Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fall in IT, or Rise

The Hindu recently published a somewhat provocative article titled "Are IT people the fall guys?" written by one who has been working in the IT sector for seven years.

The article, and the many comments and subsequent "Letters to the Editor" (here, here and here), express varied viewpoints about the Knowledge Industry versus traditional occupations.

The IT and private Services sector, just like the salaried government workers of the last century, is the new middle class of India. It was easy to predict the worldview of the middle class then, and it is easy to do so now. The parameters have changed slightly, but as before, success for a middle class person is achieved by hard work, listening to the boss, subservience, patience, and following the rules. Thrift is no longer a virtue, though.

The parents of most people in the IT sector belong to the salaried and middle classes. Such parents tried to make sure their children studied hard, did not indulge in immorality, got a degree from a college, and understood the value of money. Risk-taking was not encouraged.

Here is my unsolicited advice to the frustrated IT employee, the author of the above article being one.
  • Read something other than popular fiction and popular non-fiction. Read the classics, or the Nobel winners. Harry Potter is not a book for adults.
  • Travel to small nondescript towns and villages for a vacation, or to a famous university town, not all the time to Goa or Disneyland.
  • Take the stairs in the office. All the time.
  • Shun cheap beer, company party or no company party.
  • Keep a dumb phone.
  • Fuckin' boycott mainstream cinema, fast food, red bull, IPL and assorted drugs.
  • Throw out the telly.
  • Cook something simple everyday. And walk a mile after dinner.
  • Be a seven-eleven person. Wake up by seven, and go to bed by eleven. Let it be something worthy, or beautiful which keeps you awake at night, not a bad routine.
  • Drink lots of water, green tea, unsweetened juice. Regard Coke as a load of cock, and Sprite as shite.
  • Learn investing and money management.
  • On a free day, visit a police station or a hospital or a court. It will be much more memorable and insightful than visiting the same stores in the mall.
  • Subscribe to a proper magazine, not Flimfare or Cosmo or some other ad-infested joke.
  • Create something. Write, even if just a review. Photograph. Paint. Play.
  • If you have nothing to do on a rainy day, do nothing. Watch the rain. Don't log on to facebook and start chatting, for fuck's sake. Show your middle finger to Zuckerberg and Zinga and ZooZoos.
  • Vote: Local, State and Nation. Know your representatives at all levels. Most don't even know their MP.
  • Spell, and punctuate. Diss dis'ing.
  • If you don't know enough about an issue, then study. First learn, and then form an opinion. Be it global warming, GM foods, vanishing tigers or turtles, Pakistan, Corruption, Reservations, Feminism. These are complex issues, and your uninformed opinion doesn't count.
  • Be politically incorrect at times. Say something authentic which drops a bomb on a pretentious polite conversation. Question deeply, and don't just troll.
  • Understand that your boss is as much a victim of you, as you are a victim of him. Both of you are victims of economic forces much beyond your control. Stop whining and start understanding.
  • Look at the faces of your housekeeping staff, the security guards, the waiters, the auto-wallahs, the beggars, the vegetable sellers, the checkout clerks, the drivers. You don't have to respond, or to smile. But look! Don't remain in your cocoon.
  • Simplify your gadget and media heavy life.
  • Be a man, or a woman. Not a kid or an adolescent or worse. Let not working in the service industry make you facile or servile or infantile.
  • Know your heritage, history and heretics.
In short, take back your life from all the brainwashers, time hijackers, dope-pushers, health-hazards, leisure-sappers, money-grubbers and their ilk. Stand tall amongst the ruins. To hell with mediocrity and conformity AND non-conformity. Non-conformity is just another form of conformity if you don't know why you are rebelling.

Make the Gods proud that you inhabit the earth.


Anonymous said...

"Do according to the specifications handed to you" is the mantra of the IT folks and the farm peasants. It defines them. Your advice is shallow because it kills the IT guy and the peasant farmer even before they commit suicide.

Sridhar said...

Great post as usual. I've become one of your regular readers I guess. I would add the following to your list:

* Leave in the evening when you think you're done for the day. Don't stick around aimlessly just because your peers and bosses don't have a life outside of work.

* Have friends and activity partners outside of work, try to separate work and personal life, a bit. The "Office" in India is often a messy amalgam of work place, social activity place, partner/spouse finding place etc.

pankaj said...

Quite inspiring. Problem is, each one of those suggestions apply to me.

Sudesh Bainsla said...

I think your advice is rock solid for those who really want their life back.

Tarun Kohli said...

Insightful post as usual.

Anonymous said...

Great suggestions Harman.. but you know what is problem of people who work in IT/Service industry?? They don’t know what they want, why they are doing what they are doing..IT/Service industries make slaves and these slaves are so drained that they don’t have stamina to work on suggestions after stressful long working hours, long and exhaustive comminuting hours and demanding family life.
but still worth following suggestions.