Monday, December 30, 2013

The Corporate Story, Inside Out ( Part 1)

We were running like hell. Sweating, panting, tongues out, running. It was a typical July morning, hot, humid. Our shirts were drenched and we were stinking like hell. But we had other things to worry about. Already 30 minutes late, our destination was still far. We knew we were dead. We were just so dead. We just ran and ran, my friend and I. We could have given Usain Bolt a run for his money that day. Finally, 15 minutes later, we were there.

Guard at the Entrance: han sir, boliye kya kaam hai? (Yes sir, tell me the purpose of your visit.)
Me: bhaiya , aaj pehla din hai. (Sir, today is our first day.)
Guard: acha acha. Idhar sign kar dijiye. Fir seedhe chale jaiye. Left se dusra kamra. (Okay okay. Just sign here. Then go straight. 2nd room on the left.)

45 minutes late, we headed for the door, ready to be beheaded. Before entering, we just stopped for a moment to compose ourselves, if at all it mattered. We had surrendered to the fact that we were going to be thrown out in the next few moments.

Pushing the door with all my might (pun intended), I entered first. And there, before us, laid a vast sea of eyes scanning us from top to bottom. Never in my life, had I felt more exposed. But we deserved every bit of this attention, I can tell you that. Shirts half out, trousers falling down, drenched in sweat from head to toe and wearing that stupid-ly confused expression. “Look at Us” was stamped on our foreheads that day, in red, in caps. Then, a lady sitting there finally broke the silence. 
Lady: Yes? May I help you?
Me: Oh yes, we are the new joinees.
Lady: [Surprised] Do you know what time is it?
Me: [Nervously] Ma’am, we’re really sorry, but actually, we got lost while coming here.
Lady: What do you mean by lost? Where had you been?
Me:  Everywhere, but here.
At this, the whole class burst into laughter.
Lady: Oh! No worries. Please enter. Have some water and….. Welcome to Eftarn &Waengsow.

6 months later, the memory of that day still lingers on. The first day at E&W. Feels just like yesterday. So much happened in these 6 months. Made new friends (still not a girlfriend, damn!), learnt the tricks and trade of this I.T. industry (still learning), fell in love with this job, then broke up (not even friends now).  And most importantly, became free, independent. There was so much to tell, so much to write. But surprisingly and disappointingly, the last blog's date stamp shows that it’s been more than 5 months since I last scribbled on this window side. 5 months is a long, long time. Not that I didn’t miss it. Over the course of these 5 months, countless drafts were written that unfortunately, could never see the light of the day. Some went straight to the bin, some got lost midway and some vomited and choked to their death. Those which did manage to avoid these tragedies, were brutally rejected (murdered) by my wonderfully heartless friends, being dismissed as “too much shit to be posted.”  Until, this attempt. So finally after 5 months, here I am, to tell you the complete inside out story of life at E&W.

Okay so from where do I start my so-far-so-shit-corporate story? After the unforgettable first day, the following week was spent trying to know more about the company, its culture, its people. And the more I got to know about the company, the more it disappointed me.  The company (its infrastructure) is painstakingly pathetic, the culture, uptight. You know, when your company boasts of being more than 20 year old, being well established, you expect some decent infrastructure to support the tall claims. And, here you make your first mistake.

Infrastructure: a Glance

1. Machines

Expectation: As a developer, the first thing you expect is a good, updated machine to work on. After all, you don’t want your machine to give up (before you).

What you get: 20 year old desktops. My home desktop could easily beat those. 10 applications and down goes your machine on its knees, pleading to stop the torture, or in the worst case, drops dead.

Verdict: Disappointing!

2. Internet

Expectation:  If you are an IT professional, internet is your oxygen. A good internet connection is such a positive boost to have at your workplace. After all, in order to code fast, you have to google faster.

What you get: Absolutely 3rd class internet. Even a BSNL connection can beat that hands down. And on top of that, all the social networking sites, e -commerce sites and every 3rd site has been blocked. And here I was thinking the college days were behind me.

Verdict:  Incredibly depressing!

3. Cafeteria

Expectation: After your workstation, cafeteria is the place, where you spend most of your time. So a big, well lit, cafeteria with some good food is a bare minimum expectation. After all, only a quality time off leads to quality time on work.

What you get: Small, cramped place where people have to wait to get seats during lunch time. Is it Starbucks or what! Food is nowhere good and the ambiance is boring.

Verdict: Just not up to the mark!  

4. Recreation Room

Expectation: You know there should be a place in the office to unwind. A place to de-stress. A place where you could play games like table tennis, carom board or chess. A place to where you could watch television. A place where you could play music maybe. A place to just liven it up.

What you get: A table tennis table, 2 carom boards and nothing else. Also, the table and the carom boards are accessible only after office hours.

Verdict: FML!

5. Location

Expectation: Well, you expect your office to be easily reachable. And you want a decent public transport connectivity to/from your office.

What you get: A campus in the middle of nowhere. No transport, no nearby hangout places.

Verdict: Upsetting to say the least!

6. Transport

Expectation: Since the office is located in in the heart of the city (pun intended), a good transport service is a must. Imagine paying to go to a god forsaken place, everyday!

What you get: Not the from-the-door pickup, but the bus service provided at free of cost, by the company is just fine.

Verdict: Just about Okay!

7. Medical Facilities

Expectation: A sick room with a nice warm bedding, in case you are not feeling well, in case the hangover from the last night is still there, in case you are feeling sleepy, and in case you just don’t want to work. And oh, not to forget a well stocked first aid kit, always at disposal.

What you get: None of the above mentioned. All they have is a little box going by the name of First Aid Kit.

Verdict:  Downright Ugly!

So overall, the verdict is that the infrastructure provided just sucks. Big time! And what’s worth noticing is that most of these are a matter of applying sense rather than money. Think about it. A good internet connection, less blocked sites, good machines, a separate recreation room, a spare room with a bedding, how much would all that cost? Surely not an ortho lot for a company of this stature and resources. But what can we do about it?

Anyways, I think I will call it an end here, but it’s not finished yet. Yes, it’s not finished anytime soon. In the coming articles, I will cover some of the most distinguished people I met, girls who impressed, the culture and the life in a day at E&W. So until next time, ciao!

                                                                                                                              *To Be Continued

Post Script: So how is your company fare in all these areas? Would love to hear from you guys. As far as the rest of the articles are concerned, they will be out soon. Till then, keep an eye on this window side.