Meeting with the ‘big guns’

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Recently, the big guns of Pakistan International Airlines met to address employees. The speaker was the airline’s chief executive officer and the nature of the meeting is not fully known. The matter was probably an internal one, of which the company has many to discuss during its time of crisis, we are sure. In attendance was also the company’s head administrator of human resources, Kamran Anjum, who stole the spotlight from the chief speaker for wielding an automatic weapon throughout the address.

The primary conclusion we are able to draw from this image is that if the HR administrator himself shows up armed, as opposed to having security guards present, there is extensive internal strife with more layoffs possibly to be announced.

Most prominent, however, is the blatant and shameless show of might by the HR chief. There are several theories as to why he attended the meeting armed. The most basic of these is, of course, that he feared for his own security, specifically, more than his colleagues because may have had a strong role to play in whatever unwelcoming announcement was made. The meeting was evidently not positive in nature. Despite all of this, the several statements derived from this image only serve to portray the national carrier in a more negative light. This was rather careless since the company has already experienced significant shame and negative public attention – for example, making global headlines after threatening flight attendants of their jobs if they did not meet certain criteria for body weight.

The HR administrator’s decision to wield a weapon while discussing a sensitive topic during the CEO-led meeting indirectly promotes a message of violence and is threatening in nature. Whatever the meeting agenda was, it certainly did not welcome questions or comments from employees. We doubt anyone would dare ask a question for fear of their life. If it is not that, the airline administrators are making desperate attempts to show the company’s might or exert prowess in the airline industry arena.

We continue to experience people in positions of power, however, seeking to maintain control through mighty weapons displays, bulletproof shields and bombproof vehicles. This has been ordinary practice for politicians and the elite. To see higher-ranked employees of the national airline do the same is not entirely flabbergasting.

In conclusion, are the employees of the airline ‘great people to fly with’? Maybe, but we would question if they are great people to work with. Debates aside on maladaptive practices by managers in the last several years to drive the company down such as by hiring excessive staff, the employees’ dignity need not by removed in meetings addressed by the CEO. Companies in the service industry demonstrate their capabilities through strong service, not through fallacious show of valor.