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Ash. Spiritual. Happy in my own way. Writes Random Stuff. Ice Cream. Night owl. Ice Cream, again.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The IT Way of Life.



Stressed. Depressed. But always well dressed.

This is what the world says about IT professionals.

I recently came across an article where it has been remarked that IT professionals did not have the concept of evening time. The more I thought to myself about it, the more sense it made. We get up in the morning, a few of us are lucky enough to find time for workout and then we hurriedly freshen up to leave for work. What happens during the rest of the day is slightly blurred. When people from Non-IT field prepare to leave at 5 that is when we head over to the cafeteria for a break. If we are lucky enough, we would be home just before our family decides to call it a day and retire for the night. We come back famished, hog whatever is edible and whatever we set our eyes on, wait for a while and then hit the bed.
Image Courtesy : FreeDigitalPhotos

This same cycle goes on for the 5 working days of the week. That is why weekends are the most eagerly awaited and the most hyped about. Earlier I used to look forward to weekends for catching up a movie or hanging out with friends or for some mandatory retail therapy. But all I want to do these days it sit at home, catch up with all the sleep that I’ve had to sacrifice, catch up with all the home food that I’ve had to miss and watch some horrible movie or reality show within the comforts of my home and my couch. This is perhaps my way to recharge my batteries because I know I have to go through the same cycle all over again, in the weeks, months and years to come.

It is when my friends plan for a movie in the weekday, or when there is a party during the week or any such important event to which I am forced to say no to because of demanding work schedules, the realization hits me hard. The realization that I’ve to sacrifice my personal time in the name of flexible extended work hours. Most of us would blame the fact that our work locations are at the outskirts of the city. To travel 20 to 30 kms, one way, every day is not an easy task even if you are travelling by the office buses. So even if I clock the exact number of hours every day, I end up spending almost 4 hours on travel. If only the travel time can be spent more usefully, I always wonder.

The grass is not greener at the other side either. When I talk to friends whose work locations are within the city, they crib about how they are forcefully asked to extend work hours just because they have the luxury of travelling by their own conveyance or because it hardly takes an hour to get home or just because no one else seems to be moving from their workstations.  This is what happens normally: you clock the required amount of hours and leave when you are done. On some days you have a deadline to meet and decide to put in some extra hours just because you want to have the satisfaction of a job well done. This slowly becomes a habit. The minute you realize what you’ve gotten into, you try coming out of it, but you’ve inadvertently set a trend and now not only you, but even others around you are obliged to follow the trend.

As we get ourselves into all this, I wonder if it is all worth it. Yes, I earn well to take a grand holiday every year. But what matters more is being there with my family and friends on those rare occasions and sharing a smile and laughter. Yes, I earn well to treat myself to a delicious meal. But what matters more is eating home-cooked food prepared lovingly by my mom or something which I take time to prepare, and which I can take time to relish. Yes I might be eligible for taking leaves as and when I wish. But what matters more is being at home during festivals, enjoying quality time with family and friends, rather than hurriedly finishing up the rituals and heading to office on a holiday to finish up some (highly critical)work.  

I wouldn’t exactly come to the conclusion that it is not worth it. I still keep wondering, but I don’t see myself coming to a definite conclusion. At some levels it is. At some levels it isn’t. It’s as simple as that. It all depends on our perspective. It all depends on our priorities. It all depends on what we want from work and life. I would be a hypocrite if I said this life was totally monotonous. There are a few high points as well; perhaps they don’t seem to stand out in the sea of other not-so-high-points. This is perhaps why people say do what you love, your work will be enjoyable. For those who aren’t lucky enough, they’ve to learn to love what they’re doing. It might not be the panacea, but it might help you improve your outlook.

Coming back to square one: whether it is worth it, only time will tell.


54 comments:

  1. So true! My sister is also in IT and I can understand every bit of your post! True to its core. Its time I brace myself for the very same experiences! :)

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    1. Hope you dont have to go through all of what we did! :-)

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  2. People work in the IT segment (in spite of the disadvantages) because they feel they stand to gain more than what they lose.

    Destination Infinity

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  3. When it becomes unbearable, break from it. Until then, enjoy it.

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    1. If things were as simple as that :-)

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  4. Replies
    1. A fellow IT professional would definitely know :-)

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  5. This is so much true, and you really feel the pinch of IT life when as a mother you have to take care of your toddler and you are taking status calls behind the closed doors of your bedroom and your kid is banging on the door demanding to be let in! Sigh! Been there, done that! A very pertinent post that I can relate to Ashwini

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    1. Tell me about it. I admire married women and mothers who beautifully manage work and home, or so it seems. Hats of to every one of them!

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  6. Oh poor IT people. Tears dropping from my eyes in sympathy for them. Every other field requires the same amount of dedication and long work hours as IT people. At least here in USA.

    In India, Flight Stewardess and Steward think they are a cut above other people because they fly every day and stay in star hotels. What they actual do is a waitress job. (They may say they are the people who rescue the passengers during emergency. But that time is very very rare.) I am not against waitress job. They do hard work every day.

    It is pure pompous.

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    1. I have spared the readers from a few other common practices like working over the weekends, continuously and a few other things. But yes, every field requires hardwork and dedication. I'm not saying I wont put in extra hours at the time of crisis, but when it becomes a habit, one gets annoyed.

      And if a person feels it's worth all the effort, then there is no problem. The problem arises when a person feels it is completely not worth it!

