Every morning I walk the air cooled corridors of my company. The icy blast of air from the ceiling provides welcome relief from the oppressive heat outside. I walk quietly, afraid of disturbing the early birds, already at work. I think about my work and begin to plan my day. I also think about how I am going to do this for a long time to come, an unbreaking ritual till the day I am broken by age or my uselessness.
I try not to think of the world outside, the insane collapse that is happening all around! This is the time I feel grateful for my situation. I have a job, tons of work to complete and more in the offing. I feel good batting on a stable wicket. Sounds like a dream, but could have been a nightmare too, as it is for many unfortunates who have been ruthlessly awakened from their starry eyed dreams of a career in the IT world.
The same corridors of the IT world are now fraught with tension and uncertainty, the twin enemies of the software engineer. Wannabe employees are tense with thoughts of not being able to get in anymore. veterans are tense with thoughts of finding themselves outside! Gone, gone, gone – the damage done.
The prevalent global meltdown of economies and subsequently corporations has hit the IT industry the hardest. What was once a roller coaster ride for Indian IT firms has come to a screeching halt now. From the merry days of huge paychecks, mega bonuses and hikes to almost nothing!
Everybody wakie wakie, the party’s over!
I have been in the fortunate situation of knowing no one who has lost his or her job but I know enough people who are on the edge. Heck, I could be one of them too, if things slide down further! I look around me and only see anxious faces. I wonder when it will get over. The signs of the recession are around me. I reach for a cup of coffee to soothe my aching mind and I notice the coffee machine is a new one. The old one, a familiar swanky chap, has made his exit. Instead, all I get are sound and fury from the new machine and bad coffee. I drink it nevertheless, convincing myself that it is good.
In the name of cost cutting lay offs, reduced onsite stay, and near 100% billing are the norms adopted by corporates to keep the recession at bay. Hiring has been frozen at some levels, but a few new employees do trickle in. Unnecessary expenses like cab services & corporate parties have been done away with. Employees are urged to put in as many hours as possible.
The idea is to keep the ship afloat by trimming excess fat which is not so bad if see one sees the big picture. Some win here and some lose. It depends on which side of the fence you are.Words of wisdom about surviving the crash/meltdown/slowdown are being given free of cost everywhere. It is a classic case of buy one piece of wisdom and get 10 free. Learn new skills, change your industry, do an MBA, pick up a hobby, travel and ‘discover’ yourself -as if this tragedy is not enough to discover that we are helpless and don’t matter! This is also an interesting time for a reason – for the first time in history, I have the power and the freedom to blame the other guy for my situation. The other guy here being the sub prime guys, the greedy corporates honchos whose greed now lies at the root of the American economy and is giving me sleepless nights and days! But, as a fortunate job holder and one who has staked his career on a resurgent IT industry, I can’t help feeling that this phase is temporary and the industry will get back on it’s feet.
I base my faith on the fact that our IT industry is capable of building new markets in new geographies. Europe, Japan, SE Asia and countries down under are emerging markets waiting to be explored. Once these markets are built, we are back in business. As long as this is not a death blow to the world economy, there is hope. It will be a long inevitable wait but IT will be worth it.
Image Credit: Derrick T