Tag: software industry

Managers with Benefits

This summer a movie featuring Justin Timberlake and adorable Mila Kunis is going to hit the screen. The movie is titled Friends With Benefits.

I am not going to talk about the movie, even give you the plot. You can check all that on the IMDb link, embedded above. I referred the movie, just to let you guys know the inspiration for the title of this post.

In every parlance of life, you have some relationships which give you benefits. Sometimes, they come without you asking for them, at others you have to actually ask for it, but not fight for it. The same holds true in the official circuits, specifically for the scope of this post – IT industry.

Now, I do not want to use terms like bootlicking, buttering and all related jargons or better say slang to explore how some managers become managers with benefits. Let that remain aside, since we all know how they become what they become (actually are).

Sadly, the IT industry, again limiting my scope to the company I worked for and few others I closely know about, have skewed the concept of managers. Managers in these IT corporates are no longer managers, who are managing projects and resources – with the skill or extensive training for that field. All you need for getting to the post of manager – skills for socializing (well, this is sarcastic remark, if you’re intelligent, you know what I am pointing to), number of years (successful executions does not matter) and passing PMP examinations (which is the standard certification for managers worldwide).

The ingredients of becoming manager, might have given you the hint as to why the concept of manager is skewed. No longer you’re needed to show the skills of people management, grooming talent, showing negotiation skills¬† (now you need intimidation skills), charting a growth part for your subordinates and being proactive in tracking it periodically (not waiting for half-yearly and yearly goal-setting and appraisal cycles).

All a manager needs is play around with these terms, intimidate when it is needed (and in case of some talented people, its use if recommended often), obfuscate the HR process completely (refer the employee to vicious circle of HR to Reporting manager to Delivery Unit head when necessary).

Constructive criticism is a big No. Well, out of 100, only 10 will actually know this concept, and out of those only 5 will even have the courage to actually say it. And what happens to those lucky (or better say unlucky few)? In almost all cases, you get screwed, screwed by the system.

If your reporting manager was goofing around, playing around, abusing the system, showing complete disrespect for your tasks, positively giving negative vibes about the outcome of the task you’re working on, goes to such a distance to say on say 1¬† “your project is doomed, it will come to us again” and gives illogical analogies on top of it all to irk you, to make you think how and why he is where he is, and also to sympathetically think about “is something wrong with him?” – You gather courage (actually you think something is wrong and it needs to be brought back on track), you actually discuss this all through your super manager (manager’s manager). Your super manager tried to be friendly with you, says all rosy things, which actually encouraged you to bring this little something to his notice. What happens? Yeah, you get screwed! You’ll say, WTF, how, why? Well, the answer is simple, your manager is the manager with benefits. Not only your super manager, tells your manager, what you said about him, they also discuss to screw you better.

Now your petty manager (even thugs have some conscience) stoops to his lowest and starts doing little something for which he is actually spending time (and seriously wasting it) painstakingly like a little kid who will not tell you what was the homework yesterday, when you’re absent, all due to the reason that you told on him to the class teacher, coz he was peeing in the classroom (you’re concerned as his act is detrimental for rest of the mortals around him)

Well, enough said. Some things eventually die on their own course. What’s the better word – yeah Implosion!

The Interview

Sometimes back I started thinking that it is the time to change my job and so I started looking for job. I was a bit apprehensive about the interviews and tests as it had been a long time since I faced an interview. Not that I was afraid of or was not confident about my technical skills, but the fact that you never know who the interviewer is going to be. Again, I am not looking for knowing an interviewer personally in advance but the fact that will he be actually testing my skills by asking relevant questions or will I have to answer some really absurd questions.

After appearing for 3 interviews in different companies, it turned out that my feeling about taking those weird questions was very much right and there are morons (no offense to everyone but to some guys, yes) in the industry who will ask weird questions to test I don’t know what. Maybe to test the weirdness factor of your mind.

Anyways, so recently I came across such a guy who worked at a really big company. The process started with this company by a telephonic technical interview, which I cleared with all success. The guy (let’s call him Mr X) gave me a brief overview of the technologies which I will be working on. I wanted to know the job profile apart from the technical skill sets and some details about the project I was being interviewed for. Now, this is something which one will obviously want to know before joining a company. I was told that, I will get another call from HR guy who will let me know of such details to which I was completely ok with. Nevertheless, that call never came and some days later (I guess a week later), I received by a call from Mr Y who was the HR guy with that company. Mr Y asked me to report to their office tomorrow for another round of interview. I asked him what this will be about and what about the job profile, project stuff. He said that he is not having any details at this moment but I will be told about everything tomorrow. I was a bit apprehensive but I agreed.

So, the next day I book a cab as the place was far off. I reported to the place 10 minutes in advance and after clearing the security staff was led to reception area by the Mr Y. I was told that I will be interviewed in 15 minutes. I waited for another 30 minutes before the interviewer, Mr Z came. Honestly, I do not expect such delays when I am not waiting in a line of interviews, where I know that a preceding interview can go beyond the time limits, which is perfectly ok. But, here I was the only guy and there was no sign of the interviewer for quite some time.

Anyways, Mr Z took me along to a conference room. I gave him my resume and he flipped pages and started with the very basic question as to describe your profile and technical skill sets, to which I gave me everything which was relevant. Now starts the funny part.

Mr Z: So, which college you are from?

Me: gave him the name of college and city

Mr Z: Where are you from?

Me: Patna

Mr Z: You’re from Patna, so how come you came to know of this college in a different city, so far?

