22

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Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!

Yes.

Hi, this is the secretary, you are needed in the conference room after an hour for an important meeting with the president of the company.

Will be there.

It had been a wonderful day at work for Omi that day. He immediately started preparing for the meeting. The agenda was unknown, but he expected it to be a monthly team performance meeting with the President.

Omi held a very important place in the office and was one of the oldest employees. An hour later he entered the conference hall and saw it filled with many other department heads. He had come to the venue thinking it was a one on one meeting and suddenly the agenda became unknown again. He understood that there is a much bigger issue that was to be addressed than what he had thought.

He was nervous.

Exactly at 3 pm, the President announced the agenda of the meeting—LAYOFF. There was pin drop silence in the room. Everyone was looking at each other like zombies suddenly being exposed to reality. The President went on to explain the decision of restructuring the company, and attributed it primarily to not enough work being available at the moment, for everyone to be accommodated. What ensued were strong discussions for hours together with the majority still struggling to grasp the gravity of the matter at hand.

After much deliberations and cajoling from the management the layoff was agreed upon. The major impact was to be felt in Omi’s department.

The number supposed to go was 22.

He lost his spirit. He did not know what to do, how to react. He called up some of his seniors to discuss the matter. Everybody suggested him to be calm and composed at the moment. He followed their advice. He tried to take it as an hour of examination or a bad phase, which would pass very soon or at least he thought so.

The next day, he called for a meeting with his co-subordinates to discuss the issue. They met in a nearby coffee shop to prepare a list of 22 people.

He had 5 names ready, which he thought would be fine to let go, but the bigger question mark was of the remaining 17. Others suggested some names, which were penned down. They had 5 teams running within the department and they made a strategy to choose 4 people from each group first and then select a final list from those names. They planned to meet the next day with the names.

They gathered in the coffee shop the next day to make a final list. He thought it would not be so difficult to chalk out names, but to his horror, it was tougher than he thought. No one could come up with 2 or more names. They collected merely 15 names. Now it was a matter of concern to all of them. This carried on for some more days. Everybody was worried and restless.

Omi was so sad that he could not eat. He went to speak with the human resource manager over the weekend.

I feel so sad, I recruited and trained each of them personally, now I myself have to show them the door.

Don’t worry too much, Omi. Everything is for the best. Change is always violent.

Why don’t you fire me instead and save 5 people from my team? Anyways it’s all about cost saving. I’m the highest paid employee, take me out.

No, we need your skills and experience, Omi. It’s only a class which has to go.

Day after day Omi was getting tense as he and his co-subordinates battled to get the final list as the submission date came closer and closer. Eventually, in last meeting his was hell bent on finalizing on the remaining list. Finally, he and his team compiled the final list of 22 people and submitted it immediately.

As the doom’s day approached the whole company was buzzing with rumors about what was going to happen. He was asked to call for a meeting and let everyone know about the objective of this move. He decided to speak to his department on the very first day of the week. His department was a huge and they all gathered in the conference hall to hear their department head.

Omi was very nervous, but he gathered all his courage and spoke.

My friends, this is an inevitable move by the company. They have planned to restructure the company, so as to retain only the best people. I understand the pain some of you will go through, but to win a battle, sacrifices of many great souls have to be made. I believe that everything will be for best for everybody.

With doom’s day around the corner somehow the information about the list leaked. It was the worst thing that could have happened. Somebody had hacked his email and spread the list around.

He was ashamed.

Everywhere he went, people gave him dirty looks. Suddenly, after all these years of hard work, he lost the relationship and respect that he had built with his colleagues.

Suddenly, he was to be blamed because he was the one who made the list. He had become a villain in his people’s eyes. He fell down in his own eyes, but decided to fight the situation.

Tomorrow would be the day.

He knew that bad times lay ahead but he could have never ever expected what really did happen. In the afternoon, He was informed by the President and was told that the layoffs had been called off. He was shocked but happy. He thought he should give this good news to his department. He immediately rushed to his department after the meeting. There was chaos in the room.

He could not even think what was in store for his future. Everyone, especially those 22 people had now turned against him. Everyone felt so insecure with him that they wanted to throw him out of the company. No one wanted him to be there and they all rushed to the president’s cabin, shouting to throw him out. He was shocked. He felt numb. He felt like a criminal. His people questioned him. They asked him why he didn’t fight against it or at least reduce the numbers if he knew about the layoff. These questions sent a chill up his spine and turned him into a mere statue.

He was an emotional individual. He decided to step down from his position, if he’s not capable of saving his people, he is not fit to be in the department as a head. He resigned in the office of the President and walked away silently in tears. The President saw him walking out. He smiled, for his plan was a success.

He was one of the strongest employees in the company. The President wanted to let go as his growing popularity was worrying the top management. They found their position very insecure in presence of Omi.

He was an honest man and knew how to fight. This attribute of his always proved to be a thorn in eyes of the top people within the company, but to remove him out from the office for no reason was impossible. No small reason would be enough. His termination would require solid reason as it would affect the entire company. Therefore, they thought deep and came up with the layoff plan.

They knew exactly what would happen. So, they declared layoff for 22 people in Omi’s department. They knew when they declared the layoff and called it off, everybody, especially those 22 would rule him out and they will have the cake and eat it too!

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