A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

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*

23 Responses to “What lies ahead”

  1. Whatever you decide, I wish you the very best in whatever you take up and go ahead with πŸ™‚

  2. Hugs Pepper!! I cant begin to imagine how overwhelmed you must be feeling right now… Sometimes life throws you off balance and we are so damn unprepared !! All the Best for whatever decision you make….

  3. Your last sentence says it all but is of course hard to do.Hard not to take an emotional decision but a practical one, I mean. Also Pepper, don’t ever underestimate what you can do. Did you think a year back you could come in an learn all that you know today and take some of the decisions you have been taking at work in the last few days with your dad being tied up ?Those must have been big independent decisions from what I read here and I do think you have learnt a lot. Of course, the path is still steep and there is a lot to do but I have no doubt that you will make a success of the family business. Coming to other things, I think you have touched multiple points here. Managing babies etc down the line, again don’t underestimate yourself and the help you have around you in Bombay. Of course , it is your kid and you will want to be the primary care giver but like all working moms you will find your balance and will start to use all the help around you. Tying you to the city , the overall commitment though is definitely a big decision . That is a big question and needs a lot of talking and consensus between you, family, Mint etc. Good luck with it all. But I have no doubt you will ultimately reach a decision you are happy with:)

    • Pepper said

      Thank you πŸ™‚ But when I spoke about managing a baby and work, I wasn’t just having future working mother woes. Running a company by yourself is very different from holding a corporate job. Working a job calls for far less commitment. Given the distance to our factory / office and Bombay commute times, I’ll be away for a minimum of 12 hours. I can’t be away for that long everyday, be unavailable possibly on weekends as well, and then hope to find my balance. There won’t be a balance, in my opinion. Like I said, maybe some people can do it. But I doubt I can. I will have to choose.

      • Understand! Yes, way more challenging then a corporate job. Well, babywearing is an option…baby on the factory floor and everywhere with you! Jokes apart, ya this is a tough decision.:) Cheering you on from here, girl!

      • wifeathome said

        Not that it matters what i say but i think u shud sell it…m feeling anxiety just reading bout it..throw in a baby into the mix n its utter chaos…too much stress…life is given once n it shud b njoyed even if u hv less money …u seem quite young n why do u want to tk so much load n slog away these precious times…have fun ya with ur loving family n chillπŸ˜„

  4. Bikramjit said

    Pepper all the best..ni am sure whatever decision you come to will be the correct one..

    It is a tough one you have a lot to think of ..If you take the job I am sure you will be good and then you father is their to guide you..

    Take care and be strong..

  5. earthwire said

    Firstly I am really sad hearing about your daddy. I know how attached you were to him 😦

    I can understand it must be very difficult for you to take this biggg decision. Apprehension is natural. But sometimes we realize our strength only when thrown into difficult situation. Besides the decision to close can be taken at anytime. The decision to start something requires a lot more courage and right circumstances.

    Whatever you decide my best wishes. Take care!!!

  6. Smitha said

    Hugs Pepper. I’m sure you will find a solution to your dilemma. It is no doubt a tough one.. And yes, running a company is a whole different ball game from working at an organisation. Hugs, and all the best.

  7. D said

    Now this is a very big decision! A tough one too…Hope you find the best solution! My best wishes are with you…

  8. aarya said

    Sorry for your loss Pepper and All the best with whatever you choose to do. I can see how you are on a crossroad and I can just wish and hope that it all turns out good for you and family.

  9. Whoa! A lot to handle and a big decision to make! I hope with all the right people around you…you will get good suggestions and take the right decision! All the very best!

  10. Aravind said

    Well , think about it , you have more than just two options. Initially the other options wont come up but slowly you will see more options emerge. I say this with the fact that there is always hope in future and suddenly, sometimes, things just fall into place just like that. With respect to the job, you can always hire a person , might be of lesser experience but with the right attitude, right energy level to learn and grow, develop bond incentivize and take the first few years in ensuring this person knows he/she is here to play a bigger role. Then groom him and use him/her for helping you take load of the shoulders. Like any other company there is a tme when promoters have to move out for change in their priorities. This is what might be happening here but trust me that doesnt call for you to think of shutting all the effort, and brand that your dad and papa have built. To think of it i will say , try before you quit.

  11. wifeathome said

    Not that it matters what i say but i think you should sell it. M feeling anxiety just reading about it..life is given once n is meant to njoy even with less money…wts the point of earning so much if you dont hv time to njoy…the only thing sad in this is ur emplyees will suffer..i dont know wt to say about that..you seem quite young, why do u want to spend these precious years slogging away…throw a baby into the mix n its utter chaos…spend time with ur loving family n chill:)

  12. MoRS said

    Nuclear Science? Wow! I wonder if you will ever find an opportunity as exciting as this one! Frankly there is no right time or right job to have a baby. Every woman who wants to keep her career struggles and finds a way out. In fact running your own business might help you manage motherhood better. Like creating a safe, entertaining space for the kid on the site itself and carrying the nanny and baby with you to work so that you are not bound by timings. Easier said than done of course, but still a viable option. Plus you have a supportive husband. C’mon girl, go for it!

  13. Bhavani said

    All the best Pepper!!

  14. MR said

    Life is like that, Id say sit with your partner and discuss an dthen sit alone and decide πŸ™‚ do what id right for you.
    I know its hard but we decided not to pursue my dads line of business and company, inspite of everything, it was just not for me.not my dream, his dream not mine.
    dont worry it will fall in place, we are but a small piece in the big scheme of things, stuff around us will move on .
    do what is best for you and your family and makes you happy.

  15. Deboshree said

    wish you luck with making the right decision, Pepper. I can imagine the kind of strain you must be under. Hope you find a suitable resolution soon. Hugs.

  16. S said

    Would Mint ever consider joining you in running the company? Just a thought.
    Whatever your guys decide, my best wishes to you!! I am this is a tough decision! Best wishes.

  17. Deepa said

    The decision will come to you. Write down on two sides of a sheet. On one side every fear you have about keeping it and what you’d have to give up in return and on the other side what giving it up will enable you to do. Discuss that list with Mint and see if he is willing to give up those things too for a longish time to come. Perhaps, this will concretize it for both of you and make it a tad easier. Maybe a very trite way of making such a huge decision but sometimes in life it does boil down to what we’re willing to give up to have something.

  18. Deepa said

    Forgot to add. Love and hugs from me to you. Have written to your blog account and I know it’ll be some time before you sift thru your emails so it is ok.

  19. May God give you the strength & confidence to brave this difficult time in your life. And whatever it is, decide wisely. Best wishes!

  20. […] What lies ahead […]

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