Don’t Envy our lives through rose-tinted glasses.
I work as a manager for a tech services company based out of India (We are also lovingly called sweatshops, body shops, cost-cutting shops etc.).
We are also nicknamed as owls (night-owls, day-owls, twilight-owls, accented owls etc.) providing round the clock tech support to our esteemed customers in the US and Europe.
And any resemblance of my company to Facebook and Google type of companies is highly coincidental and will be treated as a figment of the reader’s over-imaginative mind.
Now Let us get started with a typical day in your life. (that is if you happen to be in my shoes someday.)
At 2.00 AM on any day you will receive an angry call from the US. (Your luck is really rotten if it happens to be a Sunday)
“Treasury application is not working. Deals are not flowing. What the hell are you guys doing?”
You mumble-jumble something about “getting it rectified ASAP” half-awake, half-asleep as the barrage of words bore mercilessly into the deepest recesses of your somnambulistic state.
You call your team member immediately. He does not pick your call. You keep on persisting but he does not answer. Finally, you call his wife’s number. She picks it up mercifully.
She is annoyed. He is defiant. You cajole, plead, threaten and finally give him a lecture on “call of duty towards the customer. “He starts working. You sigh in relief.
3 hours pass by.3 hours of uneasy calm.
He is still working. No solution in sight yet. You twiddle a stress ball within your fingers. It is supposed to help but does not.
You toy with a brilliant idea of going to the gym (You are already awake, why not take advantage). There is a fight between your body and the laptop with the laptop screaming “Don’t go. Other things can wait !!!).
You continue staring the screen waiting for some magic to happen.
At 6.00 AM Sharp, SLA(Service Level Agreement )gets breached. All hell breaks loose.
The “Working” team member is not reachable now. (You pray to God that he is still working !!!).
At 6.01 AM customer calls and vents his frustration.
At 6.02 AM your boss calls and gives you his piece of mind.
At 6.03 AM the boss’s boss calls and lectures on “robust processes and techniques to be followed”.
At 6.04 AM The US country head sends a stinker email to every possible recipient in the company.
And within the next 10 minutes, you become the official global punching bag across the globe.
Finally, you get the call you are waiting for.
Your Team member solves the issue. You thank him profusely, cursing inside (bugger, what took you so long?).
You update all possible people you can. But the damage is done. So no one Thank you.
Only a curt “OK” from your boss implying “we need to talk”
Peace reigns again. You start a new day drained, depleted and dishonored.
You arrive at work, where for the next nine hours you get dragged into postmortem at different levels.
Your meaningless pursuit for minimal justification starts with the company’s parking lot where you spend the next 30 minutes trying to finish an impromptu call with a “Principal Technical Architect” calling from Australia who had been commissioned “urgently” to get into the root cause of the issue (in deep-dive technical terms). His humongous jargons further deplete your impoverished state of mind to dangerously low levels.
You head to the nearest food court to eat your first morsel of the day.
But before you could even take baby steps to satisfy your gut, you receive a summons from your boss to head towards the meeting room in the next 2 minutes where an impressive assembly of senior management was waiting for you to begin the inquisition (again the root cause of the issue, this time in management terms).
By midafternoon you are tired. You have already explained the root cause of the issue 4 times and the 5th was in the making and no one in the room was even remotely interested in hearing your side of the story.
You fend off yet another attack of micro-sleep which was now invading you with remarkable frequency. Ultimately, You give up the fight as your mind dreams about sandwiches and burgers that you may get to eat once the meeting is over.
The meeting finally ends. Everybody is sad and mad at you. You are asked to submit a plethora of documents explaining the issue(the root cause, of course) and its aftermath to various people (some of whom you have never heard or met) across the world in the next 1 hour.
As you frantically collect, borrow and steal data to fill those documents, your impending hunger becomes an unfulfilled dream.
Finally, you reach your seat. Four-Fifths of the day has already burned out ingloriously and work for the day lay piled on your seat in untidy loops. The magnitude of pending work deflates the remaining last vestiges of your self-control as you stage a mini-rebellion and just head back towards home leaving everything as it is.
At home, you switch off your phone, power off the laptop and turn off the lights.
You let your mind wander aimlessly around in the soothing darkness, dreaming about the day when you will be the boss of your own company and you will do something meaningful every day that you would be really proud of. As the copious tears dry away, the greenish-bluish bottles of beer bring a semblance of relaxation in your screwed up life.
Two hours later, you start feeling guilty.
You cannot do this.
You need to serve your customers.
Customers might be trying to reach you.
You switch on your mobile. You open your laptop. You answer some emails. You solve some queries. You feel better now somehow.
Life is not that bad after all!!!
People need me after all!!
Tomorrow can be a better day.
You are drunk. You are sleepy and now you are happier.
You finally drift off to Sleep……….
At 2.00 AM you receive an angry call from the US.