You suddenly realise how vulnerable you are. There is no grievance redressal system. Journalists have no unions. In fact, your editor has constantly mocked unions – he says that’s for those jholawalla leftists, that unions have no place in new age India. AN ANONYMOUS ACCOUNT, the
Posted/Updated Saturday, Aug 31 14:30:24, 2013

On August 18, 2013, newspapers reported that the Network 18 group had handed out pink slips to 325 employees across channels. This is a composite personal account from one section of employees.

This is how new age corporate-employee relationships work. Day after day, year after year you are missing all that’s dear to you – dinner with friends, time with your ageing parents, your child’s first dental appointment because you MUST make it to yet another deadline at work. That’s over eight years. And then suddenly, just like that poof! You are informed you don’t matter to the company.
The bosses don’t look you in the eye, it’s just a paper handed over to you. No explanation offered, did I slip up you wonder? Should I not have raised my voice against that story, should I not have mentioned that day that I had to take my son to the school so I couldn’t make it to anchoring? Should I not have argued for what I believed in, when I thought that story was a plant?
It doesn’t matter. You are handed that paper. The pink slip. You have watched it in those great movies on the recession. You NEVER ever think it will happen to you.
You saw it coming. For months now every story you pitched against a corporate or a minster was sidelined, they wanted you to do just the feel good stories, that they gave you a good shabaashi for. But one got the impression that anything which challenged the system was less and less wanted.
The ‘management’ want your life and theirs to go on as usual, they request you to not ‘tell anyone’, once they’ve told you, you have to go. It’s not good for the company’s image you know. And before you go, could you do one last shoot for us, by the way, the story is breaking in half an hour and we are short on staff today? You look at them and wonder: are these really the people we gave up so much for? Your mood swings from one end- this is great, now I can finally move on to something better. And then, it all comes crashing down. You feel humiliated. And the only question that rings in your head is WHY ME? WHY ME?
You suddenly realise how vulnerable you are. There is no grievance redressal system. Journalists have no unions. In fact your editor has constantly mocked unions – he says that’s for those jholawalla leftists, that, unions have no place in the new age India. He has espoused the cause of business for profits and double digit growth. In this fast paced economy human relations don’t matter to him. There is no reason offered, as to why you are losing your job. Is it really profits? Are there other forces at play?
In politics, when a scam is unearthed, journalists every night on TV shows demand the minister’s resignation. If the company is not making profits, why are the foot soldiers sacked? Why did those editors who handed you the pink slips not resign?
And if it is profits, why did the bosses not offer to take a salary cut? Would that not have saved at least 100 jobs? They say that they have taken salary cuts, but there is no transparency in who took these cuts and by how much. No explanation offered.
For the eight years you spend at the company you are accountable for every minute of your day. So much so that when a poor reporter once missed a story she was told by her editor- “you are with a news channel not a bank, I should be able to reach you even when you go to the loo”. What happened to this same management and its need for accountability? Why was not one reason presented to the employees who were sacked on why they were sacked? Why did the three editors not offer to take a salary cut to save at least a few jobs? In that system of accountability they created, they don’t want to explain at all where you slipped up. Or why you are being sacked.
The meek do inherit the earth. Those who take on the system lose their jobs. You wonder in despair what you can do. So you stand in dharna outside that big building. They’ve called in bouncers and the cops today. The editor-in-chief you are told is having his lunch. The top boss, the owner, is a businessman, he’s done this before, he will do it again. You know he doesn’t care.
But then again, this is new age corporate jobs, in smart glass door buildings- that’s good for the economy. Never mind that most foreign-Indian company tie-ups are now falling apart. The bubble has burst. But those who stayed on in those glass door buildings continue smug, in the belief that a few individuals were dispensable, but the show, the hungry giant called television news, will still carry on unaffected.


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