Ask the Doctor

Made to move cities (which you hate), to resign or not to resign, have a boss that is over-qualified but knows less than you? Read on to get the best advice from Sandeep Goyal

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Apr 17, 2018 8:55 AM

I have been working at this agency for five years now. Last month I was told that I had to move from Mumbai to Chennai. I asked for the time frame. I was told it is a transfer and I could well be in Chennai for the rest of my career. My
family is in Mumbai and I have a family home here. However, because I had no
other option, I moved to Chennai a few days ago.

I just hate the city. I don’t speak the local language. The food is so different.
The work environment, too, is extremely different from Mumbai.

I don’t think I am going to be able to settle down here. I don’t want to move my
family here. It would be too disturbing for them.

The only positive in the job is that I am at a much more senior level in Chennai
than in Mumbai. I now have a team of about 20 people reporting to me which for
me is a new experience, which I am quite enjoying. Also, I think they all look
up to me more because I am from Mumbai, the Mecca of Indian Advertising. They all think I will be able to share with them and teach them the best practices
of the industry because I have been in Mumbai so many years.

Apart from the above, I desperately want to go back to Mumbai. I am an Art Director with 10 years experience and currently carry the designation of Associate Creative Director. Should I take leave and return to Mumbai and hunt for a new job?


Dear Mahesh,

I really do not know if moving to Chennai is such a horrible situation. Let us start with the positives. You yourself say that you are at a much more senior level in Chennai than you were in Mumbai. That should be a reason to be happy. You yourself say that you now have a team of about 20 people reporting into you which for you is a new experience. I think that is not just a new experience, but also a valuable experience.

You say you are quite enjoying the attention and the adulation of your new team
who look up to you for learnings and leadership, more so because they see you
as a better professional simply because you are from Mumbai. They are looking
forward to your sharing experiences and best practices with them. I think that
is an enviable situation to be in.

My personal experience is that sometimes working in a smaller market like Chennai allows you to bloom at work. The demands and pressures are somewhat lesser. The expectations too are lesser. The competition is lesser. All of this allows you to work better, learn while you teach, imbibe while you grow, progress while you settle in. A location like Chennai will also allow you more free time. There is hopefully going to be lesser commute time. Work hours are also likely to be less punishing than in Mumbai.

Also, because of your relative seniority you can take on leadership roles on
clients and earn their respect and gratitude. It is also your opportunity to mentor younger colleagues. Also your opportunity to look at business development, and other higher challenges. So, Chennai is obviously not a terrible choice. It has its opportunities and its compensations.

On the personal front, moving to any new city is always a challenge. My advise to you is to give it a fair chance. Perhaps you are still too new there. Open up your mind. Start to enjoy the city. Enjoy the differences rather than seek the comfort of familiarity. New experiences can always be enriching. You just have to have an open mind. Housing in Chennai is likely to be better. As I said earlier, the commute will be better. Get yourself a car. Get independent in the city. Food too is something you need to explore. There are sure to be places where you will like the fare. Give it at least three months to settle down. If you make a proactive
effort, for all you know, you may just start to like the city.

Quitting is always an option but quitting without giving the new opportunity a full chance, to me is not doing justice to what is already on the table. Think about it.

I have just got a new boss. He is 10 years younger than I am. He is an MBA from some hot-shot institute abroad. He then worked in a famous multinational firm.

I am a non-MBA. But have been in the business for 15 years now. I have done well in the profession without a formal degree. I find it very insulting to have this
young boss suddenly on top of me.

I have been faced with a similar situation earlier too some years ago. The
earlier boss was also an MBA and came with some fancy experience in large
multinationals. But he knew nothing about advertising. He was a disaster with
creatives and even worse with clients. Every time he would get into trouble, I
had to step in and clean up the sh**. It almost became a daily occurrence.
Instead of being grateful, he would get aggressive and rude. Thankfully, he got
another job and moved on.

I foresee a similar situation with this new arrival. I don’t want things to get
unpleasant. I also don’t want to quit my present job as I am well settled and
comfortable both with the organization and the work I do. Do advise.


Dear Sanjeev,

I can empathize with your situation. I also
fully understand what you may have been through with your earlier MBA boss. But then we neither choose our parents, nor do we choose our boss. Sad reality of life.

I have seen a situation just like yours some years ago with a friend of mine. He too was much perturbed by MBA bosses. Well, in his case, he thought if you can’t lick them, then why not join them. You would be surprised but what he did was that he actually quit his job and went to do an MBA!

You may not want to emulate my friend above, but then if the angst stems from having a better qualified boss (at least on paper), then the only option is to either match up or exit.

In your current scenario, the easiest escape is to ask for a transfer internally. That may provide a solution for now. But there is no guarantee that the situation may not re-occur with another MBA surfacing.

Also, may be you are over-reacting to the MBA bit. An MBA is no longer a novelty. Perhaps it was when I joined the profession 30 years ago. Today, an MBA degree is quite commonplace and the huge gulf between MBAs and non-MBAs that existed a few years ago has narrowed primarily because most new entrants in any case have an MBA degree these days, though not all may be from ‘famous’ business schools.

Make peace with the MBA aversion. Treat your new boss as just your new boss without the MBA getting your goat. Give him a chance. For all you know he is actually not a bad guy.

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