Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Switch

I have been working with a “Top Indian IT company” till lately. I should agree that even though the pay was not exciting, I did get a feel of the aaram ki zindagi of a sarkari office. Everything was going smooth until the intelligent being inside me got a bit greedy. Since Pepsi has shelled the tagline of Ye dil mange more, I thought let me just adopt it for a while. And so, my resume was out there floating around in the market - Flying across states through a million wires.

6 months ago if you had asked me whether I want to make a career move, I would have slapped you. I have had sleepless days on the benches of my company thinking I will be axed soon because of the lack of projects. The funny thing is I was worried about losing a job which I never wanted to be, in the first place! But since I, the leaf, departed from my engineering “branch”, it has always been hard floating around. But I did for over 5 years. And now, when the recession is fading away without blowing me into some black hole, the evil laughter started ringing inside my head. And my resume found its place again in, the mother of all portals.

The moment you decide to make a switch, the first thing you do is to look for study materials. The good old exam days make a re-entry. You start reading the FAQs asked in interviews. It is a tricky thing, the interview. One guy tried his mighty best to make me answer at least a couple of questions correctly. But I did not relent. The whole 60 minutes of telephonic conversation was centered on me convincing him that you do not need technical knowledge to survive in this industry. I argued that I had survived 5 years without it and I am ready to become a manager now. Like all managers, I too can push the developers to give me the desired results. But somehow, the guy did not seem to buy it. May be he was aspiring to be a manager as well! And there was this instance when the guy called me and hung up after 5 questions. I was being interviewed for a position of Business Analyst and he needed to know if I had vast knowledge in investment banking. I almost blurted out that, If I had knowledge on that then would I be bankrupt at the 25th of every month?! And finally the one with IBM! I was a bit more prepared this time, but the guy kept increasing the level of the questions. At the end of 75 minutes, I felt like a murder victim being questioned for my crimes. I could even imagine a light hanging on top of me, while giving the interview. And at the end they offered me a 5-10 % hike from my current salary. I gave them a thumbs up.. err… or was that some other finger?

So the saga went on for a while. The consultants would call and take my details and never reappear again. The moment you see an employee taking too many calls, you should come to a conclusion that he is not going to stay for long. My phone would ring non stop on some days and would go silent for weeks together later on. I almost felt lonely without those “Hi, am I speaking to Vinod Ramamoorthy” calls. And one fine day, there was one of those calls. A guy called in from a firm which I had never heard before. I thought it has to be my ignorance of the world outside the sarkari company and agreed to give an interview on a Friday morning. 3 firangs started grilling me on how I would manage a team, what kind of work I have done before and a whole lot of technical questions. I prayed to Seinfeld and gave the interview. A few days later they offered me the job at a fairly higher pay than I expected. And the honeymoon period started. 1 month of “who are you, again?” attitude thrown at my managers; Flexible office timings ( About 4 hrs per day); Describing to people the name of the company I am joining; and lastly -painful modes of packing and moving.

Now, the problem with being an Indian is that, trying new things in the career front does not come naturally to us. If I were in the west, I could have got away saying, “ I am in between jobs; I did not find the loo at my work place good; I am bored of the city; and thousand such statements and people somehow would respect me for that. But I cannot do that here, for, the Iyer community out there is keeping all their eyes on me to make sure that I am working in a Top IT firm and a possible opportunity to “Go Abroad”. And since my parents are “looking for a girl for me”, I had to be sensible in making the career moves.(Don’t worry. More on that ofcourse will be written some day!).

So after a thousand enquiries about the firm, I was left with two options. Sit and crib in a laid back city, with not many friends/family around and with “pehli tharikh” not giving you ample solace. Or to go to a “happening” city where at least your family would be there for you and crib there about the boring life of an IT engineer. So I sent the “Good-Bye” mail to everyone.

I forwarded the email to all my friends too as if I were telling them that I am going to the Himalayas leaving everything behind me. I kicked myself for doing that. The writer in me got carried away, I guess. But anyways, here I am roaming around the streets of Bangalore asking people the route to different hallis. The latest news is that they are renaming the city as Jam City, not after Dravid, but after the immobile vehicles parked in the middle of the road at every signal. As I stress my brain to incorporate the map of the streets and telling it not to think too far ahead about the future, I am quietly accepting the fact that I am just another software engineer for some more time to come.

Song for the Occasion: Dhan ta naaan – Of course it has nothing to do with the post, but it has been my dialer tone for all the while I was in kerala.

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