The Other Side of IT (as in Frustration)

When I look back, I recall that my first aim was to be an Air Force Fighter pilot. I was somehow very much hooked on to fighter planes and air force. That was way back in third grade. See, I had an aim long long back. My younger brother wanted to be in navy. Later as I was growing up, and IT was catching up with us, I started thinking of being a software engineer.

I was hell inquisitive from my early days and I knew about Microsoft when I was in 9th grade. I used to daydream about passing from IIT and then working for Microsoft. Another thing which almost sealed my fate that I was going to study Computer Science and Engineering, was when my mausi got married to a software engineer who was stationed in London and was going to States after marriage. Now, what bigger fantasy can a school going guy back in 1996/97 have about future job. And that’s how it was sealed.

A long time back I asked my dad, why he chose civil engineering during his engineering, when he could have got computers and electronics. He told me about his childhood days, when he used to see the engineers constructing roads and bridges near the village and that was how he fascinated himself as a civil engineer. More than that, there was no one actually to guide him, since he came from an agrarian family background. So, that is how he got his inspiration or aim for life.

Well, I never made it to the IITs and neither to Microsoft (at least so far). And anyways, I would prefer Google now (this time I am not daydreaming). By the way, I did try to get in Air Force after my 12th, passed NDA written (a lot of us do) and then was rejected at SSB. That was my first and last attempt at that. Skip all that happened in between and in my grad college, eventually I was a CSE graduate.

It will be 5 years on 19th June in IT industry and sadly, yes sadly the same company I joined as fresher. Seeing the title, you know I am going to talk about the frustration I have endured and keep on enduring in IT (at least with the services companies, I guess).

Many of us, who are outside IT will think that frustration is normal in any job when it becomes mundane and (yes please take a note of it) if you’re ambitious enough. Nevertheless, the story of frustration starts in first week (or second week), when the day of drafting comes. Drafting is the day when you are assigned a track – as in Databases, Java, Dot Net, Testing, C/C++. These stand at the basic categories as far as I know about IT industry. Figments of frustration starts in a lot of us that day. You were an expert at Java at college but you’re put in Database. Someone loved databases and was put on Java, Dot Net guy gets testing.  Are you getting a picture now? It hits you in the face on day 1. Remember always that this post has a pre-requisite – you have to be ambitious! I have seen people who have whatsoever no concerns about anything. And by saying that, I am not entering a debate of what is a cakewalk and what is a tightrope walk. I am talking about the ebbing of frustration.

You crib about it, discuss it with HR, with friends, trying to find some jack which you can use, but not everyone is lucky enough. The question I raise here is, is it ok for companies to randomly draft freshers in different trades? Why can’t they use a better interview process which can be used later for filtration? Why the IT companies can complain about the lack of adequate talent at graduate level, but show no concern in devising a process for bringing things to a better order? Is it asking for too much to spend some time and resources on restructuring the entire selection process?

The answer can be Yes or No. Some of you will feel that since the usual hirings are in large numbers (volume can be more suited here), a process for preference cannot be implemented. But, has someone really tried anything on that lines? A few companies have.  Many, I think don’t care ( I maybe wrong here though, and would like to see the points in comments)

Then, once you’re assimilated in the system, you start questioning things, finding problems with the processes, getting irked with what everyone else feels so comfortable. As for me, meetings used to make me irritable and still they have their charm. It’s not that I don’t like any meeting. I totally like the meeting in the current project. Brisk, to-the-point and end of the meeting. I used to be irritated when people started buttering managers by asking about their kids, about their vacation and blah blah blah. If a project status meeting or team meeting needs you and the team to waste more than 30 minutes at any time in the steady phase, it simply means everyone just loves to waste time and that frustrates me. A lot of times, the manager wasted 30 minutes telling that “we should keep meeting udner 30 minutes”. Well, you moron, if you would have resisted from saying that again and again, at least we would have saved 30 minutes!

Third, when you know that there is a price to pay for being very good. I learned it very hard way. As per written policies, you can change your project after 18 months. Nevertheless, that’s like the metaphor for white elephant. You wish that they would release you at that. If you were planning to talk to HR, better you save your efforts and most importantly time. Since you are performing well, your manager will not let you go. They will cite innumerable things, which make your stay with the team and project essential for company’s future and growth. They will show you everything which you would know then and there, that they have not an iota of truth in that, subject to application of reason by yourself. The same project will frustrate you, at times drive you crazy and you’ll start looking out for options.

So far, so good?

You will show the talent for a lot of things, but it all depends on the managers and their bosses on what they want to see. They might not want you to give what you want and still show you that they know what’s best for you! You will be shown how exciting your mundane job is. You will be given examples of what others could not but you have achieved (as if you achievements are alimony and not due to your talent, hard work, brilliance).

Wrapping it up with the biggest frustration which I faced. The superiors you’re working with in your team are good for nothing but they are there since they are good friends with the managers. Getting me, what I mean by Good Friends? I am not touching or referencing politics as that’s virtually everywhere. What I am pointing at it, when incapable and incompetent people are sitting above you and giving you directions. When a person is manager – managing a project, multiple projects and entire business unit – not due to his actual managerial skills but due to the reason that he has number of years with him. It does not matter whether he has any people skills or not, it does not matter whether he has technical skills or not.

In the end, it’s a pitiful job, at least what I felt. If you have potential and you know it in you, don’t stay back in the service industry as a developer or better say doing operations support

Disclaimer: The experiences here are my own with the service industry in IT sector. I can only guess that the scene is a lot better in product companies. You might be in service industry and you had a totally different experience. Depends on the outlook, depends on what you want, depends on interest and somewhat capability.

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7 thoughts on “The Other Side of IT (as in Frustration)

  1. ..and as I said…
    I often wonder how many David Beckhams, Quentin Tarantinos and Carlos Santanas are currently pulling off 9-5 shifts for IT firms….

  2. seems quite relevant,

    but have you left your job? or are planning to do
    please take your time, but put up a part 2,3,4… to this –on How will you put an end to this frustration and live a of your dreams.

  3. ‘The question I raise here is, is it ok for companies to randomly draft freshers in different trades?’

    I always wanted to be a BA/QA as I was from Electronics and Communications and I did not know HTML.
    6 years and thirty thousands follow ups and I am still not a BA/QA.
    The facts that they never TRY to utilize a resource’s true potential and competent areas is what makes me sad

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