Expense Account, Mint
The looming clouds of disaster are now overhead as economic data quarter after quarter show how serious the downturn is and expose the government lies, doublespeak and market talk-up over the last three years. As veteran employees, we learn to decode the signals of a slowdown fairly quickly. At the beginning of an economic slowdown, the first few cost cuts are around training, offsite events, office parties and travel budgets. You know the slowdown is deepening when fresh hiring is frozen and then travel. You know that things are getting really bad when even replacement hiring gets hit. Other signals that the company you work for is struggling are delayed salaries, restrictions on tiny expenses such as beverages and publications. And then when the news is all about shutting down of a business unit and of mass firings to reduce employee costs—you know that the economy is in a hole that will take a long time to dig out of. The macro problem of a slowdown comes home into individual households when jobs are lost. The job losses for the urban Indian mass affluent are hurting even more because our lifestyle costs have got pegged to an economy that was growing at 9%.