Its been a long time now, I quit when I still had something left within to survive, and that was followed by motherhood, and it has been a long vacation ever since. But for a while now, I have been itching to get back to a working life, doing something that would be fulfilling and satisfying, I am feeling the need to get out, and add some more to my days. And while these thoughts are rumbling in my mind, I read a post by LiveOnImpulse, and it brings back to me all my corporate nightmares, vividly. And suddenly, my resolve to not go back into the crazy corporate jungle is strengthened yet again. Just as I was ready to just get on the bandwagon yet again, I remembered, exactly why I had left, and why I never can go back again. I am not suitable to work in on office, that is just the way I am. I connect with people as people, and I cannot spend most of my waking hours with some, who I can neither like, nor trust. Its a dog eat dog world out there, and being quite incapable of clever manipulations, I end up being all bitter, angry and frustrated. I was at work for just over three years, in an IT firm, as a fresher, and even then I can say, I saw it all. Groupism, male bonding, excessive bitching, young girls pretending to flirt to get a senior's favour, men trying to score with their female colleagues one way or another, cheap, dirty politics, using the communal angle to gain the boss' favour, ganging up against people, pretending to work, and ofcourse blatantly flattering and sweet talking the boss, using connections to get an
Coming back, reading the post brought back to me, a particular thing we worked for in our project, which probably became the bane of my corporate existence. I worked on a project that managed a billing software for a telecom giant. Now the client being an old company had various discount schemes in place, and wanted to simplify the process, by forming one simple discount scheme, that would be applicable to all its customers. It was called UDS (Unified Discount Scheme) or VDS (Volume Discount Scheme). The concept was simple enough, the more you spend, or commit to spend, the greater is your discount. And that is all it was. There were slabs(quite like the income tax ones) and depending on which slab the customer belonged to, his discount was calculated. I hope I have not lost anyone here, but to make it clearer, each of the telecom customers, had to commit to a certain amount, say x, that they would spend. Now based on where x, fit into the discount table, his discount percentage would be fixed too. Suppose the table gives 5% to anyone who spends upto 30, 7.5% to anyone who spends between 31 and 60 and 10% to anyone who spends above 60, so if x is 43, the discount for the customer would be 7.5%. That is all this scheme was about. I read about it the first time, and thought this is so straight forward and simple, and left it that. That possibly was my biggest mistake.
There were conference room meetings to explain this to the team every couple of days. I used to sit through them silent, because I did not think it complicated at all. But then at one point I started wondering if I was over simplifying something, that was actually not quite that easy. I went through the documents again, and they just reinforced my understanding of the scheme. But the way the rest of my colleagues pretended to be solving a very complex problem, it just left me surprised. I say pretended, because if I can understand it, it should be nothing to someone, who has been working in that field for over 13 years right? But that did not seem to be the case. The girl who had joined with me, F, joined the bandwagon, pretended to be all indepth into it, something that did not have much depth if you ask me, she was shifted to a more 'important' subgroup, I guess because she was so enthusiastic and committed. Some of my senior colleagues, came and praised her abilities and understanding to me, and I still remained dumb, because the thing still looked so damn simple to me, that I did not understand what was so difficult to understand in it, by trained professionals, what was the damn fuss all about? And it was then that I realised, that working in an office, is not just about doing your job, doing it well or efficiently, but a hell lot about showing, possibly showing, more than actually doing the work. I could not deal with it, more because it hurt to see a project manager, who had spent years in her job, not being able to distinguish between true efficiency and pretense of dedication. When we had started on our project, F and I were given the same work, I would finish mine in half a day, and she would take 2 days to do the same. And trust me it was basic simple testing work, nothing that needed loads of time. But completing the job well in time, did not get labeled as efficiency, instead staying late on the day of the deadline, and doing it was termed as dedication. And that kind of pretense is just not my cup of tea.
I had two options, if I planned to continue to work there, either to give up, join them, and do what they all did, or accept my fate, and learn to live with bitterness and disgust. Since I could not deal with either, and I was fortunate enough to have the option of doing it, I quit. And believe me the first few months after I left, I could feel my irritation, anger and bitterness gradually dissolving, restoring me to my former self. And that is one of the reasons, I never ever want to go back to corporate life, where I need to fight and compete, and my efficiency alone,is not good enough for me to make my mark. Ofcourse, IT is not really my cup of tea either, and I don't want to fill my days doing that either. And when these memories come back to me, I feel happy and content being at home, not fulfilling my day maybe, but atleast away from negative influence.
[This is in no way to demean IT professionals, who work really hard and well, and more importantly enjoy their work. I have many a friend in the field, I should know! And maybe not every office or group is this way. And it is my personality because of which I cannot deal with the situation in an assertive way, and I really admire all the people, who manage their careers positively without getting overwhelmed.]
Addendum - Would really like to know if you get the UDS/VDS concept or does it really seem complicated to anyone???