Sunday, October 13, 2013

Indian IT 101: Survival Guide

This guide is for you if..

..you’re stuck in a job you don’t like for reasons you cannot comprehend. Morning after morning, the shuttle is taken to work, breakfast had, coffee gulped down, desktop switched on and chair adjusted. Some emails to look forward to, tickets to be resolved, a meeting, perhaps a status call. You constantly dream of spending a day outside your work place..just one day, and fondly remember the last time you called in sick to pursue activities more meaningful than fire-fighting over emails. This yearning slowly translates to a desire to pursue something else for a living. You’re not ready to quit your job yet—clarity takes time you see—and there’s that service contract as well. Things need to be sorted and priorities need to be assigned without compromising on current career prospects and this guide has been developed to help you maintain a comfortable status quo. Hence the name ‘Survival Guide’ as opposed to ‘Learn to Love Your Work Guide’ or ‘Get You On-Site Guide’, which must also drop a hint or two on what to expect as takeaway.


Steps for Survival

Arrive at work as usual, earlier if you can. But make no mistake of physically turning up at your workplace earlier than your boss:  befriend technology. If your team starts coming in at 11 am, the first mail you send out better be at 10:20 am, just before you go to brush. Arrive at your desk a little after 11 am, sans bag, pretending to be fresh from a coffee break. It helps a great deal if you start going to work empty handed. In fact, a friend of mine used to place a dummy bag on his desk and quietly sneak in and out of tech park premises at will. But then he also lived within 90 seconds walking distance of said tech park premises so you may choose to weigh various options before taking a call.

Now, the tricky part: work. You do not like it, do not want to do it but see no way out of it. The challenge here is to do minimal work yet make your team (more importantly, manager) not notice the lack of balance in the universe. If you’ve been around long enough, you may use the services of an enthusiastic protégé and get some work done on pretext of ‘mentoring’. When such enthusiasm is unavailable in resources around (tch tch), careful delegation and seeking help is the way forward. However, stay around to observe and contribute to important developments that involve your work. Be alert in sending mails (never delegate this activity), scheduling calls and meetings, conveniently keeping your presence virtual. Volunteer to take up chhota-mota initiatives that may ‘add value to deliverables’: this is a fairly certain way of acquiring those brownie points during appraisal. Note that all of the above must be performed in a clever manner else you’ll end up doing more work than usual which is out of the scope of this guide.

General workplace behaviour must also be altered while you take your time to measure priorities. Adopt the ways of an enthu cutlet. Contribute to team building activities and general work atmosphere..basically anything that can ‘make your presence felt’. About once a week, stay back late, even if you’re doing nothing in particular because face-time is desirable. Use this time to talk to people around you and place building relationships over the highly-abused, flinch-inducing term ‘networking’. Hear their stories, share yours, try and collaborate and for all you know, your work may just start generating appeal.


And finally

How you spend your time during this status quo maintenance is up to you. Most people seek alternate employment, prepare for competitive exams or browse matrimonial sites (notice the avoidance of mentioning gender here). I used it to figure out the general direction in which my career could head, gathered information, worked towards some short and mid-term goals and finally ended up in a happier place. And if this post has got you thinking even a little, things are probably not going well for you and I do hope you take a leap in the direction you desire and sort things soon.


Disclaimer

This guide is based more on observation than experience. Potential employers may kindly not use it to judge my professional ways or brand me as trouble.


14 comments:

Praveen said...

:P
I'm a survivor!

Akshatha Hegde said...

Soliciting contribution for sequel post. :P

Praveen said...

I have plenty of material. Let me get done with placements first. :D

kiran said...

Would like to add without any offense. IT work is also one of the most boring... the reason it is outsourced to India.... :D

Akshatha Hegde said...

Hegde: I'm waiting. B-)

Kiran: None taken. That IT work is boring is universal knowledge and partly the reason we get out of it. :P

Rao said...

Perfect (true) story!!

Deepak said...

I honestly feel that it is the employees themselves who make life hell for themselves in IT.

I mean once you stop thinking of what is right and what is not, but follow your boss for whatever he/she says, then I think that such people lose their right criticize!

Just enjoy your job and spend some quality time at your office, and there is no need to "survive through" :)

Goutham V Atreya said...

Hey!
Would'nt getting onto a job in DRDO/HAL/ISRO sound better when you've the chance, rather than surviving this ordeal?

Akshatha Hegde said...

Deepak: "Just enjoy your job" is not an option when the only reason you're staying back is because of a service contract, particularly when you realize the job was a mistake. The post aims at making those last few months comfortable.

Goutham: Sure. But not all of us want to work with DRDO/HAL/ISRO.

Merin said...

Golden, Akshata! I'm not even in IT but this got me thinking.

Also, *sistah-fist-bump* over disclaimer.

Akshatha Hegde said...

^You don't need this guide. The level of your awesomeness is beyond the scope of this guide.

Karthik Rangarajan said...

Ah, little sister, that's a great article. I wish I could adopt some of these mechanisms myself (and God knows I've tried), but it seems I am not built the correct way to do these things...

KARTHIK said...

Ha ha. Well said Akshatha .

Akshatha Hegde said...

Karthik #1: Oh I forgot to mention. Workaholics are not covered in the target segment of this guide. :P

Karthik #2: Thanks a lot.