Sunday, January 18, 2009

Alternate Career Options for the Beleagured Techie.

I am a software engineer working in Bangalore.. Ta da!! Yep , again, I know this is not the kind of breaking news which would bring frenzied news vans screeching to a halt at my doorstep or have journalists tumbling over each other to thrust microphones up my nostrils. This is merely the plain vanilla fact of the day- I am a software engineer , who works with a leading MNC that pays you just about enough to eat three square meals every day and buy a new toothbrush every other month. Like me there are millions of techies here, swarming all over the place like moths attracted to the IT lantern. That is not unusual because out here, becoming a software engineer is not really difficult. To graduate as a software engineer ,
  • You have to bear 4 years in a trauma center learning engineering and in the bargain survive a minimum of 8 rounds of torture, writing imaginary stories in the examination hall.

  • If the stories you cooked up were really good, you are awarded with excellent grades and along with it a roll of honor certifying you as the 'Best Chef of the Semester'.

  • If you go on to acquire top grades, then you are eligible to let yourself get a dogmatic rubber stamp branded on your bums, that spells 'Tested OK, Distinction' .

  • All the mice with brandmarked posteriors get to stand first in line to be gobbled up by smiling Cheshire cats, disguised as 'Campus IT Recruiters'.

  • If you are tasty mice, then you are recruited. Congratulations and welcome aboard. You are a software pro.

  • Thank you sirs and ma'ms. Your life is now a soap opera.

That's it. Simple right? Now, I don't want to be seen as the latest applicant for the post of the village cynic ( considering that I was earmarked for the post of the village idiot) . So let me switch on the exhaust fans and clear the air about engineers being an unhappy lot. Make no mistake, software engineers are 'happy' staring at computer screens all day, smashing foreheads against their keyboards and occasionally singing love sonnets to their code compilers, cajoling it to get to work. When not sipping Cappuccinos, when not practising table tennis serves, when not reading tabloids, when not debating on the vital statistics of the new hottie in office , when not idling away time and blaming the world for it- we techies pride ourselves in creating some amazing technologies that change the face of the world.

All said, every now and then however, there is this momentary flicker of thought which flashes across many a techie's overworked minds. It is like an irritating buzzing fly which you want to swat immediately with the nearest available roll of newspaper, but cannot. The buzzing fly says "Hey am I being a moron, sitting here and slogging my ass off in this way to earn my crumbs of money? Or is there an easier, better, faster and fun way of earning bigger bucks" ? No matter how passionate the techie is about his/her work, he would have certainly met this buzzing fly at least once in his/her computing lifetime. Some of them would have ignored this fly, others would have swatted it and still others would have simply asked it to 'buzz off'. I met the buzzing fly today. So rather than chase it away, or let it fall inside my cup of Cappuccino, I decided to take a moment off and answer it. Earning more (or at least equal) bucks with lesser pain in the ass is the objective eh? So be it. After a discourse with my talkative conscience, I have arrived at the following alternate career options for the beleaguered IT soul. If you promise not to throw empty flower vases at me, I am willing to outline and share those alternate career options with you. Here you go:

1) Bank Robber: The de- facto profession for you to achieve the insta-rags to riches status. Designed, developed and tested extensively by our forefathers, this method would have been the easiest and quickest way of earning money without breaking much of a sweat. However, today we are reeling under a severe economic crunch. The banks would not have much money stashed away in their lockers to make a decent steal. So, this erstwhile method of earning money has unfortunately run of steam today. Heck! I'm sure the robbers are richer and well off than the banks these days. So with a heavy heart and profound reluctance, I would like to sidestep this profession and move on to option number 2.

2)Weatherman: Is there any other job in the world wherein you see your calculations go horrifically wrong more than half of the time and still get to hold on to your job with peanut-eating nonchalance? I mean you predict a bright sunny picnic day, then sit back and see your predictions being washed away by cats and dogs raining down from Heavens, and surprise surprise... your job is as safe as a Swiss Bank locker. If anyone ever approaches you and asks for an explanation about the climatic mood-swings, you can get away by telling him/her that the Earth didn't rotate properly last night and the orbit needs lubrication. I wonder what Six-sigma, CMMI and other bull-shitting quality-compliance models have to say about this one!

3)Cricket Umpire: To be an international cricket umpire , you should be a senile old man armed with a medical certificate that proves you to be legally blind in one eye and blissfully deaf in both the ears. Add to the list of symptoms, an allergy towards the cricket rule book and sudden attacks of amnesia upon hearing a chorus of 'Howzzzzaaaat' shouts. But don't let these poorly precedented specimens discourage you from achieving your goal. Go ahead and be a young, fit umpire. And when in doubt, show 'em the finger!

4)Film Critic: Ah this is my kind of job. Your employer pays you handsomely to park your ass in an air conditioned theatre, watch flicks and stuff yourself with caramel popcorn week after week. You then go on air and tell the world that the best part of the movie was the intermission. Next, you puncture a hole or two in the screenplay, suggest to the audience that the movie script can be used as tissue paper, and lament the fact that the heroine didn't show enough cleavage. Voila! your movie review is complete. Now would you hand over my fat paycheck and remove the fly out of my champagne glass please? Thank you.

5)Artist (specializing in modern art) : Pardon me ,oh art connoisseurs, for my blasphemous ridicule of Modern Art...but this is one arena whose existence I've always failed to decipher. I mean I fail to understand why people would care to fork out billions of dollars to buy something that looks like a two-year old's first crayon scribbling? Without waiting for replies, I have ready started my career as a modern artist. To start with, yesterday I bought two whole cans of Asian Paints emulsifiers and with one toss, splashed them over a white canvas. To my artistic eye, my classic debut painting looks like two amorous amoebas having sex with each other. Depending on the price its going to fetch, I will decide upon a suitable title. You are welcome to start bidding immediately.

My room is a modern art gallery beyond compare. For example, I have a bedroom wall with entrails of recently squashed mosquitoes postered all over. It is a work of beauty. Due to lack of time, I couldn't reproduce this work on canvas. If any modern artist is interested, he/she is welcome to contact me and we'll haggle over the price, royalty and the sponsorship of mosquito repellents.

OK, people, I need to run back to my pigeon-hole... err I mean the cubicle to complete some coding and unit testing. I am happy that I have shared with you my conversations with the buzzing fly:-) As I near the end my rant session, I would like to leave you with the true, famous lines by the great poet Robert Frost to motivate you all :

"The woods are lovely, treacherous, dark and deep...

I have got promises and project deliveries to keep...

I have got lines to code before I sleep...

I have got miles to go before I sleep...

Doesn't matter 'coz I've got insomnia anyway, you creep... "

Love and Best Wishes,



Satyajit said...

Ha ha... another very funny post... ...I think we all could have give a try in reviving bank robbery.. ha ha...

Good one, mate.

Gitanjali said...

Had Robert Frost read 'your' poem, he would have drowned himself :) ha ha

Hilarious blog. was laughing out loud all the way. You are a certified nut, and a creative one. Keep posting

Kanika Gupta said...

The post was entertaining & hilarious.
You sure can get creative in your expression!