You are here: Home > Writings > WakeUp Series

Wake up students 1 - The grim picture is not so grim...

I wondered after the session I had with you all as to whether I had painted a very grim picture of the IT industry – I talked about stress, pressure, night outs, break down, certifications and a lot of things that might make you feel that IT is a terrible place to be in!

Actually most of what I talked about would apply to other industries as well – doctors frequently have to answer calls from patients in the middle of the night; it is a case of life and death. The stress and pressure involved in performing a critical surgery is a lot more than what we usually face in IT.

Ok; forget doctors – take the case of civil engineers; I know a batch mate who is now working in the construction industry who works 6 days a week and every day he has enough work to keep himself busy in office. Health issues – again there are health problems associated to each industry; teachers might strain their vocal cords, data entry operators might strain their wrists (carpel tunnel syndrome), salesmen might develop back pain because of frequently travelling on bike etc.

Mental strain – I talked about a suicide case that recently happened in IT; but suicides happen everywhere around – umpteen number of students give up their life because of failure in studies, not getting a good college, not getting placement and what not. Unfortunate it is – life is a gift that we should make the best use of; prematurely terminating it is just not right; how would you feel if you gifted someone a very special gift and that person just dumped it in the dustbin? I just wanted you to realize that though all of these aspects exist in other industries, IT is getting focus now because of the money involved and the huge number of people who are entering the industry.

If you like programming then IT isn't a bad place to be in. And there are many who enjoy their work as well – and many who are excited about travelling abroad and have travelled abroad for the first time thanks to IT.

On a different note – I said I used to sleep in class on the first desk but that is only in some classes where I just couldn't control myself; and hey, you can't become the best outgoing student if you sleep through the day :-)


Wake up students 2 - He is just a show off!

I've come across a number of people who are unusually shy when it comes to speaking out in a formal meeting. I'm not referring to those who are silent outside a meeting as well as inside; I'm referring to those, who outside the meeting hall would talk freely but inside they would turn opposite in nature.

A lot of reasons spring to mind – fear of idea being rejected, fears that others wouldn't listen to them, fear that others would make fun of them and a host of other fears. And all of those fears are actually fears about what the other members in the meeting room would think; members they know. In fact the same people, if put in a room with complete strangers might not be reluctant to speak out. Isn't it strange – having a fear of talking when the crowd around you is known to you.

I came across the reason for that in college; whenever there is an official meeting or seminar, if any student stands up to ask a question or any student stands up to speak, then invariably a few murmurs will brew in the audience.
"Oh; that guy always asks doubts".
"That girl – she wants to get popular; that's why she is saying something".
"What a silly question – just asking it to create an impression".
These are things I've heard and I've seen happen umpteen times. It starts in college, makes people go into their shell and the fear stays on when they join the corporate world. And another thing I've observed is that the people who make such comments also have the same fears within them (because they fear that someone else in the audience would be like them!) – a case of both provoker and victim being victimized!

A few days back in office there was this guy doing a particular task with a lot of enthusiasm while those around him were commenting negatively about him and discouraging him saying that he would fail in his venture. The guy kept going and ultimately succeeded much to the chagrin of those around. It reminded me of the story of the deaf frog who climbed out from a well even though others kept saying it wasn't possible. In this case, the guy didn't understand the language that others around him were speaking in!

You need to be aware of the situation and forum where you are pulling someone's legs. Steve Jobs had a good friend and ally in Steve Wozniak when they started Apple. Bill Gates had a good ally in Paul Allen when he started Microsoft. Google was started by two students and so was Yahoo.

If these relationships had one person discouraging and speaking behind the back of the other person, would we have had any of these companies today?