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Am I making a mistake?

Manish Hatwalne
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2581

A little complex situation here -- or maybe not. Be warned, it's a long, elaborate post and I am genuinely hoping to get useful, sensible inputs from fellow ranchers. I am thinking about all this for last few days now, and I am reconsidering pros and cons of available options. Your inputs will be highly appreciated here, especially from ppl who have been in similar situations in life.

I work for this smallish start-up here in India for almost last 2 years, and overall I have around 6 years experience now. I work as a consultant here (so no regular employee benefits as such). My work involves J2EE with struts, Velocity and all but no EJB. I have to interact exclusively with US team, consisting of all Americans and I share a good rapport with the team. We do follow very high standards of distributed development (including nightly builds, nightly tests) & do test-infected programming; with minimum fuss and non-technical overheads (except HUGE streamlined communication via web-based tool). Work is pretty good, work culture is excellent, boss is technically very strong, perfectionist and usually fair (touchwood!!! ). Payment also is not bad!

In short no serious complaints regarding work (maybe occasional grumbles...but that's natural...one gets bored), payment and team. However, I have recently started wondering if it would be better if get associated with a bigger company or well-known MNC. When I took this offer, I had another offer from a big, reputed company (4th biggest in the world) but I did not accept that because I was unsure of my role there. I have worked in bigger companies earlier, in fact I started my career in a pretty prestigious company at that time. I have seen how work is done in those so-called bigger, well-known companies ad have seen closely how my batch-mates (technical ones) were frustrated in those companies. I have seen/experienced what joke CMM level companies make of development, I know CMM level does not mean a good company, if I am interviewing I can figure out in flat 10 mins if the candidate is following processes or not. I have myself worked on things like C on Linux, ASP, WAP, Java/Servlets, Smart Cards and all that in the very first year in my first company. After every two months was working on something new, it was exciting at that time and I did get exposure to diverse technologies. But in last 2-3 years I have consciously tried to get associated only with product companies working on Java/J2EE, for I am happy coding in Java (C++ would have been better, but I missed that long ago...) and related technologies. As for enjoying my work and striking balance between work and life; I haven't regretted my decision as such. I do get affected a *lot* if I dislike the work/work culture and it does matter to me a LOT what I do between 9 to 5 when I am at work. I am not someone who can code crap and stay happy because I am working for reputed XYZ company. There are those who can do that without any problem, and are happy because of the brand equity of their company and recognition that it brings them. I do however sometimes miss the adulation that one gets when he/she is associated with a big company! For most ppl it is just the brand name when they can't see and assess what you do, that's understandable.

Now, I am having few serious doubts now if I have to continue working in this company for long, I personally don't have any problems, I like my work and I am paid well. But I would like to get inputs about my apprehensions from professionals from diverse backgrounds, experiences and culture so that I can decide accordingly. This is also in a way validating my own thinking with wordily wisdom. Anyway, my doubts -

(1) Brand Equity -- Does big brand name *really* matter for HRs all over the world, or do they go through resume and assess it for its worth? I do have few other achievements and I am sure that my profile now shows that I am proactive, well-rounded and active contributor to the team and Java community. On couple of occasions when client and PL/TL got a chance to go through my resume along with HR, I was short listed and preferred candidate for them. So a technical person can understand that this resume dos show good work exposure/experience, but I am not so sure about HR ppl.

I am writing this elaborately because general tendency here is to favor/prefer bigger company names and I have also seen posts here which say that you're valued only if you're from a bigger company. I think one poster even mentioned that 5 years in smaller company is considered as 2 years in bigger company. I hope such jokers are less in number in HR. In fact, I have often seen that ppl working in smaller to mid-size company often show better problem solving ability and better common-sense as they have exposure to all aspects of development and even deployment. I can assure you that you need to everything right from fixing that PC/network problem in a smaller company.

So in that sense, is it worth sacrificing good work and getting associated with big brand name just to get a resume sticker that attracts HR?

(2) Second concern is regarding work -- I have consciously chosen to get associated with product based company after my initial diverse exposure and projects. It has given me deeper understanding of technology and system; however, I am also wondering if this would mean getting outdated in the long run? Our product really is a package of services and is indeed huge. So there are enough challenges and diverse technology there to enjoy, though it's mostly Java related technologies . That's not a real issue...but again, I am wondering more about perceptions here, as such I believe technology is secondary and your ability to solve problems & apply your learning that makes you a better developer.

(3) Job Stability -- Being a consultant I am not really getting any employee benefits. I have to take care of everything and taxes are pain. But this is sth that I have learnt to manage. My concern is this job "less stable" than conventional employment? How "stable & permanent" is permanent job? If sth goes wrong tomorrow with Indian IT industry and outsourcing is reduced to a great extent, what guarantee ABC company employee gets that he will not be retrenched? On the other hand if I have put-in efforts to shape up this product and my knowledge of system is valuable here, am I not more "stable" because of my value in the company as long as product/services we provide are in demand (they should be, we are still beta and there's huge growth prospectus)? If I continue and enter third year; this would be the longest that I have worked with anyone. I do have my arguments but somehow I am not convinced myself. Does it make sense in the long-term to opt for proper employment? What do you guys say?

