Working in a Large Services Industry is like Traveling in a City Bus

Working in a Large Services Industry is like Traveling in a City Bus

This is a thought reflection on the technology/computer software industry, specifically in Bangalore, India.

Quite often, software engineers ponder as to how to take their careers to the ‘next level’, either within the same company or by taking up a job in another company. It’s a tricky question to answer and most of the times, money/salary becomes a measurable decision factor. However, after making that decision, some of us realize that money in itself is not enough. Company culture, hiring manager qualities – all of these come into play. Unfortunately, there is no generic way of measuring up all of these upfront before joining a company. No matter, how much research we do upfront, some of us end up in shitty jobs. So here’s a baseline comparison of the industry to some everyday elements that we Bangloreans can relate to. This is just a parody and nothing else .. no offense meant to any company as such :).

Working in a large services industry is like traveling in a BMTC ordinary city bus. One of those ugly looking beasts on the city roads that chug at 20 kmph. You’ll not find a workstation to sit on your date of joining. You’ll have to stand in a mile long line for lunch. The organization moves at a snail’s pace and you feel uncomfortable all the time. 4 guys are crammed into a cubicle where 2 guys can sit comfortably. You can’t maneuver as per your will and wish and have to tread a safe path, always.

On the plus side, large services companies have the same benefits as these buses – mass movers at a low price. It’s a low risk game where in you sacrifice maneuverability for stability and job security.

Working at a good technology startup is like riding a good dual sport motorcycle, something like the BMW F800 GS. You feel great riding the bike, can pretty much travel anywhere on this planet – except for mountains, lakes etc. The organization is like the sport bike – very nimble, agile and super fast. One day you can be traveling on a smooth road, the next day the patch might get so rough and you’ll be just wanting to get off the bike and throw it into a deep chasm. Startup life is more or less like this. The group or the ‘biker gang’ is just so tight knit. To say that the group is ready to die for one another wouldn’t be an exaggeration. However this type of a career is not for every one. There’s a lot of risk and there’s absolutely no such thing as ‘stability’.

Amazing startup

Working at a shitty startup – one of those companies which doesn’t even want to provide coffee is like traveling on a TVS 50 moped and loading it with a 50kg sack of potatoes. The moped can hardly move, you feel terrible riding this piece of machinery but hey it get’s the job done. Do this for a few years and you’ll have a broken back. Same analogy applies to the shitty startups.

Working at a medium size software product company ($500 mil – $10 bln market value) is like cruising in a nice car. You still have the comforts of weather protection and a good group to work with, can cruise at a good speed, can maneuver a bit here and there. Yet there are some limitations – you can’t just zip off on a single lane dirt road up a hill. You don’t get the whiff of wind on your face as you cruise along, etc. Working at a med size product company is also quite similar – there are some processes that are put in place to keep the checks and balances, there’s some bureaucracy to work with – but all in all you are still comfortable and can go a long way.

Working at a large software product company (> $10billion market value) is like traveling in a volvo bus. You have all the comforts that you can ask for- you can drive at a very high speed with a lot of safety net around you. You feel like a king. A good bunch of people to work with, you can form your own little sub groups etc. The comforts are unmatched and so is the pay. Yet, there are limitations – you can’t maneuver into difficult terrain easily. You can’t make sudden and swift turns. However, you can still mount a dirt bike on the roof or in the back, and take off  where ever you want to – and come back and join the bus later.

So depending on your nature and your comfort zone you pick the type of company you want to work for. Not everyone is happy in a volvo bus, there are some guys who can live with the limitations of the crappy BMTC city bus or the TVS 50 moped. There are others who would only want a sport bike. There’s no harm in experimenting with all of these careers and never settle for one but taking reality into consideration, as we turn old and become the dinosaurs of the industry, we’d all want a volvo bus to travel comfortably.

[Editors Note: This post has been republished from another blog – Source.]

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