Sunday, May 15, 2011
CONGRATULATIONS, YOU HAVE THE JOB. OH WAIT, NOT QUITE
I would not be writing this if a certain accidental occurrence had not happened in my life. A particularly bone -cracking incident that changed my life. Purely accidental, it was. As a result, so many years later, I have had this rare opportunity to sit on either side of the table. Seeking a job, and seeking to give a job. Each side has its interesting aspects.
When you go out to seek a job, your interests are very clear, a lot of times. You need a monthly pay, may be some medical allowance, you will work from 8 to 5, unless you work in the strong room in a bank.(and you will expect to be appropriately compensated for over time in such circumstances) You have your rights and you are quick to point them out, if you as little as suspect they are being infringed upon. First among employee's rights is to be paid salary on time. Not a day late.
If you choose entrepreneurship however, the tide changes, you realize you are the employer now, responsible for other in your fold. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. How did you get here in the first place? Business is tailored in away, like a merry go round. The more, the merrier. And there is so much to do; you need more hands every time. One time you realize you need to hire some one to carry forward some work, while you are busy fitting the business puzzle together and we all know it rarely fits from an office. If at all, you are rarely in office. The four walls don't seem to be able to contain you. This task is carried out like your first bike ride, you have the confidence, but no skill whatsoever and a few falls are eminent. Woe unto the first candidate you choose to interrogate (because it is more of that than a job interview). At this point, not even you the supposed boss know what you want or even know how to get to it. You are prodding in the dark, hoping you do a good job about it.Un be-known to your soon-to-be employees; the only systems that exist at this point are only in your head. There are no manuals, no guides, and sometimes not even enough work tables.
Sometimes you select fitting people. A lot of times you are not so lucky. Because you didn't know better any way, don’t beat yourself up too much. However, you have to make up for this flaw with being easy to let go. If you don't fire all incompetent recruits as soon as you know you have them, you will soon end up with the worst team any team leader could dream of. But it is not their fault; you chose them out of naiveté. Unfortunately, business must go on. It's at this point that you realize the biggest turn over, soon to hire, soon to fire, till you get it right. You may get bruised too; a lot of people do really walk the streets a lot before they even get a chance at an interview, let alone a job and a desk. Firing them is like throwing them into an abyss, yet gain. Some won’t go without a fight. Do it with kindness and refer them to appropriate employment, if you can. But you must know by now, that it is more in business than anywhere else where the adage holds, that it is okay to make a mistake but you can only make i t once. Learn fast, correct and move on. You may be sued a few times.
Of course a few will leave on their own, having not received fulfillment in current employment, or just fed up of running battles with creditors that tend to characterize young businesses at this time. Wish them well, and keep doing your best. But all through this, look out for loyalty. This is a trait that is priceless, and however much you train, this is not a trait that is easily learned in old age. One either has it or has not. And it is people like this who will stick by you even in the hardest of times. Make a point to reward them appropriately as you grow.