HOWTO BEAT THE DOWN­TURN

Ten things that will keep you safe in­stead of sorry as the job mar­ket tight­ens

India Today - - COVER STORY - MAN­ISH SABHARWAL The author is chair­man, Team­lease Ser­vices

he Apollo 13 moon mis­sion was what the US space agency NASA calls a suc­cess­ful fail­ure: “The as­tro­nauts didn’t get to the moon but we got them home alive”. As the In­dian econ­omy heads into a jobs emer­gency, it is im­por­tant that in­no­cent vic­tims— and there will be many— keep life in per­spec­tive and pre­pare for suc­cess­ful fail­ures. Here are 10 things to re­mem­ber for peo­ple who are look­ing for a job or those who are wor­ried that they will be look­ing for one soon:

1 A job is bet­ter than no job. Hir­ing isn’t go­ing to bounce back till af­ter elec­tions. Those who have jobs should wear hel­mets and hide un­der desks. Those that are look­ing should lower their ex­pec­ta­tions; this is not the time to be choosy. And a large part of our labour mar­ket is not yet ma­ture enough to not hold gaps in re­sumes against the in­di­vid­ual.

2 Stick it out. This is a great time to in­no­vate, pick up the work of col­leagues who have moved out, and vol­un­teer for ad­di­tional re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. Don’t hes­i­tate to mar­ket your­self.

3 In­vest in learn­ing. Down­turns are a great time to in­vest in new skills, up­grade old ones or pol­ish rusted ones. The pace of change is ac­cel­er­at­ing and the world of work— skilled or un­skilled, ru­ral or ur­ban, man­u­fac­tur­ing or ser­vices— is chang­ing be­cause of tech­nol­ogy. This is about un­der­stand­ing the con­ver­gence of com­put­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and busi­ness.

4 Stay in touch. Most jobs are not found through peo­ple you know well ( strong ties) but through the pe­riph­ery of your net­work ( loose ties). Stay loosely in touch with school­mates, ex- col­leagues, par­ents of your child’s school­mates, and ev­ery­body else.

5 Save more. The best prepa­ra­tion for tough times is liv­ing within means, lim­it­ing credit card and other debt, and de­fer­ring dis­cre­tionary con­sump­tion. Fi­nan­cial flex­i­bil­ity is cru­cial to the abil­ity to wait for bet­ter op­tions.

6 Don’t fight the age bat­tle. There are some jobs which are bi­ased in favour of the en­ergy, en­thu­si­asm and low cost of younger peo­ple. Avoid them. In tough times, ex­pe­ri­ence counts for a lot. Re­mind em­ploy­ers that you are older, wiser and there­fore more danger­ous.

7 Keep friends and fam­ily close. Re­mind your­self that we don’t live in an econ­omy but a so­ci­ety. The best things in life aren’t things and the eco­nomic weather of the mo­ment will pass. Time with fam­ily and friends will act as the ground­ing for your re­cov­ery.

8 Ne­go­ti­ate and try harder. The hit ra­tio for in­ter­views plum­mets in tough times. Make more sta­tis­ti­cally in­de­pen­dent tries. There is less to go around and there­fore the craft of ne­go­ti­a­tion mat­ters. Be pre­pared to ar­tic­u­late what non- fi­nan­cial stuff like des­ig­na­tion, learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, roles, lo­ca­tion and much else you are will­ing to trade off for salary.

9 Con­sider en­trepreneur­ship. I’ve never met an un­happy suc­cess­ful en­tre­pre­neur but know many un­happy suc­cess­ful em­ploy­ees. Tough times can­not only be the door to be­com­ing your own boss, but of­fer unique op­por­tu­ni­ties be­cause of less com­pe­ti­tion.

10 Don’t take it per­son­ally. A lot of peo­ple who will be look­ing for jobs in the next few years will do so for rea­sons that have lit­tle to do with per­sonal per­formwww. in­di­a­to­day­im­ages. com ance. The global and In­dian econ­omy is tank­ing. But those who will come out stronger on the other side will keep the faith in them­selves.

De­spite what it feels like, In­dia’s long- term po­ten­tial is un­changed. The global cri­sis has com­bined with goofy gov­er­nance and elec­tion un­cer­tainty to cre­ate a toxic cock­tail. But this too shall pass and in­di­vid­ual op­ti­mism is a key sur­vival skill. As poet Os­car Wilde said, “We are in the gut­ter to­gether but some of us are look­ing at the stars.”

T

SAU­RABH SINGH/

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