Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Indian IT Work Culture

"You are leaving? it's just 5:30...", the most common question people asked at one of the companies I worked at. Why are they asking this I thought, I have been here since 9 and have done more work than what was planned. (oh and not to forget I spent 2 hours on commute each day in the traffic). Some of the team mates stayed late till 11pm. I wondered what do they work on for these long hours? I used to think they must be working hard because they were the ones who were noticed and promoted. One day I had to show my manager the report of work done by me vs them. I had done 5 times more work than what they had. He was shocked to see this as much as I was.

I have heard a lot of similar stories from people who have worked in India. Smoking chai lunch gossiping and chitchat - the day would fly by them. People who are in office for such long hours and have sedentary jobs, when do they exercise, spend time with family/ friends/ hobbies, basically when do they live their life? In the process of evolution nature certainly takes actions on the muscles which are not used. If people in the IT stop exercising then how would the future human generations look? Would 'Wall E' be a truth someday? Why "being available" is more of a 'in thing' than efficiency I thought...

Body is the only thing that we have from the time we are born till the time we die, we must take proper care of it. What they did with their bodies was not my problem but then I had a problem with the assumption that they were working more because they were not and also with the fact that people like me were looked down upon for simply leaving on time (and for having a life!). I thought why isn't this behavior discouraged by the upper management as it spoils the work culture.

There was this quiet thin girl who sat next to me. She worked straight from 9:30 to 5:30. Her work amazed me each day. She was meticulous and her work was detailed, neat and clean. She was organized and of course good with time management. But with her sort of demure personality will her work ever get noticed, will she get opportunities? I worried.
Is it better to deserve a thing than have it rather than having and not deserving it? Because she deserved it more than anyone else. I wouldn't know what happened to her because I left the company.

Should one give in to peer pressure, get exploited? Or stand by their principles?
We have to stand for something otherwise we fall for everything. Having a balanced lifestyle - work, exercise, hobbies and some time with my family and friends was more important to me than any damn opportunities.

I recently read a strong message from Narayan Murthy to Infosys employees on this same topic and felt really good that he noticed and raised his concern. What took him so long to see it? But better late than never. Will this work culture in India ever change? I hope it does!

(You can find the message from Narayan Murthy here -


Priyaranjan Anand Marathe said...


Nitin Ware said...

Perfect analysis of IT work culture in India. Being worked in IT in India for several years, I can relate to above experiences. After coming to US I don't miss the Indian work culture.