Author: Adeeb A. Karim
Company: McFadyen Consulting Solution
Human beings started adopting employment as it evolved as the most convenient way of meeting monitory needs and due to the predictability it brings. Various forms of employment enables us with various virtues as long as we are successful in achieving prescribed goals. For employees, it was always a question on how long one can be successful
in bringing stated results and how to survive after the employer finds them not so effective. In general these events are inevitable for allsort of employments, in particular managing this chaos of IT and ITES employment is yet to be well discussed.
The IT and ITES sector is relatively a new sector in India and itsfirst generation of ex-employees are yet to be out. I am doubtful onwhether our society is fully prepared to receive them. The transitionfrom a highly paid, mostly occupied and privileged employed life to retirement life and surviving with a lots of free time may become a practical question for many of us sooner than later. The concept of welfare states, mostly influenced or challenged by European socialist thoughts, proposed the idea of state support and pensions as an answer to the management of employee lives. The idea was driven on a broader understanding that human beings are social beings and we need to address common issues via collective and collaborative initiatives.
The concept of welfare state itself does not really exist now or is in the path of its withdrawal. Most of the states now wants to believe that it should get rid of services and exist as a pure monitoring and guidance agency that facilitates effective investment and return of various forms of capital. This shift in thought process made the responsibility of ensuring the credibility of an individual, both financially and socially, as the responsibility of self. The suggestion is to invest when one is effective and survive on that when he becomes ineffective, mostly in terms of tangible and intangibleassets. There are various capital options presented to us like insurance, investments on financial capital etc. as a way for it. This proposal sounds logical in first parse, but when we take a deeper look we can find that it lacks humanity as it tends to measure effectiveness of a human being in terms of his individual ability to acquire, spend and store capital/assets. Also I am doubtful whether this approach in general is doing justice to the relationships of an individual, as his existence as a non-social being does not make any real sense. This concerns are more important and injurious to employees of IT and ITES sector compared to normal employees as the most important thing an IT or ITES employee offers to his employer is his time and mind.
Benefits of IT job, how long one can survive in it and how to survive after that may not be seen in isolation, rather, it should be linked and analysed in the larger context of various stages of life. Such an analysis may enable us to revisit our priorities to be equipped for effectively usage of job period , sharing the virtues of it and to help ourselves to find comfortable time after job. Our civilisation had a fare analysis on the life cycle of human beings. In general, we used to categorize our life cycle into four phases – student phase, house hold phase, retired phase and renounced phase (Brahmacharya, Grihasthashrama, Vanaprastha, Sanyasa). These phases are thought to be well acknowledged when it helps one to achieve appreciation of right, attainment of right wealth, realisation of right pleasure and finally a smooth liberation from everything
(Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha). Though there may be debates on the aims of life, I believe, an analysis on how an IT or ITES employee goes through or impacts the four life phases may help us to have an effective review.
The child hood phase of a human being is mostly dependent on the people around him. Knowledge acquisition and finding inputs for values happens during this phase. An employee appears in the role of a parent or mentor to this phase of life. In particular and IT professional appears to be a busy parent to the young ones going through this
phase. Stretching our lives between deadlines and wins, most of the time, we miss to take up the responsibility of providing the right care and guidance to our next generation. Instead of providing personal attention, we tend to bridge it with best products we can be buy for them. These products may range from electronic gadgets to events which indirectly kills their time as well. Such negligence may result in building a mechanical relationship between parents and children. A realignment of professional and personal priorities may be inevitable for most of us who pay less attention to our personal contribution towards the younger ones around us.
House Hold Phase:
In the house hold phase mostly an individual forms his character, ethics and values based on the foundation of student phase. Mostly in this phase we emerges as an individual and tries to make our own footprints in this world. This is also a phase most of us enters in to a family life and employment. Significantly, we play the role of a family person as well as social being in this phase, in addition to our professional side. I think we need to discuss a bit of how an IT professional behaves in this phase. Though IT professionals are considered to be masters of knowledge assets, the most important asset we are investing is our time. We are one of the most unorganized sects who does not really
care about how we spent time though we mostly finds ourselves in calendars. The growing need of market readiness and false projections makes most of us to spend long hours on work. To make ourselves more comfortable we used to try to make work place a fun place and wants us to believe that we are enjoying every bit of it. We tend to compromise our responsibilities to family and society and finds it comfortable to be at work. The pay we gets is ample compared to our fellow citizens. The ability to earn money without doing any forms of corruption makes us proud internally. But, these benefits alone may not help us to be a good human. One side we are well paid and the other side we are leaving ourselves to definitions. Though we are not corrupt, via addiction to definitions most of us happens to be unjust to those around us, though it is not explicit. I know, most of us will be surprised on what I am saying; but I find that most of us lives in a world which is bit fabricated and build on top of our good spending ability. This can be well understood by analyzing our spending patterns – most of us tend to invest in insurance, shares, enjoyment packages, charity packages and beverages and tries to believe that these makes our life package fruitful. I found that most of these are made upon advice than realizing the need of them. We tend to get rid of the real world and restrict ourselves towards a small world that is well advertised and can be bought. This looks fine as far as we are credible to afford all these; when the credibility reduces, most of these may backfire. Most importantly as we are investing money instead of time on family and society, the returns may also be in terms of money – impact of which we can discuss during rest of the life phases.
