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When even IT pros lose their jobs

Lopamudra Ghatak

Monday 5 July 2004, by GHATAK*Lopamudra

With each passing moment, Shivir felt that he was being sucked into a whirlpool. Standing at the crossroads of his life, the 31-year-old software engineer pondered over his imminent future. Doing a quick recall of his corporate stint, he mentally scanned the options available to him.

Three months back, the Bits Pilani alumni needn’t have racked his brains over such fundamental matters as he was well settled in his high-paying job as a solutions architect. A seductive 6-figure salary, a company car at his disposal, with loaded perks, membership at premium clubs and resorts and paid holidays to the Mauritius more than made up for his long hours at work.

All this would soon become history for the Pune-bred Maharashtrian Brahmin. And he had plenty of reason to believe so. In sync with the prevalent mantra of corporate consolidation, his software firm had recently been bought over by an IT conglomerate, based in California in the US. Increasingly, more and more tech firms have been opting for this path as smaller businesses continue to be bought out by bigger firms.

The coming together of two companies may grace the headlines of business dailies. For Shivir, it had different implications as he contemplated his next plan of action. Achieving early success had it own impediment, the engineering college topper ironically thought. Leaving behind his batchmates who were still working as systems analyst, Shivir had successfully moved to the middle-level managerial position quiet early in his life and in the process had managed to build a secure and stable life.

Now, however, predicament loomed large as he tried to figure out means of corporate survival. Things were different when he passed out of college and had been placed well , on account of having topped engineering. But, a couple of years later, things had changed. Riding high on the IT boom and thanks to an excellent academic record, Shivir had courted success at the right time . The industry moving forward on a gallop rate and recruitment on an all-time high had further strengthened his stand.

Apprehension took over and he felt that his success story seemed to be drawing to a close. A change in top-level management would usher in a new set of working management for the senior manager and he anticipated a change in the nature of tasks, his specialisation in solutions meant that he had moved beyond experimenting and had finally found his own domain.

Although Shivir knew that indepth technical knowledge makes IT pros perennially marketable, he was not so sure about his standing in the firm, post-merger. Going by the present corporate trend and personal experience, he knew that technical skills loaded with management expertise were a hot combination in IT as they ensured better managers of business processes.

But, he still remained largely uncertain about the scheme of things as he was caught in a dilemma whether to hold out in the present set-up or scout for other options. Sticking around in the present set-up meant that his job profile was likely to be changed, with a possible lull in salary. He was due for an appraisal month-end and mental dejection took over as a new merger would not entertain any such chances.

A merger also meant that the existing workforce had to be merged with a new workforce and realistically, he did not see himself retain the same position at the mid-level position in the company. Changing companies, on the other hand, by no means ensures continuity in position and monetary gains.

Known for perseverance and tenacity for roughing it out, Shivir was now wondering whether he should just dump the idea of working in a newly-born venture or pool in resources to set up his own venture. With time ticking by, he wondered what to do.

What should he do?

See online : The Economic Times


in The Economic Times, Monday, July 05, 2004.

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