Monday, August 27, 2012

One Night at Office

There comes a day in everyone's life which leaves a lasting impression. Perhaps God has been kind enough to grant me that wish today. Though a bit late it had to come one way or the other. But the irony is instead of a day, it's a night for me. "Sleepless in Bengaluru"; that’s what I feel now sitting all alone in office with some occasional movement here and there breaking the silence. The beep of the card readers, the tone of the lift buttons or the snore of the security guy outside the door are quite unfamiliar which I never experienced in the middle of the night. To make things clear, I am least afraid being all alone sitting in my desk writing my thoughts. One thing is for sure, nothing can frighten an IT guy other than recession.
Being someone who likes to work late in the evening, it was not unusual for me to stay in office till 9. Finding nobody around to give me company and almost getting frustrated with the idleness of the software tool which is supposed to be the lifeline of my work, I decided to call it a day. But when I looked out of the window pane it was raining cats and dogs. Again, it’s normal for somebody staying in Bangalore for a considerable time to be welcomed by the evening showers. It's just a matter of time when everything will settle down and I will somehow find my way back home through the heavy pile of traffic. But this time the wait was a never ending one.
Unable to keep myself calm and composed after a long tiring day, I decided to venture into the showers which had settled down a bit by that time. As soon as I got out of my office premises, I was welcomed by a few splashes of rain water on the road. As I moved further and further, the drops began to become bigger turning into small tributaries. Still I could manage to find my way across the streams using a few tricks of the trade. But as they say nature always has the upper hand in these kinds of situations. So the streams slowly turned into rivers and then might have merged into some ocean on the way. Of course, the Rain Gods can't take the credit for this artificial rivers and lakes. Here the rich tribute has to be given to the world class drainage systems in Bangalore which have such a big heart that they start to overflow with even a single drop of emotion.
Now after driving or rather sailing my bike though a couple of small rivers I realized that it would be a pointless exercise to sail further in my two-wheeler which is basically non-aquatic in behavior. It's a different thing that few others failed to realize the same and their gut feeling forced them to dive into the rivers on their so-called water scooters. But you just can't make a horse fly because it can leap in the air. So their tragic situation in the middle of nowhere was waiting to happen. After seeing few of these sunken ships my resolve to get back to office grew stronger and stronger. So at last I managed to get back to my office after crossing a few more hurdles. Being the foodie I am, I had to grab some food items on my way back as the ration for the long night back in office. Thanks to McDonalds, I got what I wanted to keep me going.
Back in office, it has been a mixed bag of feeling. All these years I wanted this to happen someday. But I had never thought it would come this way. I had never expected to experience it sitting all alone. For a while, I tried to break the monotony by indulging with my FB friends sitting in different time zones. But they couldn't stop my own voice echoing through the empty corridors. I wish somebody would have been here to share my feelings. All I wanted was a new experience, but not being the only one experiencing it. As the night is slowly progressing and the dawn getting closer, but there is no hint of sleepiness. Surprisingly, I got the key for the medical room right on my desk. I have heard a lot about the nice cushion and the bed in there which guarantees the comfort of any palace. But somehow it doesn't impress me now. So I will wrap it up here and try to explore what the night has in store for me till the sleep takes control of me. One thing I am eagerly looking forward to see is the expressions on the faces of my colleagues tomorrow. But all I need now is peace, inner peace....

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Art of Changing

When it is BAU (read as business as usual) in my life, one question hits hard on my face. Why on earth are you still in the same company? With each passing day it is more sounding like, why on earth are you still alive? In case you have thought that by this time I have found the answer to this million dollar question, then I would be disappointing you. But I would not totally blame them for asking this question. For a country obsessed with package, it is quite uncommon for a person to continue in the same company for a sizable number of years. And in case he/she continues for that duration, it should be aptly compensated by the remuneration. Now what is the underlying equation that drives this situation? It was never taught or written in any text book that once you get job, you need to hop from one to another. But eventually this is what, which will define the laws of dynamics in your life.