As for getting closer to long-term goals, after 10-15 years from now probably I'd do sth entirely different...like writing maybe! It may not get the same money but I will be contemplating that option because it really appeals to me.

(4) Miscellaneous - Well, there are some minor annoying problems as well. Like Home loan processing takes time, the HFCs become more reluctant etc. I don't get "free periods" in between that I got in-between projects in bigger, consulting companies, socializing was much more (but I get freedom & flexibility here). But then, I am sure when I was in employment there were other types of issues -- right from finding obnoxious boss to dirty corporate politics and dirty tricks played by some reputed ppl and so on. There are always some advantages and some disadvantages.

Here I'd like to get inputs from various ppl about their experiences while working in different arrangements and why they chose what they have chosen. Maybe I am unable to think from that perspective now.

(5) Anything else -- Maybe I am still missing out something here...This is more of a loud thinking, rambling. I'd appreciate if you guys can help me with your inputs on all these issues and even other issues that I am unable to think of at this moment. I don't need *advice* as such, but inputs, suggestions to make me see/realize those things so that I can decide accordingly. The conflict exists because both options do have very strong advantages (but mutually exclusive) of their own; and I am definitely *not* unhappy with what I am doing at the moment. However, when others start criticizing, one is bound to ponder over this....

So do I continue what I am doing now (which I do enjoy) or should I plan a switch to another bigger company? Your inputs will be highly appreciated.

TIA,
- Manish
Jay Shin
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2004
Posts: 169
Sorry. Your post is way too long. Can't read them all.


(1) Brand Equity


Depends on industry. If you're interested in working for investment banks or management consulting firms, big brand names are huge pluses on your resume. (e.g., Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, McKinsey)




(3) Job Stability


http://java.sys-con.com/read/83056.htm

Read the article, the author recommends contract jobs if you're young and ambitious.
[ August 24, 2005: Message edited by: Jay Shin ]
Kripal Singh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 26, 2001
Posts: 254
If you want to rise up in the corporate ladder in long run you will have to join a big name MNC as after some time room for growth is little in smaller shop. If technology is your passion you can continue to work where you are and you will have flexibility to work on what you want.


# Help an unprivileged kid.<br /> Whatever u do will make a difference...<br /> ...to a child's life & ur own #<br /><a href="http://www.cry.org/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">www.cry.org/</a>
Varun Khanna
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 30, 2002
Posts: 1400
There is no right or wrong way. You will find people working in both type of companies hence you would see people advocating for both kinds.

You are the best judge and for that you need to know your priorities.Both type of companies has some pros and cons, check out which one sucks less.

But one thing is for sure that in India, as of today, too much of technical knowledge doesnt helps after a stage. So I would probably suggest you to go for a bigger company and spend 6-7 years there and then make a shift to enter the executive ladder of some small sized company.
But again it's not going to be easy.
Good luck !!!


- Varun
Kj Reddy
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 20, 2003
Posts: 1704
Originally posted by Manish Hatwalne:

(1) Brand Equity -- Does big brand name *really* matter for HRs all over the world, or do they go through resume and assess it for its worth?

You have enough experience why you need to worry about brand name. More over you have worked for big companies and now you are working for small company, when you go for next job its shows that you will fit to both big and small organizations. A fresher need worry about brand, being experienced person you dont need to worry about it. Whether your resume is shortlisted by HR or not depends how you cook your resume. Initially I worked for small company but I never faced problem my resume to get shortlisted by any big companies.


So in that sense, is it worth sacrificing good work and getting associated with big brand name just to get a resume sticker that attracts HR?

Brand name is not more important and its important for you where you will be happy by work wise, money wise and other personal factors(depends on person).


(2) Second concern is regarding work -- I have consciously chosen to get associated with product based company after my initial diverse exposure and projects.


Its upto you what you want to work. Some people are interested in Product based company some people not. Its purely personal interest.


(3) Job Stability -- Being a consultant I am not really getting any employee benefits. I have to take care of everything and taxes are pain. But this is sth that I have learnt to manage. My concern is this job "less stable" than conventional employment? How "stable & permanent" is permanent job?

In present market scenario I dont think permanent job means its permanent. When marketinig is not doing well or if you are not doing good company can sack you at any time. May be you need to analyse what benefits you are loosing by working as consultant.


(4) Miscellaneous

Always there will be Miscellaneous problem every where. So just ignorning them is best practice.


So do I continue what I am doing now (which I do enjoy) or should I plan a switch to another bigger company? Your inputs will be highly appreciated.

I suggest you to continue with your present employer. If I am in position I will do that. Its not good changing companies frequently. More over you have 6 yrs exp and you might be TL/PL position. Being TL/PL you need to satisfy both your manager as well your team. So more you grow its becomes difficult as you need make satisfy both your bosses as well as your subordinates.

Different people will different opinions so you need analyse yourself taking into consideration about your short and long term goals. You already worked with big companies and now working with small company so, its easier for your to compare big and small company. After reading your posting I felt before taking current job you should have done enouogh ground work and took a decision. I feel you did very good analysis and took good decision.

Good Luck
[ August 24, 2005: Message edited by: KJ Reddy ]
Jayesh Lalwani
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 05, 2004
Posts: 502
Manish,

First of all, let me congratulate you on thinking on this issue so deeply, and being able articulate your professional needs so well. Identifying your needs is half the work done.




(1) Brand Equity -- Does big brand name *really* matter for HRs all over the world, or do they go through resume and assess it for its worth? I do have few other achievements and I am sure that my profile now shows that I am proactive, well-rounded and active contributor to the team and Java community. On couple of occasions when client and PL/TL got a chance to go through my resume along with HR, I was short listed and preferred candidate for them. So a technical person can understand that this resume dos show good work exposure/experience, but I am not so sure about HR ppl.


I am writing this elaborately because general tendency here is to favor/prefer bigger company names and I have also seen posts here which say that you're valued only if you're from a bigger company. I think one poster even mentioned that 5 years in smaller company is considered as 2 years in bigger company. I hope such jokers are less in number in HR. In fact, I have often seen that ppl working in smaller to mid-size company often show better problem solving ability and better common-sense as they have exposure to all aspects of development and even deployment. I can assure you that you need to everything right from fixing that PC/network problem in a smaller company.

So in that sense, is it worth sacrificing good work and getting associated with big brand name just to get a resume sticker that attracts HR?

Yes, Big Brand does mean Big Prestige, but technical skills always trump prestige. If you have the technical skills to get the job done, and the soft skills to interact with people outside the devlopment community, then you should be on safe ground, anywhere. It doesn't matter where you sat when you did your job. What you did matters more.

Regarding HR people: The reason HR people look out for Big Brands because they get an idea of the calibre of developers. Say, you have worked for 8 years at Big Brand A, and the HRperson has hired 100 good developers from Big Brand A, then the HR person will feel more comfortable in recommending you. So, how do you counteract that? The key is to draw attention to your assets. You have to be able to show in your resume that you are as good or better than an average developer at Big Brand A. It's an uphill battle, but if you are able to articulate your strengths then you are guaranteed to come on top of people who rely on Brand Name.

Big brand companies have their own inherent problems, including dirty politics. You might join a Big Brand company, and realise that you are not able to work on things that you want to.

However, if don't have diverse experience in differrent sized companies, then it makes sense to join a big company to get the exposure atleast.


(2) Second concern is regarding work -- I have consciously chosen to get associated with product based company after my initial diverse exposure and projects. It has given me deeper understanding of technology and system; however, I am also wondering if this would mean getting outdated in the long run? Our product really is a package of services and is indeed huge. So there are enough challenges and diverse technology there to enjoy, though it's mostly Java related technologies . That's not a real issue...but again, I am wondering more about perceptions here, as such I believe technology is secondary and your ability to solve problems & apply your learning that makes you a better developer.


The answer to this concern really depends on how your employer has structured his business. Is your "product" tied to a particular technology. Are your clients coming to your company because they think you are great Java developers, or do they think you are a great software developers who understand their needs? It really depends on how stable you think your company is. If you think that your company is relying too much on technical skills than business skills, then you are right to be concerned about the future of the company. You have every right to question your boss about the future of the company. If the company doesn't have a good business plan, the you have every right to look for more stable pastures.


(3) Job Stability -- Being a consultant I am not really getting any employee benefits. I have to take care of everything and taxes are pain. But this is sth that I have learnt to manage. My concern is this job "less stable" than conventional employment? How "stable & permanent" is permanent job? If sth goes wrong tomorrow with Indian IT industry and outsourcing is reduced to a great extent, what guarantee ABC company employee gets that he will not be retrenched? On the other hand if I have put-in efforts to shape up this product and my knowledge of system is valuable here, am I not more "stable" because of my value in the company as long as product/services we provide are in demand (they should be, we are still beta and there's huge growth prospectus)? If I continue and enter third year; this would be the longest that I have worked with anyone. I do have my arguments but somehow I am not convinced myself. Does it make sense in the long-term to opt for proper employment? What do you guys say?

Big companies might have better benifits, but don't fool yourself into thinking that you will have a more stable job. The company itself might be more stable, but individual positions are not. In US, and more so in India, your employer can fire you for any business reason. In fact, in smaller companies, you have a better chance of surviving if you have better skills, simply because you are closer to the people who make the decision. In big companies, entire departments can get cut off, irrespective of the quality of the developers. Your concern should be how your employer is helping you update your soft/hard skills.


(4) Miscellaneous - Well, there are some minor annoying problems as well. Like Home loan processing takes time, the HFCs become more reluctant etc. I don't get "free periods" in between that I got in-between projects in bigger, consulting companies, socializing was much more (but I get freedom & flexibility here). But then, I am sure when I was in employment there were other types of issues -- right from finding obnoxious boss to dirty corporate politics and dirty tricks played by some reputed ppl and so on. There are always some advantages and some disadvantages.

Here I'd like to get inputs from various ppl about their experiences while working in different arrangements and why they chose what they have chosen. Maybe I am unable to think from that perspective now.


