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Life as I'm learning it

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Location: Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, United States

"It little profits that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Match'd with an agèd wife, I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race, That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me."

Saturday, June 11, 2005

On a 'jar'ring note

jarring Pronunciation: 'jär-i[ng]
1 : having a harshly disagreeable or disconcerting effect
2 : packing compiled Java classes into one single .jar (Java archive) file

The past three nights were really exciting! I returned home successively at 2:40 AM, 1:45 AM and 4:35 AM. The not-so-very likeable (yet predictable) part about all this is that I was working all the time. That constitutes on the average 18 hours of work every single day... and believe me, I'm not a workaholic!

Last night was the longest I've ever worked. 8:30 AM to 4 AM the next morning non-stop is a quite a thing by anyone's standards. However I was comforted by the presence of an iyengar veettu azhagi, a stranger in black and an andankaaka kondakaari. Those who are yet to listen to the Anniyan soundtrack, I pity you!

When I look back at it, the work seems quite simple. But the end product hardly reveals the effort that has gone into making it the way it is. The one real positive I can take out of this is that I've learnt something at the end. No work is a waste. After all, life is a learning process.

As is evident from the palm tree analogy (see previous post), a software job is quite thankless, especially if what you are doing is worthwhile. The outside world mostly sees only the gloss of the annual reports that Indian IT giants dish out or the class of nouveaux riches nerds, and thinks that that is all there is to IT. That's just one side of the story.

The other part is about software engineers slogging it out well into the night and into another day, buoyed by unlimited loads of caffeine and blaring songs, punctuated with intermittent calls to their loved ones at onsite! Of course, that's life. If I wanted a cosy life with lots of time to waste, I should have signed up for a nine-to-five job with the Government. As with anything else, nothing can be gained unless something is lost. The choice here is to lose a few hours of sleep or to lose a job. What we choose is evident, isn't it?

Today at the Alliance Francaise, our professor was explaining a lesson. There was this word cadre (as in Il est cadre), which she explained was the French equivalent of a white-collar job. She then asked the guy sitting next to me about the characteristics of a cadre. He suggested that les cadres don't sweat! Wow, that was news! That 'audacious chap' ended up getting a kick from me.

Actually, I don't crib about working long nights. (Then, what's all the above?) My attitude to night-outs is some kind of Stockholm syndrome. I don't want to do it, but then I do it, and end up loving it. When I left at 4 AM on Saturday morning, I was actually thinking about spending a couple of hours extra. Believe me, I just love this job! I've even coined a term for night-outs... a slogfest!

I wonder how my parents are able to put up with me!


Blogger Selva said...

You are luckier in one sense that you get (good) food when you come back at late hours, we don't have that previlege.

I always believe that if people have a long 'slogfest', the Project manager is not doing his work properly. But 3 is not long.

BTW, what are you doing at Alliance Francaise?

6/12/2005 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Vijay Krishna said...

I'm sure you got it wrong about my Project Manager. He is a person you can model yourself on, someone whom you can look up to any time.

At the Alliance Francaise, I'm (re)learning French. What else do you think I would do?

6/13/2005 12:59:00 AM  
Blogger Selva said...

I said if you have a prolonged slogfest, only then there are some deficiencies with the PM. Now that 3 is too short a duration, I did not tell anything about your PM. :-) Au revoir.

6/13/2005 09:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys, the nudists on the late shift, give me the creeps when I think I'll hafta join a software firm next year

3 is too short a duration? Holy #$%^ How can you say that?

6/18/2005 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Shankar Sridhar said...

yup it happens... sometimes u end up loving slogfest. all-in-all, parents remba paavam.

9/15/2005 10:48:00 PM  

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