Navigating tough timesThese are tough times. The salaries are not increasing exponentially, as they did a decade ago.
Salaries are somewhat frozen, the merit payments are coming but not to everybody, the parameters of success have also changed and, even the IT companies are sending out people. There is an air of uncertainty, and this leads us to very tough questions.
However, only those who are level headed, know what to do in crisis situations, have a big balance of mind and so on, will succeed. Only those who two vital questions will succeed.
On the face of a tough situation, we need to ask these two tough questions, but sensible questions. The first question is: "Okay, this is a tough situation, but I know it can improve, so what?"
The second question is : "What next?".
So, when the first situation is, in our opinion not a great thing, the second thing comes very easily and quickly.
The first and foremost thing is not to grumble, but face the situation boldly. Those who look inwards, identify the variables that caused one to loose one's job, and the various things that could have been done better, will always be able to take corrective action. For instance, no one wants those who indulge in dirty politics or constantly complain about lack of organizational resources.
Even these things, big and small, will be noted by any employer, and when crisis situations emerge, will work against the employee concerned.
The second thing is to always cultivate friendships and be ready to take up alternate jobs. Or even take up a new course that leads to far better consequences. For instance, a friend of mine who worked in a middle management capacity in HR, but charged with the recruitment role only, saw a crisis brewing in the Top Management of the company, and correctly imagined that it would impact the whole company.
Even before things could take a turn for the worse, he joined the Corporate Office of a well known organization in cement and a few other product lines. Since the job had recruitment and filed industrial relations as part of the job description, he, along with his boss, got immersed in the nuances of hard core negotiations, that lead to a bipartite settlement with the recognized trade unions. Though my friend had only a major role, the process and the experience was highly value adding. The learned the ramifications of talking very carefully and the art of negotiation.
Such is the need to be always alert, look for alternatives and make the best use of situations to navigate tough times.
However, we should make detailed inquiries about any job, and the nature of the job. It is always a must to avoid dead-end jobs that do not add value to the quality of experience.
Similarly, it is wise to save money for tough times, rather than being unprepared for it. Most people assume that all good times will last for ever. This is just not true.
With so many global developments, we can never predict Government policy, or imagine what will be strategies of the third and fourth generation owner-managers who call the shots in most companies. After all, they are never wedded to the same values as their fathers. Most of them believe in the art of hire and fire. Hence, regular savings is always a must.
Thirdly, even we work, it is essential that we pick up new skills and go about finding avenues to use the same skills in whatever ways we can.
Fourthly, we need to convince our wives and children to adjust to changing realities and cut down on all conspicuous consumption. It is wise to save entire salaries of our wives, and keep that in banks, as this amount will come in handy.
Fifthly, we need to save for the future as well. There are banks where one can open recurring deposits for very small amounts, like Rs.50/- per month. If this is saved for ten years, we will get Rs.8000 or a little less, and this amount can come in handy too, particularly when we are no longer employed.
We should also make it a point to be more balanced by being spiritual to the maximum extent possible. A calm mind can make us think better and act better.
Tough times, as the saying goes, never last. Tough people do.