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BW Businessworld

The Party Is Over

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It seems like centuries but yet it was not more than a year ago when everybody from your local panwalla to your stock broker could tell you that the economy is booming and the only way is up. Any graduate could dictate terms to multibillion corporations and throw tantrums when not given that piece of candy. An MBA degree was all it took to make those unbelievable big bucks. India went from shining to rising to every luminescent adjective possible. No one thought the euphoria would ever end.

But it did. You don't have to go too far to gauge the ramifications of the downturn, the stellar MBA degree has lost some of its sheen, the pay cheques have been cut to size and the reality has started to sink in. For those spoilt for choice till now, it's tough to be grappling with the tables being turned.

Depression has moved from being an economic phenomenon to an omnipresent feeling.

However, times like these are not all bad, perhaps the euphoria was unfounded, the economy overrated and the pay cheques too inflated. A certain amount of correction was in order. Students were being unrealistic about their job expectations and companies were fuelling their illusions. The trend of recruiting students in hordes while they are still studying had spawned an entire generation of students who believed jobs would be served on a platter to them. More disturbingly, it had sucked the motivation to study and perform better. Getting a job was too easy and switching was easier. The belt tightening and flab cutting which all the companies are now undergoing has changed all that.

Perhaps, that is what it takes to force us to take a good look at ourselves and think of the oft neglected term called "skill upgradation". Brushing up resumes, adding additional qualifications and scourging for newer avenues of growth would be in vogue now. HR managers would no longer need to lose sleep over the ever increasing attrition rates. Employees would strive to keep their jobs and not the other way round. Hitherto unattractive job profiles might all of a sudden become lucrative and a more natural order of things not governed by the whims and fancies of the employee might be established.

Closer to home, learning, which had taken a backseat in the frenzy of placements might gain a stronger foothold in academic institutions all over the country. B-school students might think twice before demanding exorbitant packages which never matched their skills anyway, and turning down perfectly good job offers in lieu of a fatter pay.

With countless predictions and counter predictions being made everyday as to the extent and the effect of the current crisis, one thing is for certain — the current downturn will, for the better or worse bring in a tectonic change in the attitudes and mindsets of our current crop of job seekers and students alike. The world as we knew it has changed beyond recognition. The party is definitely over and it is high time we made amends.

Anamika Tiwari is persuing her MBA from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur