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“When will I get the transfer I asked for?” asked the young software engineer “I have many commitments which compel me to make this request. My being nearer my hometown means so much to my family”. She needed to relocate and relocate soon.

“Let me think about it” said her manager.” What happened to the specs. you were working on. Can I review it now?” Always the Efficient One, she thought to herself. She tore herself away from her personal problem and forced herself to listen to her manager speak of the project, the customer, his work load, his responsibilities and so on.

When the engineer asked again the next day, she was told the manager would let her know in a day or two. On the fourth day, the manager admitted that he had forgotten about it. ‘ Work pressure, you know. What was the request again?” he asked. ‘Just take me through the story once more”. She did, with a lot of emotion, barely controlling her temper.

“Yes, yes. Now I remember.” he said. He knew fully well that there was no chance whatsoever of her request being approved. How could he tell her that, he thought to himself. She was working on an important module in his project.

“Let’s see” he said ” I will take it up with some people. We should know next week”. She glared at him, half in annoyance, half in despair. “Early next week” he added recoiling from the cold stare.

You know this story or one like this, I am sure.

By postponing the ” bad news “, this manager was doing more damage than good. A week or so later, things reached a climax. She said she was quitting the job. “Don’t do that” he said. ” I am still trying my best. When will you complete the assignment you are working on ?”.

The engineer went back to work with a venom. She completed her part of the work much earlier than expected. When she said in exasperation that there was a lot of pressure on her from her family and she couldn’t take it any more, he was forced to admit that there was no immediate possibility of a transfer. ” Immediate ” being for the next couple of months.

There was an unparalleled scene. She left in a huff. She bad mouthed the manager and naturally the Company too. In today’s times when word -of -mouth has such great impact she went away convinced she had been cheated by the manager and the organization. She went away determined to tell her story to as many people she knew.

The manager did not realize how much damage he had caused to the image of the Company. Just as positive references bring talent to the organization, negative stories keep away good talent.

It would have been far better for the manager to have told her the truth. That such a transfer would not be possible. And much earlier than he did, if indeed that was true.

By evading the decision he made the situation worse. Procrastination helps no one. She would have been disappointed not to have had her request granted, I am sure. But even that would have been better than not telling her anything at all.

I have found it useful to remember that often : ” A ” No” answer is better than no answer”.


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