Monday, February 25, 2008
I remember the times when
You and me were together
Where did you go my beloved
Can I not have you back?
Those parks and those slides
How we used to swing against the winds
Those stories and those songs
All faded in the darkness of past
Time heals so they say
But hurt is what it has given me
I want to halt this speeding life
And go back in time to meet you
I call out to you O' my Childhood
Where did you go?
Was it maturity who defeated you
Or was it you who betrayed me?
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
AT WHAT COST ?
"We are under pressure, we need to push the limits and need to work harder. Guys (including gals), let's make sure we work at least 14 hours a day for sometime."
This is a dialogue from a project manager which should be familiar to all who work in Software Industry in India. The pressure never reduces. Days don't become shorter than 14 hours ever. And in a city as unsafe as Banglore and Delhi, women IT employees are the ones who suffer because of such attitude of management.
In 2005, a female employee working in HP at night shift was raped and murdered. In what can be called an eye opening judgment, the Karnataka High Court gave its verdict against Som Mittal who was HP's CEO then, charging him of negligence under Shops and Establishment act.
People might argue, a meager sum of Rs. 1000 as fine for Mittal as a punishment for a human life? The argument is indeed valid. The punishment is hardly anything in all practicality. But an important underlying issue is that the court recognized this as a problem and decreed that it is indeed a partial responsibility on the part of top bosses.
Many Indian IT companies have what I call pathetic HR practices. And I say this as I have worked in this industry for more than a couple of years and seen it happening. People are forced to work for 12-14 hours a day regularly and sometimes even more. The weekends are virtually non-existent. Woman employees are pressurized to work till late nights and even stay over night in the name of imminent delivery of product.
I have seen some project managers who would peep into an employee's mail box and would comment on personal mails if they see any. A newly wed friend of mine asked for a transfer because her husband was in another city. And the answer she got from the manager was, "You got married is your problem, not mine. I won't let you get a transfer"
Foul language, accusations, loud yells at the subordinates - all this is not a scene in any manufacturing shop floor. These are the scenes in a posh, centrally air conditioned and neat office space in a software company.
Who's to blame in this situation? Employees who are not committed to their work? Project managers who are constantly under pressure to get results? Sloppy hiring practices from recruitment? Senior management?
I see the problem manifold.
1. Top management is too obsessed with profit margins. They are so greedy to grab a deal that to reduce the cost estimates in a proposal, they would literally put half the effort actually required. What does this translate into?
'I will give you only 10 person months even though I know that you will need 20. Motivate your team and make them put a little more effort', says the project manager to a team leader. A little more effort? You are asking the employees to work double time.
I have seen this happen when I was a Project Lead for a project.
2. The top bosses set impossible targets for all the departments. So what do you do? You hire more people. But when you are given a target of hiring almost 4000-5000 employees in a quarter, your recruitment practices become sloppy. The talent level of work-force is compromised. And then you expect a mechanical or a civil engineer to pick up the pace in software development in a month or two. Is this realistic?
3. Middle level managers and team leaders are in a non-enviable position. They are pressurized from the top and even if they empathize with the employees below them, they are helpless. But what they should do is resist the force from above and at least make an attempt to shield the employees beneath them.
My plea to all such companies,
Before it is too late, please wake up and implement employee friendly policies. Don't treat employees as machines or slaves. If you want to spend time on the golf course and five star hotels' swimming pools, give at least a little time for the employees to take their meals with their families once a day.
I do not want to mention any company's name here and if someone wants to infer my previous company by other means, I am not responsible. I have tried my best to protect my previous company's identity in this post.
HP Boss Guilty: Article link at
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Friday, February 08, 2008
There are some movies which pass both the tests. Giving entertainment as well as driving across a message. Equilibrium is one such movie. I did not have any great expectations from the movie and I started watching it with a skeptical note. What turned out to be was 100 minutes of absolutely thrilling and adrenalin pumping entertainment.
Equilibrium is a Sci-Fi/Thriller movie in which the story begins after the imaginary Third World War has destroyed the earth and a handful of people have survived. These people are ruled by an organization which claims to have eradicated woes and agony from the world by eliminating the core reason for it all. And that reason, they say is feelings. So they have developed a drug which eliminates feelings and emotions from a human. And feeling is considered a crime punishable to incineration. They call it sense-crime.
Christian Bale is one such commander (Cleric in the movie's lingo) who realizes the true importance of feelings. He realizes that without feelings, there is no meaning to life. And then he rebels against the empire.
The movie very delicately shows feelings creeping up on Bale. Little things like a puppy's love for him make him realize that without feeling the life is not lived but just existed. Some dialogues too grab attention of a true movie lover. Like when Marie says to him "Without love, breath is just a clock .. ticking away.. " Some of the Matrix-like action scenes deserve loud applause. Bale has done a good job in acting.
IMDB review at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0238380/
[Image Source: http://www.wallpaperbase.com/wallpapers/movie/
This picture was taken a couple of days ago from my department building at University of Arizona. The picture does not look even half as gorgeous as the actual sight.
[P.S. The name of the post alludes to In Rainbows album by Radiohead that I have been listening to since morning. And as a side note, those of you who love Brit Rock and Alternative, you should check out this album. All Radiohead fans like me would be obviously aware of it.]
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Every single day Mr. Abrahim Musa remembers me from 'His Desk' at International Bank of Africa and sends an email to me. He is supposedly an Auditing and Accounting Manager there. His problem is, his client has left a few million dollars in his bank and he is supposedly dead. Now he wants to be so nice as to give a piece of that to me. And he will help me establish myself as the dead man's Business Partner and help me get the money out of his bank. Very kind of him, I must say!
Also, every day, the manager of UK National Lottery is relentlessly trying to make me rich by making me win his lottery. They want all my contact information and they are so responsible that they put a notice at the end of the mail saying 'The information will be kept secret'. Secret from whom Mr Manager?
Another some Mr. Ousmane from Bank of Africa has the same problem as Mr. Musa. I wonder how so many wealthy old people died all of a sudden leaving their wealth in Bank of Africa. And this bank is in some place called OUAGADOUGOU , BURKINA FASO. Oh, by the way, Mr Musa also works at the same bank! (Surprise !!)
I don't know why Yahoo Mail's spam-guard (if there exists any) is so dumb. Every time I see one such mail, I tag it as 'Spam'. And still Yahoo Mail is not able to remember that just yesterday I had tagged this type of mail as Spam and there is not even a remote possibility that I would consider Mr. Musa's offer today after denying it for so long.
Speculations about Microsoft taking over Yahoo does not lessen my worries. I have never used Microsoft mail. And I am not sure about their anti-spam capabilities either.
I always fancy that given a chance to punish all the spammers of the world one day, I would hand out a 30 years imprisonment to every one of them. This 30 years period is significant and I have spent considerable amount of time on arriving at this number. The reasons why it has to be 30 years are manifold.
1. Spending 30 years in prison, the spammers would lose all the enthusiasm and energy to do their evil deeds of spamming innocent people like me.
2. There might be spammers whose evil may not have been eroded with time and age. But in 30 years, the technology would have changed so much that they will have hard time learning the ropes of spamming in those days.
3. And most importantly, in 30 years, I would be old enough and will not be using emails so often and thus I would not have to worry much.
P.S. while I am writing, Microsoft Promotions has sent me an email saying I have won 1 Million pounds.