03. These 2 things will help you keep your job (or get a new one!) in this recession

In this Blog post I try to reason with the readers why they need to take themselves to the next level in whatever that they do for a living. And for IT folks provide exact set of steps to be taken

Do you know of a farmer or a doctor who is out of a job? I don’t know one. Not Now Not ever. Do you know why that is ?

Because they provide services that people cannot live without.

So unless you are in an industry which provides products and services that people cannot live without, you need to give your job prospects a serious thought in the brave new world after COVID-19.

Not trying to preach here, but frankly I have been doing this myself for past few weeks. And I will not be surprised if me and many of my colleagues don’t have the same job when the dust settles.

And the reason I call post COVID-19 a brave new world, well whenever the lockdown ends think of yourself sitting in your cubicle with 10s if not 100s around you breathing in the same recirculated air and then imagine someone sneezes! Never thought about this before, have you?

Anyways my OCD aside, To keep your job in recession or to get a new one I believe you need following

  1. You should be good
  2. What people/companies can’t do without viz. non discretionary things

So there you have it, those are the two things (from the click baity title :) ).
You can stop reading this article now, but if you want to know - how you can go about doing that, read on …

But isn’t that always true? And what is non discretionary ? Yes, It is always true. However it’s just more true during a recession - Allow me to explain. A recession refers to the massive reduction in the economic activity across the board.

The first one to go is generally the discretionary spending. And discretionary spending refers to anything that is not a mandatory spending. For example following could be considered as personal discretionary spending

  1. Eating out/ Ordering in everyday / most days
  2. A new phone/car/bike even when the old one can go for a few months
  3. Renovations (Color, Furniture etc)
  4. Vacationing
  5. Birthday bash

And I am sure there can be many others - but - you get the point. These are the things one can live without. And when you are not spending money on these; jobs that depend on these discretionary spending (restaurants, hotels, air lines etc.) suffer and suffer badly.

But why would YOU curb your spending? Well that’s because in a recession, your company and their clients stop / reduce their discretionary spending and you have doubts about sustainability of your job in the best case and have already lost your job in the worst.

These are some examples of discretionary IT spending by clients and companies

  1. New development for non critical applications
  2. Non essential upgrades (UI upgrade from angularjs to say angular x.x, or react)
  3. Separate testing teams with separate testing budgets
  4. Fancy, good to have but non essential projects
  5. Too many managers :)

Back in 2008 when Lehman Brothers fell, all of the above was either reduced or completely eliminated for few months to years, many of our clients started pushing very hard for individual contributors from vendors as opposed to “managers”. Managers and the manual testers were the first ones to go. And clients focused more on the BAU work like supporting existing applications.

While this article applies for IT in general let’s take the example of Indian IT. Large chunk of Indian IT is driven by discretionary spending from its clients. A good part of that discretionary spending might go away taking the IT jobs with it. And with recent rise of nationalism (not all of which ill founded) whatever spending (discretionary and non discretionary) happens may not come Indian IT’s way.

image file king.jpg

That simply means there will be more people fighting for finite number of jobs. So unless you are good at what companies want it is going to be an uphill battle. You need to stand out among job seekers. You have to take what you already know and can do and take it to the next level to have that edge. So let me explain that with a trusty table.

image file table.jpg

So, whatever role you are in or want to be part of - you will standout if you bring all the niceties of knowing something extra by expanding your domain.

And current period of reduced work activity across the board has given you that time -to get to that next level. Please use it wisely. Don’t waste it on Netflix.

Start on your journey of becoming someone who is better than most in what companies want. You will thank yourselves in 6 months.

Are you doing something that you will thank yourself in 6 months for?

Thank you for reading through!

Please like and share this article if you think it adds value to you or to your friends ! Thanks again !


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