Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Yes. Those were the days.

If you are thinking that this is going to be a nostalgic post about the college/school days, recounting the adventures and misadventures of the youthful life, well, how may I put it?
You cannot be more wrong.

This is about a life after that.
Think about this for a second. All through your college life, you have had to listen to these sermons from your seniors and well wishers alike, that the time spent at college is going to be the best time of your life. Reminding us over and over again, that once it’s over, it indeed is over. The good times that is. This leads to the creation of some lingering questions in the minds of every graduating student.

What happens after these “happening” college years?
How would my professional life be?

Well my friend, your quest for the elusive answers comes to an end here.
 Let me enlighten you.

If you are amongst those lucky (or unlucky) few who got “placed” into some company (IT, of course) during the course of your college years, then this is “THE” post for you.

The Life and Times of an IT Employee

Being a proud alumnus of Kerala University, the guiding philosophy of “Pointers giveth thou marks” has got engraved into my psyche pretty deeply. (Knowingly or Unknowingly)
So this brief synopsis of the corporate life would have to inevitably be split into a few points.
Each points being expounded upon in subsequent paragraphs.

From the experiences that I garnered over the years in this industry, (Yeah right!)
I have observed a professional life that is always in a state of flux. Particularly in case of the lower rung, just-out-of-college, ordinary IT employees. It tends to follow a pre fixed set of phases.

The various phases being,

1.       The Induction phase
2.       The phase of Fun Times
3.       The Cribbing phase
4.       The phase of Goodbyes

Phase 1: The Induction

You go in with a lot of expectation. You might have already got a fair bit of info on the prevailing work culture from your college seniors working there. But nothing beats the excitement of going for the first day at workplace. You are then invariably put into a training program to align your technical skills with the requirements of the job profile. Most of this is pretty useless anyway.  But on the plus side, you do end up making a lot more connections. Being the naive fresher that you are, you would be particularly prone to impressions. Mind you, these impressions do play a major part in your future career choices.

The Induction phase is the shortest of the lot. It can typically range from weeks to possibly months, depending on which company you got into. The longer this phase gets, the better it would be.

Phase 2: The Fun Times

Life could not have been any better. You have no exams to worry about, plus you get (quite some) pocket money as salary. The much needed financial independence is finally upon you. You start loving the glitz and glamour of your sexy new corporate life. The meetings, the status updates, the occasional trainings, the birthday celebrations, the team outings and lunches, everything becomes a part of your life. You come to the conclusion that all your seniors and well wishers were wrong in assuming that the good times end with your college life.

The importance of socialising becomes way more apparent to you. You end up being gutsy enough to talk to that cute looking girl. Depending on your luck, she either starts spilling all her guts to you, or stonewalls you all together. Either way, the probability of you finding a girlfriend at workplace comes down to the basic question of which end of the spectrum you are in.
 *spectrum = cash available in hand

If you happen to be in the wrong end of the spectrum, all those spilled guts would count to nothing. The deep pits of friend zone would be awaiting you. So you better start saving early. Consider it as an added incentive for your prudent financial planning.

This phase may last from a few months to a year at max. Under exceptional circumstances, like getting a blockbuster appraisal review, this phase may extend to more than a year.  Broadly speaking, one year should be a safe assumption.

Phase 3: The Cribbing

This phase typically starts at the end of your first year performance review. You don’t feel the initial enthusiasm any more. Your honeymoon with this corporate life is all but over. A feeling of dejection ensues. It does feel bad, when that bonus you were so looking forward to, just remains a mere illusion. You start cribbing over the much hyped and nonexistent onsite opportunity. Those sleepless nights at office, toiling away in front of your workstation, those countless weekends when you were forced to stay at office and work, all start taking a toll on you. You find it extremely hard to deal with the office politics being played by your reporting heads. Hell, you even start questioning your own judgement.  Before you even realize it, another year has rolled by, and it’s time for your next appraisal review. May be those seniors were right.
May be your good times are well and truly over.

This cribbing phase is one of those unpredictable phases. You won’t be able to clearly define a time period for this. It can typically last from years to decades. At the end of this phase, you have good chances of getting “fired”, or on the positive side, may be get hired somewhere else. But then again, the choice is completely up to you.

Phase 4: The Goodbyes

All this complaining and cribbing leads you into finding an alternate path. A lucky few does indeed manage to find the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Even these lucky few have to go through the so called corporate red-tapism in order to find a way out. You get to know how much a pain in the ass the service level agreements can be. You never realized that the documents that you so- gleefully signed at beginning, could come to backstab you now. A carefully deliberated and protracted negotiation follows. If you are tactful enough, you could end up steering the outcome in the way you wanted. It’s not as easy as it sounds though.

At the end of it all, the realization dawns upon you that you are finally getting out. You start preparing your final goodbye mail. Apart from the deliberation and negotiation part, these final few months would turn out to be the most memorable of them all. Everyone starts being friendly to you all of a sudden. Even that girl on whom you had a mighty crush on, the one that used to avoid you all the time, gets interested in you, all out of the blue.  Everything becomes surreal and you even start questioning your decision to call it quits.

This phase of Goodbyes can last from two to three months, depending on the notice period modalities of the specific company you work in.

These phases are cyclical in nature.
In case you are joining another company in this same sector, the probability of these phases getting repeated is almost a certainty. The only variable would be the time period.
Focus on extending the phase of Fun Times as much as possible; your career growth would depend a lot on its longevity.

So that folks is an insider analysis on the Life and Times of an IT Employee.
Hope you found it interesting enough to warrant a comeback to this corner of the internet again.

The phases and scenarios described in this blog post have no connection with any particular corporate entity, or with any person living or dead, for that matter.
In case you do feel a connection,
My Bad!


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