When you think of it sometimes, life in software is more like a typical Indian cinema love story. You could draw parallels from different phases of a software engineer’s life to a typical college boy – college girl love story. The ending of the story is deliberately left to one’s own imagination.
Let us first look at the typical college love story step-by-step...
The usual love story
Nice smart innocent boy enters college and thinks of all Indians as his brothers and sisters. By the 2nd year, he gets mentally mature (as well) and starts to have a more open mind about other Indians. By the third year, he is open mouthed looking at every Indian (hopefully of the fairer sex) that goes by. In the final year, he writes a love letter with 90% crap and submits it to one of those many fellow Indians. One of the dumbest to fall for the trick accepts his proposition and the love story starts. The initial days are all rosy – they go to the park, the beach and restaurants and spend their time. But soon the reality of the situation dawns... Boy starts to realize that he has to listen to everything the girl says. He cannot see TV anymore and has to spend night-outs forcibly talking to her. The worst thing comes when she decides that its time to introduce him to her dad. The dad has a one-on-one with our dude and rates him as suitable / not-suitable / absolute trash.
Well… There is more than one possible climax in this scenario
Scenario (1) – Boy accepts that this is the life for him. He decides to marry the girl and settle down for a life-time of misery with some rare nice moments in between.
Scenario (2) – A villain character in the form of the girl’s mom’s brother lands in from the USA. There is a long fight between our dude and the mom’s brother. But eventually, our dude comes just after the nick of time to see the girl married away. He starts drinking, sports a beard and lives the rest of his life like a Devdas.
Scenario (3) – Boy does the wise thing of not fighting with the mom’s brother who has landed and instead opts for going to the USA to forget the girl… He thinks he can opt for live-ins instead as he wishes - only problem is that no girl there cares a damn for our desi dude!
Disclaimer: The whole story is equally applicable to girls too. I am sure there are equal number of girls who propose to the guys(!) And hence the whole story can be reversed for the other sex :-)
Let us now look at how this story compares so nicely with the lives of those countless dudes who are sucked into the S/W bandwagon…
The love story modified for the S/W scenario
Nice smart innocent boy enters college and thinks of all the good companies that would come for campus placements for his branch of engineering. By the 2nd year, he stops reading his books and decides that the software industry is the place to go with a lot of money and nothing to study during college. By the third year, he is open mouthed looking at every Indian software company that goes by in campus for placements. In the final year, he writes a resume with 90% crap and submits it to many companies. One of the dumbest to fall for the trick accepts his resume and the dreaded association with software starts. The initial days are all rosy – he is taken to joining parties, sees a lot of nice people in his batch and has fun in the weekends at the beach with other co-joinees. But soon the reality of the situation dawns... Boy starts to realize that he has to listen to everything that the company says. He cannot see TV anymore and has to spend night-outs forcibly setting right the code. The worst thing comes when he goes face to face with his manager. The manager has a one-on-one appraisal meeting with our dude and rates him as suitable for work / not-suitable for any important work/ absolute trash.
Well there is more than one possible climax in this scenario...
Scenario (1) – Boy accepts that this is the life for him. He decides to carry on in the same company and carries on useless without any contribution till the age of 58 when he decides its time to retire. Now and then he sees some rare moments of niceties. (like those once in a blue moon pay hikes)
Scenario (2) – A villain character in the form of a new grudging boss lands in from the USA. There is a long fight between our dude and the new manager. Obviously, and eventually, the boy backs down and is kicked out of the project. He is put on bench and serves the rest of his life in the most insane of projects.
Scenario (3) – Boy does the wise thing of not fighting with the current boss or the new boss and opts to go onsite to enjoy life! Only problem is that he is alone in his town and no one onsite cares a damn on what he does or where he is…
So what is the end of this story? There is no end actually. We continue to churn millions of software engineers who live these lives in the utopian wish that something someday will change and they will do something better! Maybe become a Sivaji and come back to India and start a lot of colleges!!! They probably need to work for a million years to earn 200 crores in our software industry :-)