My experience has been mostly in US. In India, I was working for a small company, and I had a lot of control over requirements, design and implementation. However, when I moved to US, I was employed by Kodak, a really big big company. I didn't have as much freedom, but I learnt a lot. I grew tremendously in the first 4 years of the 6 years I was with Kodak. Anyways, I realised that I was reaching a ceiling in the company, and I wanted to leave. I stayed on a bit because I heard they were closing down my department, and they had great terminiation benifits. So, they terminated our department, and I'm in a mid-size company now. It's ok. I'm still settling down in the new company.



(5) Anything else -- Maybe I am still missing out something here...This is more of a loud thinking, rambling. I'd appreciate if you guys can help me with your inputs on all these issues and even other issues that I am unable to think of at this moment. I don't need *advice* as such, but inputs, suggestions to make me see/realize those things so that I can decide accordingly. The conflict exists because both options do have very strong advantages (but mutually exclusive) of their own; and I am definitely *not* unhappy with what I am doing at the moment. However, when others start criticizing, one is bound to ponder over this....

So do I continue what I am doing now (which I do enjoy) or should I plan a switch to another bigger company? Your inputs will be highly appreciated.


It doesn't really matter what others think. People who harp on and on about how great their employer is, are actually doing so for their own sake. The people who speak the loudest are the people who are insecure, and they need to exaggerrate the good points of their employer, because partially, they are trying to convince themselves. A person who is truly secure in his job won't feel the need to make a big parade out of it. Next time, your friends start harping on about their job, take a critical look at their jobs, or just for fun, try to nitpick their job and watch how defensive they get. It's fun.

What matters is your long term goals, your skills, and your knowledge, and the stability of your job. If your current company is stable, and provides you growth opportunities towards your goals, then you should stay.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
This is totally a personal prefernce question. As I don't know the Indian job market that well, I can't comment on things like the value of a brand name or stability.

I can say that, asid from two stints working for acadmic organizations, I have never joined a company of more than 40 people (one of which got bought and became 150 people). I work for small companies, most of which people haven't hard of. I work for startups, most of which could be out of business in 6 months through no fault of our own (in one we did have an $800M gorilla chaseus from the market in my 5th month). I do it because I, like you, I lhighly value culture and I also like having a voice in the company. I can live with thse risks and sleep at night. Maybe in 10 years when I have a family I won't sleep so well and will need a larger organization. It may also be that I'm bing short sighted and will have trouble getting that job in 10 years given what I've been doing, but I don't think so--at least not in my job market.

The grass always seems greener, but your current pasture seems to look pretty green to you alrady. I am glad that you do consider these issues and wish more peopl would. My general piece of advice to you is, only take a job that makes you happy. It sounds like this one does and that another job won't make you much happier, you're only worried about the downside. If you're not having trouble sleeping at night becaus of it, stay where you are happy.

Good luck.

--Mark
Manish Hatwalne
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2581

Thanks a ton for your detailed inputs Jayesh, I have added some comments on couple of your inputs. I do really appreciate your point about business decisions - that itself clarified lot of doubt in my mind.

Originally posted by Jayesh Lalwani:


The answer to this concern really depends on how your employer has structured his business. Is your "product" tied to a particular technology. Are your clients coming to your company because they think you are great Java developers, or do they think you are a great software developers who understand their needs? It really depends on how stable you think your company is. If you think that your company is relying too much on technical skills than business skills, then you are right to be concerned about the future of the company. You have every right to question your boss about the future of the company. If the company doesn't have a good business plan, the you have every right to look for more stable pastures.

Nah! Our business plan is much stronger, though we all take pride in our technical skills/development, we all are aware of the fact that we use technology to solve the business problems and for us the end user and his convenience has always been the prime focus. My boss has PhD in CS and has around 20 years of development aexperience, and still codes a significant chunk and makes some amazing technology decisions and still allows me to have my say and appreciates my implementations/design decisions as well. The owner of the company himself has been associated with this business for a long time and he's quite prudent. I do not doubt his wisdom or vision; however I do not know if the market for this business would remain healthy and would allow us to grow to our full potential. Can't disclos more because I do respect the NDA that I have signed.

Just as a small note, we have chosen to use Velocity instead of JSP as a view (that wasn't my decision though) because it's really very simple and clean. In fact, its simplicity often forces us to use it *only* for presentation, otherwise often I have seen JSP pages using lot of business logic & obscure tag libs in them, and then understanding code there itself becomes another big task once you're done with coding your action. Besides use of velocity is simple for our designer as well when he uses different look n feel for pages. But as a disadvantage I know nothing about JSP tag libs, EL these days, so if my interviewers grills me on that, it would be pain. But then, at this level I am there to solve the problem...technology is just a tool, and it's just a matter of referring to docs for a week before you pick up speed on such syntaxes. Wish I could convey this effecively to interviewers...

It doesn't really matter what others think. People who harp on and on about how great their employer is, are actually doing so for their own sake. The people who speak the loudest are the people who are insecure, and they need to exaggerrate the good points of their employer, because partially, they are trying to convince themselves. A person who is truly secure in his job won't feel the need to make a big parade out of it. Next time, your friends start harping on about their job, take a critical look at their jobs, or just for fun, try to nitpick their job and watch how defensive they get. It's fun.

