The reason why The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy sells more than its rival the Encyclopeadia Galactica is because of the words “Don’t Panic” written in capital letters on the cover. The entry for Earth is just two words, “Mostly Harmless”.

Don’t Panic is what I thought of when I made a short presentation to the young folks at IIMB last Saturday. I was at our 10 year old reunion and we were requested to interact with the juniors who were in quite a state given the current situation.

You can see the presentation here. I looked at what strategies the juniors can work on given the current market conditions. In my opinion, I felt the need was to stay focused on their personal development and develop themselves as professionals of their choice.

In times of crisis, it is the professional or the practitioner who becomes key because he or she has the capability to respond to challenges. Instead of looking for jobs, look for becoming a professional.

Some of the inspiration for slides have come from some friends like Mohit, Neelakantan, Dibyo, Shamanth Rao, Mohit Satyanand, Girish Mallapragada,  Deepak Shenoy and many others. Inspiration on the concept of contribution and practitioners has from the I-become Initiative.

There is always a tendency for people to go over the top during such crisis. While most experts feel that the current economic situation is one of its kind and there is as yet uncertainty on when the bottom will really be scraped. Things are likely to go worse from here.

Madhu Menon who runs Shiok and Moss, two fine restaurants in Bangalore, is seeing it every day. The number of guests seems to have come down to a trickle, even on hot nights like Saturdays and inspite of some wonderful promotions that he lined up on his anniversary (anniversary of the restaurant, not his personal).

And news about production cuts, job cuts, salary cuts keep coming every day. In Mumbai, recession coupled with terrorism has added the gloom. Even taxi drivers are asking what’s going on. A poor fellow told me that every day is a like a bank holiday – the roads are emptier than ever, the number of passengers are less, especially from places like Nariman Point and Fountain.

For what it’s worth,  my own view is that there is going to be a big shift in the way we work. As I have put in the presentation, those who deliver value in the form of solutions are the ones who will survive and grow. Those who remain processors will be cast out.

People with thoughts on this are invited to write in and let’s have a good constructive discussion on this.

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