Low level executives working with finance firms and brokerages across Mumbai are being forced to push themselves to the limit following the collapse of one investment bank after the other. They now slog way beyond their usual working hours even during slump market periods prefer to not to take leave and do everything it takes to remain in the good books of their bosses.
Lay offs are expected to take place across the corporate ladder but it is the low level employees who will probably be hacked first.
There is too much pressure to perform. It is a taking a toll on us because it is like a sword hanging over our heads. You just have to ensure that you are visible and you are doing a good job. That is all we can do. It is a really scary situation.
The mantra, most of these executives believe, is to be the best. That is the only saving grace that we can depend on when lay offs are being finalized by firms. The cuts will happen across sections and one wants to make sure that he is better than the others placed at his level.
Cuts, strangely have also taken place in the pantries at different financial firms, where free cold drinks have been discontinued and snacks are being charged. With predictions of 30 percent job cuts, the situation is getting tenser by the day even at leading brokerages like Edelweiss.
The market has been down after the bull run and there is not been too much work. Employees were scared when they heard about the Wall Street collapse, but reality has literally hit home now
Take for instance financial consultancy auditor CT’s case. She couldn’t get herself to say no when she was asked to travel to the US for two months immediately after she landed in the city after a one month trip to Australia. She thought it would not go down well if she refused the assignment.
A software executive in a leading IT company constantly frets over not having a project after his company stalled all annual promotions. Another 26 year old has returned from the US with fancy degrees only to realize that the MNC he had struck a deal with has put recruitment on hold. A low level employee has his psychiatrist on speed dial as he just can’t take the work targets any more.
The US financial crisis has sent psychological shockwaves in the corporate world, with a sense of insecurity palpable among working employees of metros like Mumbai, Chennai Hyderabad etc. Psychiatrists, who are seeing stressed workers knock on their doors, predict this is just the start of a hectic season. There is an enormous amount of anxiety. Spouses of unemployed people call, saying they don’t sleep or are behaving differently People call and vent their frustration as they have had to cancel a holiday or their plans to buy a house. IT firm employee says the crisis has become the topic of conversation in his office. It has been at the back of one employee’s mind ever since his company stalled promotions, citing the crisis. He keeps wondering if he has to take up a project that may not be related to his current one etc., etc.
The common fear is that companies in their efforts to cut costs would lay off workers and employ younger employees at lower salaries.
Those with a previous history of anxiety disorders are more prone to such insecurities. The pressure is manifesting as sleep disturbance stress and increased dependence on cigarettes and alcohol. Psychiatrist who has been counseling says job issues are an addition to the list of woes. Mumbai citizens are in chronic disaster mode and so there is some degree of acceptance of stock market changes, but the apprehension of losing a job is high.
The psychological fall out occurs because people rely on jobs also for a sense of identity and social relations. Strike a work life balance to avoid being governed only by your job.