I did/do believe in this myself -- whenever I was convinced about my reasons for doing something I wouldn't bother criticism. I have been often criticized on my unconventional thoughts & decisions. But recently I am little unsure because I have been criticized and ridiculed a lot by many peopl (and few incidents do hurt personally)e and hence I have started doubting myself and my decision, which I had taken after lot of analysis at that time. When you constantly receive negative criticism, you're bonund to get hurt/humiliated. Maybe I don't have many like-minde people around me, so the kind of suggestions I am getting are of type -- play safe, join bigger name etc, etc. I wholeheartedly agree -- the company itself might be stable, but individual is not. And all those branded machines, Sodexho coupans, state-of-art recretion center, designer cabins and offices -- you don't own a thing there!!

BTW there was a funny incident recently, I went with my dad to a lawyer for some work, he's 70+, very likeable & respectable person generally, even for my dad -- and he casually asked me about my company - when I told him, he hadn't heard about it, and for some reasons he assumed lot of things including that I might be paid less, interestingly he offered to forward my resume in XYZ company which I rate very poorly; and he knew nothing about what I do or how much I earn. He was like - 'But why don't you join XYZ?' and I couldn't tell him that it is one of the last companies I would want to work for, for his nephew works there and generally he thought it to be one of the top companies here. It's tough to fight prejudices once you're interacting with such people, you can fight logic with logic and facts with facts; but prejudices hold strong, and in few cases such prejudiced ppl are in position to assess and take decision... Nightmare!!! And trust me, he is not the only person -- I have met so many such people who for some reason assume that I need to be shifted to some "bigger", "better" company and start giving unsolicited advices, and it gets annoying to the extent where I have started avoiding socializing with such people. Add to this list a prospective bride's skeptical father...do you get the picture?

Anyway, thanks guys!!!

- Manish
[ August 24, 2005: Message edited by: Manish Hatwalne ]
Manish Hatwalne
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2581

Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
The grass always seems greener, but your current pasture seems to look pretty green to you alrady. I am glad that you do consider these issues and wish more peopl would. My general piece of advice to you is, only take a job that makes you happy. It sounds like this one does and that another job won't make you much happier, you're only worried about the downside. If you're not having trouble sleeping at night becaus of it, stay where you are happy.

Good luck.

--Mark


Thanks Mark,

You're talking sense. Maybe it makes more sense to stick to my conviction and continue doing what I enjoy doing anyway, and that does make me happy. Just when I am interacting with outside world (including housing finance companies or HFCs), it becomes very difficult to convince them and convey the sense of this decision, for many ppl here believe that you're doing this because you don't get into a bigger company. One of my friends said -- 'If I meet such person in an interview, I'd think that he must be having some problem/limitation that he is not getting into a bigger company and likely to assess him as incompetent'. I just hope I don't bump into one such interviewer if/when I need to look for another job.

For now I think I should be 'frog in the well', for I am happy where I am!

- Manish
Sachin Mehra
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 07, 2005
Posts: 77
Manish,

Its good that you have analysed the situation and written it down so well. I think the situation is faced by many people working in a small and not-so-known company.

Some of the smaller companies in India are
- "lala type" companies, privately held
- owners have their whims and fancies and think and work in a narrow domain.

So, for sometime you would definitely enjoy working there. Given the nature of work, work-culture, environment and other advantages that these small companies offer. But after spending couple of years one realizes, that its not growing.

"A startup is a good company only if it grows"
[ August 25, 2005: Message edited by: Sachin Mehra ]
Manish Hatwalne
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2581

Originally posted by Sachin Mehra:
Manish,

Its good that you have analysed the situation and written it down so well. I think the situation is faced by many people working in a small and not-so-known company.

Some of the smaller companies in India are
- "lala type" companies, privately held
- owners have their whims and fancies and think and work in a narrow domain.

So, for sometime you would definitely enjoy working there. Given the nature of work, work-culture, environment and other advantages that these small companies offer. But after spending couple of years one realizes, that its not growing.

"A startup is a good company only if it grows"

[ August 25, 2005: Message edited by: Sachin Mehra ]


Well, see this is what I meant!!

Skewed perception based on erroneopus assumptions. At times some ppl are so conviced that they don't even realize that their assumptions are incorrect based on tiny subset of obeservations and they are overgeneralizing. They are sure that they are logical!!!

Hmmmmm.....interesting to see how people react!!!

- Manish
Jayesh Lalwani
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 05, 2004
Posts: 502
Thanks a ton for your detailed inputs Jayesh, I have added some comments on couple of your inputs. I do really appreciate your point about business decisions - that itself clarified lot of doubt in my mind.



Nah! Our business plan is much stronger, though we all take pride in our technical skills/development, we all are aware of the fact that we use technology to solve the business problems and for us the end user and his convenience has always been the prime focus. My boss has PhD in CS and has around 20 years of development aexperience, and still codes a significant chunk and makes some amazing technology decisions and still allows me to have my say and appreciates my implementations/design decisions as well. The owner of the company himself has been associated with this business for a long time and he's quite prudent. I do not doubt his wisdom or vision; however I do not know if the market for this business would remain healthy and would allow us to grow to our full potential. Can't disclos more because I do respect the NDA that I have signed.

