Indian IT, 40+ Indian manager, Life-Designing Opportunity

Almost a year back, I kept my appointment with my 40th year and as a mammalian trait, I developed an extra love for my tribe of 40-ish man of contemporary India.  The love triggered in considering the current and future plight of 40+ professionals of Indian IT industry. My group means normal, decent professionals and not super-bright, super-achievers : in technical skills or political skills.

I heard recently that TCS – one of the largest Indian IT companies had announced a major reduction of existing employees. I think no one knows the underlying mathematical model  and Formula 40  of deciding the individuals who are to be ‘sacked’, ‘removed’, or to be labeled as ‘ martys of optimization who sacrificed their job  so that the organization can survive and grow’.

Now, I have learnt something called perturbation theory which says that if some process is so complex and you are completely clueless, you assume a formula (as if you know, like let us say x in algebra) and apply the theory to see whether facts fit nicely, reasonably, irrationally or nonsensically.

Let us call this Formula 40

Formula 40 now takes the following structure and process flow

1. 50,000 freshers @ INR 3.5 L per annum = X * (average 40+ professionals with salary of 15 L per annum

2. To balance the equation, we find X = 12,000. I hear that total reduction considered is close to this number. See the power of perturbation theory !

It means that not a single paise in balance sheet will change (other factors remaining same) if 12,000 – 40+ people exit the gates with a non-functional access card is equivalent to 50,000 entry with bi-directional passes. In non-technical terms, if 12,000 40+ employees can be ‘whacked’, 50,000 new and fresh soldiers can be immediately recruited.

————————————————————————————————–

Other Factors 

Other factors are never the same. Rather the ‘other factors’ is the factor that forced a brilliant employee telling me something like this. I am using the most sublime code ever written by man – rhyme.

When I was one like this 50,000 ; 15 summers back ;

I longed for experience and age for that was the yard-stick.

I longed for the promotion and the hike thereof

I also felt that I have got knowledge and experience enough.

Formula 40 came like a storm, it was after all, a number game

To balance the equation, every person looks all the same.

I have defended my organization a million times to  customers fiery,

But I was never  taught as  how to justify my hiked salary.

I worked hard Sir, slept in the mattress in cold nights in colder climes;

“That is fine for history Sir’, we are are in a different time.

The phone rings and the hand gets frozen. 

Colleagues whisper, a crisp as the knife of an assassin, unknown.

————————————————————————————————

The 40+ men of Indian IT industry today were the 2nd wave of people India sent to Western shores first and then a part of them established the IT phenomena in the homeland. For a true historian, this generation of India (which is also my generation) will be recognized and given their due. They faced the following in their flower of youth :

a) barrack some living

b) Ghetto living for the most

c) Back-breaking work schedules and managing the managers who over-committed

d) Cold climate and fighting time zone

This generation is now passing by the inexorable law of historical evolution of the industry and history in general.

The Opportunity 

For many of the 40+, the call of the optimization assassin will come. This will be as objective as we reject a solution of a differential equation as physically unsuitable for the physical problem we are solving. We do not dislike the solution, we have no hard feeling. It is simply the context of the problem. The Law of Causation is suspended.

The opportunity is to feel this in one’s skin and neural system and to one’s soul.

To the most brilliant group of this 40+ in Indian IT industry

Your temporal organization is not and will never be capable but the judge of history will give your due. You have served the industry and country well.  You have upgraded / optimized / redesigned so many processes – external and internal of clients. But you never had the time to ask in such busy-ness : How shall I design my life  ?  What is the purpose of my life in the broadest sense ? What shall I tell, as the essential essence of my experience to the horde of 50,000 entering in….. 

You are finally, you may know or may not, at the tremendous opportunity : The opportunity of being a Li-Der, a Life-Designer.

A handshake in thought and a salute, my generation, my friends, my colleagues !

* I had been an auxiliary foot-soldier of the industry from 1996-2004. Auxiliary : I worked for the industry that helped bits move to and from from Indian shore to Western shores cutting across ionosphere and exosphere, oceans through fibre optic cables and through potable radios. I also supported customers for an Internet account called shell account, i.e. Internet through a window which is only available now in the command prompt window with black screen and a strangely white text. I was a telecom-wallah.

