#4. We are All Looking for a Fallback Option
I am still an IT professional. That’s my real-life persona. My stereotypical duties entail writing codes, deploying software, managing developers, paying EMIs and drawing a monthly paycheck. I am amongst the 3.6 million Indian IT employees who eagerly wait for the annual increments and incentives. Crave for onsite assignments. Scratch each other’s backs to get ahead in the rat race. Carry a bunch of maxed out credit cards. Wear branded clothing and smoke king-sized cigarettes. Typically flaunt more than we could afford. I still belong to this fraternity of 3.6 million IT employees. Nothing extraordinary. Nothing different.
Surprisingly, IT is still an over-hyped profession in many social quarters. American and European companies with swank offices paying high salaries to smart Engineering dudes. And then the foreign assignments. Those dreamy Instagram pictures.
Well, I agree. The Sun-kissed beaches and lush green mountains offer a life-defining experience.
Aren’t We All a Little Worried?
Here’s another side of the reality. I have been around for 12+ years now. And most senior folks look worried. They are reeling under crushing pressure. To perform. To deliver. To survive. To exist.
True, they had their onsite assignments. They earned in dollars and pounds. They saved plenty. Returned back. Brought a plush apartment here in India. And now the money is all gone. What next?
The IT landscape has been dramatically changing and the senior folks are uncomfortable. Ever-evolving technologies. Automation initiatives. Shifting business models. Sky-kissing revenue targets. Shifting company policies. U.S Visa arrangements and Brexit. Your existence and growth in IT depend on a zillion factors far beyond your direct control. IT is a highly dependent industry. Dependent on everything. You need to upgrade, compete, perform and deliver every day. Else you get laid off. Simple. A silent unceremonious exit.
It’s Hard to Step out of your Comfort Zone
So, everyone wants a secured fallback option. An alternate income source. Something that you control, plan and execute. Something that’s 100% your show and you are the bosses. Without retirements and layoffs. I have seen people trying a fascinating range of “side businesses”. Investing in App cabs, teaching at weekend classes, to rice grain wholesaler. Very few succeeded eventually. In IT, we get used to a kingly level of physical comfort. Sedentary lifestyle, to be more precise. A certain sophistication. It’s hard to step out of your comfort zone and indulge in jobs that are more “real-life”.
I have been lucky. Words Kraft follows a business model that’s strikingly similar to IT outsourcing. Within the comfort zone. A significant part of the daily business operations can be done right from a hand-held smartphone. Skype, WhatsApp, Mails, and some project dashboard Apps. Silent and invisible from public attention.
Because the human race is inherently selfish. People might doubt your dedication at the office. They might get too surprised. How could an apparently ordinary colleague do this? A little envious maybe. You are just one amongst the 3.6 million IT employees performing stereotypical duties. You are expected to appease the corporation until you retire or get crushed amid the rat race.
Continue Reading: #5. I am a Better Writer Than Speaker.