There is a tomorrow, day after too...

" I don't care about what work I do, I am getting a great pay" Does these words sound familiar or heard too often these days?? I have, neither once nor twice but innumerable number of times. In the age of booming software industry everybody is a prince. Is this software boom eternal? Is this going to keep us in the same princely manner as it is now?

An acquintance changed 6 jobs in 2 years of our course completion. An year in call centre, then in quality, then in testing and then welcome to development. A complete domain change does not deter people now, all they want is money. It might not affect when you are a fresher or a few years old in this industry, but whats going to be the future after a few years, when you need to lead, you need to manage...

I want to present a small story, rather a real one which is often heard in my hometown, a place which is famous for its coffee and the scenic beauty. There came a period when the Brazil coffee saw a down-trend and there was an immediate surge of demand for my-town coffee. The estate owners packed all sorts of coffee beans they had, good, bad, new, old, spoilt.... as if that was their only chance to sell coffee at the export rate(Read it as High Rate). As if there is no tomorrow!!! All the people made tremendous profits, land prices went sky-high, the life style of these "blessed few" changed drastically and the city saw a complete makeover. There was a saying, whichever new car coming to India, first comes to this-town. I have seen all kinds of cars doing rounds on those terrible roads. They were a class apart....

A few months later, all the exported coffee was rejected stating bad quality and there was no taker for coffee from this coffeeland. Being used to all the amenities and luxuries of life for a few months, these people were unwilling to down play, they continued their classy lifestyle at any cost, even through loans. A city which could have been a mark on the global map, sits their in half anonimity.

Do we see any resemblance here? India is a low cost centre for all the service industry. In a hurry to grab the financial mirage are we under-playing the work? Are we dreaming of building a sky scraper without worrying for the foundation at all? Once we were blamed for grabbing the jobs of those poor fellows in west. If we don't show the quality of work, if being the low-cost land is the only factor, then we might end up blaming Chinese & other potential nationals for grabbing our jobs!!!

What it takes us to be consistent? A good quality service, which-ever the field it may be. If we make our foot-hold strong, people would still give us jobs for the better service, for the greater product. If we are making money now, we could still CONTINUE to do so... If we build our capabilities and expertise in whichever field we are in, the financial factor would surely search us, where-ever we are. Afterall money is also one important aspect of life. Its not a run for a few miles, its a continuous run, till exellence and beyond. In the course of time we might stand up as a leader in technology and services, in short as a nation developed, self sufficient and strong.A great man has said, its always good to have answers to three questions at any point of your life, even if the current state seems bright and strong,1. What would I do if I loose my current job?2. What would I be five years down the lane?3. What would I want to see when I am in death bed and look back at my life till that instant?Its always very satisfying to pamper yourselves with all that appeals to your mind and eyes. Afterall for whom are you earning all that. Still its good to have some ready money (liquid cash) with you always for any unplanned events or emergencies. Its very good to live in present. But its also very important to think of your future, after all its the "today" of tomorrow. :o)

16 comments:

  1. I have been having fun reading your anecdotes and aphorisms. Keep posting :)

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  2. @Anonymous
    Thank you :o) & continue reading.

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  3. Yes, my US teammate's words still linger in my mind-"You guys are stealing our jobs and our living.". I really can't imagine that happening to me.

    And I'm not sure what would we have done if software boom was not there, so many engineers out of college without jobs??

    Answer I got from people who jump companies and change jobs for a great pay - "Make hay while sun shines, get bank balances up during this software boom, so it's useful when there is downfall".

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  4. Hi Aks, I wonder there are no comments for this post.. r people still thinking and applying this to their own lives? Good work.

    @BP.. It is some what true that u need to make hay while sun shines. but that also needs that we need to be modest even as our hay grows. In the ever increasing lifestyle needs, u will always endup asking for more.There is no end.
    This is precisely what our traditions preached to avoid.

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  5. hi.
    good insight. nice to read.

    -vijay.

    IT-unix
    winphoria

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  6. @BP,
    "Make hay while sun shines, get bank balances up during this software boom, so it's useful when there is downfall" => The problem with todays generation including the people who say this is, we are not good savers of money. We spend so much unnecessarily. Buying the latest gadgets, upgrading them, international travels, you name it they do it. You never know, may be those estate owners thought of making the hay when sun shined which eventually put them into misery, if they were to play a little slow and steady, may be they would have been in much more good condition.

    @Ravi,
    Hmm... somebody is philosophical too :o)

    @Vijay,
    Thanks :o) Hmm... Winphoria!!! Again nostalgic :o(

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  7. I think a balance is required....we must be responsible for our actions and today's extravagance cant come at tomorrow's cost...we need to enjoy the good things as well in life...but as they say good things in life are not always expensive...and I think we must grow out as a nation from a service oriented economy dependant on the US and other countries to a manufacturing and product based economy coz. the service industry is very volatile and all the business can move from India someday as it happened with Japan. The Japanese companies had the manufacturing units in S Korea. But as it became expensive, they had to shift to places like Malaysia...The Koreans were however smart enough to apply their acquired knowledge and with some strong US support, did not get affected by that...but India should as well reduce the overdependance on only a "few" areas...