Retired phase may be the phase we finds ourselves less productive, but, still we may be able to survive with our surplus assets. IT professionals may have dreams to convert themselves to freelancers, consultants, mentors, employers or even farmers during this phase. The relations we might have developed with the society should help us to be successful in this phase. But, in my understanding, most of us used to be self-centric during our house hold phase and the response we may get from the society may not be that so encouraging. The effectiveness of us may be measured in terms of the assets and returns we acquired; which may start disturbing us sooner than later. I believe, the need to invest in society and building relationship with fellow citizens is equally important to our professional life, to avoid such a passive acceptance to us.
Renounced phase may be the phase where we may be forced to look back to the path we really travelled. Every individual may be looking for smiling phase, a simple chat or a helping hand in this phase. The depth of relationships we have built with our children or family members or friends may be reflecting back to us at this stage. I am expecting a passing response here also, since we mostly invested in terms of money and most of us use to give less importance to relationship building during our house hold phase as well as on those who were going through their student phase around us. At their part, they may tend to justify by spending money on us, as a return, which we may not be interested at that point of time compared to a personal nod.
Money Back Policy vs Life Back Policy:
You may be thinking that I am not optimistic and I am spreading an atmosphere of discomfort over our profession in general. As we are the most unorganized set of employees, it is our responsibility to be aware of the stages we are going through and the issues we may have to phase in near feature in a theoretical perspective. I was trying to glimpse us through four phases of life to emphasise the need of work life balance and the need of us to share our virtues to the society. So far we have been advised on how to effectively invest on money back schemes. Let us think about something different that makes our lives more meaningful to us and others around us.
Before getting in to my view on how we should use the virtues of IT industry so that its benefits can be usefully utilized to make the life after job comfortable, I wish to present some incidents that may be interesting. Around ten years back, I was working in Chennai and I happen to visit one of my friends who was working in Bangalore. When I went to his house there was a house maid and she was of Tamil origin. During our conversation she told me that because of people like me they are not able to survive. I was shocked and asked her why she thinks so. She told, her father’s farm land was handed over to build an IT city against a very good price, but the money vanished in two-three years and they realized late that they lost their permanent source of income for money. Later she along with her family used to work as house maids to earn her bread, but, when she tries to bargain in a market vendors tries to refuse it as there were a good number of IT professionals who used to buy things for whatever price they say. She also shown me an example of an auto riksha; a middle class man was trying to hire the riksha to city, he was about to get in and to smartly dressed guys called the driver from a distance telling that we will offer Rs. 100 and they wanted to go to city. The driver left the first guy to get 100 bugs. She said similar things used to happen quite often and common men are also forced to pay in line with well-paid IT professionals as IT professionals does not really value money. After several years, in 2008, I managed to get a job with Infosys -Trivandrum, in an effort to relocate myself to my home state. I used to catch auto riksha from Karyavattom University campus to Bhawani building. One day none of the auto riksha’s were in stand and I hired a riksha which was going towards to Kazhakoottom. After reaching Bhawani, he demanded me Rs. 80, whereas I used to pay just Rs. 20 usually. He argued me that I am well paid and why I am reluctant to pay, I also requested the help of security personal in front of Bhawani, but his response was also in same line. These incidents was so convincing to me and I realized that rest of the world just see IT professional as a money making machines. When we analyse this is because we mostly interact with rest of the world in terms of money. Another incident was with my own parents. They both are retired teachers. Once my mother got admitted in a hospital in critical situation and I was wandering here and there for some sort of information. To my surprise, the doctor was my father’s student and things became very comfortable. I used to observe the acceptance they used to get in every walk of life and realized that it is the return of the personal investment and interest they have shown in the society. I am mentioning this to emphasize the need of us to build healthy relationship with the society in general. In my reading, the need of the hour for us is to effectively distribute our time between work, home and society and to build lasting relations with family members. Rather than investing money in funds and insurance, I believe a collective investment in building a local production sectors may help us to become active participants of nation building and society will be directly benefited from our assets and knowledge. This will also enable us to build lasting relationship with the ones living around us and may lead to more successful life on and after job.
A life back policy over a money back policy may be more appropriate for mastering the needs of IT and ex-IT professionals. What we need to have for any such social interference is an effective platform. Here also, I believe, we can learn from our ancestors. We need to start a co-operative society and have to use it as a vehicle for making effective investment in non-IT sector. It should also help us to migrate from IT industry after 10-20 years of service or we are done with it. We can think it in similar lines as what ex-Service men are doing among us via their associations. This will also lead to have a collective platform to identify, debate and address issues and problems that we have to commonly take up. This initiative may make more sense as we are not protected by any laws for protection of our jobs – with a 2-3 months’ notice/pay any one of us can be easily jobless.