Dear MxM by Jaisurya Das: Is a severance pay a done thing at the middle-level in the media?

24 Sep,2015

By Jaisurya Das


Hello and Welcome to Dear MxM, India’s only online counselling column for Media, Advertising and Marketing!


I sometimes wonder what will become of all of us, what with young kids teaching us the fundamentals of our own trade !


Haven’t you been awestruck with kids who take to computers and before you realise it, become pros at using them?


Yes, it is superior intelligence. Their brains allow them to multitask with ease, processing information at lightning speed. They are designed for the future, we are not!  We need to cultivate some of the qualities they possess to be able to equip ourselves for the years ahead.


We must learn to stop absorbing all the information thrown at us.


As it is, there is an information overload and to make things worse, we imbibe every single aspect of everything ; blissfully ignoring the fact that it will be of no use to us whatsoever. Why do we need every single detail of a murder for instance ?


It’s not going to make a difference to our lives, be it a small bag that was found or a big one. Who is the investigating officer on case? Whatever happened to him ?


Does it really matter? Ask a teenager this, and he/she is going to say “Ya, I know, she was murdered ” and that’s it.


Their neural networks work on a simple premise ;

Absorb the Relevant, Purge the Rest!

Think of it! We do have a problem.

OK, Time’s up…. Cut to your questions and our answers, because we care.


Sir, I am likely to join an organisation which has a hire-and-fire regime. I have heard that one can ask for a severance pay, but is that a done thing at the middle level in an ad agency?

Hi and Thanks for writing into Dear MxM.


Am afraid, there is no concept of a severance pay at middle level in an agency, or for that matter a media house.


Severance pay is more an exception than the norm and is offered exclusively to top management / editorial hires.


As far as the ‘Hire and Fire’ bit is concerned, believe me, all jobs today are similar. You are as good as yesterday, no matter what the Legacy !

Having said that, there is no harm in trying your luck. You may just strike gold ! All the best.


Last week, I read an old article where it was being discussed that news is not a profitable proposition, and that it takes years for organisations to profit. If that’s the case, how do we have some not-so-old publications making huge money?

The article you read isn’t far removed from the truth. General interest news isn’t profitable any more. It’s the infotainment era and publications have to toe the line and increasingly clone TV and online media in order to sell.


More than 90% of the news is in public domain the night before and hence the relevance of a news break is lost.


News magazines that sold like hot cakes in multiple languages are struggling to stay afloat with one or two languages.


The not-so-old publications you mention that are raking in the moolah are exceptions, if at all.


Most mediaowners believe that a good marketing team is the answer to all woes!


At the risk of sounding repetitive, the best of marketers aren’t magicians and can only act as catalysts for revenue. Finally, it’s the brand, its persona, its content and its positioning that make the difference.


Get you act together before you blame it on marketing !


The news business isn’t easy and more so for print media.


Carve your own niche and claim your audience, or else perish like the rest. Amen.


Is it legal to moonlight?

In India more than 95% of the companies prohibit secondary employment of any kind. Moonlighting may be considered illegal from this point of view, though there is no law preventing secondary employment.


I must add that such service rules are normally for full time employees only. Part-time staff quite often take more than one assignment, in anycase.


It may interest you that countries like the US permit moonlighting and do not really care as long as the primary responsibility is taken care off. To be honest, this does make ample sense.


Sir, I practise a certain faith, but I find that my organisation only has a corner for the prayer and pictures of the gods of a certain religion? Is there any law governing organisations to disallow company offices from becoming mini-temples/ mosques / churches/ etc?

Not that I know off my friend , though am not too sure if any organisation would wish to transform itself into a temple/ mosque/ church etc. The point really is about giving the employees the freedom to practise their Faith even at work.


The prayer room normally represents all faiths and there is no discrimination of any kind.


May I suggest that you have a chat with your HR colleagues about this lacunae. I am more than certain this will be taken care of immediately since most organisations are sensitised to respecting all faiths.


Above all, do not forget that god lives within us…..


And then we will see you next week, same day, same space for it will be time to Answer your Questions one after the other.

Yes, we care !

Be Good. It’s Important.


Inbox your questions to with Dear MxM in the subject line


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