You are in prison

(I had intended to write this post sarcastically, a bit like my web freedom survey. But sarcasm’s confusing to read. So I’ll just be straight and mild.)

If you’re a well-paid professional in an Indian IT services firm, your freedom is limited.
(This holds if you’re a student, too.)

The last bit worries me the most. Perhaps because in all the other cases, there are humans I can put to shame or fight, face-to-face. Or because I am a Net addict. Don’t know why.

Anyway, here’s the result of my survey (after de-duplicating and eliminating results where the company or geography was not clear).

web-freedom-survey

Some day, I will follow-this up with a post on “Surviving in Prison”, detailing out my experiences with the system, and beating it.

  1. Siva says:

    Excellent!!!!!

  2. Raj says:

    waiting for it eagerly….on how to survive in prison… Its so ridiculous sometimes that the bossess think that any free minute you get should be spent in thinking for the company. They should know that we are mature enough to put our mind to work when it is needed and take rest at teh same time. This attitude especially makes it sick for us to show loyalty to the company.

  3. Harman says:

    Sometimes people are treated as kids or prisoners because they are not ready for freedom.

    There are companies in India which don’t have any of the above, and guess what, they pay far more and choose their employees far more carefully. Most of the “end-to-end solution providers” such as Infy, Wipro, TCS, Satyam, Accenture, CSC hire so many people and so many of them are freshers, that a blanket attitude of “respect the employee” is counter-productive.

    White-collar employees in India are evolving in their work-ethic and professionalism. In my old company, there were routine thefts of mice and keyboard and headphones. People were choking the internet bandwidth by downloading porn and mp3 songs. Many were unable to concentrate because of constant messaging on public IM networks.

    I am with you that this is a sorry state of affairs, but merely leaving it to the employees to improve themselves may not always work. In the longer run, it requires ethical training and better role models at work, which are sometimes sadly missing.

    Start treating your work with respect if you want to be treated with respect. It’s that simple.

    I will be the first to say that white-collar IT jobs in India are mostly at the low end of software industry, and as such, it is hard to “love” one’s work and see it as anything more than a road to money and privilege, but still, you were not forced into this work, it pays mighty well, and there are reasonable perks, so don’t whine and try to “get back” at your company for not respecting you “enough” by giving you all you want.

    As for clocking time, that may be a requirement driven by daily billing concerns of “clients”. And it would be ignorance to say that an average IT workers works any more than 3-4 hours a day (if even that), no matter how much time he is physically in office.

    IT jobs are privileged jobs in a poor country like India. These are sometimes the first private sector jobs for many families. Have some perspective. :-)

    Of course IITians and suchlike will feel insulted in such an atmosphere, not the least because of the quality of one’s colleagues, but very few IITians have these companies as their first or second choice anyway.

  4. Kalidas says:

    Good to see your posts again ! Seems like a long hibernation. Great post but pls let me know the suriving tactics !! Not able to access yahoo/gmail from office is a real pain

  5. Saravanan says:

    Searching on the way out was the most demeaning thing I ever have to face while working at an Indian IT company. Other idiotic rule I had to endure was inability to change Wallpaper. I like nice wallpapers in my PCs and change them every few days. To make things worse, one day they put wallpaper with company’s mission and vision statement across all PCs in the company. grrr..

    There may be genuine case for blocking mail and docs site due to confidentiality and security purposes. But blocking social sites or blogs is meaning less. If employees wasting their time browsing instead of working, then they should be made responsible for their actions. Blocking sites won’t work. If IT companies are worried about productivity, then they should start looking into tea breaks first :)

    Harman,

    You sound like Jackie chan, who told free society is not good for Chinese and they need to be controlled. You are from an elite group, so you don’t need anyone to oversee or control you. Lower class people who work in Indian IT firms need some rules, because they can’t be trusted. WTF..

    If a company is going to treat their employees like kids, then expect them to behave like kids. Treat them as adults. If somebody abuses their freedom, then make responsible for their actions. Making stupid polices won’t help.

  6. Kalpesh says:

    2 things. Lack of trust & Blanket rules to cover it (from companies point of view).

    Makes me think what do ceo/vp do, if they are not booked for meetings?
    Please note, I am not saying that a job of a ceo/vp is low tech.

    I am curious to understand what do they do, in absence of internet connectivity? work on excel/word?

  7. Thejesh GN says:

    “Some day, I will follow-this up with a post on “Surviving in Prison”, detailing out my experiences with the system, and beating it.”

    I would like to contribute to that.

  8. Sasidhar says:

    Wanna come work for Google?

  9. wanderlust says:

    these strict rules apply mainly in the services sector, where there are people from different levels of enthu for job, different levels of education… basically more diversity than some r&d lab where everyone is mostly focussed, are in the job because they want this line of work, and hence are less inclined to be unproductive because of their internet addiction and/or are less likely to occupy a lot of bandwidth by downloading music and movies, and are more aware of the security risks of pornsites (which spread viruses, trojans, etc). basically these non-services firms take in mostly people for whom internet addiction is not a roadblock in the way of productivity. which is not completely true of the general population.
    as are a lot of other things.
    like for example, my previous employer was one of those where everyone’s phone number was public for everyone else to see, and yet we did not face situations like those faced by my friends in infy where during the freshers training, girls had to contend with guys getting their number from the employee database and harassing them.

  10. Thomas says:

    The most recent attack on freedom. My machine should only have software approved by big momma… It’s a strict no-no to about 5 of my inseparable productivity tools, 10 of my preferred tools and file viewers and 10 of the lovely bits of software which I can live without – but makes work and time at office dull and sadder by a wide margin! They have a tool which will monitor the installed software – and any exceptions need to be approved by the top honchos up there… Atleast a USB is not blocked – nor are admin rights. So it’s time to go portable !
    thank God for registry hacks which should help me beat the system for now !

  11. Thomas says:

    Also, anand, can u pls share the name of the IT firms which blocked google ?!!!!

  12. TJ says:

    What do you do as a manager if your employees are abusing the freedom? Have been struggling with this for months now, though I agree that policing is not a solution. In my experience there is a clear impact on productivity and quality of work of my employees due to time spent on and distraction due to frequent/continuous surfing.

  13. Rahul says:

    Yes its true that companies do block some websites in a hope to increase productivity. Harman correctly identified some examples where employees waste company’s resources.
    In my view blocking /policing the internet is not the solution for increase the productivity… the root cause for this attitude needs to be resolved. The root cause is our, individual’s sense of responsibility. Our education system, our society does not teach ourselves to be responsible… we learn to be selfish, we learn to do ‘our’ thing even if it infringes ‘others’ freedom.
    Hence the reflection of internet-policing in Indian IT firms… where someone higher up there need to tell the ‘children’ what to do and what not to. Of course they do not know what is good and what is not for them… someone need to tell them.