Job : A tragi-comi story from a Business Owner of Calcutta

A Bengali business owner wrote a post and I suggest every one – jobseeker, recruiter, policy-maker, students  read this very attentively and sometimes suppressing wonder, amazement and laughter.

Mr. Sushobhan starts

In my entrepreneurial journey I have seen several instances which are clueless. I have learned lot of stories from my fellow friends as well. And all of the instances having a story behind. In this section today I will try to list down few of the instances which are experiences by me or my friends. The stories of few of the points will be explained in separate blog in the same series (hope you remember the 1st blog in this series “Why Pradip Left the Job”. Here goes few samples:

My apologies for being an interruption here. I called up after reading this and felt that we need to reach a wider audience with this. Behind the comedy of the list, there is a dark tragedy and the tragedy is nothing less than unrealized human potential. Reason : Irrationality, irrational self-love, denial, belief in miracle and occult, denying the real situation and driven by ideology. In short : being in illusion.

For job seekers, students and freelancers, we have announced a Prime and Wordsmith series of Webinar on 14th November  2130 Indian time onwards. Please see details and link to join :

 
Date and Time : 14th November 2014FRIDAY – 1600 hours GMT – 2130 hours Indian Standard time onward
 
Duration : 1 hour + Q&A session

Please see below the list from Mr. Sushobhan, 25+ in all

  1. The engineer had to leave office at 6.45pm instead of 6pm and he missed the train which he is used to board. Did not turn up next day onward (even though he was having lot of liability and was not having any alternate job)
  2. One guy taken leave for “Liver Related Problem” (after working six months) and did not comeback.
  3. The fresher engineer (who spent more than a lakh amount in training in almost all domain like linux, windows, networking, php, maya etc) and we were trying to mentor and groom him. But within three months he started complaining to customers (instead of sharing his discomfort to us , he started pitching to the customers) that he has not been given Linux oriented jobs and finally left without giving us opportunity to train him in Linux domain before live projects.
  4. Fresher “Muslim” guy left job since he had been told to support onsite customer support (FMS) during durgapuja and adjust the leave during Maharam (which was immediately after durgapuja that year). Instanly he rejected since it will disturb his enjoyment during puja with friends and did not turn up next day onwards.
  5. The candidate had a seat beside bathroom hence he left the job.
  6. Boss asked the candidate to find out his driver (his mobile was not reachable) at nearby pan-shop and hence he left the job.
  7. Boss asked him to stay till 8 pm for a specific reason and he left the job immediately without informing anyone.
  8. Customer shouted heavily as he attended a call after 2 hours and delay was due to traffic problem / train late. In effect he left the job.
  9. The candidate was sent to a remote customer where there is no office of his organization. Left the job on return.
  10. Candidate was playing games and caught by a co-worker and he in turn threatened him to complain to the authority. And he left the job
  11. Within 4 hrs notice he was asked to visit a customer at Jharkhand. He left office for home to prepare himself. But finally did not go and vanished afterwards.
  12. Candidate was having slight stammering. A female co-worker laughed at him and while stammering and he left the job.
  13. The engineer was deputed to a CCTV Surveillance Project to learn along with senior person. There was contractor to lay, drill etc and the other senior engineer was there to configure, test and train customer, Engineer felt the work is below standard and a HS Passed Engineer can do this. Hence he left.
  14. At the time of interview he was informed that he will work as a network engineer but he was asked to visit a customer for support purpose and he left the job.
  15. Senior asked him to bring tea from cafeteria and in effect he left the job.
  16. She was asked to stay one hour more in the evening and her father came office and took her home saying she won’t do the job any more.
  17. Candidate was late in attendance for few days and he was asked to be on time to avoid deduction from salary. He did not come next day onwards.
  18. Candidate was asked to carry a switch and some cables to customer place and he left the job. He even hold company’s laptop for a few days.
  19. Recruiter imposed a financial bond for one year (like he cannot leave the job before one year and if he does so he will be liable to payback some amount to the organization).He did not join.
  20. Engineer acted very casual at customer place (Customer link went down and they incurred business loss due to wrong command given in the router) and he was questioned by his senior. He left the job.
  21. A CCNA candidate thought he had excellent knowledge in router. But the gap in knowledge was identified in the first day of his joining and he had been asked to study to mediate the gap. He left.
  22. The first day was very hectic and the engineer could not have lunch on time. His mother told her not to continue.
  23. She was good at sales/ marketing co-ordination and was performing well and was earning handsome salary. Her boyfriend (jobless) did not want her to do a job and in effect she left.
  24. Candidate was asked to manage the customer who is in firing mood. Left
  25. And so on.

