LOSER – [L]ife [O]f a [S]oftware [E]nginee[R]

After about three years of excruciating struggle with engineering,it was finally time for the nightmare of every engineering student, “PLACEMENTS”. Every person who gets a glimpse of you from your  great-uncle to next house dimple will ask you only one single question, ‘got placed?’. When the placement season of 2013 started every guy in my college from nine pointer to a no, pointer started preparing everything we learnt (or at least tried to learn!) in the last three years.

Finally the inevitable danger arrived. After an immensely disappointing first day of placements, I realized one thing. None of the companies wanted to test what we had learnt in engineering, rather they wanted to test us on more essential, life-saving skills such as word, PowerPoint, email, 10th standard mathematics and of course English. Thus after a week of immense learning from all my rat bitten 10th standard books (under the tutelage of my beloved school going brother!) I attended the interview of one of India’s top IT firm. After a three round interview process that happened over two days, the company decided to give me a job! (my HOD and my unplaced department topper had a mini heart attack!)

 1 YEAR LATER

There are two unforgettable days in every young guy’s life, 1.the day he gets his first girl 2.the day he gets his first salary. After 29 dry days finally my memorable ‘first salary’ day arrived. With never-before seen enthusiasm I reached office twenty minutes early. I settled down in my cubicle and waited for the arrival of my gang. My gang is the crime syndicate of my facility. Like the corleone family, there cannot be a single crime in my building that does not involve us. My gang is a four member exclusive club that includes mickey,khan,master and me(I have used their nick names not to hide identity but because I have forgotten their real names!)

At about 8 15 the customary gang meeting at the water cooler happened as usual. All of us were anxiously checking our phones for the “salary credited” sms, but life always has a way of throwing the biggest challenges at you at your weakest moments. When we were expecting the doors of our life to open and the money to start pouring in,  the door of the HR office opened and our HR manager walked towards us with the sweet smile on his face.

Human Resource manager in an IT company is the sophisticated nomenclature for the Devil’s advocate, so as long as the HR manager has a grumpy face it is a good omen telling you that everything is going fine, but whenever you find even a hint of a smile on the HR managers face it means there is an imminent danger coming your way and you have to move to disaster management mode in war footing basis.

Unfortunately for us we did not have this factual gyaan at that time. When we saw the HR manager walking towards us with a smile we even had the audacity to gracefully return the smile. Finally after a five-minute ramp walk he reached our zone. With the swiftness of a cowboy picking his gun from his belt he took out his smart phone and opened a word file consisting of a list of names.

“The following associates are requested to assemble in the HR room immediately” came the announcement in a booming voice. The voice further continued with a list of 17 names. We were not really bothered about the whole incident until the last few seconds when one by the names of my gang members were called out (that too in alphabetical order :P)

In about ten minutes my gang, along with 13 others were standing in the small HR office perplexed, when the senior HR manager walked in. He glanced at each one of us in the room and then stated, “The performance of these 17 associates in the last one month has not been satisfactory, thus it has been decided to relieve them from services temporarily. They will be called back as and when required”.

I was about to shout out, “dude you have mugged up the last statement of the mail you got from the head office perfectly, but you forgot to change the pronouns from ‘they’ to ‘you’!”. Then I realized I was in a corporate company where the right to commit blunders was reserved for the HR departments and the CEOs.

The shock in the air that filled the room hadn’t yet subsided, when the innocent looking fair maiden in the front of the group deployed one of the most powerful weapons that every woman in the world is equipped with. She started crying. With the versatility of a well experienced tormentor the HR manager brushed aside the melodrama and with the stern voice stated, “would you people please leave or should I call the security?!”

By the time we got around digesting the indifference with which the last statement was made he came around collecting the umbilical cord of every employee, the last remaining connection we had with the company ie ID cards. After knotting up the id cards in a bunch he personally escorted us to the entrance and saw to that we left the premises immediately.

In a ten minute span of time we had been stripped off our job, a promising career and more importantly, identity. We were standing in the middle of the road, literally. With its huge traffic and awe inspiring length the OMR road embraced us.

Standing in the middle of the road we had few options to do:

  1. Go back home, break the news and face the problem
  2. Jump on the road and let the lorries transport us to a better world

But what we did never ceases to surprise me till date. (to be continued)

(title courtesy: dipen ambalia,finger print pages)