Economic Recession – Some tips

500 TCS employees asked to leave, Yahoo sacks 50 employees. Apart from these, there are salary cuts, poor percentage of salary hike, an appreciating rupee – The news that is coming out these days is quite frightening for the IT professionals. A study report of IBN says that MNC employees will be given the highest salary in 2008 but that does not include IT sector.

Are we aware of this threat? Yes. But do we really care and see what the future has in store for us? No. The young IT professionals still keep going on with their expensive urban lifestyle and they do not seem to bother about the economic recession. It looks like we are not prepared/preparing for the worst. How about receiving a lay-off notice on a fine day morning in your office? Or a cut of 20-30% in your present salary? Can we survive? It will be a NO for most of us.

How do we tackle this situation? We might have to start from the very basics. I think the following might help:

Cut down on expenditure – Shopping, pub-hopping, visits to expensive restaurants, air travels etc.

Long term savings – Mutual Funds, Unit Linked Plans etc.

No more loans – And no more EMIs. How would you pay the EMI if you do not have a job or if your present salary is slashed to 30%?

Less use of credit cards – Or even better, avoid them as much as possible

Also if you have a car and a two wheeler, you can perhaps give your car for rental and use your two wheeler for your personal use. Do not rent your car to a regular Rent-A-Car service as it can cause damages to your car because those who take cars on rent for picnics etc care nothing about the car. So it is better to rent it to NRI families visiting their hometown. At least in Kerala, there is a good demand for rental cars by visiting NRIs. You can find such customers through Rent-A-Car services, but it will be better if you personally know the owner(s) of the Car Rental service.

The NRIs use this car for short trips like visiting their relatives, do shopping in the town and perhaps for a short picnic trip. So your car will not be used much hence no damages. They would need this service for 1 month, 2 months or so (or as long as they are vacationing), so you get a good amount of money per month. But your car has to be new. Last time I checked, new Santro and Indica cars have a good demand in this market.

Freelancing – Outsource your talents, even if it is small scale

What do you do in your free time? Shopping? Pub-hopping? Outing with friends? Fine if you go out with friends to get rid of your monotonous job, but can you spare the fun for the weekend? And find some free time on the weekdays and for a few hours on the weekends too? If you can, freelancing not only lets you pick up the job that you would like to do, but it pays well too. But beware, most of the companies do not like their employees doing freelancing.

Here are a few points that you should consider before beginning freelance:

A good portfolio for demonstration: All your clients would be asking for your profile/portfolio before they award their project to you. And you should present (only) your best work before them. They will also ask for verification to make sure the work is done by you.

Effective and fast communication: One thing that the foreign clients want to make sure is that you understand their project requirements. So you will have to go through the minute details of the project and convince them that you understand their need. A response like “I am confident that I can complete this project” blah blah blah won’t help. Detail to them on how you can complete the project, what milestones you have set for the project, the deliverables of the project etc. Also it will help if you respond to the client emails/messages as early as possible.

Set milestones: For both project delivery and for payments so neither you nor your client gets dissapointed.

Some websites from where you can get the projects:

Elance (Paid service)
Scriptlance (Free)
Rent A Coder (Free)

There are so many other websites, but the above listed ones are popular and much reliable in the given order.

Also when you look for a job change, you better prefer product based companies than project based ones. The economic recession, economy slowdowns etc can affect the project based companies and it has very little effect on product based ones.

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