My Travel Map

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Crisis and We

A sneak peek at how things stand, from the point of view of an average Indian MBA graduate working in the financial services industry

First, let us look at some things that have definitely changed

§ We finally deign to know how much our bank accounts add up to and consider more carefully before opening that salary account in any random bank (read: the bank we work for)
§ We try to remember if we had any balance in the ICICI bank account opened in Bangalore when we worked in Infosys and try withdrawing those savings
§ We call up our parents to know where they have invested their life savings and try to impart some professional advice, for once trying to put 2 years of hard-earned knowledge (sic!) into good use
§ We fish out the train and bus passes from the unknown corner of the wallet and start using public transport again, finally abiding to our long-time favourite slogan “Go Green with SMRT”
§ We cook up sumptuous meals for friends at home instead of taking them out to fancy restaurants for birthday treats
§ We are suddenly massively humble and treat professionals like consultants, marketers, even lawyers and auditors with a tinge of envy bordering on admiration
§ We convince ourselves that this is the best job, this is the best company and this is the best work environment we could have ever hoped for – no cribs, absolutely
§ We listen to whatever the “esteemed” boss has to say and carry out all ridiculous orders assiduously; also, we stop complaining about buying his/her coffee/ lunch every day
§ We become overtly religious and go to temples on all sorts of occasions to pray for prosperity; if that doesn’t suffice, call the priest home for some good ol’ Lakshmi Puja
§ We can now escape calling up friends and relatives with easy refrains on the lines of “hard times are here now you know” and “too busy saving my job”
§ We refrain from introducing ourselves as “investment bankers” when asked by pretty girls in pubs or by those cocky real estate agents
§ We have to read forwards like this, instead of this
§ We accede, at least to ourselves, that we are not the smartest alecs in the whole wide world

And some things that have not:

§ We continue to expect to be retained without making any significant contribution to the organisation as a whole; in other cases, we continue to believe that somehow our exalted contribution will get noticed and we will be spared the axe when others are not
§ We continue to expect bonuses better than what we had expected
§ We continue to believe in market pundits who can predict the price of Brent crude oil 30 years down the line when we don’t know how the market is going to react to a 50 bps Fed cut 3 hours down the line
§ We continue to advise our juniors in B-schools to take up those obscure optional courses in Credit Derivatives and Market Microstructures, without which no one is deemed to be a true blue “Finance” guy
§ We continue to book ourselves on flights, paying 3000 rupees (or more) fuel surcharge each way instead of taking the Janshatabdi home

I'd actually thought of a whole lot of points on both sides of the coin, while contemplating life on my daily walks to and from the MRT station. However, senility is getting the better of me these days. So dear readers, I beseech you to provide witty additions to this list in the form of comments. All selected entries will be added to the above list and credited to the author - so here's your one chance of being immortalized on this blog!