It is that time of the year again, when companies evaluate their profits and losses and change employees’ fate in a matter of days.Saira Sayani
Yes, people, the new financial year begins and the companies/startups/organisations/corporations/your employers, whatever you call them, get to decide who gets the upper crust and who ends up with crumbs. The rest? Well, they get pointed towards the exit sign.
Very few people get promoted and get the raise they actually deserve even if they bring twice the experience as opposed to the newly hired fresher. Others get to hear that they need to work harder, put in more effort if they want that raise, recognition or that promotion that they have been looking forward to since forever. Some will either resign in frustration or will be asked to leave as politely and quickly as possible. While there’s always two sides to a coin, the work culture in India seems to be changing drastically.
Gone are the days when companies used to recognise and reward hard work and employees stayed on with them till they retired. Neither the companies nor its employees feel the need to stay loyal to each other, plus there are too many options out there. Things have changed, most of us are still figuring out if it is for better or worse.
As I write, your performance is getting evaluated, appraisals are flying around. How many hours did you put in, how much revenue did you bring, and most importantly, were you at the right place at the right time with the right people?
With the unemployment rate at an all-time high in India, about 7.2% in February 2019, according to CMIE data, the picture looks pretty gloomy. Currently, we have a dip of 400 million unemployed people in India. According to the report released in January by CMIE, nearly 11 million people lost jobs in 2018. National Statistical Commission members, PC Mohanan and JV Meenakshi submitted their resignation this year after Govt refused to release the jobs report according to HuffPost India.
While there are a number of factors involved e.g. post demonetisation the drought in job opportunities, the hire and fire policy companies are opting for, one of the main reasons seems to be the lack of recognition/promotion of the employee. How much time does a company, senior management spends to actually get to know the people who work for them? I’m not talking office parties, fancy retreats and other grand meet-ups where loads of money gets wasted, you get drunk, gossip and polish office politics. That money can be used to give the raise to the staff that they really need.
It is not about how productive or experienced you are in most work places, it is about being in the good books of your manager, showing that you are working overtime, on weekends and available 24/7. Both HBR and Entrepreneur have published articles that are backed by science that working long hours is unhealthy and actually backfires sooner or later. It has an impact on your health, kills your personal and social life and pushes your towards a burnout that is hard to recover from. This is the age of low wage and endless labour and demotivation for the working professionals.
Although many organisations and leaders talk about work life balance, the fact is, you are expected to slog over their unrealistic targets. The moment you inch your way towards work life balance, you will receive subtle and not so subtle hints; the guy who is working 996 (from 9 am to 9 pm 6 days a week) will be praised, you get few lectures on how to be a professional, putting in some hard work. Soon, you will gain the reputation of being the lazy, unprofessional introvert who is not taking work as seriously as your boss pleaser colleague is.
Many people are hesitant to stand up for themselves and call out the management when treated unfairly. They will either endure or quit but will not confront management or try to change the system due to a strong hierarchy fear embedded in our work culture. We will kill ourselves with doubt and fear, run away from the problem but never question the top guy for the fear of losing the job or getting blacklisted.
So while you are negotiating with your line manager and HR about why you deserve that 20%/30% hike and they are shooting down your report with, “this is not good enough, we need go getters, company hasn’t made enough profit or the organisation is restructuring”. How do you respond? How do you handle the situation?
Some people felt that you need to work above and beyond to get that raise and promotion, others felt that if there is no recognition no matter how hard you work, it’s time to move on. Here's a sneak preview of the next post based on the feedback I received.
Every problem has a solution; we can just cry and complain every day or do something about it. You can’t change the system unless you are neck deep in it, let it swallow you whole and choke on you. The next few articles are going to focus on the challenges and the way forward. We have to take a case-by-case scenario and figure a way out. But to do that we need to overcome that nasty little voice in our head that fuels our fear…The fear of being jobless, not having enough money, of being judged and told to, “just do your job and take the money.” You are more than your job, your house and your car. If we stand up and fight for what we deserve, there is nothing that we can’t do.
Because boss, “APNA TIME AAYEGA!” (Our time will come!)