Pi Of Life : Being Professional [A Note On Hindu Resignation Letter]


Pi Of Life : Being Professional [A Note On Hindu Resignation Letter]

So Hindu newspaper’s Opinion & Special Stories Editor,  Rahul Pandita quit the organization. That too with an open letter that got viral in no minutes.
The letter takes a dig at the editor,  Malini Parthasarthy and her work style.

I think I made my point quite clear in my email to the editor-in-chief. In the current situation what the Op-ed page really needs is a bunch of interns who can seek instructions from you on an hourly basis and then get in touch with the authors on your behalf.
An Op-ed editor, the way I see it, has to be given some broad guidelines in the beginning and then left free to run the page.
But there is absolutely no freedom for the current editors to do so. Every article that comes to us or has to be commissioned has to go through your approval. And it really depends on what you think at that point.To tell you the truth, it is just a waste of talent, as far as I am concerned.I came to The Hindu to steer some top-notch reportage and to strengthen the edit pages – by making it more accessible and more nuanced. But I am bogged down with this hourly need to consult you, and with the practice of selecting articles on the basis of whether you’ve been addressed as “Malini” or “Ma’am” in the covering letters.I am also sick of this constant play of yours: to pitch one person against another for one week, and then reverse it in the next. One is also tired of your changing goalposts.
The Sunday Anchor has to be reportage-driven, and then suddenly it becomes policy-driven, and then suddenly, depending on what you hear or get impressed with, it has to be made reportage-driven again.I am a hardcore journalist and I came to journalism with a certain anger, with a certain cockiness. I have seen people dying in front of my eyes, their entrails in their hands. I have had guns pointed to my temple. Getting my blood pressure high in a conflict zone is a part of my life. But I do not like to get my blood pressure high while sitting in a cabin, waiting for a phone call from yours, of which I’ll not understand a word.I have resigned with immediate effect. And that is what I have conveyed to the editor-in-chief.
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All Good. Funny as well !
The letter has gone viral on social media and every other competition of Hindu is having a good time taking a dig at the company.
But the bigger issue here isn’t being raised and that bothers me (given the intellect of people who are sharing this on Facebook/Twitter).
In my opinion, this is an extreme case of unprofessionalism. Of course, there could be truth to all these accusations, but making your resignation letter public is not just unprofessional, but a breach of trust as well.

Stop Stupidity!
Stop Stupidity!

Being Professional : It’s A Soft Currency

Being professional is a soft currency. No employer or colleague can ever evaluate somebody on their professionalism ethics and values.
To be clear, being on-time is not professionalism is all about. It’s much more than what meets the eyes. It’s something which stays with people, irrespective of circumstances.
Your boss and colleagues will not tell you ‘Hey! Thanks for not bitching about us. You are a true professional’.

Being Professional In The Time Of Cholera*

When things are going wrong, Being professional is a lot about maturely segregating the issue with the person you have a problem with.
It’s a known fact that people join company and quit their managers. But if everybody starts bitching (and everyone else promotes this – via social media), the company (and the industry) will then be forced to come up with (hiring/exit) clauses which will even deter the ‘normal’ human beings to join the company.
In the case of Hindu letter, the hero (as of now) is Rahul Pandita – but to me, he is the biggest loser. And the ones supporting/sharing without even understanding the context of the company are promoting this unprofessional culture, at the cost of a few laughs (and tweets/likes).
I once had a boss with whom I couldn’t gel well. For each and every product feature / roadmap , our debates/disagreement went to an extent that it was difficult for us to work together.
And then, the super boss called us up and all he said was this:

‘Let’s agree to disagree, but fucking keep the main thing the main thing”.

And that’s what we did. One needs to learn to segregate the issue and the person. We agreed to disagree, but as professionals, we ensured that the wheel is moving forward.
In most of the cases, you will have a problem with the issue-at-hand, and you end up putting a label on the person.

“If you were a real professional, you’d build a bridge and get over it.”
[Jacqueline E. Smith, Between Worlds]

Being unprofessional is much easier – it wins you a lot of accoloades in the short run. But in the long run, you are no more than a loser trying to justify your past actions.
Being professional is a soft currency which may not bring you money, but you will win hearts for a very very long time.
* : a reference to Gabriel García Márquez’s Love In The Time Of Cholera.
Image credit : shutterstock

Comment (1)

  1. Sol

    Although I can understand this person’s frustration but this letter is the epitome of un-professionalism, especially because the diction and tone of the letter is something I would expect from a school going teenager. The writer simply failed to make a persuasive case for himself, so I believe Hindu did not lose much with the exit of this person.

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