What is the biggest lesson you have learned in the corporate world?

I have a lesson to share. A lesson that gave me a real taste of corporate world.

I was working for a reputed IT firm in Bangalore and it was my first company too. I have worked hard and got a mid-term promotion after 3 years .So, we were a bunch of people who underwent a selection process and got trained and were on-boarded to our new role. It was great and involved hardcore troubleshooting for client related applications and the environment was challenging.

Very unfortunately it was the recession period that shook all of us in 2008 in India.While we were expecting salary hikes for the promotion,which turned out out to be a no go due the recession. At least I was happy with my new role and made a few good friends along.

So I was hoping for an annual hike which might include promotion hike as well. Then we got a mail from our CEO that there not going to be any hikes for this year. It was very disappointing as my parents had some expectations too on my pay raise.

So a year passed and we were hoping for things to get better and eagerly counting on our salary hikes which might include arrears. At the same time,there were rumors floating around that salaries would be cut to face the recession hit . There came an e-mail from our CEO that we are cutting down salaries to face the recession despite firing employees like other companies are doing. So things just got worse.

My interest on work started coming down day by day as I haven’t seen a pay raise for 2 years in a row. So I was taking things pretty lite and was not on top of my deliverables. There were a few friends along with me with the same attitude “ No pay raise , No work”. So I was having fun most of the time at work.Many a times my manager use to pass by and watch it ,gives a smile and I never really cared.

Days passed by and there were talks about reviving the performance review system. While the initial rating system was 3 bucket model. Most of the people would fall into the second bucket and exceptional people would fall into the first bucket. This time they have made it a 4 bucket model. So now, no more falling into the safe bucket and average hike. This would really filter out people and I didn’t realize what this would do to me.

So there was this one girl a good friend of mine who was not really caring about the corporate buzz and was sincerely doing her work. She was unaffected by any talks about the company’s decisions and was putting sincere efforts in every task assigned to her and she was portrayed as a role model to all of us.

While it seemed like we are slowing drifting away from recession, our performance ratings were out. It came to me as no surprise as I was in the 3rd bucket. The manager would smile and rolled did consider and remember the efforts of each person that has put in efforts during those hard times.

So everyone was eagerly awaiting on the hike letters and only the top performers got the hike letters with a massive 50–60% hikes . It was obvious that the topper were being rewarded for standing up during the hard times. A week after that hikes letters were released for the second bucket and they scored a decent 25% . It came as cold splash of reality that there would no hikes for the last two buckets.

It was huge discontent and distress to sit and work together. While they were working I laughed and It was crying time for me. Couldn’t look into the faces of the very close friends I knew who were rewarded for their hardwork. Then a few weeks after that the company started laying off the people in the 4th bucket. A guy who shared the same bay as I was sitting got a pink slip. Now its a situation that the 3rd bucket people are lucky to still have their jobs. It was stressful and living on the edge type of feeling and so uncertain about the job security.

Now question is should I stay and perform or quit? So I made up my mind to start looking for a job some where else, coz I have to back fill 2 years of hikes less take home . With 4.5 years of experience I started looking out and got a job which was still below the market standard.

Moral:

1. “Hardwork pays off in time, while laziness pays rightnow”

2. You never know when company will start loving you

3. Performers are always rewarded

later, I had to quit the new company in about a year to get another 40% pay raise to match the market standards as the salary negotiations were based on the previous pay. Am doing good than the people who are still with my first company but those days of being victims/heroes of corporate games and management strategies has taught me a great lesson in life. An experience I would never forget.

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