When life gives you lemons …

I met up with a friend of mine recently who is working with this big multinational company.
Lets assign this company a completely random name – just because I am too lazy and don’t want to keep typing it again and again … Umm .. lets call it TM.

Okay …
So this friend of mine – an extremely bright, intelligent and hardworking student from back in college joins TM thinking that its a big company with thousands of people – and he’ll have every opportunity to grow and learn there …

He couldn’t be more wrong …
When he met me, he was completely stressed out – and very dejected …
I couldn’t believe it was the same confident guy I knew back in college …

He was suffering from something I call – “The Big Company Syndrome”.
I’ve had so many of my friends tell me the same story this friend of mine tell me – and about this same company – TM.

Moreover, you can smell something fishy when a company asks its employees to sign a two year bond of Rs. 100,000 (or was it 200,000?) as means to retain them…

Anyways, in bigger “service” based companies such as TM, people get treated as resources.
Most often than not, your superiors don’t give a crap about you and you end up being the extreme end of the tail in which everyone above you is trying to please everyone else above them and as such, don’t bother with those below them.

A very common occurrence in companies such as these – is having no work and ending up on bench for a long, long time.
This might be extremely hard for many to swallow .. but according to me, you are already in an awesome spot.

If life gives you lemon … Make lemonade!

How difficult is it anyways?

  1. Cut the lemon in half.
  2. Get a glass of water.
  3. Squeeze each half of the lemon into the glass.
  4. Add a pinch of salt.
  5. Some sugar to taste.
  6. Stir well and drink chilled :)

My friend here, tried his best to get work – but his superiors just neglected him …
All his requests were met with a few peanut jobs – which he completed in a matter of days – and again, had nothing to do.
This, he explained, bothered him a lot – and rightly so …
When you have been hired to work, it hurts not getting any responsibilities …

But the really sad thing is that in such large companies, nobody really cares …

Unless you have a terrific team leader or project manager, you are going to be in the same predicament.
And chances of getting a great superior are very, very low …

If you are stuck in a similar situation, you have two options:

Option A
This is the more ethical and fun option to do:

  1. You type out a nice resignation letter.
  2. Pack up all your stuff.
  3. Delete all the personal files from your machine.
  4. Walk up to your manager – preferably when he is surrounded by other co-workers.
  5. Tell him what a jackass he has been.
  6. Throw the letter at his face.
  7. Storm out.

You’ll definitely get a better job. Don’t worry.
If you were good enough to be hired by this company, many other companies will take you easily.

Option B
Though I agree that this option borders on the unethical side, it is completely justified in such a situation.
Company loyalty can go take a hike.

In this option, the first thing you should do is stop asking your boss for work. That is simply the dumbest thing to do.
Come to work on time, punch in and relax.

You’re still getting paid right?
Do the work they give to you – but don’t be too enthusiastic about it – because honestly, nobody cares!

In your free time – and you’ll have tonnes of it, read, blog, write some pet hobby projects, put it up on the internet for others to use and grow yourself …

If you really get good at it, you can even consider freelancing – but this depends on how good you are hiding it during company hours.

I have heard stories of people running entire software side businesses using the company phone of TM itself.
They work as software contractors – getting work from some people – outsourcing to others – and taking a cut in the middle. They make this money in addition to also getting paid from the company for doing nothing.

This would be entirely shocking to many – but sadly, this is the way most large Indian software companies work.
You just have to learn how to work the system …

If you can’t, you’ll probably screw up your health with all the tension or commit suicide with all the depression.
And if you look at it – in the long scheme of things that is life – a couple of bad years in a bad company does not make any difference …
On the other hand, it just makes you stronger and wiser …

So when life gives you lemons, just make lemonade yaar!!! :)

[ Min number of posts to go till Mar 17, 2008 : 75.]

12 Comments

  1. wait till akash reads this…he might just want to kick you for coming out with the truth. :)

    nice post.. i wonder how many ppl “ACTUALLY” know about the cons of big co`s

    Reply
  2. Very true !!
    You’ve hit the nail on its head :)
    But I’m impressed with the lemons(read time) that such biggies provide. Its not too difficult to make lemonade…is it?

    Reply
  3. I seemed to be in a similar situation as ur ‘Friend’. And I came very close to resigning with Option A but in the end had to choose another method!! Not only did I end up making lemonade, but I got to make a glass of Long Island Ice Tea (This comment is an effect of that) !!

    Reply
  4. I believe I know this friend your talking about. I guess he forgot to thank you for being kind enough to read what he had to say and also for being very candid in your response.

    Just to brief you on your friend’s progress since then …

    1> he chose option B by
    —> punching in to office on time
    —> by making the most of the 1 n 1/2 month privilidge leave provided by TM
    —> Working during the day (in case there is any work at all)
    and studying during the night to ace the GMAT (He scored 720 btw…)
    —> using TM’s high speed printers to get hard copies of the very expensive study material.
    —>using TM’s high speed corporate-bandwidth to solve online tests.

    2> he also chose option A by
    —> Giving his team lead a piece of his mind (alhough he played a little safe but delaying this feat untill his last day in office. He says that the feeling of pointing out the faults in his mentor’s managerial ways in front of his peers, was ORGASMIC)

    3> your friend is now trying his luck at setting up a business (details on this front will be posted later)

    Looks like your friend wasn’t going to be bogged down by the system. He instead used it to his advantage and is stoinger and wiser.

    Saurabh,

    Thank you for helping me out in my time of need.
    I owe you bigtime !!!!!

    Reply

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