A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for January 23rd, 2015

What lies ahead

Posted by Pepper on January 23, 2015

Ever since Daddy passed away, I’ve been struggling with a big decision. What do I do with our company?

This needs some context. My papa and daddy had (have?) been running this organisation for almost 4 decades. We operate in the atomic energy and radiography space. I am not going to get into specifics about what we do, but it is ‘Heavy Engineering’. You have to come from a closely associated field to be able to understand our area of work. Most people can’t. It is complex, to say the least. I was coaxed by my family to come aboard the company just over a year ago. In that one year, I’ve had to struggle to understand the technicalities and nature of our work. When I told people it was ‘Nuclear Science’, I wasn’t kidding or exaggerating. It IS truly Nuclear Science.

Over time, I learnt what I believed I had to learn. I was in a comfortable space. I was managing operations, for which I did not need technical proficiency. My papa and daddy were taking care of other things. Saying I learnt a lot in this one year of partly managing our company would be an understatement. No other work opportunity could have given me a parallel experience. My time here gave me an opportunity to see first hand how a company is run. I realised what went into it. After all, not everybody knows how to successfully run a business. I always thought I was fortunate I was getting a chance to learn from such close quarters.

And then, daddy passed away suddenly. It was only then that I realised how inadequately prepared we were for his absence. Our lack of planning in this regard made me feel extremely stupid. Right after daddy passed away, my papa was pulled into performing endless ceremonies and was made to follow a million customs that kept him away from work and everything else for a long time.

Not only did I have to deal with Daddy’s absence, I also had to contend with my dad’s unavailability. Suddenly, the entire onus of managing everything at work was on me. I don’t know what I was being hit with. Everybody came to me for approvals. I had to rely on my own judgment and make some critical decisions. I had to look into countless matters. Some days when I felt too burdened, I would begin to tear up at my desk. Then I would hold myself and try and move on. Even now, I work for the entire day without a break and have to spend my weekends in our factory. I hope things get better once I find a rhythm of some sort.

Some days ago, my dad asked me what I wanted to do with the company. Do I want to run it? Or do I want to shut/sell it? He reminded me of the fact that there was nobody else to run it other than me. He is 64. He doesn’t know how long he can work. I realised he was right. Most of his friends have retired. If you see my dad, you’ll say he looks old for his age. I’d like him to sit back and enjoy his life now, instead of stressing over work. But that brought me back to my present state. Am I capable of running this company on my own? Before I knew it, everything came down to this one question. Should I run the company or sell it?

The general consensus is that I should keep it running. I see logic in that. This was started by my family so many years ago. I feel emotionally attached to it. Beside that, there is no way we can recreate something like this in this day and age. The office. Our factory. The machines. The unit. The whole plant. It is almost impossible to establish this set up again. Since we own it, we should keep it functional. Also, our employees, in particular, our factory workers have been with us for decades. They’ve spent their lifetime serving us. Their livelihood is our responsibility. I don’t want them to be stranded or displaced in anyway.

Most importantly, running your own company will give you higher prospects of raking in money as compared to an ordinary job. Ofcourse, this is generalisation to an extent, but it is mostly true in my opinion. Do I want to let go of that opportunity? After all, my family inducted me because they wanted me to take over. That is the thought I entered the company with. To carry it forward. I knew there is nobody else that could. Then why do I find myself having second thoughts now that the time has come?

I think the reasons are plenty. For one, when I began, I had no idea of how hard it is. You need to possess good business acumen, sound judgment and many other skills. Only then can you keep all the balls up in the air. I wonder if I have the required aptitude and abilities. There isn’t much margin to slip. If I take this on, I have to be ready to lead an organisation. Sure, if my budget permits, I can hire effectively, but I will still be the one at the forefront. The thought of being the one responsible for generating enough revenue to profit or atleast enough to pay salaries of all employees on our payroll is terrifying.

I haven’t yet spoken about my biggest apprehension. Commitment. I don’t know if I am the kind who can devote 12 hours or more of my day to work and be happy. I know I will have no choice but to invest *a lot * of my time in work. I wanted to think of having a baby in a year or so atleast. If I commit myself to the company, I cannot have a child anytime soon. There is no way I can run a company and raise a child. I know myself. Maybe some people can. But I can’t. I will not be able to do justice either way and I will be miserable.

Other than that, I will be bound to this city. That’s another important point of consideration. Mint is the primary bread winner in our home and he will have to restrict his opportunities to this city. Considering how massive our loan is, I am not sure that is a very wise idea. Even now, at times he seems jittery and sometimes even talks about moving back to the US. If I take this up, I will have to mentally close that door.

I don’t know how to arrive at a decision. I am confused. Mint is confused. And I am time bound. I need to decide soon. Don’t ask me why. Certain circumstances demand it. I really need to make up my mind. Sigh.. Hopefully, my decision will be driven not by emotion, but by logic, feasibility and practicality. *Takes a few deep breaths*

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 23 Comments »

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