, I just stopped going to work without informing anyone at my workplace. That explains why my main boss (MB) text messaged the very first line of this post.

There were three instances in my three months of work that led me to take the decision to ‘walkout’, the impact of which is still being felt at the supplement. Just to clarify—these three instances form just one ‘reason’, for there are a couple of others as well!

1. The IB came and told me that the layout artists have complained against me to the MB, that I keep changing stories and headlines at the last moment. Now it so happened that despite being a fresher, a lot of artists had become my friends. I went to them to clarify, which is when I got to know the actual story. They had not even uttered my name to the MB! The complaint was against the team and my IB in particular! The IB very smartly passed on the blame to me when the MB asked her for clarifications!

2. My IB cannot come on Saturdays to work at all for reasons perhaps only she and God can tell. And the other two senior members of the team were also supposed to have their comp-offs that weekend. So it was left to me and one other colleague, who too was a relative fresher although a senior to me by around 5 months. Every person in the team is supposed to take responsibility for a page wherein a decision is to be taken as to which stories will go in that particular page. That Saturday, I took the responsibility for the first page and before calling my day off on Friday, I had clarified with the seniormost member after the boss about the stories I will be carrying and she had given me a ‘go ahead’. One of the stories that I carried on page one was an investigative report and apparently, one of the authorities that the reporter mentioned she had spoken to, said that journo had last spoken to him about four months ago! There were calls to my IB from the municipal corporation asking for clarifications. And again, I was taken to task by my IB for not ‘clarifying’ with her about the story. She had herself advised me to consult the other senior member!

3. One day, my IB decides to have a one on one chat with me, in which she tells me that she wants me to be her right hand person (whatever!). And among other things, she mentioned that the MB thinks I am the ‘weak link’ of the team! That was it. I didn’t even wait for any more ‘clarifications’! I didn’t need any other sign from Above telling me to quit. I had got three in three months already!

The other factor, which is perhaps even more a reason for me leaving than the above mentioned blame-games, was the attitude of my IB! Our working day used to start anytime between 11:30 to 12:00. But for my IB, it started after 2! Why? Because it wasn’t she who worked, it was us, the lesser mortals, who were supposed to slog it out. All she had to do was to check the final product, make sure the freelancers are well paid and pass on her mistakes to others! Even before settling down after coming to work, she would head straight to the canteen along with a couple of colleagues. After having her fill, she would come back, sit at her comp and play some really childish online games, while her ‘subordinates’ stared blankly and tried to make sense out of statements, which had adjectives aplenty and pronouns in rarity, for every second person was ‘on the condition of anonymity’. Every once in a while, you could also hear her say, “I am so tired!” Tired? Of what? Pressing the direction keys of your keyboard trying to maneuver your online duck? I could see the IBs of other supplements slogging like us mortals and this Lady Lazy having a ‘perfect job’, redefining the term ‘idleness’!

Apart from these, after taking up this job, I had also felt a great deal of emptiness within me. I realized I wasn’t spending anytime with the One who took me this far! I knew I had to do something before I went too far away from my God!

The rest, as the cliché goes, is history! A couple of weeks after I gave my IB and MB a shock, I got a ‘dismissal letter’ from the HR head of the company (second line of the post is an excerpt of the letter). I don’t know what they mean by ‘You have been terminated’ for I had already terminated myself!

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