12 May, 2021

Life On The Cutting Edge

Education, designation, seniority-nothing's proof against the wave of retrenchment sweeping corporate India

Life On The Cutting Edge
ALOK Khanna. 40. iim-Ahmedabad. Pinstriped suit, horn-rimmed glasses, bold printed necktie. Hardly the kind you expect to be given to self-doubt or beseeching approval. Yet last week as he sat at the office of an executive search firm, he could barely hide the quaver in his voice, 'It is easy to get intellectual about lay-offs and say they are inconvenient but necessary upheavals in a changing world. Until it happens to you. It's like rotten egg in your face.' Three months after it happened, Khanna still can't believe that he has lost his job at a foreign bank which decided to sell off the division he worked in. After all, only a few months earlier, he had collected a hefty performance bonus.

Ashok Jain, erstwhile ceo of Cadbury Schweppes India, is also coming to grips with the new reality. One December night, the bedside phone rang. It was his boss calling from London. The company, he told Jain, was selling its soft drinks brands outside the US to Coca-Cola. The size of the business was too small to carry along. Even as the caller hung up, Jain wondered if he had heard right....

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