Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Indian IT industry

To say that the Indian IT industry is a gigantic fraud of biblical proportions would be an understatement. Anyone who has worked in the Indian IT industry ("consulting" as they call it) will tell you that a mechanic with a roadside shop is probably a better car "consultant" compared to IT "consultants" in India. At least the car consultant does a decent days work.

People who have learned the art of fraud well are called "experienced". These are the kind of people who have lost their soul and self esteem after working for 5-10 years in the IT industry. 10 of the best years of their lives - gone, vanished. The kind of people who ask "what is your platform, coding language and tool ?? " even before they get to know your name.

Given the hierarchy followed in the Indian IT companies ( Jr. Analyst, Analyst, Sr.Analyst, Ass. Man, Manager, Ex-Man, VP, Partner), it is difficult to say if the fraud is a top down approach or bottom up approach. I will explain.

The partners and the VP's and the Managers... their job is only to sell the project to the client by using phrases like "adding value", "performance delivered","Market capture", "increase sales & profits" etc. etc. Once the project is sold, the next step is to "maintain the relationship". The client is stuck with you in a one or two years contract, you have got him by the balls. Now you milk him on a weekly basis ( IT companies charge their clients on a weekly basis). If IT companies only accepted payment after the product was delivered, like for example the auto industry does, they would all go bankrupt in no time. So the assistant manager and everyone above him is responsible for Sales, Marketing and Client relationship management. The negligible job of software development is left to the lowlifes ( Analysts ). So out of a hierarchy of 8 steps, the top 5 are "busy" with this.

Now lets come to the analysts, the lowlifes. They are usually underpaid and over worked - fresh out of college, clueless guys who are just learning the art of fraud. They are supposed to learn programming languages and tools. They hate their life and they hate their job, but they are "managed" in much the same way a donkey is ridden with a carrot and a stick. The carrot in this case is usually the promise of a promotion and more money, sometimes the carrot doesn't work, so they dangle a cabbage ( on-site opportunity ). (Remember, even if the donkey catches and eats the carrot, a donkey is still a donkey) . But most of all, the analyst is driven by the dream of the peaceful life he will have after he becomes a manager.

The analysts are grouped, quite arbitrarily and put on the project. Now there may be some idiots (freshers) who think that their job is to actually get some work done, but after watching their more experienced peers they soon realize they were mistaken. A team of 10 -15 analysts ( may be as high as 100 in indian IT companies) is formed in the hope that at least two or three will try to RG(Relative grading) the others to get ahead in their career, and in the process maybe everyone will work hard and some work will get done..... but there is a flaw in this thinking, it is more likely that a person who is working hard will look at someone who is putting peace and stop working, than a person who is putting peace sees a person working hard and starts working. Hence everyone tends to "the point of no work". After 6 months of successful frauding comes the time for the half yearly reviews. During these reviews people find out that no one did any work. How do u rate people if everyone gets a zero ? Then comes the debate over who likes who and the reviews soon turn into a popularity contest. Different people refer to this in different ways - "networking", "politics", "favouritism", "ass-kissing","godfather", "Sleeping with the boss"(Oh yes , you are ignorant if you think chicks wont sleep around to get ahead) - whatever you call it, they all mean the same thing.

I was very lucky to have worked under an awesome VP, an ex-IITian, as soon as I joined my job fresh out of college. On the first of many meetings, his first statement to the batch of 10-12 of us (all IITians) was - " 99% of all people in the IT industry are frauds ". I dint realize it at the time, but this was probably the most truthful and profound statement I heard in two years of work. It prepared me mentally for what lay ahead. For his sage like advice I will remain ever grateful.

Within the first couple of months, even before I finished my training I had decided that consulting wasn't for me. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a conscience or anything. I would gladly take a persons money by fraud if he is stupid enough to give it to me. It was just that I have always been, and still am, extremely self-aware. I can fraud the clients, I can fraud the managers and I can fraud my colleagues, but if there is one thing I can't do - its lie to myself. So here is what I did. I gave myself a time of 2 years, buckled down, spent the second year looking for a job, unsuccessfully (recession sir). The time 2 years was not chosen arbitrarily. One, it would look good on my resume, well rounded figure - shows loyalty and perseverance. Two, 2 years is a good enough time for you to exploit the MNC's brand name, get to know some good people, people who will be friends for life and also to get a few recos for higher studies. More than 2 years will get you labelled "Techie from India" or " IT worker", there are millions of them, and if there is one thing I have learned in life, it is to move in the opposite direction of the crowd, cause the crowd is usually retarded. Also the demand and supply of people in the IT industry is highly unfavorable for a long term career.

