Life in reverse gear!!!


Let’s admit it, everyone was happy to see the end of 2008… Stupid presidents, stupid ideologies (aka jihad), supid financial decisions (I firmly believe the wall street collapse is a nicely manufactured crisis by the finance guys who’ve made and continue to make tons of money at the expense of the common man – who in turn is stupid to say the least); everything was ready to be designated to history!

Hope being the keyword, I also started my new year with a lot of enthusiasm and (you guessed it) Hope. Primary goals were – 

1. Spend more time with family
2. Payoff my mortgage as fast as I could
3. Buy my dream BMW

I told myself that these three were not impossible to achieve. The common thread to achieve all three was to make more money than I was currently. Yup all boils down to the ‘green’.

As people who’ve read previous blogs of mine know, I am a good ol’ software developer. I don’t have extraordinary skills of making money out of thin air. I believe in hard work and giving my 100%. In fact sometimes I am so devoted to work I ignore important things in life (hence the first resolution above). Entrenched in my firm belief that if you are good at what you do and you are true to your work, I was beginning to set stage for asking my boss for a raise. Knowing very well the current state of the economy (specially in US) some people might think I was stupid (too). Well actually I was pretty sure my offer would be turned down. Actually, some people (like me) by nature settle into a comfort zone in life which prevents them from taking the smallest steps that might disturb the sense of security. I’ve been in that rut for almost 2 years now. So I was hoping if I was turned down it would act as the correct kick-in-the-butt I need to move my lazy ass and find myself another job (and deep down I was hoping that my boss would give me a token raise so that I had some reason not to move out of my ‘rut’). Eitherways, I’ve never been smart with money talk. Only twice in life I’ve argued over salary, once when I joined the current company in India and second when they sent me to US with a salary lower than promised. Apart from these two ocassions I’ve never argued over the %hikes or ‘appraisal’ percentages, or haggled for evening out the percieved deficit in appraisals. I’ve worked around them by creating opportunities for myself to come to the US one short trips and ‘makeup’ what I didn’t get in appraisals. Honestly, I was never dissatisfied with my appriasals.
Given this background and cocooned in the (seemingly false) sense of  ‘worth-to-the-company’, I was going about my job, trying to reach that elusive project deadline and ‘hidden’ agenda that with the delivery I’ll present my request for a salary hike.

CUT to yesterday afternoon. Mail from CEO – Please attend all hands meet on Friday January 16, 2008 for some ‘important’ updates. This mail sent the entire company in a tizzy. Past couple of weeks had given hints that we had an increasingly large number of people on ‘bench’ and with project pipelines shrinking by the day some drastic action was due. As day progressed news got more and more grim till today morning where it was certain that we were headed for a pay-cut and possibly layoffs!!! 

Finally the meeting happened, CEO announced three brackets for pay-cuts and I fell in the lowest percentage cut (as if that’s a consolation). The meeting went for an hour and all meaningful questions on upper management accountability or future plans of the company were answered by swishy-washy comments or ignored all together. In the end I was left with something I had never envisioned for myself – going lower than a bottom feeder in my salary. Suddenly life is in reverse gear now!!!

WHAT NOW? Well it definitely serves as the right kick in my butt. It’s upto me now to move my (lean) lazy ass and prove to myself I am not a complete loser. It also proves (again) – ‘Make hay while sun shines’… They say when going gets tough the tough get going… Never was a better opportunity to find out how tough I am… Will keep things ‘posted’…

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