Sounds like a good deal to me. If you trust your boss, then you should go with your gut feeling. But, what I didn't hear from you is whether you have any long-term goals, and whether your boss has addressed them or not. I know that now, the market is hot and all. But, seriously, any programmer should start thinking about what s/he is going to do in 10 years, espescially in India, since the IT jobs are more or less dependent on foreign investment. At the rate at which Indian IT salaries are growing, it won't take too long for Indian programmers to lose their competitive edge against American programmers, or some other country like China will catch up soon


Just as a small note, we have chosen to use Velocity instead of JSP as a view (that wasn't my decision though) because it's really very simple and clean. In fact, its simplicity often forces us to use it *only* for presentation, otherwise often I have seen JSP pages using lot of business logic & obscure tag libs in them, and then understanding code there itself becomes another big task once you're done with coding your action. Besides use of velocity is simple for our designer as well when he uses different look n feel for pages. But as a disadvantage I know nothing about JSP tag libs, EL these days, so if my interviewers grills me on that, it would be pain. But then, at this level I am there to solve the problem...technology is just a tool, and it's just a matter of referring to docs for a week before you pick up speed on such syntaxes. Wish I could convey this effecively to interviewers...

If you truly confident of that, say the same thing you said here with confidence. Anyways, if a company doesn't trust your professional judgement OR they don't have time to let you pick up JSP's, then you will be better of not working in that company, anyways.



I did/do believe in this myself -- whenever I was convinced about my reasons for doing something I wouldn't bother criticism. I have been often criticized on my unconventional thoughts & decisions. But recently I am little unsure because I have been criticized and ridiculed a lot by many peopl (and few incidents do hurt personally)e and hence I have started doubting myself and my decision, which I had taken after lot of analysis at that time. When you constantly receive negative criticism, you're bonund to get hurt/humiliated. Maybe I don't have many like-minde people around me, so the kind of suggestions I am getting are of type -- play safe, join bigger name etc, etc. I wholeheartedly agree -- the company itself might be stable, but individual is not. And all those branded machines, Sodexho coupans, state-of-art recretion center, designer cabins and offices -- you don't own a thing there!!

BTW there was a funny incident recently, I went with my dad to a lawyer for some work, he's 70+, very likeable & respectable person generally, even for my dad -- and he casually asked me about my company - when I told him, he hadn't heard about it, and for some reasons he assumed lot of things including that I might be paid less, interestingly he offered to forward my resume in XYZ company which I rate very poorly; and he knew nothing about what I do or how much I earn. He was like - 'But why don't you join XYZ?' and I couldn't tell him that it is one of the last companies I would want to work for, for his nephew works there and generally he thought it to be one of the top companies here. It's tough to fight prejudices once you're interacting with such people, you can fight logic with logic and facts with facts; but prejudices hold strong, and in few cases such prejudiced ppl are in position to assess and take decision... Nightmare!!! And trust me, he is not the only person -- I have met so many such people who for some reason assume that I need to be shifted to some "bigger", "better" company and start giving unsolicited advices, and it gets annoying to the extent where I have started avoiding socializing with such people. Add to this list a prospective bride's skeptical father...do you get the picture?

Anyway, thanks guys!!!

- Manish

[ August 24, 2005: Message edited by: Manish Hatwalne ]

I'll try to explain this, right after I don my flame-proof suit. We Indians have a sort of a Herd Mentality(TM). A few individuals lead, majority follows, and few rebels who don't run with the herd get trampled underfoot. Now, I'm not saying that this is a bad thing. The large number of Indian software professionals, and resulting boost to Indian economy is testament that Herd mentality can be a Good Thing. Herd mentality ensures that majority of the people get atleast a middling level of success. The few people who dare to be differrent either become immensely succesful, or get ground into the dust. The drawback of this is that there is very little scope of individual growth, and true ground-breaking innovation is almost non-existent. The idea that a particular solution might be good for some people, but wrong for others is alien to the Herd mentality.
[ August 25, 2005: Message edited by: Jayesh Lalwani ]
Manish Hatwalne
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2581

Originally posted by Jayesh Lalwani:
I'll try to explain this, right after I don my flame-proof suit. We Indians have a sort of a Herd Mentality(TM). A few individuals lead, majority follows, and few rebels who don't run with the herd get trampled underfoot. Now, I'm not saying that this is a bad thing. The large number of Indian software professionals, and resulting boost to Indian economy is testament that Herd mentality can be a Good Thing. Herd mentality ensures that majority of the people get atleast a middling level of success. The few people who dare to be differrent either become immensely succesful, or get ground into the dust. The drawback of this is that there is very little scope of individual growth, and true ground-breaking innovation is almost non-existent. The idea that a particular solution might be good for some people, but wrong for others is alien to the Herd mentality.

[ August 25, 2005: Message edited by: Jayesh Lalwani ][/QB]


I wholehertely agree with this - Herd Mentality I have been using this term often as well, and I am rebel of sorts....not without a reson though!

See one reason for this Herd Mentality is that our education system does not encourage us to try something different and make mistakes which are ineviatble in the process, for most of us can't afford to make mistakes -- there's lot at stake. As a country, we don't have opulence, and that shows in (un)availability of all the resouces, and natural tendency is to try time-tested, conventional ways. You can extrpolate and understand how the mentality develops...

