Tag Archives: IT professional

LOSER – [L]IFE [O]F A [S]OFTWARE [E]NGINEE[R]- II

The Old Mahabaliburam Road or the IT express way as the government proudly calls it is the cradle of information technology industry in Chennai. The Ganges was the life source of Indus valley civilization, the Nile was the life source of the Egyptian civilization. The 20.1 km long perennial river of tar, called the OMR,is the life source of the IT civilization. At about 10km from both the ends, in the approximate centre of the stretch, on the median that divided the road into its yin and yan stood an insolent fool who thought he had the world under control. On a normal day I would have zoomed past this guy and jumped into my chaotic world of mediocrity. Unfortunately I couldn’t do it on this particular day, because that insolent fool happened to be ‘me’.

27TH august, yet another normal day in my life had turned into such a “loser” day. I, along with three other buddies stood on the median of the OMR road watching the world zoom past us. Unsurprisingly not a single soul slowed down even a bit to throw a glance at us. I wouldn’t blame them, each one had a zillion plans, deadlines and ambitions that kept them on their toes. I too actually had a tight schedule for the entire day.
9-9 30 Testing basics

930- 10 30 Meeting with team lead

10 30- 11 30- ….the list goes on and on

In a fraction of a second the company had made my entire schedule, plans for the weekend as well as the plans for my future all into, what the IT world calls, “redundant data”. The beautiful glass palace that I had built with my dreams of the future had been shattered in a single moment  with a single sheet of paper ‘fondly’ nicknamed the “pink slip”.

There are only two categories of people who would visit the ECR private beaches in the scorching afternoon sun in Chennai
Firstly the people who are ‘madly’ in love.

Secondly the people who are simply ‘mad’

Unfortunately we belonged to the second category on that particular day. On the hot sands of the beach we sat trying to dissolve our disappointments in our sweat. All four of us were lost in our own thoughts when the squawking of a parrot brought us back to our senses. At about 10 feet from us came a man carrying a parrot’s cage in one hand and bag full of crappy stuff in the other. With a mouthful of beetle leaf and eyes full of deceit he came close to us and asked, “would you like to know your fortune sir?”

“fortune teller!!” shouted one of my buddies,”macha lets check out our (mis)fortune” he continued. Somehow handing over the reins of our fate to a helpless parrot stuck in a cheap iron cage dint seem like a very smart idea to me. Before I could voice my protest my friends had queued in front of the parrot cage.

After enquiring our name list like an election commission officer, he slowly opened the cage and let his pet parrot out. The lazy parrot came out reluctantly and selected the mascots of our fate(small cheaply printed images of various deities). After glancing at the images for several minutes the fortune-teller gave us the result of his analysis

You are all in the beginning of your career (like that wasn’t obvious from our college student like faces and unmatched formal clothes)

You are facing a big problem (even Sherlock wouldn’t be able to find that from our terror-struck, melancholy faces)

After a long list of stating such obvious facts he scanned the faces of his victims. It was clear from my obnoxious expression that I was oblivious to his nonsense and he knew he had to woo me in. He looked at me closely and threw his first astra-‘money’, “sir you have the blessings of tirupathi venkatesh and you are gonna be a millionaire”.

Seeing that his astra failed to impress me, he decided to throw his bramastra-‘sex’. In a base voice that was meant to excite me he said, “sir you are gonna have a beautiful son to take your legacy forward…that too before marriage”

Though his words of ‘expertise’ dint impress me, it did not fail to impress one of my friends. After an hour-long discussion about his future the fortune-teller charged a whopping 600 bucks. When the fortune-teller took his parrot and walked away I saw a small glint of satisfaction in his eyes. The satisfaction of having successfully pulled off another heist through the most powerful illusion of ‘faith’

We sat there in the hot sun for the next couple of hours and some of the most important lessons that the fortune-teller had subtly taught us about the world of IT, dawned on me.

  • Just like the pseudo science of fortune-telling, the IT industry on the whole worked on a powerful tool of mass hysteria. It hides under the cloak of ‘white collar job’ using which it lures the huge number of youngsters into it.
  • The next time somebody in the company comes and tells, “you belong to the family now”,”you are a representative of the company’s brand”, “live the values of the company”,please remember it is all complete B.S. Don’t even believe a word of all that crap.
  • If you are under the impression that you are exchanging your knowledge and expertise in turn for the salary that you get every month in an IT company then you are ignorant. The only economically valuable commodity that you are selling in turn for your salary is your “time”. So please do not complain that you don’t have time for your family again because you have already sold your soul to the devil
  • If you don’t have the habit of smiling or wishing the security guard at the office door, please remember that he had more power, control and job safety than you do, more importantly you might need his mercy if you get thrown out someday. So play it safe

The IT world is a race that you start running the moment you enter the company. It is by law of nature that you get out-run someday…so it is all

“just a matter of time”

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)