During the early phases of life everyone holds an ambition which may not be necessarily their own and are very much influenced by their parents and peers. Before going forward let me make it clear that I will confine this topic to the majority of the people who don't have any serious ambition in life or are too much confused to keep one. There comes a phase in life when they realize that their aim to become a fighter pilot or a rockstar or a cricketer or a scientist in NASA is no longer feasible. There is no further point in fooling around and it's time to get back to the harsh realities of life. And when this self-realization comes, they are left with the choice of becoming either an engineer or a doctor. And the sole purpose of being an engineer or a doctor is to get a decent paying job and earn a respectable position in the society. But after graduation once the ultimate aim of getting a job is achieved, the story doesn't end there. It’s just the beginning of another phase in life which was never a part of the plan in the beginning.

Of all the jobs currently heard of, the job of a software engineer is the most dynamic one. There is always an element of change; be it the project or the technology or the manager or the company itself. In case none of these is happening there is some serious flaw in the process. Though the frequency of change may vary from person to person, but it has to come at some point of time. But still if somebody gets stuck at a place, the noises start to get louder and louder behind the back. Everyone at the workplace or in the peer circle looks upon him with suspicion. And one question suddenly pops up in everyone’s mind. Kitna Deti Hai?? How much the company pays to keep him glued to his current position? While the faces around him keep on changing, the question always remains the same. He needs to find a convincing answer if he has any chance of staying on his feet.

Now after experiencing enough of this ordeal, one fine day he looks forward to a change. He also wants to feel the ecstasy of being a part of the whole process of metamorphosis. So he decides to sit for the interview, but gets a shock of his life when the first question gets fired upon him from the person sitting in the panel. “Why are you looking for a change? Are you not happy with your current position?” This comes as a serious jolt. All these years he was asked the question the other way around. “Why the hell he is asking me this? Does he really belong to this planet or simply he is pretending to be ignorant. This was never a part of our terms of agreement. You are expected to ask me about my work, my salary, my location preference; but not this. All these years I was looking for the answer for not being able to change and now that I have come here to silence my critics, is this the proper question you should be asking me?” So being unable to convince the guy at the other side of the table, he quietly makes his way back to the old place. A place quite familiar, a sense of home away from home.

Change is always a part of life. But when life becomes a part of change then the trouble begins to start. The job of a software engineer is quite reminiscent to the later phrase. When there are no changes happening, it can raise eyebrows and make your life quite miserable. There doesn't have to be necessarily some reason behind the change, but the irony is that you need to find one to make it happen. It can be anything from current pay scale (you can't put it straight though) or location preference or better work ethics or a more reasonable manager. In case none of these criteria fit your situation, then change has to happen for the sake of change, provided you can put it in a more conceivable manner. But when it does happen the celebrations cease to settle down. With each additional digit being added to the salary the happiness quotient gets multiplied by an exponential factor. Perhaps this was the aim which he had nourished since his childhood. After all, isn’t what he wanted that his work bring out some change and the effect is visible on the salary slip.

To sum up, the cycle of change goes on and on forever. But there needs to be some alignment between the change and the aim in life. If the change is inevitable for achieving a larger goal it has to happen quickly. But if the change is a reaction to some other change, then it will not solve its prime purpose. Coming back to my take on this, in the last seven years of my career I have witnessed many changes. Whether it’s good or bad, it has been a steady learning curve. Working in the same organization, I have experienced change in workplace, in work culture, in my colleagues, in domains and in my managers, to name a few. As it is said “change is the only constant”, I am not exempted from this feeling. Of course, these changes had least significant effect in terms of my compensation. But they have made me wiser and better. They have changed the way I look at things. The one thing which has not changed is the agony of facing the same question. So till the winds of change sweeps me across to some greener pastures, I will be in constant search of some better answers. Next question please…