Tuesday, 24 February 2009

My take on the economic downturn

Obligatory CYA statement: I don't know economics. I failed economics when I was in 9th grade. The only book related to economics which I have read is "Freakonomics", by Steven D. Levitt. All the statements which I express below are based on mere speculation, random hand waving, and (hopefully) some common sense.

The downturn has been here for almost an year, but people are still optimistic that it will soon go away. I don't think so.

I didn't care till now, because I didn't personally know anyone affected by it. That has changed.

People are really feeling the impact in the U.S.A and the heat is slowly being turned on us folks in India. Technology based companies are cutting jobs and I believe this is going to hit our banks and telecom service providers, who provide credit in the form of loans, credit-cards and postpaid connections to many young employees in these tech-companies. I very much doubt that if and when such people get laid-off, they will stick around to pay their mobile phone bill, credit card bill or the EMI on personal loans. Instead, I believe they will chose to run away. Leaving the banks and telecom providers empty handed.

Other things to note:
  • People are losing jobs irrespective of their experience, qualifications and performance. You are not a unique snowflake; your skills can be replaced. Don't be complacent or arrogant; be careful.
  • Companies are firing and hiring side by side. They are using the recession as an excuse to become lean, but at the same time roping in highly talented folks, at lower cost, who weren't available before, because they had nice cozy jobs.
  • If you are in the job market, you are in no position to bargain for better salary or perks. Just take what you can get. The case was the exact opposite a couple of years back.
  • Finally, I have been dreaming about alternative career options:

    • Farming -- Can grow and eat my own food, but don't own any arable land.
    • Meru Cab Driver -- One Meru cab driver told me, he earns Rs 30k a month.
    • (Fake) Kickboxing Instructor -- With my 2 months of kickboxing experience, I could try and cajole some people to come under my tutelage.
    • (Fake) Guitar Instructor/Player -- Almost same as above.
    • Clairvoyant Baba -- This should pay me well; even in these times. Just need to grow more white hair and read the daily horoscopes.
    • Daily labourer -- If all else fails, at least I'm physically fit.
I leave you with an inspirational quote:
What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

P.S: But if it does kill you, then you really don't have anything to worry about ... do you?