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  8. I kind of believe you got to do what you want. there have been many a days when I have cribbed about the work/or the sort of work I do, but then I also know it may not be much differant elsewhere, it may sound pesimistic I agree. If I feel I have reached a point where I cant continue, I feel Its nice to quit rather suffer everyday.
    Now this adds the subjective point to the whole equation, tolerence and planning are totally individual, I mean how much you plan and how much you tolerate, may well define yourself.
    btw such issues may not have right or wrong.

    hey nice topic for thinking...

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  9. Pretty interesting article Akshatha......

    There is absolutely no denying that this thought would definitely be lingering in all our minds (I am guessing) including mine (not guessing here)....if not always, most of the times.....yes......

    I feel "Some things would be best if left for discovery, which would make the thing even more exciting"......
    But am sure in case of critical matters like career and finance, not one would like to leave it for discovery.....

    Though I do not want to focus more about "how the future of sw industry might be", "will this kinda good pay and hikes continue forever" and “will the frequent-job-hop keep making u richer always" etc.......but I still can’t resist myself in sharing the report which is based on study made by the "Software Human Resource Council” on the subject “SOFTWARE SALARIES.....FALSE SENSE OF COMPLACENCY?" (Click for the detailed report) soon after the 2001-2002 global slowdown...

    Pages-3,4 of this doc has similar views (if practiced n inculcated) as what you were sharing in "What it takes us to be consistent?" section of this blog.........
    There is a wonderful analysis of “what kind of jobs / sectors were worst hit and why” in the above report.......
    E.g.: The .com burst was due to the fact that the web-development was considered to be a simpler technology and require less well-developed skill-set compared to other areas that were considered as not-so-easily-obtainable-resources if lost......
    The layoffs, negative-salary-growth and shutdown of companies all translate to one word i.e. "SKILL-SET"..........

    The underlying concepts mentioned in this would be applicable not just wrt the 2001-02 slowdown but again during the forthcoming slowdown.....sorry people don't curse me for this statement........am not a pessimist here but I believe in the fact that the performance of various sectors (not just software for that matter) will not have a northbound trend all the time (the way stock-markets fluctuate, so is the case here too....the better part being the frequency of fluctuations is much lesser here :)......

    On the brighter side, the 4 economies Brazil, Russia, India, China (being referred as BRIC economies) are growing at a great pace in most sectors and major-investments are being made.....it seems these 4 economies would contribute to more than 40% of world-growth in the next 15-20 years and ahead.......and thereafter these 4 economies would together be larger than the current G6-economies put together (US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, UK)..........all eyes are on the BRICs now especially the FDIs :o)

    No wonder India is one of the very few economies with double-digit annual-hikes.......

    There is another awesome report (not worth missing this one too:) from GoldmanSachs on "DREAMING WITH BRICs: THE PATH TO 2050" (click on the subject for the report).....

    Irrespective of how the scenario WAS,IS and WILL-BE....I strongly believe in the concept "Learn from the past......Enjoy the present.......and Invest for a bright n secure future (so that even the worst-case scenario could be easily sustained and handled)" .......mind u "Invest here refers to both financial as well as developing a strong n consistent skill-set + awareness of the happenning technologies and their markets with each passing day in our professional life"......

    Hope this wasn’t boring and I didn’t sound like an economist :o)

    -Vijay Saradhy

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  10. Aks, thanks for the very interesting post as it is one of my areas of interest! Vijay, thanks for the link on BRIC, it adds as a good reference to one of my works[:)]. My 2 cents of thoughts are as below:
    I feel IT honey moon or IT good period ceases or the correction is due to happen very soon. The reasons being -
    . Raising Rupee
    . Raising Salaries
    The IT Service companies (and the product counterpart which act like IT Service companies) are already feeling the HEAT. The higher attrition rate in the industry makes the situation worse.
    The tier-1 companies like Infy, Wipro, TCS, Satyam which offered the Cost Advantage to US companies created a new industry a little while ago - the IT industry. In the process, created Brand Bangalore across the Globe, and loads of money to their investors and lesser but relatively better money for working ppl (knowledge labour). But they got us tagged with 'Cheap IT Labor', which actually showed in the work too.