So Indian programmers often are good folloers, but rarely they take extra initiative and try innovations...for they have experiences being scapegoat at some point or other when they tried sth "different" and made mistakes....making mistakes is ineviatble when you choose not to follow the beaten track!

But as genetic race community, I do not think we're any inferior or superior to anyone when it comes to delivering our conceived ideas. Right from Amar Bose to Sabeer Bhaia there have been exemplary achievers, and no this is not jingoism! Anyway, I don't want to hijack my own thread either....

- Manish
Deep Arora
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 14, 2003
Posts: 40
Manish,

Things you value most (Just my intermretation from Ur message, I may be guilty of faulty comphrenhsion)

1) Good Work (You have it and no gurantee U will have it in Ur next company if U choose to move)
2) Freedom (U have it by virtu of being experienced in the project, U need to spend less time than otherwise U would)
3) Recogination (I bet U have done a couple of certifications, no offense intended me too)

Ur problem is U dont get benefits of being employee, The biggest benefit of being employee as I see is job stability (which U have) res everything can be bought & measured in monetry terms

4) I have feeling that You are a guy who works hard, is tough for yourself and is also tough for others. (Not easy on Ur subordinates and all I mean is U expect them to know & perform as well as U do) but you know what that also means You get's pissed off so easily that means if any or many of your values are not met in a new work environment you are likely to regret your decision and plan for your next move.

There is no end to all this my friend I can tell U this. all that matters is having a good time in life, be with your loved once and have some money in Ur savings account for rainy day.

So bottomline just relax, enjoy Ur work ask for more money to employer (As U become indispenseble, Also increase Ur price) and have fun in life every singlle day.
S Santosh Kumar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 14, 2004
Posts: 43
Manish,

Are you married ? Don't mind at this personal question, but priorities in life change after this. You may like a more secured job or a 9-5 job. Also some time people ignore on-site offshore projects and prefer to be with family and children.


Early bird catches the worm, but remember "early worm" gets caught by bird.
Sameer Jamal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 16, 2001
Posts: 1870
Manish
I am also in the same situations as yours, One year back I got an offer from one of the biggies they asked me to write a paragraph about what I will like to do and where do I see myself 10 years down the line kind of question what I wrote they foud completely impractical so I decided not to join. Presently I am working for a startup(product based company) very much satisfied with the work but again dont know how long the company will last, Most of my friends are working with big MNCs they are getting almost 2-3 times of what I earn, but I know they are not satisfied with the work. I suggest you to continue your work as a consultant rather than following the herd as rightly said by Jayesh, I have seen your posts in this forum many times and I found that you are little bit different you will never get satisfication in those companies only way is either you join these companies at a very senior level or look for soe R&D kind of job.
Manish Hatwalne
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2581

I am really impressed by the quality of inputs I have got in this single thread, often things go haywire these days...

Deep most of your inferences are correct. I do work hard like most ppl & I am a person with strong opinions (because they're deep rooted, and strength comes for thorough analysis), but when I did actually handle a smallish team, I was quite a favorite. I did protect and speak for my programmers when needed, but I did expect them to perform well. I didn't do that for long though, for I don't enjoy filling in MS Excel sheets much. I did give very useful, creative inputs in appraisals (as informed by HR) but nothing more than that.

As for other comments, well I do indeed work only between 9-6, and in last 2 years I have just worked on couple of Saturdays for few hous when I had to write few shell scripts so that a new person can experiment with things. And in last 2 years only on 4-5 occasions I had to sit late in the night to get things working, but they were all emergency situation as our live server had crashed due to some problem. That's acceptable...no complaints!! Otherwise we manage our schedule pretty well, and I do get time for family. In cosulting companies I had worked earler, it was mostly poorly managed. So that way my work is very much regular and streamlined...no hassles with family life, though I am still single -- I do enjoy my socializing as well, in fact this flexbility and freedom has given me chance to join film-clubs and participate in other activities that I couldn't do earlier.

Sameer, thanks for your compliments, but I am just an above average developer, but yes I do think a lot and prefer to follow my convictions rather than just doing what everybody else is doing. In my case, I think my payment is at par with the best in the industry for my experience, at least here. I know few MNCs, and Banglore companies pay much higher....but that's OK. I am not repenting on that front either...

So all in all, I think my concerns get reduced to 2 major factors -

(1) Recognition/adulation -- probably getting asociated with bigger name brings it, but I have seen myself that how IITans got laid off from biggies, and once you're out -- you don't own a thing there. You need to take gate pass before you even enter....everything looks different!!! But while you're in , few "wow" do tickle your ego....Hmmm, I would rather earn adulation of my own. Guess it's about time I considered writing a book...

(2) Stability or potential problems in next job -- This is where I am still confused, for this is something that I cannot predict and or control. When market is down, I don't know if I would have a job and I don't know how my experience & exposure here would be treated for next job, if I need to go for that. I have experienced that no matter where you go and at which level you're interacting with; you're bound to find some ppl with prejudices & you simply an't figth them; when they infer what they want and put it the way want -- which could range from ridiculous to humiliating. Anyway!! I still don't have answer to this question, and often I wonder would I *really* feel secure about my job even if I go to a bigger company?