Didn’t you hear many times that there are no jobs, companies do not recruit, economy is in bad shape and such macroeconomic conclusions ? Didn’t your son or daughter or student tell you why he/she was forced, at gunpoint to leave the job ?

I, perhaps the only private citizen of Calcutta, break my silence now and address those young men and women who are seeking job today and whose father worked in Government sector in the good old India / Bengal of 1970s-1980s

When your family was staying in a Government Quarter in the posh areas of the city and when the salary was ensured for next 30 years or so for your father, a little more less ; and when there was no need to get rejected (while selling, marketing, delivering a customer product) ever in the whole career, think of a person who was trying to build a business, a company, a corporation.

You (or the environment of yours) did not take notice. You did when someone grew and you immediately rationalized that there is something fishy as if you could have easily done these.

Your environment taught you to ignore the root (business / enterprise) and to eat the fruit ( employment, salary, perks) as if a kind of a birth-right. Didn’t you acquire so many nice paper degrees from hallowed institutions ?

You knew or thought you knew all the tricks of the book except one : the shine and glow of wealth that you see now is the culmination of a process at the end of which lies a person, a single person eventually who took a very hard road, a road fraught with risk, a role needing ever present vigilance, work and risk. A single mis-step or negligence can cause damage irreversible.

In short, you laughed at heroes. You considered heroic suffering as lack of chalaki and in the search of comfort in all sense, you have failed to be what a person earns : Respect.

The Heart of Product Development and a poet

The greatest poet-wordsmith of Bengali language and one of the greatest poets of human civilization – Rabindranath Tagore traveled to Europe sometime in 1922. It was the period of the golden years of passenger shipping and he took the route via Red Sea with a port of call at Aden.

His writings on the ship and later in various parts of West, later published as a collected works in Bengali entitled Pather Sanchay ( Collections on Road) has some observations which connect technology, European (or white man to be more direct) superiority in discovering and managing technological marvels like the ship he was on, Indian nationalism, Culture and Human Civilization.

While reading the collection in my last vacation in my ancestral home in Silchar (1000 km North East of Calcutta, the Eastern Termini of the heart of Modern Europe in the Age of Tagore, culturally speaking), I found some startling observations by the poet whose very simple and casual description made me shudder as how relevant the message is and how practical for product development it is in the Age of Outsourcing :

I find it little embarrassing that I have just bought the ticket to be part of this enterprise (the whole running  of the ship) and nothing else. Whereas the European passengers feel this whole thing a part of their life, the whole energy of their nation has worked to make this happen and they are aware that whatever was needed to be done was done and whatever will be needed will also be taken care of. The ship is not only a vessel for them to use for passage by paying the fee but something greater. I felt that to assimilate  something, the idea of thinking the purchasing power as necessary and sufficient condition is a crude understanding. We can only own and control something as much as we have done the  tapasya for it. For me, the ship is just moving using burning coal in this great ocean with all our necessities as an embodied being taken care of but to them (the European passengers, predominantly British) the whole tapasya of the nation, strewn with many sacrifices are actually propelling it.

I would ask every Indian thinking of developing any product to pay close attention to what the poet is communicating. He is a disinterested observer and so far removed from your time that you do not fall into the vulgar habit of being slave of the present, the worst form of slavery.

In the same collection, the poet observes something more striking. He refers to the sinking of The Titanic and draws our attention to something no documentary of any channel can ever discover. He talks about the mystery as how extremely rich men actually followed the knightly principle of ‘Women and Children first’ on that terrible night of the Atlantic. The price of upholding this principle has been sure death and those extremely rich men who had been accustomed to life of comfort and ‘priority’ did not flinch. The poet concludes and this becomes an elegy not of rich men or men of courage of that night but announcing the glory of Man

 ..This sacrifice cannot be accidental, random or situational. The whole tapasya of the culture, of the whole past has come triumphant over death on that night of terror.

What the poet, divinely disinterested touched on two eternal and fundamental aspects of a product

a) The product to be effective must have a whole cultural backing, not only of the individuals or the group but the whole past of that community. Without this backing, the product will not be able to stand the test of time.

b) Irrespective of one’s position as an outsource destination, outsourcer – nothing significant can be achieved by situational advantage, short-cuts or clever sales techniques.

