I.T industry in India is still in its cradle though it is bubbling and bloating at a great pace. High tides of I.T waves rising in west have brought bundles of dollars and euros to Indian shores. But in spite of high revenue growth in I.T sector, it is different from many conventional sectors in terms of working culture, workforce composition and working style. It is a labor intensive industry or better say people are the most important ingredient of this industry. Access to handsome salary at an early age, party culture and a good social status fascinates youth towards this ‘honey’ sector. Handling human beings especially those with degree and high skill set is not an easy soup.
High aspirations, rigidness towards ever changing technology or platform and the vicious appraisal cycle make this handling even more cumbersome. So shrewd high level management of the I.T companies experiment in their board room ‘laboratories’ with management words and coin new words called ‘Jargons’ or ‘Punches’. These punches are their stealth weapons which are difficult to be caught by intellectual radars of employees.
The top echelons of I.T companies invent these punches, which can bewitch even an English lexicographer, to disconcert employees and divert their attention from their real needs. And sometimes these punches help in making things razzmatazz, to conceal the frivolousness of the work assigned to the employee. Interestingly these jargons are imbibed in true spirit by the management down the hierarchy and they keep on regurgitate those jargons in their projects until new jargons or punches are delivered to them by their boss. In one of the appraisal discussion meeting, my supervisor Ramakant was justifying the rating given to me and I in my usual style was hell-bent to show my dissent. Realizing he was trailing, he picked up his ‘punch’ weapon. He said, “Gopal, You have to show more’ visibility'”. ‘Visibility’ what is this? From head to toe, I was visible and I was not wearing Anil Kapor’s ‘Mr. India’ famous watch which could make a person invisible. I was dumbstruck for the moment and slowly he walked out of the meeting giving a pat on my head as if showing the power of his punch. But the word ‘visibility’ had done its trick. I was distracted from what I was saying. During the course of my stay in the project, I found out that Ramakant had learnt the punch from his boss and his boss from his super boss. In one of the earlier project the punch ‘dependency’ was coded in one of the proteins of the DNA of managers from top to bottom. ‘You should show your dependency’ was the favorite line reverberated in all the project meetings.
In one of the team meeting, I was informed that I would be part of the upcoming new project. When I asked the name of the project, they said, “Application Decommissioning”. It jerked me back on the stiff chair I was seating. The name sounded like the name of any government department or any parliamentary commission .After a month I came to know that the ‘Application Decommissioning’ project had been ‘Descoped’. I am still searching for the meaning of ‘Descoped’. Sometimes these punches can grill till your bone marrow or sometimes it elicits fun out of you. Till last two year I had not heard of ‘Rocket Science’. I knew only Rocket Singh. But last year only I guess I heard ‘Rocket Science’ more than fifty times from the nozzle of my supervisor’s payload mouth. Whenever I said, it would not be possible for me to do that piece of work, he would respond, “Is it a rocket science?” I felt the people who studied rocket science were the most intelligent species on the earth. Then one fine day not fine, a regular day he again sang the same paeans for his ‘rocket science’. I finally said I had not studied rocket science in my graduation but computer science and that too with much pain. The response was not less than a missile for my ‘rocket scientist’ whose eyelids did not blink for a few minutes. But ‘rocket science’ still remained my object of envy.
One day my project lead pinged me on sametime chat and asked “have you done ‘evidence collection’ of your package”? Ah evidence collection? Had my package done any crime or involved in any unlawful act? Or did these evidences need for court proceedings? Later I came to know he wanted screenshots of testing of the package coded by me. It was a simple thing but the way it was described really made it a heavy weight job. These punches really meant a lot in the I.T field. Those who speak more such kind of punches ride faster on the ladders of promotion and position. But I heard the king of all these punches’ two years back in my Chandigarh office from a very senior manager, Mr.Khurana. Can a person with 206 bones and 639 muscles become fluid? Difficult to imagine but yes it is possible in the air conditioned office of an I.T company and if the person involved for this transformation is the senior manager of that company. Once Mr.Khurana came to see an employee. Not finding the employee on his seat, he said ‘This guy is very fluid. It’s difficult to find him ‘. And I burst into laughter to hear the transformation
of human beings both physically as well as mentally from sold to liquid.
This article has been written by Kunal Thakur. He is currently working in TCS as Senior Software Engineer.