Friday, October 17, 2008

Welcome to the real world kids

I thought I would share with all of you a letter that I wrote to my favourite nephew, Mr. Sacked Jet Employee Who Has Now Been Rehired a.k.a. Sajet, and his friends.

Dear Sajet,

I know that this is as good a time to write to you as any and I thought why delay doing something that has to be done. After all, all of you have been re-hired after an emotion packed tear jerker played out on national TV.

However guys, while others have looked at this issue with a fair degree of concern I have only felt a degree of faint amusement. Amusement not at your plight for 48 hours but at the fact that you guys felt the good times would always roll.

Hey welcome to the real world kiddos. That is not how the world operates and contrary to what you think, it does not even owe you a livelihood. Forget a posh one.

In the recent past it was almost de rigueur for all you fresh graduates, MBAs, engineers to jump from one ship to another. Almost as if the companies were going out of fashion. You belong to a generation that has not seen any pain on the professional front. All you knew was that you were earning salaries at the start of your careers, that your parents might have been earning after 25/30 yrs of service. And you saw no point in exercising restraint. Either in conspicuous consumption or in splurging on credit. Or in any activity in the social sphere. It was almost as if it was your birth right. You have bought yourselves bikes, cars, holidays and houses in up-market areas. Good for you. But did you for a moment think about the commitment that you were making to the financial institutions you were borrowing from? For time frames ranging from 2 years to 25 years? Or did you think that these commitments were also like the relationships you guys are allegedly getting into – a month or so and then move in with someone else?

It was a nightmare for the HR departments to keep the attrition levels down. Why? Simply because if you were in any way irked by the service conditions in the organisation or if someone down the road gave you a 10% hike you would take that and to hell with the process and the team and the organisation that you were leaving behind. The gods were there for all you kids who felt that the world was created according to your dictates. All this is very well till it lasts but then the gods spat on you or at least are beginning to.

And what have you, the first lot done? Gone whining to the local political leadership and the media. Why is that? Did you go to the local leadership or did the Company go to such leaders when you kept jumping from one job to the other? You did that because you considered it your privilege. Boss now the shoe is on the other foot.

Now I don’t think you can jump so blithely from one job to the other. Primarily because I don’t think there is another job waiting for you. Not in the BPO sector, not for the engineering grads, not for the IIMs guys who until recently were under the impression that it was only losers who did their summers here in India. (ok this one might be a bit of an exaggeration from my side) Now you are screwed because you believed the myth that everyone of the idiot commentators on TV were feeding you. That is, this level of prosperity will continue for ever and ever, amen.
Well I have news for you. It will not. Wake up and smell the coffee.
And when you do get the shove as some of you will definitely get as this recession gets uglier, take it on the chin like grown ups and get your act together. You might have got back your jobs for now, based on god knows what behind-the-scene wheeling and dealing. But take it from me, your well-wisher, that good times do not roll for ever. See, you guys enjoyed yourself when the going was good. Now it is not. Toughen up and don’t go crying to the media and/or politicians. If you did not want this uncertainty then you should not have taken up this profession. You should have gone into …. maybe govt. jobs. Or the academia or some such stable profession where you would have got safety of tenure. No, you did not do that because you wanted to have the fun ride provided by the private sector.

Nothing wrong in that. Only thing is that if you wanted the upside of higher salaries, better perks, hotter chicks/dudes etc. then you should be ready for the downside too. As they say if you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen.

Have fun beta. And don’t forget to update your resume. Just in case.

Yours lovingly,
Concerned Uncle

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