Then when my 2 years were up, there were signs that told me to quit my job ( One of the biggest ones was the election results and the 2000 points sensex jump that followed ). I knew the time had come for me to get up from hibernation and do something. So I put in my resignation and gave my two months notice, then I left that day and never went back to office(My 2 months notice was actually a 2 week mass bunk, after which I think they got the general idea). That was my Bye-Bye and Fuck-you to the Indian IT industry.

The thing I realized after 2 years is - the IT companies are filled with extremely nice people who are extremely smart and who are not inherently useless. I feel it is the framework and the structure of an IT company that makes it extremely unproductive - to the point of fraud. I think my IIM friends should be able to put management fundaes on this phenomenon. Everyone knows it exists, but no one acknowledges the fraud. To acknowledge it is to commit professional suicide.

If you are an IT worker and need pointers on how to pass your time at are a few ideas

1) WIP - this means work in progress - which means - it aint never gonna get done
2) Try chatting and orkuting ...this gets boring after a while
3) Take frequent coffee and tea breaks. Also take fag breaks, but buy one fag at a time so that you have to go to the sutta shop at least 4-5 times a day
4) Tell your manager you will come late to office and work late. come in at 11 and leave at 5 30.
5) Jerk off ( toooo honest ? )
6) When dealing with on-site team ( The white retarded people ) ... make a list of 20 doubts as soon as you know the work assigned to you.... ask one or two doubts per conferance call (one call per week ), you should be able to waste a couple of months, they won't know what hit them.
7) When on conferance calls - ask the onsite team stupid questions like ... I cant find the plug-point to plug in my computer... can u help me find it ?
8) When they ask you how much work is completed.... draw them a pie chart (50% green and 50% red) and say -- this much !!!
9) A favourite among women is the work from home excuse. The manager cant say anything because they have "women problems".

10) Make a document in excel. The first column should have names of processes, the second column is to be filled in with random numbers and the third column should be filled in with ( random number + or - 10%). This document is called the CMMI Level 5 audit. 
11) Display your complete lack of self esteem by practicing your fake "US accent."
12) Watch the latest seasons of 24
13) If you do all the above and are still finding it difficult to timepass... put ur head on the table in front of you and go to sleep.

14) Make an internal document called "Best Practices" and put in the above 13 points. 

For all my well wishers, who are wondering what I'm doing ...Thanks for your concern, but dont worry, I have tripled my networth through the stock market ( the couple of months at home proved to be more productive than 2 years of actual work). I am working in a alternative energy startup in Chennai...for lack of a better word I will call it "Alternative energy consultancy". Its an awesome job and I'm loving it, although the pay is not as good as my last job, I sleep better at night.

PS : Im sorry guys for such a long break from my blog :) I had other things on my mind.


eldhosem said...

Dude, u dint leave anyone.. raped all of them. Including me... :P

Mihir said...

Dude.. way to go.. u'll have better sleeps the remaining 50 years of your life.. u've lost just 2... :)

C-lay said...

Thanks a lot guys :)
eldhose mama... dont take anything I say seriously ... Mihir .. I dont think i'll live that long dude !!! Thanks for the comments guys ...
I had 100 hits today and only 2 of u were decent enough to comment .. I think the rest of the people are pained IT workers afraid of speaking out against "the man".

bulby said...

Hehehe..n1 dude....

ponner anand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ponner anand said...

;-), u really are doin the energy conultancy thing eh , cool :-)

C-lay said...

yeah man ... i really am doing it :)
its a startup company ..started by iit iim guys and there are only about a dozen people working in the company :)

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Anonymous said...

"Very interesting post!!!!Thanks for the information!!!!!!!..................................................................

Anonymous said...

thx rfor you sharing~~learn it by heart............................................................