In the age of instant success and growth, a true poet’s wisdom is rare and is so illuminating that its radiance is coming as if from the soul’s heart and time can never dim that light.

Another Bengali poet of post-Tagore generation and one of the finest laureates of Bengal  of all time, Buddhadev Basu while talking about the relationship between Bengal and British interaction for more than 300 years. He concludes in one of the grand conclusions of an essay on this :

.. After so many years, the eternal surplus of these interactions is literature

He used a memorial phrase in Bengali  imbued with poetic dust : amlan udbritta [ unfading surplus]

Morphic Resonance and Consciousness

A Cambridge researcher Dr. Shelldrake has written a book entitled The Science Delusion and among its many provocative concepts,  one is a concept called morphic resonance. The weekend became very interesting while studying the concept and some thoughts below :

  • Morphic resonance’s startling conclusion on memory is that our memory does not reside in our brain. It is neither processed (or recalled) as a computer accesses the physical hard disk. Our memory lies outside our brain.
  • If more and more people learn a certain language and practice this, the next person trying to learn this finds its easier because of morphic resonance.
  • Experiments with animals have demonstrated that a caterpillar remembers certain action even after the brain is partially or fully removed surgically.

I am writing below some paraphrase from the Bhagavad-Gita which go deeper and the first translation is from the second chapter :

  • There is the ‘owner of the body’ inside each body – be it a brainless insect or the most intelligent scientist like Einstein. The ‘owner of the body’ manipulates the matter inside and outside the body and is fundamentally different from the gross (brain, bile, bone) and subtle body (thoughts, feeling, willing). The owner of the body does not change with the change of body (surgery, disease, destruction, death) and goes on to manipulate matter to form another body. This process of transfer is regulated by another process and the ‘owner of the body’ is controlled.
  • Our fate or destiny is not completely decided by free will. Our feelings and intuition are not accidents of matter circulating but fundamentally different from material processes we currently know through the laws of physics and chemistry.
  • There are levels of intelligence and grosser the intelligence is, it will deny or falsely argue against any sort of higher control. This is because of ne-science and is an impediment towards knowledge.

Genius Track of Bengal : Introducing a genius of Bengal to the contemporary geniuses

[Reworked from a 2011 post Shrine of an exiled scholar of Bengal and this re-work is inspired by a discourse with friend and colleague Mr. Sushovhan Mukherjee in a Calcutta terrace, overlooking the Neapolis of Calcutta (Rajarhat) in a magical evening, only made real by the telebhaja and chalu-chai – one of the very very few authentic products of Contemporary Bengal ]

Bengal is only one true lacking : the lack of true geniuses for an agonizing amount of time. We have plenty of everything, in more or less proportion but current absence of genius is an absolute and verifiable fact. Now what is a genius ?  It is strictly forbidden for  non-geniuses to even approach this subject and hence we shall go to Arthur Schopenhauer, the most vigorous of pessimists in the history of European philosophy who said like this : ‘Science can manage with talent, but Art requires genius’ . I quoted him because he was singing and talking of worship of heroes in Europe when all heroes were dead.

Recently, I have started meeting young Bengali men and women in various business and start-up forums and I thought of introducing a genius of this land, a crooked, exiled, scurrilous, controversial but  a true genius nevertheless.

Our genius had passed almost half of his life in exile and claimed in a Bengali prose whose quality cannot be even matched by those who claim to be more ‘indigenous’. For a genius, no law is the law. Bengali has long forgotten the ennobling effects of heroes on young lives.Our exiled scholar mourned to his last breath about this lack in his mammoth works in English and Bengali and in spite of all his failings and overstated generalization, he has not failed to add another  name to the pantheon of true heroes of humanity.

Nirad C Chaudhuri – lived and worked in this quaint Oxford home in 20 Lathbury Road and in one summer evening when I stood in front of the gate, I heard a foreign bird singing as if from East Bengal’s hidden groves somewhere, in some ancient time.  I found a great joy to have made the pilgrimage.

