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Ask the Doctor with Sandeep Goyal

15-January-2018
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Ask the Doctor with Sandeep Goyal

Dear Sir,
I joined a well-known music channel three years ago. Back then we were doing really well. In the last couple of years, somehow the ratings started falling and now we are at a stage where everyone knows that we are about to shut shop. I don’t know my future when the channel shut. I have made some efforts in the last couple of weeks to look for alternate jobs but the news is all over that my channel will soon shut shop. No one wants to hire me. As a programming person, I thought I would have many opportunities but it looks like that the stigma attached to the channel is rubbing off on me.
Ajay J


Dear Ajay,
Work environments and work realities are dynamic today. A channel that was doing well three years ago could well be in trouble today.
The important thing is to figure out what you have learnt in the past three years of being in the channel, both from its success and failure, more from its failure actually. Because you have been witnessed to the decline of the fortunes of the channel and should really have figured out by now what went wrong and why. Wherever you now apply for a job that’s the key question everyone is going to ask you. I think you need to reflect on that, perhaps even write it out on a piece of paper, listing out the errors made and learning from there. Get yourself fully prepared to answer questions on the current fortunes of your channel, and have well-rehearsed answers to offer.
You are also likely to be asked about your own role in contributing to the decline of the channel. I am not sure at what level you currently are but music channels tend to have small teams and you are bound to be quizzed about what you were doing on the programming side when ratings were plummeting. Be honest in what you say. Just saying that you had no role to play in the decision making may not work as it will de-position you vis-à-vis a future job opening.
The world of music is rapidly changing. Part of the problem with all music channels is that consumers are sourcing music from more and more different channels of choice. So, ‘seeing’ music is no longer the only choice in music. If music is your specialization, look at the entire canvas of opportunities available in music today and look to shape your future career in sync with the developments in your business. Radio is growing exponentially. There may be opportunities there. There may be opportunities at the various music apps like Wynk, Gaana, Saavn, Rdio, Guvera and Hungama. I recently heard of Spotify coming to India. Check that out.

Dear Sir,
The ownership of my agency is undergoing a change. I was very close to the earlier owners. I joined them eight years ago and very soon climbed up the hierarchy. The earlier owners were young professionals and treated me as one of them. Then they sold their stake to a multi-national and started on an earn-out period. Most of the other employees quickly aligned themselves with the future management which started to monitor the running of the agency even as the erstwhile owners were in management. I remained steadfastly loyal to the earlier owners. Now the multinational has effectively taken control. I have not been asked to put in my papers so far but the writing is on the wall. The earlier owners are completely sidelined and have no visible role in the new dispensation. They are also unsure of what future roles they may or may not have going forward. They are of no help to me. The new management is being polite but distant towards me. My role in the agency has been diluted considerably and I am just biding my time. There are not many good openings also at other agencies.
Manu S

Dear Manu,
Yours is currently a no-win situation. And you seem to have accepted that already.
I think aligning yourself so strongly with the outgoing management was perhaps not such a good idea. It is good to be loyal to your bosses but I am sure you were well aware that their innings were finite, given their earn-out. I am also not sure if loyalty to existing promoters should have meant animosity to incoming management, which you have not stated but hinted at. Whatever may have been the dynamics and politics of your organization, it now looks like you have forced yourself into a corner.
The professional way forward would be to formally ask to meet the new management and enquire from them their plans for you. Chances are you may not get a straight answer. Chances also are that they may actually use the meeting to ask you to go. You will, in any case, have to take your chances on that.
The simpler and easier way forward would be to actually approach the new management with an offer to quit provided you get some gardening leave and a decent exit handshake. Try and make the offer to exit cordial and matter-of-fact without getting into the politics of the past. A few years down the line you may head back to the same agency. Yes, who knows?

Dear Sir,
The position of branch head has opened up in Delhi at my agency. I am a possible candidate. I am 34, and a single female. I have never ever lived or worked in Delhi. I am told working in Delhi is strikingly different from Mumbai. Same goes for the living. The Delhi job is a good one as we have a couple of large multi-national clients there and a decently larger office. It would be a big leap forward for my career to head the Delhi office. But the city and its reputed work environment are intimidating me. If I decide to go, it is a choice I will have to stay there for at least a couple of years.
Priya M

Dear Priya,
I think the Delhi opening is a very good opportunity. Delhi is different. But Delhi is not necessarily difficult.
Having worked both in Delhi as well as in Mumbai, I can tell you that the difference in work culture is just superficial and much more is made of it than is actually true. Yes, every city has its own peculiarities but then sometimes that itself is the fun of the job.
Going from Mumbai to Delhi, the one big difference you will see is that people in Delhi tend to be more personal. Everyone in Delhi will want to know everything about you. You could call that nosey. Or you could just laugh it off as heightened personal interest. Unlike Mumbai where no one is really interested in your CV, your family, your native place, your employers, your place of residence etc, in Delhi all of these are touch points for conversation. Actually, while it sounds strange when you are on the outside, you will get used to this quite quickly. So, let this dimension of Delhi’s culture not put you off. Get there. Let it sink in a bit. And very soon you will not really mind. It kind of grows on you. The flip side to this intrusion to privacy is that the average Delhiwallah is very warm and friendly. So do not be surprised if colleagues at work bring you home-made lunch their mums or wives cooked up for you in the freezing winter because you are alone and new to the city. Similarly, do not be surprised by the number of invites for Sunday brunches at home or to the weddings of cousins you do not even know or will ever know. Delhi is one big family, waiting to welcome you.
Some practical tips though. If you decide to take the job in Delhi, look for accommodation very close to your place of work. Most agencies are in Gurgaon these days and finding good quality accommodation in Gurgaon at reasonable rents is eminently possible. This will save you a lot of time and bother.
In Delhi, having personal transport is almost a necessity. A couple of years ago, I would have said that you need a car and driver almost from the day you get to Delhi. Now with Uber and Ola, things are better, but it would still help to have your own personal transportation, preferably with a driver to help with parking.
At work, try yourself to underplay the Bombay versus Delhi difference. There will be initial curiosity about the new manager from Mumbai but if you do not let it become a big issue, it will soon settle down. The average Delhiwallah is as industrious and hard-working as the average Mumbaikar. It is only that in Delhi no one ever says no to anything and as an outsider, you can sometimes be deluded into a false sense of well-being. But I am sure you will learn to figure that out quite quickly and get used to it.
Delhi, especially Gurgaon, has some really big clients. Coke to Pepsi, Nestle to GSK, Hero to Honda, Bharti to Maruti, and of course all of the Government clients. Also, there is a lot of entrepreneurial activity in Delhi. So there is a lot of new business to pick up. Delhi is a good market to be working in. Good mix of clients. Also, today there is no dearth of talent.
So, go forth and conquer. You will love the experience.

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