The FOURTH part of the question


The tension between Ankit and Mitali slowly worsened. Ankit began to avoid meeting with his boss in person. For her part, Mitali did not even seem to notice his absence during the few instances of informal get- togethers that were planned as an office ritual. Ankit felt that he was being deliberately sidelined and was convinced that Mitali had something against him. He waited eagerly to meet Shikha to discuss Mitali’s unfair treatment. He was also curious to know whether the firm considered him worthy of a bonus.

Ankit got his chance to meet with Shikha at the end of April, when she arrived at her office late on a Friday evening, after most of the staff had already left after a hectic day. He rehearsed his written notes and went to Shikha’s office to discuss his concerns. Although Shikha did not say much, she listened patiently to what he had to say. She thanked him for sharing his opinions and promised to look into the matter. Ankit felt hopeful and waited for better treatment from Mitali.


On the first Monday morning in May, Ankit arrived at his work station and, as was his habit, he checked his e-mails to find out his work assignments for the upcoming week. He was shocked to see that no work had been assigned to him for the entire week. Also, he noticed that the brief he was already working on had been given to some other associate. What did all of this mean? Were they firing him? Was it related to his meeting with Shikha? Was it a vengeance-seeking tactic by Mitali? He decided that this situation had to end soon. Confused and angry, he went straight to Mitali’s office.

Ankit: “Just tell me that you want me to leave. Why play games like this?”

Mitali [looking confused and standing up]: “What? Why are you shouting? I don’t know what you think has happened, but crashing in here like that does nothing but offend me! Do you even know how to make a point? What are you talking about?”

Ankit: “You know very well what I’m talking about! You prepared this work schedule and purposely failed to allot any work to me this week. Even the brief I was assigned has now been given to someone else without anyone even bothering to inform me. You cannot just make choices about my work without involving me at all. I know you don’t like me, but do you call this professionalism? I wonder how many people would like to be associated with such a firm if this is what you offer your employees!”

Mitali: “You know what? I am tired of giving you explanations. You’d better watch your own behaviour when you call others unprofessional! Besides, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I did not take away your workload, and I don’t have to like you to work with you. I guess this has to do something with your meeting with Shikha. Why don’t you just go and talk to her directly instead of yelling at me?”

At that moment, Shikha walked in with some files in her hand. She was surprised to witness the tension between her two staff members.

Ankit: “Shikha, this is what I was talking about the other day. Mitali has something against me. Now she is clearly threatening me. She has not assigned me any work at all during this week.”

Shikha: “Ankit, Mitali and I have some work to do together, and it is kind of urgent. I am sure you will become a valuable member of this firm. I think there must be some mistake, but it will be rectified. I will get back to you later on this matter.”

Ankit could not believe Shikha, and he felt exasperated and irked by her response. He muttered: “You are right, Shikha: there has been a mistake! Perhaps my coming here to work in the first place was a mistake.”

Ankit walked out the door. Crestfallen, he wondered what was going on. Was Shikha a part of it? Did she not see how his law career had come to a standstill in this firm?


A week went by, and Ankit was allotted work. A new work schedule was sent to him, and he received an apology from Mitali’s office assistant, who advised that it had been her error that resulted in leaving out Ankit’s name from the weekly e-mail list of assignments. According to the new work schedule, his previous work had been restored to Ankit, and he was asked to stay at the firm with a promise that he would be considered for the bonus. He was also assured that more corporate work would be given to him as soon as the associate who had gone on maternity leave returned to the office.

In spite of these amends, Ankit remained perplexed at the recent turn of events, and he did not know whether he should give credence to this new information. Recent incidents had left him bitter and uncertain. Mitali did not talk to him personally on any subject, which was awkward since she was his immediate superior. When they encountered each other, she ignored him at all costs, limiting their communication to professional e-mails with a copy sent to Shikha at all times.

Ankit did not like the way things stood, and he contemplated leaving Mehra, Jindal and Associates. On the one hand, he knew that work experience at a well-known firm would provide him with significant benefits in the future. Additionally, he wanted the bonus. Furthermore, consultation with his friends at New Delhi seemed to suggest that the pay at this firm was much better than in many other firms. But he detested the tension at his new workplace, and he wondered whether it was even possible for things to change.

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