    Raising Rupee / Salaries - How will it affect us, the later part (Raising Salaries) should make us Happier. Isnt IT? Let us do some analysis on one of the Tier 2 companies, say Sasken.
    . Sasken Q1 FY08 Revenues at Rs 128.4 crore � up 41%;
    . Consolidated Profit After Tax (PAT): Rs. 6.39 crore - decreases 31% vs Q1 FY07
    Source: http://www.sasken.com/newsroom/press/2007/20_Jul_2007.htm
    . Employee strength stands at 3,513 as on June 30, 2007
    . Utilization on the services side stands at 72.5% (am not sure what this means, but am assuming bench of around 28%)

    Let us take PAT which is 6.39 Crores, i.e. US $ 1.59Million. By crude and simple calculation, every employee is contributing US$452 profit to Sasken, which is INR 18,104. Should this raise an ALARM! Definitely it would have, for me if i was working there! More over this number is a laughing stock atleast for me. I dont consider this as a profitable business!

    To add little optimism into the post, couple of days earlier Airtel anounced their results and the net profit is US$ 375 Million! Though we cannot compare head-on these two companies, but this information is just to highlight on the fact that what are (highly) profittable businesses. As an employee (of any company), this little analysis could help us to identify / analyse how good my company is doing and what would my future hold in there! Whether current salary i am drawing, or current hike i am entitled to, 'is it eternal?'!

    Let us get little more pessimistic, let us assume next quarter, this company encounters a loss of US$1.59 Million. What would happen, the pressure from investors would lead the senior management to shave non-billable labour to save their ass and show lesser loss the coming quarter! If I or You is part of that shaved labour, my or your salary cease, it would not be very easy to get a job (especially if you have more years of experience, if you dont have more now, very soon u would [:D] as this analysis holds good for future as well ). If you have a car on EMI, it would cease to run, if a FLAT on EMI, the cheque might bounce back, if not on the first month, may be 4-6 months from the time of getting shaved! If this happens for an account having 500 ppl working in, this would result in a lot of unrest amongst the corporation and the society! If the things get worsen, either by US economy slowdown or change of decisions to outsource to lesser cost country, the possibility of more job cuts and more work less pay could result in.

    The situation would be no different than a coffee planter in Aks example, if you have too many loans!

    What do we need to do, for the existing customer not to cease giving us our bread through our organization is
    . It is assumed we are entitled to do our work very efficiently without any annoyance to the customer (does it really happen)
    . Give Value Add Service along with the Service being offered
    - It is left to one's field of work
    . Stop exploiting the customer by over billing, shadow billing etc.
    - Time and again i have seen customer being billed for 2 resources when the work could have been done by one resource
    . Create IP for the customer, I have hardly seen, ppl doing this, focus on the work, do it and get out has been the mantra i guess, this would no longer work in future
    . Innovate - Out Of the Box Thinkin, for yourself, your organization and your customer to maintain the Supply Chain for your Bread, Car, Flat or Fatty FOOD [:D]

    Thus, to conclude, the 3 qsns at the end of Aks original post answered is a Very WISE to make a Safer Tomorrow for ourselves and our loved ones!

    [:)]

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  11. "Is there a post, after this too....." been a while :)

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. Akshatha,
    Nice paragraph.
    I have few comments on this.

    1. You have given an example of a guy who changed 6 jobs in 2 years, from Call Centre to testing ---> Finally Development. I personally feel, One can not do all jobs with same efficiency and concentration. He changed the jobs not because development has more money but he wanted to develop software. In India mentality is totally different. One has to be Lead or Manager if he has been working for 6 yrs or so while in US I see 40 yrs old person working as Software engineer.


    2.Do you feel, cheap land and labor being the only force, which is pulling all companies to India. If it is so why Companies are not starting their offices in countries like Pakistan, Srilanka, Afghanistan :) For years, Indians have been showing tremendous talent and skills in US Thats why any company is ready to establish office in India.


    3. Ya, I agree with you about savings and Future planning. Because this industry is not reliable so everybody should plan intelligently.

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  14. This is one topic I always think about. Just that i cant put them in rosy words as yours. I really don't understand people shifting jobs just for the sake of money. If you are not good at one thing, then wont u reach the same state as coffee planters. Current market is mad behind money. The normal words used by most of my friends is "Make hay when sun shines". The other question generally asked is "U are paid so less why dont u shift" "Why do you want to stay at same place" I really have no idea how to answer that :(

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  15. I believe any industry is sustainable if it is adaptive to changing times.In this regard Indian IT industry per se is doing a fabulous job.The 'Big Four' of Indian IT industry is on a prowl for new companies to explore areas like consulting, product innovation etc and to expand to newer geographies.Although the Global IT firms have also leveraged on the 'Outsourcing Wave'. Going forward Indian IT domestic market is going to be huge, so that is an excellent opportunity.

    Recently Bangalore was declared as one of the four most active Venture Capital absorbing places in the world.( Others being Silicon Valley, New England, Tel Aviv).Also if you look at the BPO industry it has moved up the value chain with time(KPO, LPO etc).

    But as the adage goes to 'remain successful is difficult than achieving it'.

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  16. @All,
    Very very sorry for not responding so far, was very much held up in lots of positive aspects of life. But I am sure to answer each & every unanwered comment, a little late though. Thanks for posting your comments.

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