Dedicated this post to "I stood up" women's web blogathon
It was mid-September and high time for promotions list to come. Some blamed it to the recession and some chose to keep quiet. I was positive, never been so sure. After all, it was the much-awaited promotion of my career, my first official promotion. Every year I got accolades for my work and promised a promotion but at end hour due to some XYZ reason it uses to get postponed. This time no reason in the world could stop as the results were not just very visible but agreed by all in sundry including top mgt. The boss called each candidate personally to hand over the letters. I sat with baited breath at seat, which was just outside the boss’s cabin. This promotion meant a lot, in terms of career, years of sincerity, blind faith in company, education, hard work, family, financial independence and personal motivation.
With every second name called, my breaths grew faster. With every second passed, the anticipation went high. I folded my hands beneath table first in anticipation, then in anxiety and later in an attempt to self control. The words started ringing in my head- “Brilliant analysis. Great job done. You have exceeded all the expectations. This is your year. You have outshined this year and how. If you do not get promoted this year than who is worthy. Do not worry, keep the excellent work high and you never know what you might get.”
My teammate who just joined our project at last minute, was called to collect his letter and he came back with couple of other letters in his hand but none of them bore my name. “May be boss is playing a prank on me and hand my letter later” I thought. Hours passed and wait did not end. I have been a victim of favoritism and office politics earlier. People find different measure to bring you down. “Oh you are a girl, what would you understand of business. It’s a tough job madam. One has to struggle in sun to get a place”. “Oh you are a girl and handicap. Marketing job requires a lot of movement, lots of action, how would you do it”? “You must look at simple work like govt jobs or HR or finance where you can sit on the desk and work”. “Girls look nice at home, fending for family, cooking and nurturing children. You should settle down and let your husband take this responsibility” Time and again I proved my detractors wrong. I worked more than normal individuals and many women combined together. People who pointed fingers were now eating from hands with different non related issues coming to me for resolution. I have been appreciated for all. This time it was different, I thought.
T’was five in the evening and the promotion enthusiasm was still afloat in the office. "Congratulations", "well done", "treat" etc. were the most used keywords for the day. The place where she sits was the delivery spot of good news, the hub of celebration. People were discussing their growth while I sat as a mute outcast. I tried hard to conceal disappointment, bitterness behind an assignment. This time no consolation seemed justified. I looked back at past and regretted choosing tenacity over actual results.
Many eyes were pinned on her. She was still struggling to hold that betrayal back in her eyes. She wanted to storm her superior’s cabin and thank him as well. After all, he promised her to give that much-awaited growth in her otherwise stale career with the company that appreciates her work, but still fails to recognize it. She was fearless now; as she was stabbed in each possible manner, leaving not much stabbing opportunity on her otherwise stronger frame.
Not all murders are planned, there are some accidental killings too. She could not hide the pain in her voice when a business-head accidentally congratulated her along with her other two colleagues who were promoted. Life is a series of relentless horrors with one following the other. She tried hard to smile, but failed miserably. She failed again when her superior tried to crack a silly joke with her. She plainly refused to reciprocate this time.
It was 7pm in the evening. I sat with my boss and lead HR in the former’s cabin, listening to their lame story of big pictures and big promises. Life is definitely a series of horrors. I was made to hear pessimistic stories of various high profile people who too had undergone the similar phase in their careers a [It sounded more like how certain organizations have failed to appreciate its resources], trauma of the Indian population who does not have 3 meals a day and organization’s focus on “big pictures”.
Big picture? Is individual injustice is called “seeing the big picture”? Is suppressing a potential under convenient masks of policies “the big picture”? Is talking big and doing petty what “big picture” is all about? On the other hand, is it just calling organizational politics and inefficiency by other name? Or big picture is just another jargon that some managements have mugged but not yet learned. She has heard them talk many a times and she hence she was not surprised on their empty talks even this time. She suddenly felt that she was speaking to deaf people and not just that, they are lame and blind too. They were nice human beings. She liked them but she cannot burden them with her responsibilities nor burden herself with their empty promises. She sat there for few more minutes, seeing two of her most favorite people descending away to clichés.
She opened her desk and took out the crumpled piece of paper that had earlier offered her a lucrative option outside. In last four years, many such papers have accumulated. She regretted choosing her faith over her experience.
She came to her desk, finished her work and called the day off. On her way back to home, she pulled one of those crumpled letters and buzzed the direct no. given there. “Hi, I would like to re consider your job offer… Yeah, sure, I will be there. Thanks”.
It took her many years, multiple efforts to arrive at that decision but she was not regretful. She was instead happy that she has not failed her self. She had not given up in terms of time, effort and dedication before calling it quits finally. She happily accepted her anger, pain and disappointment, took them in her stride to move on.Non-wishful compromises are the shields of people who do not trust themselves or their dreams. One should never compromise on their dreams, dreams that are close to their hearts.
She neatly drafted her resignation letter, folded and placed in an envelope to take to her office next day. She tucked herself in to the bed and had a wonderful sleep after a long , long, time. Her 'big picture' was very clear now and she did not want to waste a single moment not chasing it.
“The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself, and no heart has ever suffered when it has gone out to search for his dreams”.