July 1, 2003

Galloping onwards … what lies ahead, who knows?

Life really is funny – or does that apply only to my life? :p Things happen at the oddest moments and for the strangest reasons. The latest? Well, I guess I should lay the groundwork for this one first – I came back to Sri Lanka at the beginning of 2002 and I knew when I came back that I would be joining my former employer (the employer I had before I left for the US) since I’d talked to them a couple of months before that about returning and they’d immediately said that they wanted me to rejoin them as an employee. Of course, I liked this particular company and the people there – I’d worked there for over two years before I left the first time and had fond memories of them. So I joined them when I did return to Sri Lanka.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be a mistake in a way because some of the stuff they’d told me initially "might" happen, never did – such as a major multimedia software development project to develop educational games. Of course, to be fair by them, they never said that it was a concrete possibility and they did put me in administration because I asked them to. The problem was that I’d gotten used to administration in a US company and so had completely forgotten what it was like in Sri Lanka. To me, I’d just need to figure out what needs to be done and by when and by whom and tell the people and they should be able to carry out their assigned tasks independently … guess what? That’s not the way it goes here :p You do all of the above and then keep on checking on the people to whom the tasks were assigned since they tend to get "distracted" and forget all about deadlines. This has come to be a real pain for me since I can’t really work that way – I hate having to go prod people every half an hour to get some work done since that way I can’t concentrate on what *I* need to do.

And of course, there is also the politics to be dealt with … now there is politics in almost any organization you work for but here it really becomes a personality thing. I was talking to somebody about the Sri Lankan peace process recently and he said it is all about the people involved – that the whole process hangs on the likes, dislikes and egos of the people involved … not the major players but the implementers, the bureaucrats. It is the same anywhere – even at work. I’ve never believed in pandering to the egos of people just to get stuff done and I usually bend over backwards not to do it. I don’t chitchat for the sake of chitchatting (except perhaps with friends that I *do* like) and I don’t go brown-nosing either (at least I hope not …). While I’m not disliked, this leads to me being not being considered with extra fondness by the powers that be either. And so, when deadlines are not met, I get pulled up more often than somebody else who might be a lot more liked and of course, me being me, I would try to argue about the whole thing and that doesn’t go down too well either since I *have to be* wrong :p

Of course, I digress again – the point is that I’ve not been totally happy with the conditions at work but there were compensations too 🙂 And then they dumped proposal writing on me and as I’ve mentioned before, I just hate that because it is dry as dust writing – not the kind of stuff I really want to do (though I guess I’ll do it if I must …) but I got the job because my friend Robin had decided to leave. But he changed his mind at the last moment and decided not to leave and so I thought I wouldn’t have to worry so much about the proposals but it looks as if I might get them after all since they want Robin to concentrate more on other stuff … And then I get a call out of the blue from a company that I’d talked to about a year ago about employment.

They called me yesterday afternoon and wanted to meet me as soon as possible. So I suggested later on in the evening and they say fine. It’s one of the biggest software firms in Sri Lanka and they have this large campus a la Microsoft’s Redmond campus where all their employees work. The catch? It’s way out in the middle of nowhere since you can’t find enough land to build such a campus anywhere close to the city :p It took me like half an hour to get there – on the main road through all the smoke and dust (and I kept on thinking that this would have to be something I’d have to put up with everyday if I took this job) and then arrive at the campus which is in a very peaceful area and totally uncrowded since the buildings are spaced apart and so on. They spent about two hours explaining the software they develop (they have two major projects one for the stock markets and one for telecommunications) and then wanted me to talk a bit about stuff that I’d done and demonstrate DarkStep – an old shell replacement that I’d stopped developing over two years ago.

Then I had an interview with their CEO and he seemed to want to get a feel as to what I wanted in life etc. and of course the financial stuff. I was then asked how soon I could join and when I said a month, they wanted to know if I could come in over the weekends and so on as soon as I get my letter of employment and later told me that the remuneration I wanted was agreeable to them and was asked if I wanted to come on board. I told them I needed some time since I really need to think things over as hasty decisions have never worked for me and they agreed to that. And here I sit thinking, why now? Why did it have to happen at this exact moment when I haven’t been successful at finding different employment for the last year (even with this particular company itself the first time I tried them)? Now that is the question … I feel as if this is a question being asked of me in some form and how I answer will decide the direction of my life – or maybe I’m just being fanciful :p

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Posted by Fahim at 6:27 am  |  1 Comment