(Seriously here I was pissed off and knew how “capable” this guy is and that I was not going to join this company. I was thinking that is this guy from stone-age? What kind of question is this? Is he is a wacko?Anyways leaving my thoughts aside)

Me: There was an advertisement in the newspapers. The college was having its entrance examination, then I checked the website and filled up the forms. I sat for the exam and made it to the college.

Z: So, is it affiliated to UPTU? (the state university)

Me: No, it’s a deemed university

Z: Deemed university (a long pause), but your exams must have been held with the UPTU exams?

(Again, he is proving that either he has made up his mind to ask only absurd questions or he is totally being idiotic)

Me: No, since our college was a deemed univ, it did not come under purview of the state university.

Z: No, but how can that happen? The exam has to be conducted by UPTU. Your college cannot take exams.

(My patience was being tested relentlessly and I guess if that was the intent, I was coming with flying colors)

Me: No, a deemed univ has the right to take its own examination. After all that is what the purpose and meaning of a deemed university is. It decides its syllabus and conducts examination and gives its degree.

Z: I don’t think so.

(I wanted to say WTF you mean by Deemed university then, but again I guess I showed my patience)

Me: You can check the UGC website for the objective and purpose of deemed universities and you can confirm that my college is indeed a deemed university

Z: Yes, I will do so

(What kind of an idiot he was. I wanted to leave the interview then and there but again sometimes, I can’t take impulsive decisions)

Z: Tell me about your current project you are working on

Me: I told him an overview of what the project is and what I do, blah blah that I am DB developer and there are front-end developers who look after that piece of system and all that. How there are feeds and servers. In short the basic architecture.

Z: what technologies are involved in the current project?

Me: Oracle 10g DB, Perl, Shell, Vignette CMS, Interwoven CMS, Java, Tcl/Tk

Z: What is the front-end language?

Me: Java (for one system) and Tcl/Tk (for another)

Z: What is this Tcl/Tk? Is it used for creating web-pages?

Me: Yes, it is. You can also write JS and Java code alongside.

Z: Not sure as I have never heard about it.

(Now, wait a minute. If you have never heard about it, is that my problem. And will ever a candidate give a fictitious name for a programming language/tool to an interviewer? People can falsely claim to have worked on something, which they never did, but a fictitious language??? Only Mr Z can think of that. And is this the way to put it forward?)

Me: Silence

Z: What is Vignette and Interwoven?

Me: They are Content Management system. Give a brief overview of what CMS is

Z: So, currently you are on an operation support project.

Me: Yes

Z: Before that?

Me: I was on dev projects.

Z: I can see from your resume that you have been working for the same client from the very start of your career

Me: Yes

Z: So, have you been to onsite?

Me: Yes, 3 times

Z: What was the duration?

Me: 3 months, 9 months and then 3.5 months

Z: Where was it?

Me: Told him the location in US

Z tries to lighten up by making a statement that it’s like a mini India there. He asks me if I liked it there? I replied in affirmative.

Z: The project you’re interviewed for is an operation support project and based here

(he wanted to tell me that the project is based out of this office which was in a different city than I was in.)

Me: Ok, I was not told about this

Z: No one said anything about this to you?

Me: No

Z: Are you ok with this?

(I was not at all, but replied in affirmative)

Z: So, how do you work in OPS?

Me: I am sorry but can you be more specific?

Z: I mean, how an issue reaches you?

Me: Tell him the process and clarify that I am not in L1/L2 support but rather L3 and more than that stuff

Z: So is there any priority assigned to tickets?

Me: Yes, and categories also. There are SLAs defined for all priorities

Z: What happens when you don’t meet an SLA?

Me: Nothing happens as such. We keep on working and close it ASAP. But the client generates a report of issues which missed SLA and our company also does the same and we keep a track of this data to see the performance of team over a time period.

Z: How do you capture the issues?

Me: We have a remedy system wherein tickets are created/closed/stored. Give the name of the system

Z: Is it a freeware?

Me: No, it’s a licensed tool. Specify the name of the company

Then he asks me other questions about project mgmt stuff going on like reporting structure, my hierarchy and related stuff.

At this, the interview concluded. I was very much pissed off for two reasons. One, this stuff could have been asked over the phone also as it was not technical. Companies always invite to their location for technical interview to make sure that the guy was not taking anyone’s help for telephonic round and all that. Second, Z’s questions triggered my hatred and dislike.

Anyways, I leave the conference room and walk out. X was sitting outside and asked me if interview was over and then walked inside conference room. I was thinking that the guy will come back to me and say that I am not selected coz Mr Z had doubts about my college, about technologies I said about. Nevertheless, he came to me and said that I have made it through. (more reasons for not joining this company) I ask him whether there will be any technical round to which he says no. He then asks me whether I am comfortable with OPS and I say that I am not and I was not told that this is an OPS project and based out of this city. He says that he thinks that he told me, but is not sure. I tell him that he did not.

He then asks me to wait for 10 minutes and he will get in touch with this manager and then come back.

45 minutes goes by and I have my eyes on the door for him but he did not show up. I call him to ask his whereabouts and he says that he is coming down in 10 minutes. I again wait for another 45 minutes after which he finally shows up. I was so much pissed off at this time about the management and sensitivity about the time lines that I decided that I am not going to join them what ever happens. He comes back with a simple sorry and tells me to give him the documents (a form to be filled, photographs) and says that salary negotiation will be held later!

I was like F*** you, but I ask him why it can’t be done today and now as I have already wasted so much time. He has no perfect answer and I was not in mood to listen to his worthless reasons. So, I decide to leave.

Well, you see how insensitive some interviewers can be to your time and how big a moron can be sitting high in some technical company here who knows nothing and asks completely idiotic questions!

On my way back, I decided that I am never gonna join them in my life. Such sloppy people.