The Oxford blue plaque anticipates something so simply but profoundly. It describes Mr. Chaudhuri as Writer. Nothing else is necessary

Many Hindus of India, in olden times and still now prefer to spend the end of their life in Benares, the  holy city. Nirad, who could write, the only Bengali of the whole history of Bengal an essay entitled :

আমি একাধারে বাঙালী ও একাধারে ইংরেজ (I am a Bengali and Englishman in the same spectre)

Contemplating over his stay in Oxford – the dhoti-clad Bengali who was known to the salesgirl in the Marks and Spencer’s store to the librarian of the Bodlien  to the alumni of Oxford Baccalaureate , I felt (like another English commentator) that in a way, this stay has been a great poetic justice.  England’s Oxford or Oxford of England became his ‘spiritual’ home. We know that Nirad had a photo of Benares’ ghat in an imposing fashion in his study in the Lathbury Road home where he had written the pages of Thy Hand, Great Anarch ! And in this home, Ms. Amiya, writer’s wife took care of him, fed guests full-course Italian dinner and wrote her own books. I think  some Bengali man (or woman ) of letters in East or West Bengal needs to document the signal service this Bengali lady had rendered to English and Bengali literature and by implication to world literature.

Below are 3 photos of that spiritual home of our genius and very few  Bengalis have paid so much price for being a genius and it is equally true that no Bengali has a Oxford plaque bearing his name.

DSC01950

One of the Oxford Colleges. The half-shaded half lit moment made me shoot this but the passing white clouds became imprisoned

The Oxford Park - the green of the grass, I was told by a gardener there : it can happen only after 800 years of regular watering, care and scholarly walks

The Oxford Park – the green of the grass, I was told by a gardener there : it can happen only after 800 years of regular watering, care and scholarly walks

Twenty minutes after I got out of the Bodlien Library,  immensely delighted by an exhibition on Dickens organized by the library, one of the Europe’s oldest. I asked the the Library Assistant whether she could tell me how could I could go to Nirad’s house. She replied, Is this the scholar who had asked his wife on the wedding night to spell Beethoven. I answered, oh yes, oh yes, that is the gentleman.

DSC01952

Presenting a paper in St Annes College’s Conference organized by Philosophy and Management and urged by wife Chandrani (the Lakshmi and Annapurna of our flat in Calcutta east), I chose the gate of Schola Naturalis Philosophiae as a backdrop inside which the Dickens exhibition was going on.

Back to the genius track. In my book An Intimate History of Bengal (published 2009), I wrote that Genius does not belong to any community or geography and does not care either. It chooses or  sent by a higher destiny to a particular community, culture or time. A community or a culture dies if it does not recognize and respect a true genius. Because, genius is not a person or idea or democratic aggregation of likes or dislikes or neutrality, Genius is a Homecoming for Humanity. The light that shines from the lives of great men and women is so powerful that even time cannot dim them and future geniuses will recognize the countenance of a true genius, how far the objects may be in the rear or far end view mirror.

I remain a humble wordsmith by the roadside of this Genius Track and pray that Bengal is blessed by true geniuses and also with the good sense of respecting and valuing them in the community which is made glorious by his or her descent.

Free webinar on Big Data and Analytics by Wordsmith University

We have been studying Big Data for sometime. The immediate result was toying with an idea resulting into a post : A synthetic study on Big Data and Vedic astrology. Later on, we read some of the best minds on the theme, attended couple of industry conferences in person as well as some tutorials in webinar and thought of presenting a summary of these for freelance and business-owner colleagues.

I have teamed up with Mr. Sushobhan Mukherjee  and a free webinar announced with following details on 31st Oct 2014 – 1600 hours GMT onwards for a duration of 60 mins.

Topic Summary [ Link to Register ]

  • Basic Concepts of Analytics and Big Data
  • Impact on business in general and freelance business in partcular
  • How businesses are using these for their advantage
  • How you can apply the techniques for your business development

What we commit to offer 

  • Orientation about an emerging business dynamics
  • Ways, means and examples as how to use these for your business development
  •  All attendees will receive our   Handbook  : Measuring and improving  your business’s Analytic  Quotient

Still interested, Please click the link and register : REGISTER

Wordsmith University appearing in Startup Saturday in Calcutta for Headstart

Headstart organizes a very nice event called Startup Saturday where a startup can present about itself among an audience having more such start-ups.

Wordsmith University will be presenting on next Saturday – 13th September in the Startup Saturday.

WordsmithUniversity (1)