So it seems like another recession is around the corner, and every time you utter the R-word, you automatically turn to the HR team of every global investment bank: how many, in which locations and which teams? The risk of you being among one of THE ONES magnifies especially if you are in a support function (polite way of referring to the cost centre). So as I read about our competitors cutting staff across the globe (the number runs into thousands for most banks), I waited with bated breath for a similar announcement in my company.
Sure enough, it was there. I read about our dismal 2Q results, about cost reduction and headcount rationalization across the bank, but it only sunk in when a mail was marked to OUR TEAM of fifteen people informing us about the “tough decisions that lay ahead” and how “every team has to contribute to this cost cutting”. Incidentally, I was the second person marked on the mail. Ironically, I had just finished my mid-year appraisal, and despite the fact that DK Bose doesn’t seem to like me, it was a generous review with considerable sweet nothings thrown in. Not that I believe everything that HR and top management tells me. They are like shrinks and consultants (yea, I worked with one previously): they just tell you the obvious, which you already know. Anyway, here I was, hailed as being an “excellent performer who has exceeded expectations” on one Friday, and being subtly threatened, the very next.
I don’t deal well with double standards, nor can I be diplomatic. So, for instance, if I want a promotion, I say “I should be promoted” and not “I am ready for the next level”, or if I want a raise, I say, “Give me more money” and not “financial aspect is not an important consideration, but I would like to believe that I am fairly rewarded for my contributions.” So, after receiving this very disturbing mail, WHICH WAS CLEARLY DIRECTED AT ME, I called up my boss, and demanded that if he was firing me, the least he can do is to tell me now (before I renew my rental agreement). While he hastened to assure me that I had nothing to worry about, I am not convinced. I think I should quit before they fire me; I think I should graciously take the high road and salvage whatever pride while I still can; I think I should go back to school, and this time not a B school but a J school.
Finally, I have become a successful I-banker: I am insecure, I am desperate and I have a Plan B. Ahh, I have finally arrived (though it’s almost time to go)…