Finding a substitute for a team member is a challenging task. The necessity for a substitute arises in two circumstances – when a team member resigns or when a team member applies for a leave. During resignation, you can use the advantage of notice period to hire from the market or look internally for a substitute. But, the situation is different when someone applies for a leave. For a short duration that could be anywhere from a day to a week, the tasks can be rescheduled. But what happens when a team member takes a long leave. That presents a challenge.
I came across such an application from a team member. The reason was simple. The team member was getting married. After all, everybody needs to find a partner and solemnize the deed. Also, once the deed is sealed, they also need to go for a blissful sojourn before being weighed down by the practicalities of life. This justifies the reason for the long leave. So, we embarked on a quest for a substitute. There was no point in hiring from outside. So, we looked internally to find unassigned human resources. We found the right fit and had the substitute reassigned in a very short period of time. For once, all of us felt good. Instead of reacting, we had acted.
Then, the existing team member started the initiation process with the substitute. The progress was swift and we were gung-ho on the outcome. After five days, the existing team member barged into my room and exclaimed, “You know what?”. I shook my head indicating my ignorance. He continued in an exasperated tone, “The substitute is getting married around the time I’m getting married”. On hearing this, I closed my eyes for an instance. After digesting the news, I opened my eyes and let out a long sigh. Then I asked, “ Are you both getting married to each other?”. He shook his head in a disgusted manner. I interpreted his disgust as a “No”.
Now, the search for a substitute for the substitute is on.
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