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The head hunter started by saying that he was sorry… and stopped. I asked him what happened. He said that the company has decided to withdraw their offer. He was halting and apologetic. He said it had never happened in his career that the company would withdraw offer. It was commonplace that people accepted offer and later regretted. I was only half listening to him.

My first reaction was panic. I saw my career tumbling down in a matter of minutes. There I was, working as senior executive and going to join a higher position, and here it was that I had lost job. I left the office early and came home. I shared the news with my wife. She was also upset but tried to comfort me.

My mind always works more sharply during crisis. I started thinking about how to control damage. I could not continue in Hoechst because my replacement had already joined in. So, I had to go out and find something. Next day I told Tariq Umar about the development. He was sympathetic and said that I could continue to work for the three months of notice period. After that if I still did not have a job, they would engage me in some training activities as and when possible.

I met some other head hunters and while they were aghast at what happened, they said senior jobs were few and far between. I had to wait; from a few months to a year may be. O Shamim Zafar referred me to Bayer for the NSM position. The Division Manager, a German, interviewed me for more than two hours and said he was good. He said he was leaving the country and a new person was coming from Indonesia who will have the final interview with me. He came, we met but it did not work out.

Then General Manager of IMS, Asim Nadeem was my colleague from Hoechst and we were on good terms. He said he will refer me wherever the possibility arose. Dr. Amanullah Khan, current General Manager of IMS (now IQVIA) was the second senior most person at that time. Dr. Aman is a very sweet and kind person. He didn’t know me before personally, but he took it upon himself to look around for me. He connected me at several places but somehow nothing materialized. I am forever indebted to Dr. Amanullah Khan for his support and kindness.

My notice period ended, and I sat home. Hoechst engaged me for a three weeks training stint which I did but nothing else. I and my wife discussed what to do next. Job scene was not very promising. It would become difficult for us to survive financially if I did not land a job quickly.

My wife was teaching at the Punjab University, Lahore. She had taken leave to be with me in Karachi. After about two months, we decided to shift back to Lahore. She could go back to her job at the university and I would look for a job in Lahore, or else. We got our household packed up by the movers and came to Lahore. We lived previously in the university accommodation, but we vacated when we went to Karachi. We rented a house and started life again.

I started meeting the people I knew. I met my old colleague and friend, Iftikhar who was working as Marketing Manager with an importing/marketing company. Another old friend Nasir Iqbal also worked there. They introduced me to Ishtiaq ur Rehman, the owner, who was a very sweet person. He insisted that I must come whenever I had time. Ishtiaq died young; Allah Bless his soul. A few days later, another gentleman came there. He had inherited a small pharmaceutical company from his father. His own field was totally different, but he was planning to re-launch the company in a new way. Javed Nisar Syed (JNS) was a bureaucrat. He was refined and had the gift of gab. He knew how to engage his audience. And he was a powerhouse of generating ideas. I was introduced to him and he got into animated discussion with me. After about half an hour, he announced publicly that he had found the person he was looking for. He asked me to work with him on his project. The compensation was a nominal fixed amount plus I could get the marketing right for anywhere I chose.

Allah works in mysterious ways……

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