A Sales Representative’s Dilemma – III

I thought that all is well that ends well with my young friend (MYF) when I posted “A Sales Representative’s Dilemma – Conclusion.”

Man proposes, God disposes. The saga has taken another turn and I am flummoxed.

MYF landed up on Sunday to pay condolences after just having come to know about it. We had a pleasant meeting over a cup of coffee and some snacks when he dropped a bomb on me.

When the story concluded the last time, MYF had just been promoted and made a Territory Manager or some such thing and was very happy that he could get back to Pune.

The bomb he dropped on me was simply this. He was not happy being a boss of other Sales Representatives and was not able to do justice to his new role. He informed me that he had written to his Superiors to revert him to his old post of Sales Representative where he believes that he can do more justice to his work and to his employers. He has been informally told that his request is likely to be accepted and his burden removed from him. He is expected to meet up with the HR department shortly to sort out other issues.

This is something that I have come across before in my corporate life. Promoting someone just because he was doing a great job, without considering his potential to carry the new responsibility or getting him trained to assume greater responsibility. Very often this would result in the man failing and eventually finding some other employer. I had however, never come across someone who volunteered to revert to his earlier position and I was stumped. I keep wondering what I would have done had this happened when I was top honcho and had a Promotee approached me with such a request.

In this case, I quite saw MYF’s problem from his point of view and applauded his decision. I however cautioned him to inform the HR people that they should give him some training in other aspects of supervision before they reconsidered him for a promotion. I explained to him that while foregoing the promotion, may be the right thing to do in the present circumstances, he will regret it later when his colleagues overtake him and he gets older. He will then need to prepare himself for assuming greater responsibilities or be prepared from now on that he will retire as just a Sales Representative though they may give him some fancy designation later to keep his morale up. I also cautioned him that no matter how good he was, at some point of time, his employers would consider replacing him with a younger person at a lower cost and like many others who have gone that route, he would have to find smaller and smaller companies to get other avenues.

He seemed to understand all that I told him and has gone off saying that he would give serious thought to all that I had told him and take a decision. I do not know what else I could have done.

After he left, I also wondered whether his reluctance to take on additional responsibility played a role in his marital problems as well. Can one ever come to some conclusion without some new insight coming into the matter after the event?

Some of my readers must have handled similar problems. What would you have done had you been in my place? I particularly hope that G L Hoffman at What Would Dad Say is reading this and will comment!

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