Dear MxM by Jaisurya Das: My friend is fired incorrectly for underperformance… should he quit or accept termination?

11 May,2017

By Jaisurya Das


For the record, India became a Republic on  January 26, 1950 but this isn’t what this column is about. This is about Zen and how essential it is for our country.

Ladies and Gentleman, welcome back to yet another edition of Dear MxM !

Today I shall very briefly explain the concept of ‘Zen and the Art of Television Maintenance’. As you may have figured, this necessitates meditation of the highest order…

Let’s start at the very beginning and this roughly translates to getting a new set of batteries for your TV remote. This is basic ammunition and must be kept in mind when you intend on braving the news. On a more serious note, there are better things to do, and TV news is only one section of the menu you see when you press those buttons.

However, if you still wish to adopt these medieval methods of harakiri, then go ahead and find yourself a decent chair and aim your remote. 

Soon, you will be presented with a huge bouquet of choices ranging from the absurd to the hideous. Mind you, all giving you the news 24/7. 

You will also notice that a lot of these news channels are attempting to be clones of one another with only their montage changing. This my friends, is when you need Zen. 

Breath slow and deep till you arrive at the new kid on the block…

Fiercely independent, hard facts and highly incisive. Don’t you dare get ideas now, I was talking about the National Geographic capsule on the tigers of Iindia… But this isn’t the point here. 

I am honestly very worried now, since I had this Zen and TV all sorted and suddenly I find, I am back to Square 1.

They’re crawling all over my social media timelines now and doing this live on FB thing too. I wonder if they’re soon going to crawl out of my bed linen next. It was bad enough to have 24/7 ranting and now it’s raised to the power of 2 with social media added. 

By the way, what were their stories about?

While I figure that, let me give you a chance to read our weeks complement of Questions from our readers in Patna, Mumbai and Ahmedabad.


Last week, a friend was told that he needs to quit the organisation because of below par performance. And this is when he wasn’t ever told he had underperformed. The organisation HR said either you quit or you get fired. That’s so unfair. While the friend has now quit, what should one do when you are forced to quit? What happens if you don’t quit?


Sorry to hear this but management level staff are really not protected from such decisions since they all sign to a very well worked ‘terms of employment’ document on joining. Most of these agreements are water-tight and allow for anyone’s services to be terminated with a standard notice period or salary in line of notice.

Resigning is a better way to exit than being terminated since all this is recorded in your service record as well as in reference checks by the new employer. Yes, if you don’t quit. then the company will be forced to terminate with reasonable ground which isn’t really tough to prove with clauses and cases that could include anything from performance, to not following office procedure etc.

I am not in a position to comment on this case specifically but my honest advise would be to leave gracefully if the organisation does not need his services any longer. This way, any reference check will also go fine rather than irking them further. This is most likely part of a corporate downsizing operation and he must be among their hit list for this. As you are aware, we are seeing a lot of retrenchment and downsizing happening across media and other industries consequent to the drop in advertising revenues.


My organisation has now imposed a new rule that one can’t quit and join a rival organisation. The admin head said this is part of the contract. But if I don’t join an organisation in the same business, as a journalist what do I do. I can’t be running a restaurant now or selling insurance. Are these contracts legally tenable. Also, before you say, I should’ve read the contract before signing, Sir, you know very often you are very keen on a job and can’t really get contracts changed.


Am afraid I have to draw your attention to this very point all over again. Competitive protection clauses are tough to overcome and can lead to legal battles.

However, there have been cases where our competent courts have ruled in favour of employees under similar situations. This can be challenged in the courts of law since it really prevents experienced people from moving anywhere rendering them unemployed.

It must however be understood that legal battles call for a lot of patience and money coupled with a competent lawyer on your case. 

I personally am against such clauses introduced by several media companies and think it very draconian and in my opinion a violation of the Constitution of our country.


Sir, I work in Patna and I am in marketing and sales. After having worked for nine years here, I find that I can’t bear the heat and am falling sick often. What would you advise: taking up a desk job or move to a hill station or a city where the climate is less cruel.

Yes, a move to a more comfortable city would be the ideal choice for you, lest all this sales experience is not put to use.  The blazing heat is a curse for sales professionals and takes a serious toll on their health and performance.

I suggest you consider looking around for options in cities like Bangalore or even Mumbai where the summer’s are more bearable. The other option would be to have your employer take you off the field for a short while to help you recover and regain your health. This would also see Patna through with its harsh summer.

These are options am sure your employer can work around if your health demands it. It is advisable to speak with your superiors on this and then take a final call on the road ahead. Meanwhile stay cool, think cool and keep yourself well hydrated!


That reminds me, it’s time to move on to get my own dose of hydration for the weekend! Till we meet again, this is Jaisurya Das, your neighbourhood Agony Unclewishing you a super weekend. Sayonara and God Bless you all.


Jaisurya Das, maverick and media evangelist, eats, sleeps and makes love to brands. His consulting interventions are aimed at making brands powerful and sustainable. He is also the Contributing Editor of MxM India and Co-Founder of For more on his work visit The views expressed in this column are his own.


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