Climbing up the 14 floors of Discoverer building in IT Park Bangalore was not a regular practice for me. But this day was not a regular day as well. I had to take the toughest decision about my best buddy cum team member. In one hand I know that Sarad has performed badly since last three months and received various complaints about his careless and unmindful blunders but in other hand I know he is suffering from something. Almost 4 times in last 3 months I had to apologize to clients for Sarad’s misdeeds. Last nights incidence was the 4th blunder. Technically he should not be given another chance and this situation calls for an immediate termination. My professional hat is giving me instructions to let him go out of the organization. If I do not do that, then the next blunder is going to put my job at risk. There is no professional justification to retain Sarad for one more day also. My one email will get this done and there will be no difficulty in justifying anybody why I took that decision because it is so obvious. But I am still thinking. There is something within me is stopping me to take the decision.
3 years back I interviewed Sarad as a fresh out of college student. He was very energetic, enthusiastic and smart candidate. There were no second thought in deciding that he should be selected for the developers position. When he was asked about his goal in 5 years, he answered , “I want to be the developer whom the entire Bangalore would like to hire in next 5 years. And in next 10 years entire world would like to hire me. But trust me I will not ditch you even then.”. He proved it right in first 3 months. He was the developer who was assigned the toughest projects and there were absolutely no monitoring required. He would talk to everybody in office, joke with everybody even the general manager,spend time socializing but do his task before 6:00 PM in the evening and go home. He became senior software engineer when he had just 2 years of experience. I had no difficulty in explaining the reason he should be given double promotion. He was the example of meritocracy in the company. General Manager used to cite his example to say that we do not believe in number of years of experience but true merit. He was doing his job as senior software engineer role magnificently well. Extremely good communication and presentation skill along with his amazingly logical skills. I had a pressure on me to get promoted so that he can become the project lead by next year. My performance was okay but not good enough to be promoted as a manager. So, he had become my competitor in just 2 years time.
He had become very good friend of mine by then. We both used to share lots ideas outside work regarding social and cultural activities. He one day disclosed that he is in love with Rupa who works in the QA department. I was the happiest person to know this. They both started going out on weekends and they both were very close to each others family. He never delays in taking any decision that his heart says. They got engaged in no time. He bought one flat near Kagdaspura and was paying 60% of his salary as EMI. He had bought a high power bike, on loan of course.
Work going good, romance going good, luxury going good so over all life is going great. Other girls in office were bit jealous on Rupa for her luck.
On a Monday morning I came to office at usual time and found him sitting on his chair and putting his head on the desk. I went near him immediately because it is so unlike him. He is the most jolly and happy-go-lucky guy I know. I sat beside him and asked what happened. He said nothing. I insisted but had no luck. Then I went to Rupa to get the details and found that he is not talking to Rupa since he returned from a bike trip that he went on Saturday. Rupa started crying and asking me to help her. I was not sure what would have caused this fine gentleman to go into extreme depression suddenly. I called his parents and told them that I called them casually to see how are they doing. It was not strange for them because I used to meet them frequently. They asked me if I know what happened to Sarad because since Saturday evening he is not talking to anybody at home and have not taken food properly.
This became a very strange problem. Nobody knows what happened and Sarad is not sharing anything despite all efforts.
Since then his performance went down drastically. He was unmindful almost always. Everybody complained about him and especially clients. I stopped assigning him any critical work but he was doing blunders even out of nothing. He had stopped talking Rupa and their engagement was at risk. Rupa once tried to threaten her that she will break the engagement if he does not share his mind but in response Sarad returned the engagement ring without uttering a single word. Rupa was so disappointed that she was crying almost every time we meet.
Today I have to take a decision about him. If he looses job then it will not only put him into more depression but he will be financially devastated because of his home loan and bike loan. Due to global financial slowdown nobody is buying houses so there were no chances for him to sell the house and repay the money as well. This worry was stopping me from taking any drastic decision but not taking this decision will put my job into trouble. I already spoke to him once officially and but was unsuccessful as he walked out of the meeting room. I was not sure whether to give him a second chance to talk or take the decision. Somehow I felt like giving a second chance to speak.
I called him for one on one. In the meeting room he was looking at me without any trace of emotion on his face. I told him, “Sarad, this is the last opportunity in this organization for you to share your worries and save your job. Otherwise you will be jobless from this moment. You have to take the decision right now. No organization can suffer for an employee who is suffering from a problem and does not want to resolve the problem. You have made many blunders and this is the last opportunity. Saving you will put my job at risk and I have many responsibilities upon me. I can’t save you anymore.”. “Who are we to save anybody? We are nothing. We have no power. I will resign so that you can save your job. Good bye” Sarad said.
“How can you be so insensitive Sarad? To gain the courage to tell you this I had climbed up and down 14 floors of this building 5 times today. I have not had food since Yesterday night thinking about you and your family. You are saying ‘Good Bye’. You are disgusting. You are hopeless and extremely insensitive. You better kill yourself than killing everybody associated with you. Your life is giving pain to many who love you.”. I shouted in the closed meeting room. “I lost all my sense the day I killed that boy on the road. I am hopeless since I left him dying in the fear of getting beaten by villagers. I am inhuman and a beast. Do not show any sympathy on me.” and he burst into tears in the meeting room and started crying loudly so much that it was audible from outside.
I immediately took off for rest of the day and took Sarad with me. On the way he told me the entire incidence. While returning from the bike trip he had stopped at one location to take snaps. Then while coming alone, he received a call in his mobile phone and was talking over phone using his Bluetooth while driving the bike. It was a deserted road and he was driving in a very good speed. Suddenly a kid came running on the road from nowhere. By the time he realized he had hit the kid who was fell on the road side because of the impact and was severely bleeding. He was not sure what to do and suddenly he saw some people coming running towards the accident spot. He was very scared and did not know what to do. Fearing that he will be beaten to death he sped his bike and left the spot. He is guessing that the kid died on the spot as he was bleeding badly. I was terribly shocked to hear this and after couple of minutes thought, I suggested to go to the same place and enquire. He said it is since 3 months this happened and going there will not be of any use. But I insisted in going there because if we don’t go we can’t do anything but if we go then we can at least do something. If the kid has really died then at least we can provide some assistance to the family. He somehow agreed after long persuasion and we both went to the village nearby the accident spot. We told that we are from one NGO and working on giving justice to families who have suffered due to hit and run cases. When we asked about the accident that happened on that specific day villagers showed us the house of that kid. We found that that kid was very much alive and healthy. He not only survived but his speech problem which was there since his birth got cured after the accident miraculously. His parents were thankful to the incidence that happened. Sarad hugged the kid tightly and cried there loudly for sometime. His parents were surprised to see this but did not say anything. We provided some money to buy study material for that kid and left the village. On the way I found my old friend Sarad coming back to his normal form. The burden of guilt that he was carrying vanished. Gradually he started showing his best performance as he used to demonstrate earlier. He and Rupa got together once again. Everything came to normal rather became better than before.
Second chance in life can sometimes do wonders. Nobody is failure for ever. Giving a second chance or taking a second chance may give you miraculous results. Think of the situations where you were given second chance or you have given others a second chance. There are possibilities that it may be failure but if you do not give a second chance you may miss the possible success.
– Stray Dog