Transfer: Much ado about nothing

Transfer: Much ado about nothing

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE

Representative image.

It was my first board meeting after taking over as the Vice-President and Company Secretary of the listed company, a subsidiary of public sector bank from which I had been deputed. As usual, the meeting was held in the board room of the corporate office of the bank. After the meeting, I accompanied the directors for lunch in the executive mess that had a comfortable seating arrangement with three per table.

The catering in-charge helped us settle down. Just as we had seated ourselves, one of the executives of the bank, who had finished his lunch, came over and whispered in my ear that the table I was occupying with two senior directors was the one where the executive director of the bank would normally sit.

I was taken aback and did not know what to do. It was lunchtime and our executive director could walk in at any time. For a moment I thought I should share the information with the directors but they were nearly done with appetizers and it would be embarrassing to ask them to move to another table. My bowl of soup too was getting cold. Seeing the anguish on my face, two colleagues who looked in askance. I walked up to them and spoke about my predicament.

One of them with a wry smile suggested applying Dale Carnegie’s principle and prepare for the worst outcome, should any action be contemplated against me with this incident in hindsight. 

Experience said a transfer to some remote part of the country where we had a god-forsaken branch could be my next place of posting. But as a professional appointed through a board resolution, would I meet with similar fate, I thought aloud and moments later left everything to fate.

The attender at the door signalled that our executive director was on his way. In split seconds I decided to move to another table and was just about to take leave from the two directors on my table, when our executive director walked in, discussing an issue seriously with his colleague. As fate would have it he walked up to the table that he occupied habitually. 

On seeing him, I greeted him and added that the board meeting of the company had just got over and we had come for lunch. “Why are you standing?” he queried, gently putting his hand around my shoulder, his face exuding warmth with a characteristic smile.

Feeling guilty, I struggled to react and I found myself stumped for words.

“Please be seated, relax and have your lunch,” he spoke softly, gesturing me to sit and moved on to the adjoining table greeting all the directors in the process.

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