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  7. How true! I see this happening all around me every single day. And I believe, it's better to travel for 2-4 hours instead of staying nearby and get loaded with work. Atleast in those few hours, one gets to unwind by observing people, listening to music and reading books. Since the day I have completed my graduation, I hardly get time to read properly.

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    1. The travel is no longer a luxury when you've been used to it for 2 years, stuck in traffic jams with people honking all around you, with hardly an energy left and totally drained.

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  8. I will only look at the good side and then take a loooooong vacation :D

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  9. People have the same work timings everywhere..my husband always worked like this though he is not in IT and even today at a very senior position, its same..I think most of the responsible people have to work hard, otherwise the scenario will be what is there in govt. offices..nothing gets done..

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    1. The problem is when people think those who stay an hour late are the ones who are actually doing the work. The work must be measured by the output quality and not by the number of hours spent.

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  10. It all depends on our perspective. It all depends on our priorities. It all depends on what we want from work and life. I would be a hypocrite if I said this life was totally monotonous.//

    Beauty lady. Perfectly put. Im reading a blogpost after god knows how long - certainly glad i bumped into urs

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    1. Glad to know you're back :-) Looking forward to reading your posts and experiences too. Thank you :-)

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  11. Hit the nail on the head Ashwini.. What you have mentioned is something I went through in the first 2 years of my career. We want to do well for the firm who's paying us and we end up staying for long hours every day and even check mails and work from home (I did this).. I used to check mail first thing in the morning and last thing in the night.. But now things have changed (and for the better).. So to answer your question, you will have to prioritize what important for you on that day (which includes work and personal stuff) and make a calculated decision.. :)

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    1. Exactly. Prioritizing is the key to taking the right decisions. Thank you :-)

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  12. All from personal experience Ashwini.. Pls dont take this as a lecture (even I am from IT, so can exactly understand whats happening)..

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    1. Oh not at all. Glad to see you shared your experience :-)

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  13. I guess it is the same in almost all fields. It depends on what your priorities are. I have worked in Pharma companies for a decade and I remember a colleague, she would leave at sharp 5.30, come what may, people gave her weird looks initially but then it all stopped and was replaced with awe and admiration.

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    1. I appreciate that. People coming and getting their work done and leaving on time without taking unnecessary breaks as others and staying up late for that.

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  14. This post has been selected for the Tangy Tuesday Picks this week. Thank You for an amazing post! Cheers! Keep Blogging :)

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  15. Well put, but isn't it the same in other fields also? However, at the end of it, I go with your question ... is it worth it?

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  16. Yes much depends on matters of perspective. But I wonder why is it not that a time bound working hours is not enforced in the IT?

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    1. It wont. It never would be. Leave time bound working hours, they shouldnt ask employees to work during the weekends first.

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  17. You summed it up very well Ashwini:)

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  18. This question haunts me as well... I always think about if its worth it to be stepping into that life... the life with a promise of greater joys and luxurious plans on the cost of working round the clock missing on the little joys of life...I couldnot settle for an answer and din't appear for any interview for campus placement...I hope I get my answer at least by the time I finish masters...:)
    You helped make the picture more clear and rational.. Great write up..:)

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  19. Every bit of it is so true! Some of my cousins are already feeling the pressure working in an IT firm. It never easy...travelling, deadlines and then trying to balance your personal and professional life. Its challenging but not impossible as well. *Oh did i forget to tell...I have been recently placed in IT as well*. Loved your write up Ashwini. You rock! <3
    And, i recently wrote a post too about how people around are are so busy and just forget to live their present while trying to build their future. Have a look when you get time :) http://ashishrathorescience.blogspot.in/2014/04/carpe-diem.html

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    1. Thank a lot Ashish :-)

      Will definitely drop by!

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  20. Thanks a lot Jemina :-) Hope you take the right decision. Good luck :-)

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  21. Bang on Ash. I guess it all comes down to how much love and balance one is investing in the things that one is doing and also the motivational force governing one's life. I simply loved your concluding para, you summed it all so well!

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    1. Thank you Arti :-). Yes, one can never generalize.

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  22. Uff so many things are so true here. Having a hubby who works in the IT sector, I agree. Now that both of us are self-employed, we get a better quality of life and more breathing space.

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    1. Yea, Good for you :-). The quality of life really matters!

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  23. Tough life... I suppose it is tough to have the cake and eat it too!

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  24. Have been there, have seen it all Ash. But IT fol ks all over the world are not overworked. We Indians have been briged by petty things like post officers with ac, nice canteens etc and have brought in an unwritten code in IT companies that have sort of become the norm. Unfair estimations and deadlines plus lack of the appropriate resources adds to it. End of it your first line holds very true

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    1. *bribed by petty things like posh offices

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  25. I know Jaish. Sometimes when they set unrealistic schedules and refuse to face the reality it gets worse.

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  26. Indians do this more.
    They are bent upon pleasing and pleasing, competing with friends and what not.

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  27. Been there .. Done that .. And then said enough is enough .. I was lucky enough to stumble by a stream of work within IT that I liked doing and ensured work life balance .. I really hated that one year of grill mill when I went through it .. Your post has evoked a lot of thoughts in my mind .. Maybe I will write about this too :)
    BTW, this is my first time here .. Liked your writing and thoughts !

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  28. Welcome to my blog! Glad that you liked it :-).

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  29. Valid points, Ashwini. Agree.
    As an ex-s/w professional, I can totally identify with this...

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