Where does this seurity come from?? A big brand name, or with being comfortable with your team, having a good prject? Or good bank-balance? Or belief in your own abilities? Or having something to fall back upon? Having good financial suppot in the family? A happy close relationship? Or maybe by having multiple sources of income so that you know that you're not entirely financialy dependent on one source. Having multiple options should make one feel secure....what do you guys say?


Hmmmmm....lot to think about!!!

-Manish
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Manish,

Like you, I work primarily for small organizations without a name recognition. I choose to do so because I like dynamic growing organizations, and the smallr ones tend to be more dynamic. I also like having signifcant influence on the organization. I believe on myself and my abilities. But it can be scary.

I always try to make sure I have a safty net or three around. My safty nets are:

1) Always keep a minimum of 6 months savings in the bank. I have often kept more. That is 6 months of no chang in lifestyle--you not only pay rent, but go out with friends, travel, buy clothes, etc. In the US there is unemployment insurance, but to me that would just be extra on top of my planned savings, not something I take into my calculations.

2) Live below your means. Don't live paycheck to paycheck. If you do, it makes #1 harder to maintain. It also constraints future jobs which may b right for your career, but not right financially in the short term.

3) Always network. The first two are easy to track. For this one you need to keep pushing yourself. I constantly go to networking events and meet people. Just as importantly, I am constantly selling myself and getting my name out there. I may not need to a job today, but in as little as a month or two, something could blow up and I'll be unemployed. Point 1 and 2 merely cushion the fall, this is the one that gets you back on your feet. So always "look for a new job." The upside is, when you find where to look, and realize you can get one if you need it, you sleep much better at night.

--Mark
Sachin Mehra
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 07, 2005
Posts: 77
Originally posted by Manish Hatwalne:


Well, see this is what I meant!!

Skewed perception based on erroneopus assumptions. At times some ppl are so conviced that they don't even realize that their assumptions are incorrect based on tiny subset of obeservations and they are overgeneralizing. They are sure that they are logical!!!

Hmmmmm.....interesting to see how people react!!!

- Manish


Manish.

Thanks for posting the contents for my reply.

Hmmmmm.....interesting to see how people react!!!

At times some ppl are so conviced that they don't even realize that their assumptions are incorrect....

Take it EZ.

Sameer Jamal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 16, 2001
Posts: 1870
Originally posted by Manish Hatwalne:

Where does this seurity come from?? A big brand name, or with being comfortable with your team, having a good prject? Or good bank-balance? Or belief in your own abilities? Or having something to fall back upon? Having good financial suppot in the family? A happy close relationship? Or maybe by having multiple sources of income so that you know that you're not entirely financialy dependent on one source. Having multiple options should make one feel secure....what do you guys say?


For the security as Mark has correctly pointed out

Always keep a minimum of 6 months savings in the bank
Always network

I would like to add just a point as Manish said maintaining multiple income sources well its hell of a difficult to maintain multiple sources, you cant do business and job simultaniously neither you can do multiple jobs at the same time but one thing I used to do when I started my career I do a part time teaching along with my job that really helps it not only keeps upgraded with the technology but also helps in financial terms.
Manish Hatwalne
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2581

Thanks again Mark!!

(1) I don't know what 6 months balance means, but at the moment that should not be a problem, however once I buy house this would change drastically.

(2) I do indeed live much below my means (The Millionaire Next Door?), I have relatively simple lifestyle, but "own house" is a long cherished dreamand EMIs might change lot of calculations.

(3) Networking & Selling myself - This is something I am not good at, I need to work on this. I am more of a loner, introspectve/pensive person, so this is somthing that I need to develop. Let's see...

Sameer, I competely understand what you are saying, that's why the second line of work would be completely part-time or ad-hoc, preferably unrelate to my field as well (often I am disappointed to see how s/w ppl develop tunnel vision), I may not do it solely for money, I may do it for personal satisfaction as well. I am very much interested in psychology, in the past I have helped in counselling, so maybe something related to that also appeals to me. Or working on freelance basis for small projects maybe... Corporate training is definitely very lucrative, but again it's very much network-oriented, and I am not sure if I would be able to do that on regular basis.

- Manish
Jayesh Lalwani
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 05, 2004
Posts: 502
Originally posted by Manish Hatwalne:
Thanks again Mark!!

(1) I don't know what 6 months balance means, but at the moment that should not be a problem, however once I buy house this would change drastically.


- Manish



Manish,

You might find Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, interesting

He has a differrent way of measuring wealth. According to him, wealth is not a measure of the amount of money you have. Wealth is a measure of time. Basically, Wealth is the amount of time you can maintain your lifestyle without working. You are not wealthy if you have to work for your money. You are wealthy (and stable) when your money works for you, and earns enough returns so that you can continue in your lifestlye without going to work.

I think it is important to have enough money in a liquid account so you can survive for 6 months without a job. But, if you want true stability in your life, you should be trying to stretch that 6 months into forever. Great job, nice house and a loving family are all great, but you will never stop worrying about stability unless you become truly wealthy.
 
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