TECHIES TEMPTED TO LOG OUT OF LIFE
Pink slips fuel suicidal tendencies among IT workers
Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India, is acquiring a new albeit unsavoury tag. That of being India’s suicide capital. The Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2012 report points out that 89 people ended their life last year due to job losses and unemployment. The figure in 2011 was 47.
Shaken by pink slips or the fear of losing their jobs, techies, many of them in smaller firms, are logging out of life. Worryingly, it’s not just Bangalore that is facing the heat. A survey done in Hyderabad this month by Dhrithi hospital with a sample size of 127 software professionals revealed that:
Sixteen of them had been sacked from their jobs recently.
Ten of them had stray thoughts of committing suicide.
Four techies had already attempted suicide previously.
“In the past four years we have been seeing techies come in with job stress anxiety and inability to cope with cost- cutting,” says Hyderabadbased consultant psychiatrist Dr Purnima Nagaraja. “Once techies are on the bench, it is as good as the pink slip being waved in your face. So a lot of techies who used to jump jobs easily are now barely holding on to their jobs.”
A software professional who has been out of a job for nine months told INDIA TODAY he even researched on the most painless method to commit suicide. “We were constantly worried that we may lose our jobs. We were on projects and if they were finished and we did not get a renewal, we were removed. I was idle for nine months and then came back to my original company. I was also in debt. I was scared,” he says.
Psychiatrist Dr Shyam Bhat, who hosts a call- in talk show on a radio station in Bangalore, says the fact that the maximum number of calls are from young people, is a cause for worry. A city like Bangalore acts like a magnet for software professionals from all over the country, who often lead isolated lives away from their families. So when they are unable to cope with stress at the workplace,
they do not have the buffer of a family to cushion their problems.
Dr Niranjan Reddy, Hyderabadbased consultant psychiatrist, says, “I meet a lot of people who have lost their jobs. They would have been drawing a salary of Rs 1 lakh and one fine morning, they are left with no job. In that state of helplessness, they do not know what to do. Those who have low self- esteem, low selfconfidence react badly.”
In the last four years, there has been an 8 to 10 per cent increase in the number of techies seeking counselling in cities like Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. A clear indication that many in this youth segment are feeling disconnected with the ecosystem of their workplace.
Roshni is a Hyderabad- based helpline that gets hundreds of calls asking for help in dealing with suicidal tendencies. Dr Sucharita, counselling psychologist, Roshni, says, “They have families, loans, and are well established in society.”
Corporate houses have realised the gravity of the problem. There has been a 15 to 20 per cent increase in corporate houses hiring counselling experts in the last couple of years. Karthik Shekhar, general secretary of the Union for IT Enabled Services India in Bangalore, says, “Companies must have forums. Give them a break. There should be a work- life balance.” by T. S. Sudhir
THERE HAS BEEN A15 TO 20 PER CENTRISE IN CORPORATE HOUSES HIRING COUNSELLORS IN THE LASTTWO YEARS