When I started this business long back, one of the first employees I hired was R. He was not a qualified engineer or exceptionally bright candidate, but yes, very dedicated and sincere. The salary I could offer him at that time was peanuts to be honest, but he never really complained about it. Looking back, it might be due to the lack of his degree and very limited options in software development field in the city but okay, that is not the point of discussion here.
As the time passed by, the company grew, and so did the salaries and number of employees. I figured out that despite all motivation, better working environment and other facilities, company was now offering, R was somehow unable to cope with the increasing pressure, emerging technologies and customer’s exigencies. As a senior member in team, I expected him to be responsible, initiative and reliable but it turned out that chances of him screwing up were directly proportional to the seriousness of the matter. In other words, if a client is growling on certain issue and we are the defaulters, I could always rely on R to make the matters worse.
We spoke about these things several times coz I accept it or not but somehow I had a soft corner for him. He supported us by not switching over the jobs and working in the odd conditions when the single most important thing we needed was stability from employees in those unearthly conditions. Every time we spoke, he used to pick mistakes in others but never wanted to improve his own self. I warned him so many times as things were literally going over my head, almost everyone in the team was unhappy with his attitude, bossism and peculiar ideas. The day came when I issued the last warning followed by sacking him from the job. It was not a pleasant moment but in a way it had a positive effect on the team. The message was clear, if R can be dismissed, no one is safe and instead of sticking to government employees kind of attitude, they need to prove their worth if they want to stay in the company.
Every thing was fine, well almost, until one day, R called back asking for a meeting. What followed up was a long discussion with him accepting all of the mistakes, willing to improve and requesting for just one chance on any cost. I usually have a rule to never take an employee back once they move out, be it from my side or theirs. So I did with him.
Another week passed by and he called up again. Almost crying, requesting for another chance, even willing to work without pay for a month or so and then proving his worth. Now at this moment I am in a quandary. The gut feelings say, things have changed for good after his dismissal and I should keep it like that. On other hand, when I think of his family, the school going kid and other problems in his life, I think of giving him another chance. So far instincts are winning, let us see what comes next..
In any case feeling better after writing it out!!