After reading the following post, you might conclude that I could have avoided this controversial title. Yet, if you acknowledge the fact that making people visit your blog requires some advertisement, you wouldn’t complain. : - )
This post is about the growing ‘pink slips’ being given to employees of private organization due to the economic recession which is evidenced worldwide. If we were to analyze where the “global meltdown” started, we might point our fingers to the bankruptcy of some of the premier financial institutions, much more fundamental reason would be the sub-prime crisis. These financial institutions failed miserably because they had invested huge sums of money and bought the sub-prime mortgage loans. More concrete than that would be the stupidity of the banks in lending huge sums of money to people who had no means to return them, in the hope of increasing their profits with their money which was lying idle. If we have to sum up all of this and say it in one word, we have to choose “Greed” to describe it rightly.
One of the immediate consequences of an economic slowdown is layoffs. The person who is shown the door may not be responsible for the plight of the company, in most cases like the recent crisis he may not even know the cause completely, yet he is asked to go! What could be the rationale behind the indiscriminate firing adopted by the companies whenever even the slightest of economic troubles crop up? We can accept layoffs as a last minute resort under unavoidable circumstances, but one cannot understand why they are being used as the first method to deal with financial instabilities.
The reason is not hard to find out. These companies don’t think they are dealing with human beings, for them you’re a “human resource”. You’re one of the most dispensable of the resources available to a company, unlike the physical resources like buildings, land etc. The “human resources” in a private company don’t form workers’ union and it becomes so easy to get them out without fearing a backlash. Also, when good times come and if it is required to acquire some of these “resources” to make more money, they are easily available in the market. This is the understanding that the companies have of a warm blooded human being like you and me.
Once hired, maximum ‘throughput’ has to be obtained from the “resource”. This can be done only when the “resource” is engaged for 12-14 hours a day (sometimes even longer). But how does this affect the human being?
Most software companies in
This forces us to analyse some philosophical issues. Why do we need development and to whom should it be directed? Is it for giving means to people so that they will be empowered, or is it simply for acquiring more wealth for the sake of wealth? What is the point in making money by pushing people into poverty? It is like winning wars by killing lakhs of men and pushing thousands of families into sorrow. What is the point in denying hundreds of human beings their happiness, and design an electronic gadget that promises its holders exactly the same?
Though many of us feel strongly about these issues, we hold back and don’t express them because of the fear of being prosecuted. We must know the rights guaranteed to us by our constitution. I know that I enjoy the ‘Right to freedom of speech and expression’ guaranteed under Article 19-1(a) of my constitution. If someone asks me to shut up, I know I can directly approach the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, under Article 32, for the infringment of my Fundamental Right. Most of us may be professional graduates, yet when it comes to knowing our rights and fighting the bully, we are no different from the people who were subjugated to slavery. “Our lives begin to end the day, when we remain silent about things that matter” – Martin Luther king.
The day we know our rights, we will turn human beings from human resources.