India has recorded a GDP Growth of 7.9 per cent – proof that we Indians have managed the economic crisis/recession a lot better than others. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi has offered Dubai a bailout plan of 10 billion U.S. dollars…which means my Malayali wife`s relatives won`t be coming back from Dubai, jobless. In short, the biggest economic depression since America`s depression of 1930 is over. Companies have now started hiring and jobs are now available.
I know this article is at least one year late, but what the hell….you can always pass on these ‘how to survive an economic crisis` tips to your children/grand children when the next depression hits them. Here is Jammy`s four point plan to survive an economic crisis.
Keep your job for as long as possible
Your job helps bring home the bacon (even if you are a vegetarian)….so in order to eat daily, you need to keep your job. The best approach would be what I call the ‘Top-Down Paralysis Approach.` For laymen like you I have given this approach another name…the ‘Vegetable Approach`. Though it isn`t easy…you need to become a vegetable in the office. Nobody should see you getting in, and nobody should see you getting out. Don`t be caught standing next to your CEO at the coffee corner, don`t get caught in front of a meeting room, don`t get caught doing nothing when they are looking for somebody to do some work. In short, you should turn into a Brinjal with stealth capabilities.
To ensure you don`t get mentioned even in casual discussions among your colleagues, bath daily (if you smell bad, you will be discussed), wear mild perfume, wear earthy colors (colors that match your office`s wall panels would be best) blah blah. While crossing potentially dangerous colleagues pick up your phone and start talking. Some of the sentences you could utter into your phone are: “No way! I can`t betray my company by signing the agreement at those prices,” “For your incompetence, I could fire you. But I want to give you a second chance,” or “Listen wifey dearie…got lots to do in office today. Will come in by 11.30 p.m. or so.”
The more you do, the more the mistakes that will be committed. So why volunteer?
Mend fences with your wife & avoid a divorce
If you are a lady, and are reading this blog post…let me assure you…you needn`t be scared. If your husband was having a mistress before the recession, he will start being loyal to you.
All you men out there can ask Tiger Woods if you don`t believe me. Divorce costs money…especially if it happens during recession. Not because your wife understands economics….but because the lawyer representing you understands it.
Since the trigger for divorce can be anything from sleeping with ten women (like Tiger Woods did) to not picking up the soiled diaper…I suggest you shouldn`t leave any diaper…oops…stone unturned.
There is a school of thought propounded by Salman Rushdie, who has had many successful marriages. He suggests, “Don`t be home much and your marriage would be rocking.” Not on the rocks, mind you.
When we got in touch with Billy Bob Thornton, another gentleman with successful marriages – five at last count – he suggested that his approach to save a marriage works best. He said: “I generally do everything possible to keep the marriage intact…we slept in different bedrooms, we built different kitchens, we took separate vacations.” Just in case you didn`t know Billy Bob Thornton was married to Angelina Jolie for few years and before divorcing her in 2003.
While on the subject, I thought I should share with you a recent status update I saw on Priya Koshy`s ibibo profile. It was: “Lions don`t cheat on their wives but a Tiger Wood.”
On a serious note, here is something every man (and woman) should read.
Cut costs – left, right and center
Cost cut is money earned. I don`t need to tell you all the obvious ways of cutting costs…for example the one where you can switch off all lights in the house (thus saving electricity) and remove all your clothes (thus saving detergent costs) and sit silently (thus not becoming thirsty & saving on water bills). Look at all the non obvious ways of saving money. For example, if you are to meet somebody far away, call exactly 1 hour before and cancel it saying something urgent came up.
Float a ‘sick grand mother story` among all colleagues and friends…so that when you get invited for marriages and parties where gifts are expected…you can always pull what I call a ‘Recall Trick`. You can say: “Remember, I had told you about that sick grand mother of mine? The doctors have advised a surgery on her, exactly on the same day. What pity….we can`t attend.”
One warning…don`t utter the granny surgery story before seeing the marriage/party invitation. What if it had the line, “Gifts won`t be accepted”?
Another means to cut cost is to ride piggy back. Call up your colleagues every alternate day and tell them your car got a flat tire or wouldn`t start and ask them to pick you up. Make a schedule of the colleagues you called, the reasons you gave etc…so that you don`t raise suspicions by giving the same excuse very often. If your colleagues start getting suspicious play what I call the ‘Push Me Hard Trick.` In this trick, you are expected to switch off your car as soon as you see more than 3-4 young men idling (knowing India, you will find them every 100 meters). With a little prodding, these idle men will start pushing your car…but you shouldn`t start it till the men are really tired and they have put in their best efforts. After you have been pushed 300-400 meters, start the engine, wave a thank you at them and move 500 meters on your own fuel. The moment you see another set of 3-4 idle men, stop your car again. You might end up 30 minutes late to work…but you would have saved at least Rs 200. At this rate it would be at least Rs 5000 saved per month.
You can also start cleaning your own car and save Rs 300-400 that you give the cleaner.
Introduce alternate revenue streams for the family
In times of recession, a single revenue stream for your family isn`t a great idea. Introduce more ways in which money would flow into your house. For starters, start pestering your wife to get some money from her father. If your wife has a younger sister, have a drink with your father-in-law and tell him that you can marry his younger daughter too…at just half the dowry he gave for his elder daughter.
Cutting cost can also sometimes lead to interesting alternate streams of revenue. For example, if you have a Prem Chopra like mole in your make up kit…I would suggest cleaning the cars of your neighbours and getting Rs 400/month/car. Just make sure you wear that Prem Chopra like mole when you go on the 31st of every month to get paid.
If your colleagues come to your desk often, just because a pretty girl sits next to you…and then talk loudly, just so she can hear…you should start charging them. You could start with Rs 2 per visit. And if the business picks up, give a share of the Rs 2 to the admin guy and get him to place all the pretty girls in the office around you. Post this migration you will be able to increase your rates to Rs 10 per visit to your desk.