January 28, 2014

Experience of working in Indian IT Services Sector

I am not going to mention the name of the organization that I work for, because it's irrelevant.  My comments are on Indian IT sector in general, after hearing a similar plight from people of other organizations. And before I start, I must clarify that this is totally my experience, yours could be worse or much better than this and that's perfectly OK. 

Growing up and watching the Googles and Apples and Twitters of the world, I also dreamed of doing the same kind of IT-kung-fu that the guys on stage were known to do. But within days of joining, I realized that the Indian IT sector is not about being that Super-Hero Programmers or Analysts/Hackers that you see in Sci-Fi movies. How could I be so naive to not understand the difference between a product based and services based industry!

Past 2 years have made me realize that as long as they are paying me, I am not allowed to make any of my own decisions. All my works and ethics must comply with the Policies of the company (the definition of which keeps on changing from person to person). And being the smallest fish in the pound (or an ocean of 80000+ other fishes) you do not matter at all.

But I did learn a few valuable life lessons about the Indian IT sector. I share here with you with the hope that you would be able to relate to them. I do not intend to preach, I just write them here as notes for self.

1. Work for yourself, not for the company: Simply because the company has employed you for its own benefit.  To squeeze the juices out of you so that they can sell it at a much higher prices. It has nothing to do with your betterment. It will help you only if it feels like they stand to gain if you gain something. The compensation, the perks are just to be competitive with the rival companies. So, I do not see a reason to be proud of your company or do something for its benefit. Do it only if YOU get a kick out of doing it.

2. Do not try to appease your bosses, just do what's expected of you: Doing it for the appraisal at the end of the year or being a 'good guy' in the eyes of your boss by selling your self-respect is not worth it. And of course seeing the year-end appraisals, I don't see how even selling your soul is going to give you the money that you expect. Much better is to only to do amount and kind of work that helps you sleep well at night.

3. Say NO, don't try to be a hero: At the end of the day, it rarely matters if you worked an hour earlier or extra, or skipped lunch. Just so that you could complete the work that was given to you at the umpteenth hour. Because 3 months down the line, nobody is going to remember your 'sacrifices'. If it's the fault of the other guy why do you want to save his ass?

4. Follow the process, even if it says to go fall in the ditch: That's one thing that I have learnt very well. If you follow the process, even going against common sense is pardoned. You just have to follow the set protocol and then let the other guy who DID NOT follow the rules take the fall for it!

5. Nobody is your friend here. Except your friends: Unless you are a relative or a BFF, do not expect anyone to do something for you as a favor. And if someone actually does something, consider it more of an exception.  The HR guys, the Admin guys, The Managers, the Owners, you are just an expendable resource to them. Whatever they say, please do not believe them.

6. All the integrity and honesty these big companies talk about is just full of bull crap: They will lie to the customer, give them false information and amplify their own value to the client so that they can loot them and fill their own coffers (screw the hard working employees).

7. Go milk the cow, and do not be ashamed to do it: I always have trouble doing things which I know are not 'morally correct'. Back-stabbing someone or not doing what I am supposed to do. But now I can say, if you feel like you are not getting back for the amount that you give in, probably it might not be wrong to bend the rules of the game. 

8. Machines work here, and you are going to become one: Soulless. Where's the understanding of one's personal ambitions? Where's the gratitude for someone doing something perfectly, even if it was their 'job'? Where's the 'fad' of being courteous to the one who's at a lower rank or less experienced than you? Where's the 'trend' of working together as one single cohesive team and encouraging even the 'weakest link' to contribute? Ahh.. Perhaps I am dreaming a bit too much. 

I always thought that the IT guys were 'nerdy' and 'boring' to the outside world, but they were coo! in reality because they did and knew things that most people don't. But now I think, we are merely the mechanics or the clerks of the world with a computer in our hand. If doing whatever shit your boss gives you and keeping the client's asses happy is what IT is about, instead of learning new exciting technologies everyday and working with the smart brains and challenging situations; then well I say thank you very much IT.

Am I writing this just because I have to grind my way up to success which is slower than I had expected? I don't know.  Am I writing this only because I am not one of those few 'lucky bastards' who get to make it too early in their career? I am not one of them, so I won't know!

Here is hoping for a better future and may the Indian IT sector prosper.