A fading star

The recent slowdown in the real estate sector has forced numerous companies to sack people for the sake of cost cutting but the future and dreams of these employees is in the middle of nowhere. Hardnews will run a series on how economic slowdown is hurting ordinary people

Pankaj Bhatnagar(name changed), a 23-year-old corporate communications executive, has been a star performer of his team and was adored for his hard work by not only his bosses but also his colleagues. As a result, he was expecting a decent hike and a promotion soon, and thought that his dream of buying a car of his own didn't seem far away. He had zeroed down on the newly launched Maruti A Star and decided to buy it the day it got formally launched in the capital. He had spoken to several banks to look for best possible finance option and was ready to pay more than Rs 10,000 as his monthly installment. His family supported his decision and was happy for his yet to come promotion. Pankaj had achieved all this in a very short period of time and was in a mood to celebrate with his friend just a day before he bought his new car.

"I had informed all my office friends that I will throw a small party tonight and all of us were very excited. However, my joy was short lived as one of my colleagues came to me and told me that due to the market slowdown, the company had decided to do some cost cutting," said Pankaj. To his surprise, he was informed that the company has decided to lay off some people and his name was also in the list. He said, "The whole mood in the office changed and everyone went numb. I just couldn't believe what I heard. Weird thoughts like-- what will my family think, how will I inform them, what will my friends say, what will I do next-- ran through my mind."  Pankaj then left for home but didn't tell his family about it and went to office next day wherein he was told that the people who have been sacked will get their three months basic salary and the day they see this money in their account, that would be the end of their stint with the firm.

Pankaj speculates that more than 72 people have been sacked and so has the chief executive of the organisation. When this reporter spoke to a HR executive about the layoff, he said that he is not aware of it and doesn't know whether people are being fired or not. When repeatedly asked, he said that he wouldn't like to comment on the matter.

Pankaj had graduated in the year 2007 from an expensive and reputed media college in Delhi and had many other options to choose from. He chose this prominent real state firm, Era Group, in Noida, UP as the package offered to him was handsome and he just didn't want to miss out on this "golden" opportunity. But even though he was one of the brightest boys in his class, the consequences of the slowdown have led him to depression and he sees no light at the end of the tunnel.

With the massive slowdown in the real estate sector, numerous employees like Pankaj  are facing or will face a similar fate. Various reports have confirmed that the real estate sector is bleeding and will continue to bleed till the markets show any improvement.  If Pankaj is to be believed, "This slowdown will affect everyone and if I can lose my job, so can many others. This cut down is not limited to the the real estate sector, but also in the others."