This was like a game of hide and seek (or was it a tug of war) between the branch manager and the circulation manager that started with the letter that I wrote to the circulation manager about the application of the dog show of the managing director of the company that was sent through the Coimbatore office to Ooty in my post dated August 7, 2012.
To recall the event, a letter was sent to the dispatch section – an application for participating in a dog show to be held at Ooty by the Managing Director of the company sent from Chennai to Coimbatore – to be sent through the transport that was carrying that day’s newspaper to Ooty. I was not present on that night’s dispatch work, but my friend was attending for me.
Usually, when such important things are sent through the transport to Ooty for the guest house of the owner’s, the branch manager would call me around 9 p.m. and would ask me to send those important things without fail, and he would also inform the transport contractor about the same to make sure that it was delivered at Ooty guest house the next day without fail.
But, this time the branch manager did not inform me or the transport contractor, and my friend did not send that application to Ooty that day. When I attended the dispatch work the next day, I found that letter, and it was marked for dispatch the day before, and I was shocked and I guessed that my friend did not deliberately send that application to get me in a difficult situation as by this time I knew that he was in connivance with the branch manager working for my removal from the dispatch work even though I had helped him in many ways in the past in his business endeavors. Sensing that something was wrong, I sent that letter, and I immediately wrote a letter to the Circulation Manager about this. I have written about this in a more detailed way in my previous postings.
The Circulation Manager through this letter had a documentary evidence of the branch manager’s attitude towards me and the dispatch work, and it was obvious that the branch manager was trying to send me away from the dispatch work. Now, the Circulation Manager began to force the branch manager to take decisions in which he had the final authority like the dispatch work, circulation improvement work, etc. The Branch Manager was forced to take decision about me either giving me the agency at Ramanathapuram or choose someone else for the dispatch work.
Before elaborating further, I would like to say something about my earlier meeting with the Circulation Manager. At a time when the Circulation Manager was visiting the Coimbatore Office, I presented myself for a meeting with the Circulation Manager.
On the day of my meeting with the circulation manager, the sales representation Mr. T. R. Ravichandran asked me to request the Circulation Manager for the news agency at Ramanathapuram, to which I asked him whether he would sign in a piece of paper that he was asking me to ask the Circulation Manager for the agency, and he did not hesitate and immediately signed a paper in which I first wrote “Can I ask the Circulation Manger for the Ramanathapuram agency?”
I realized then that even if the agency is bifurcated by the Circulation Manager, even if he supports me as a candidate for the agency that there was no guarantee that I would get the agency because the Branch Manager was the sole authority to decide to whom the agency is to be given, and he would obviously give the agency to another person. I have written about this in my earlier post.
In the meeting with the Circulation Manager along with the Branch Manger and the sales representative, I asked the Circulation Manager that I want the agency at Ramanathapuram as I had been working for The Hindu for many years. There is a district called Ramanathapuram in Southern Tamil Nadu with its headquarters in a city of the same name. That agency was changed just recently, which I did not know. The Circulation Manager told me that he could have offered the agency if I had asked him earlier before it was changed.
At this time, Mr. T.R. Ravichandran intervened and told the Circulation Manager that I was asking for a news agency at Ramanathapuram in Coimbatore by bifurcating the news agency at Coimbatore. The circulation Manager asked me to inform the branch of my intention of applying for the agency if it is bifurcated and to get in touch with the Branch office regarding this and that I would be offered the agency as “you are our man,” meaning that I would be given preference over other candidates as I was working for the company as dispatch contractor.
The circulation Manger by saying to me, ”to get in touch with the branch office” meant that the branch office – and therefore the Branch Manger - was the final authority in offering the agency to a candidate of choice, but the authority to decide when the Coimbatore agency would be bifurcated lied with the Head office, and therefore, the Circulation Manager.
It was in this context that my letter complaining about the Branch Manager reached the Circulation Manager. Since the branch manager was very close to the Deputy Managing Director, the circulation manager first started to attack the branch manager’s right hand man, Mr. T. R. Ravichandran.
At his first visit to the Coimbatore office after the receipt of my letter, the Circulation manager first chose to target the sales representative Mr. T.R. Ravichandran for his political game. At that time, the sales representative was assigned the area of Kerala state Trichur area for his work. He was not going for canvassing for adding new subscriptions in Trichur, Kerala for some reason. The circulation manager at that meeting asked him why he did not go to Trichur for canvassing, he replied to the circulation manager that he had already been there many times and that there was no prospect of increasing circulation in Trichur, for which the circulation manager asked him, ”have you been to every house in Trichur and came to this conclusion?”
Mr. T.R. Ravichandran could not give him any satisfactory reply to the circulation manager. At this time, the branch manager came to the rescue of the sales representative by informing the circulation manager that he was not doing well for some days and that was why he could not go to Trichur for canvassing.
This meeting was held in private in which all the sales representatives, the branch manager, and the circulation manager were present. After that meeting was over, the circulation manager came to office and in full view of all the staff from all other departments such as advertising, told the sales representative to consult a doctor and take appropriate medicines and to take care of his health, and as a parting remark, he told him, ”but don’t forget to go to Trichur for canvassing at the earliest.” This was most embarrassing for both the sales representative and the branch manager.
This incident was known to everyone in the office at that time. I did not know at that time that the Circulation Manager was also playing politics. I thought that he would support me and I will be able to get the agency soon. But on that day, one of the senior staff of Coimbatore office advised me to be careful with the circulation manager as he would just use me for his own agenda and use me as a step to climb the corporate ladder in the company as the dispatch work was a sensitive one for the company, but I thought that he was just scarring me because I was sure that I was entitled an agency for my work as dispatch contractor for the company and that no one could do any harm to me in the company as I believed in my ability to do my work properly, but his advice turned prophetic later.
These incidents, instead of making me proud for getting support from the circulation manager in my battle against the branch manager, only made me sick, and I thought that the battle was kind of getting dirtier day by day. While I was writing this post, I saw a post in Facebook from one of my friends which just looked like fits this situation perfectly.
Source: TCS Confessions
This was the comment I wrote there: I think I had actually done this, but I did not know it then. My blog is about this. See my struggle with the branch manager of The Hindu at their Coimbatore office during 1985-1995, which I should not have done and left The Hindu around 1986-1987 after realizing that I was being cheated. Not only the branch manager but also some senior managers enjoyed that. How I feel ashamed of that now!!
This post is getting longer, and I will continue in my next post about the tug of war between the circulation manager and the branch manager.