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…


  1. ha ha ha....I realized I completed 7 years of corporate life 2 days back.