Friday 31 October 2008

Challenge of doing business in China

Financial times has interesting news-article and throws light on Challenge of doing business in china. It basically talks about abduction of trader Anil Srivastav by Chinese firm in order to settle business issue. This link from shanghai scrap has more background detail on this.

China too is not resilient in this recent economic turmoil and looks like down-turn in world-economy is getting unbearable for them too.

And on the side note we understand why they say international assignment's are demanding !

Thursday 23 October 2008

Bankruptcy and Employee Benefits

There was unimaginable fall-out in financial markets recently . Japan too was not different.
Bear sterns, J.P. Morgan ,Merry Lynch , Citi-group and biggest of all Lehman !.

Example of Lehman was very classic ,while employees were down with week-end hang-over they woke up with the bankruptcy news. Initially there was a ambiguity about whats gonna happen ,to the extent that whether even current months salary would be paid ?

After little exploring it shows what happens to employees in such circumstances -
  • Firm files bankruptcy in court.
  • Court monitors , dispose of assets and use incoming cash to pay off creditors.
  • Taxes comes first
  • Then employee claims are paid.
  • Lastly outside creditors are taken care off.
So as long as firm is solvent and have enough assets , employee will be paid surely for the billable hours.

Normally pension is safe ( In case of Japan at-least ) but for health insurance you need to refer to your agreements.

I extracted this information from here ,here and here

Sunday 19 October 2008

Salary and Confidentiality

As long as there is some-one in your friend-circle earning more than you , you are bound to be unhappy. Firm don't want you to be unhappy and hence forbid you to discuss about compensation.

Humor apart , but back in India I found that this is common topic around water-cooler among friends. I was never aware of the sensitivity of the topic till last week.

But in Japan and in Financial industry environment , it is very sensitive topic. Two employees are fired recently in firm X for openly discussing about Bonus issues and others are reminded that this is confidential matter.

I was surprised and turn to Google to satisfy curiosity.
  • In one of the surveys 51% mentioned that there is no policy regarding pay-confidentiality.
  • Surprisingly in some of places ,it is illegal to forbid employees , and they can share information about wages.
  • I personally feel that this is little gray area , as packages of top management are published and considered a good governance practice. Further salaries are openly discussed with recruiters and with tax-consultants.
  • Simple web-search or even casual talk with other HR-executives shows that there is no clarity about this topic and no concrete answers available. I would like to hear some views on this. Any pointers to legal articles will be highly appreciated

Friday 17 October 2008

Unavoidable Lay offs & Coping with them.

Indian Blogs are buzzed with different views about Jet-layoff . Responses varies from Corporate social responsibility of jet to unavoidable nature of lay-offs .

Though the different views are genuine and true in its nature , the fact remains that Lay offs are reality of our times. ( Air-India's so called unpaid leave is essentially same as the period is pretty long , it is in years ).

In this globalized economy flickering of butterfly in one corner of world creates storms in other part of world. And current economic events are more than that flickering.

First we need to accept the fact that job-loss is going to be part of life. Even the country like Japan ,where life-time employment was norm was not immune from this. Specially after recent financial turmoil.

Now once we accept the fact , lets jot down some points ,
  • Always prepare for worst - My one of the mentor used to say keep your CV always polished. ( we were part of a mission critical 24X7 environment where things can go wrong any time ,in spite of all precautions. So be always ready. )
  • Never burn bridges and quit on good terms. For a mass lay-off , your performance is not responsible. So pick up a recommendation letter.
  • Your network is a best place to start searching job. Even previous employer may have a position for you.
  • Do you have unemployment insurance ? It is best bet in mass lay-offs.
  • How about sharpening skills ? Picking up those skills or courses ,which you always wanted to do .
  • Isn't it a good time to take a hard look at your goals and career. This is a good time to think about career-change as well . Little search will show that forced departure opens more satisfying career for many job-seekers.
  • Did I mention to keep tight tab on expense and not to use that credit card for a while ?