Companies downgrading its work forces; thousand to lose jobs due to global recession; Pink slip talks; Thoughts of job threat give a sleepless night to many. What about those who face these entire factors all at the same time? I (it well include my colleagues) was lucky to face and fight out these entire factors at early phase of my career. Trust me it was lot exciting as I did everything except worrying about job threat.
I remember the late winter month of January 2009 in India, Worlds great minds were worrying about recession and experts were pouring in their views about possible duration and its recovery. In all of these the industry I belong i.e. Information Technology (IT) was busy in cutting variable pay, freezing pay hike and promotions to make lot out of these situation. However let’s get back to business, I arrived Bangalore after spending a sort winter vacation from my village in northern India. I had wonderful 2 days journey of train, as I had made some good friends in train who were from my neighbouring country Nepal. As soon as I arrived at Yeswanthpur station, I was greeted with news that ‘Did you saw the news today! Satyam is in news for scam, our job is in threat’ from my friend who happen to call me since she was aware that I am arriving to Bangalore. Needless to mention that the period was of global recession; Job cut was on peak and recruitment was on decline. Hence the entire worst possible factors were on our side. In fact the news was not shocking to all Satyamites because we were receiving email notifications from our CEO’s & MD about failed business deals and corrective measure they are talking. Well the fact was that now we were working in a company where we were not sure at end of each month about our monthly salary. Let me clear your doubt that we did received our salary paid every month. Needless to remind about continuous downgrade/malpractices in our 4th pillar of democracy i.e. Media.
Let’s jump to the excitement part to keep the motivation. When I arrived office for business as usual there I got chance to meet all biggies of our company whom I had never seen in last 2 year of my job except knowing them by name through the email we received on regular basis. Every day we get to see one or the other big personality who come to address or to be specific console us with message that ‘we are fighting back, soon things will be normal etc.’ Then in Feb 2009 comes the news that the client for which I was working has planned to shift to IBM. The reason they provided was ‘No doubt about Satyam resource capability but we have taken a hit in our north America business where IBM is helping us out.’ Now you will agree that these words were no anointment to our wound. Our project manager told us not to worry about this development and let’s focus on knowledge transfer (KT) to IBM. Do not take any decision of quitting company we will bounce back. First time daily Cab was assigned to us to travel to client’s ITPL office where both party will meet for KT. Hence in recession I was travelling in pick up cab unlike via crowded BMTC bus service of hay days. This continued for 2 months. After KT formality, I happen to see that most of the leaders who were advising us to stay have already boarded IBM boat to sail through this crisis. I declined to move to IBM. No offense to other who moved as I am sure they must have really strong reason compare to me. Client kept us for 2 month after the KT to sum up all kind of current business. During this time I happened to join Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP: an Indian nationalist party) IT cell to contribute in campaign for 2009 Parliamentarian election. Less/no pressure of work helped me to actively learn and meet people of Bangalore city and apprehend this garden city of India more closely. I tried hand on my cooking skill and used to bring different north Indian variety to lunch from my friend who stayed post KT saga.
All good things comes to an end so is the election joy, Cab ride, cooking and honeymoon period of KT. Satyam issued notice that as a part of iteration process they will be relieving people from job (pink slip talks) who are not in project for last three month. Lucky me I still had three month to go. Satyam was good place to stay but as reality check I brushed my java concepts and polished my resume (company had given me the tag of Java developer). With courtesy to my friends I managed to get 4 interview call arranged. Market was already flooded with Satyam resume and other companies were hiring us because we were the cheapest one in the lot. 1st one I failed spectacularly, 2nd one offered me the same salary as of Satyam (which was minus of variable pay from 6 months), 3rd one I made them look miserable by passing their all rounds and rejecting their package argument that was less due to my company Satyam status. 4th was CGI, pleasant company which honoured my knowledge and I their requirement.
So to justify my topic to my reader’s i.e. You, all I meant to say is our approach of looking at crisis should be different. Whatever is going to happen will happen, whether we worry or not. I found an opportunity in disparity. I learnt a lesson that one should always be loyal to work/skill not to a company. Many Java/.Net/DBA/Management gurus were thrown out of Satyam during crisis. So love your job and ensure you do not fall in love with company. Don’t blame company/managers for not providing an opportunity. As this will just create frustration among us and it will impact work which in turn impact our behaviour. Is this reason enough to change our character? Of course NO; Wake up and prove one by yourself. This experience helped me in resigning from CGI (to know more read my blog on Hesitation) in later part (though CGI was offering everything that one 3.5 year experienced engineer would expect) to pursue my career abroad. I also became longest serving college fresher who got his first promotion in 2012 in Accenture UK, whereas I joined IT in Oct 2006. But people will best tell you about my work and package with whom I have worked and currently working. When I look back to evaluate my life, I find it is as per plan and at par with current competition. Must listen to Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford university speech, what he has said when he was thrown out of his own company Apple. We are in 21st century see below what Santi dev, 8th-century Indian Buddhist scholar at Nalanda University told “If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.
Satender Kumar Mall