Thursday, December 11, 2008

kabhi zindagi lagei bhari.



this week has been a terrible terrible week. it started out well and then it just went downhill like the stock market. i was out on monday celebrating eid at my sister's place. i come back on tuesday to the office. one side of the floor is occupied by my group and the other side is occupied by another group. I usually go through their floor to get to my seat and when I am passing by I see so much commotion and everyone is just standing around and people are exchanging numbers. Im like what IS going on? although, I do have an inkling. I log onto the before-it-happens-and-not-just-rumors website where people blog on who or which department is getting laid off. and sadly i see that a post has been posted that the heads are going to roll at my work place.



i still think nothing of it and become the worker bee that I am, buzzing around and doing my own thing trying to complete my work. we have a team meeting and its five of us in the meeting including my manager. after about 10 minutes my manager gets called out by a MD, after a minute he calls out one of my team members. they both dont come back and we finish off the meeting and when we come out. we convene again and our manager informs us that S has been let go. I think my first impression was pure astonishment and I was extremely stunned, you hear it, you read it, you watch it, you know it you know of friends who got laid off but this hits so close, people in your own team getting laid off - its very very sad. and frankly, it could be me next. The whole thing is making me feel very jittery. Plus it was done quite brutally and its quite embarassing to be called out from a team meeting and being let go. The whole day I didnt say anything,and was just in disbelief. uptil now its not sunk in. What shocked me most, was they weren't not a hard worker. They are smart individuals and its really really unfair.
You work hard, and the onus shouldnt fall on you a worker bee, when you never made those strategic business decisions.

I honestly dont understand corporate america, if someone resigns they have a two week notice. In those two weeks you can easily take away confidential information which is proprietary of the firm. Then, why do they behave so brutally when they have to fire you/lay you off, coz it really doesnt matter, if you are working for a firm you are privy to confidential stuff and you dont have to wait until you know you are getting fired to do so. and im not sure about other places but the protocol in banking is the pits you immediately have to go and speak to the HR person who is waiting for you grimly in some conference room, once you are told your severence pay etc you have to leave immediately take your few belongings and go. then the next few days, an assistant will pack up your stuff in a moving box and i really dont know what happens to all the stuff that one accumulates folders, papers etc. In fact you dont even get time to sort through your research. thats another thing that you arent thinking of research when you are geting laid off. and then thats it you turn in your badge and leave. by the end of the week, theres no trace of you having been there and after two weeks no one even remembers you existed. its a highly embarassing and sad moment. and for the past week, im really not feeling good from within. rumor has it that there will be another cut in jan, rumor also was that a bigger list was prepared to cut but at the last moment some pple got saved, rumor also is if the strategy goes everyone goes with it. the entire group. i just hope its all a rumor, although deep down i know theres no smoke when theres no fire.

im just hoping for the best. fingers double..triple..infinity crossed.

7 comments:

!!! 10:01 AM  

I havent understood this tendency of corporate Americe to lay-off for cutting costs... What purpose does it serve - except for please those know-nothing analysts on WallStreet - who are clueless about running their own houses but deem themselves as experts on telling how others should run theirs...
(I was amused how one of the InvestmentBanks after few weeks of filing bankruptcy had the audacity to issue downgrades on several companies - which are actually doing well with profits!)...

Instead of layoffs -- if the CorpAmerica was to just opt for salary cuts - it would be so simple,productive and painless. After all if you are laying for 5% employees just with the aim of saving 8-10% in Opex, if you as well declare a 15% salary cut or even more - across the board, no one will complain, you will win loyalty of people in fact...

life of pi 8:16 PM  

they issue the downgrades coz they cant trust anyone now. they dont want to lend money. to be a bull in this kind of market is akin to shooting yourself in the leg.
when we are trying to sell our investment strategy to a consultant, the consultant's job is not to choose the best strategy but rather to find a reason to cut the investment from potential places the client should invest in.

I agree with the pay cut idea. Lot of PE firms are apparently doing that, cutting the salary by 40% or so and people are accepting immediately without even batting an eyelid.

Ashraf's Pen 12:12 PM  

I think whe you fire a person, he is likely to be spiteful and do damage to the network. He is on the way out and he has nothing mush to loose.

Anyway I think there should be more transparency on layoffs and companies should try to avoid them. If an employee ets the sack, he shoued at least have some reason as to why it was him and not the others in his cubicle.

Anyway jumping univited into the downgrade issues's I must say there must be accountability. Most of the sub prime mortgages were initially AAA grade investments. Its only much later that it all collapsed.

life of pi 6:22 PM  

Ashraf: you are right, thats why they do it. But, I do think they should do it at the end of the day when everyone has gone home so you dont have to face the humiliation in the middle of the day when all your colleagues are staring at you.

The biggest mess creators even bigger than banks, are the rating agencies. One thing was that the whole model for calculating risk is not accurate. The whole strategy is based on the wrong assumption that housing prices will forever increase. The second thing is that there was fraud, and despite knowing that they are selling junk they were giving AAA ratings. Sad thing is theres no one really to enforce all this, the SEC is struggling to keep face after this whole Madoff scandal.

Ace 12:15 PM  

Yes, I agree that would anyday be better. Companies should be more sensitive. In fact rather than calling 40 ppl to a meet and telling them that they have been fired, every employee facing termination should be personally told by his manager.

Anyway as for the rating thing, I think the error lies in the fact that the credit agencies try and make it to deterministic. Their models are flawed as they take unprecedented events as exceptions rather than the norm that they usually are.

There is this nice book I am reading. Its "fooled by randomness" by nissim taleb. Nice read. It tells us to give luck its credit

life of pi 7:21 PM  

Ace: wow you are actually getting through that book. i stopped reading after th efirst 10 pages, i can summarize for you the rest of the book. math, programming, automating investments, quants - bad. everything else - good.

Ace 7:24 PM  

hmm. I am getting through it. A bit slowly though.

you must admit-the idea teases the mind.

And good morning

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