Author Archives: writeman03

Signs of toxic relationship

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Dominating personality

A toxic person will dominate you behaviorally and emotionally. You will always have to give in to their demands.

Irrational behavior

A toxic person always wants you to behave appropriately and expects high standards of propriety from you. This leads you to always act in fear or act to seek his or her approval. The toxic person however justifies his own irrationality to any extent.

Good communication

A toxic person is clinical and is usually very good with communication. He knows the power of words and uses them to his advantage even when he means nothing or otherwise. He will defeat you intellectually and will make you feel weak.

Projects excessive emotions

A toxic individual projects as if he is overly emotional and sensitive. He uses emotions to justify the toxic behavior. However, in reality, there is no excuse for bad and toxic behavior. A toxic person will set unrealistic expectations from you and will blame you or sulk when they are not fulfilled.

Ego

A toxic individual has a lot of ego. He always wants to win. He is a servant of his ego. Ego is what drives most of his actions and not emotions.

Lack of self-criticism

A toxic person will never self-reflect or think he is wrong. He might fake an apology but deep down he is always right. When he realizes he is wrong, he uses humor to make light of the situation. He makes his grave mistakes appear silly or easily forgivable.

Fearful

A toxic person gets scared and irritated when you start expressing yourself. Toxic people are usually coward and full of pretensions. Once, you start facing up to them, they disintegrate.

A bigger social circle

A toxic person usually has a big social circle. He has lots of friends or acquaintances. He is generally good with people. He is usually successful. But he is toxic to his immediate family and friends.

Why I think development in IT is the least important skill?

IT has many job profiles such as Developers, Testers, Business Analyst, Writers etc. I feel among them, development is the least important skill for the following reasons:

It uses no human skills

Development is simply coding. You already know what you need to do (it doesn’t take a great deal to plan what you need to do), and you know the code that will make it happen. You can google the code if you don’t know it. If the code is right, the job gets done. It is so simple. You do not have to do anything else. Compare it with the role of say, a business analyst, who interfaces with a client and manages all the turbulence that other humans (particularly clients) can bring to his work.

It is a language that can be mastered by anyone

To code, you need to learn a language. It is a pretty much like learning any other language with its own semantics. Is it difficult to write in say, English language? No? So, how it can be difficult to code?

Most of the coding is not development

Most of the coding is simply using methods of a language and calling them to accomplish a task. The actual development means when you create additional methods for accomplishing tasks and make them available as part of the language itself. That work is difficult, I can understand. Everything else, however, is just using (and not development) classes, libraries, and API methods. And you have very well-crafted API documents explaining how to use these bits.

Coding is like math. It is simple.

Coding looks daunting; however, it is simple. Off course, when you see the entire code, you get scared, but the thing is that you never have to work on or manage the entire code. You just have to use few functions and the functions do their job pretty well. And, if you have a complex use case that you need to code for, it would have already been handled by someone, and the fix would be available in stack overflow. There cannot and there has never been a use case that is not already covered. This makes development very easy.

Development is becoming easy with each passing day

With the advent of UI driven IDEs and frameworks, the development now is not more than designing. Every IDE now has drag and drop features for creating the UI. Now, there is even less coding than before as everything is being moved under the hood. The tools have become over-simplistic.

Development is largely an autonomous activity

In IT, there is interdependency between different departments. Everyone is dependent on others for keeping the goods moving in the conveyor (so to speak), however, development is largely autonomous and has least dependency on others. The other ancillary activities such as testing, and documentation are heavily dependent upon development, making them complex tasks to perform because of the increased dependence.

Developers have a superiority complex

Since code is the building block of a software, it is understandable that it is very important. However, everything else like testing, documentation is also equally or probably more important. Developers do not have this vision and they create psychological barrier around themselves that diminishes their overall value.

When should you resign from your job?

I Quit Job Motivation Aspiration Concept

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The world seems to be grappling with “The Great Resignation”; a fancy term that has caught everyone’s attention. For the uninitiated, the great resignation is a phenomenon where employees leave jobs in large numbers across industries. This can happen when employees look for better job opportunities or when they think that they can live a job free life. For the Indian IT sector, the mass resignation that we are witnessing is primarily fueled by the former. The market is filled with job opportunities and employees are finding it hard to ignore such opportunities. The perks and increased salary being offered is making employees jump on the bandwagon of this great resignation. While it is important that you look for growth and grab any opportunity that uplifts you in your career, you also need to tread these resignation waters carefully. Here are my tips that you can consider while switching your job.

Assess company by its pre-covid image

Do not just consider the employee benefits that have emerged as part of response to the pandemic. Assess what the company had always been like to its employees. Companies have now adopted a flexible work culture and brought about changes; however, you must understand the core values of the company and its work culture that was in place before all the recent changes.

Money is not everything

Nobody is underestimating the power of money. However, the switch should elevate you professionally and personally. Do not change jobs if the only benefit that you are getting is in terms of money. Your next job should have more money, better work, better people, and better everything.

Research about the company

Do proper diligence before joining any company. Read reviews, talk to existing employees, and find what people are generally talking about the company. If you get overwhelming feedback of a similar kind, it is most likely be true. Do not ignore the feedback. The job market is not speculative and is largely true.

Find out about the work

Figure out the kind of work you will be doing. The technology you will be working on. The kind of tools you will be using. Knowing about the work beforehand would help you in taking the decision. One of the major reasons of employee dissatisfaction is the lack of quality work. You must ensure that you are not signing up for something that you will simply not want to do. Do not underestimate what a boring, run of the mill work can do to you professionally as well as personally.

Find out about people

First understand that there are good and bad people. A more subtle way of putting it is that there are people that we are comfortable with and that there are people, we are not comfortable with. You must research about the team and find out how it is. A good indicator would be the attrition rate. If a lot of people are leaving the team in quick succession, then there is something fishy. You better step back then.

Why resign in the first place?

Sometimes our resignation does not make any sense. We see a lot of people leaving for genuine reasons and decide to follow them. To begin with, you should have a strong reason for resigning. Having this clarity is essential and it will also help you during your job interviews. Some of the good reasons for leaving your job can be lower pay, toxic work environment, excessive workload, meaningless work, alienation etc. If you are sure that your next job can fill all these gaps, then you must accept the opportunity.

What to do when you are smarter than your manager

Often we find ourselves in situations where we have to work under people who we think are less smarter than us. These situations can add to our stress because we tend to see hierarchical success as directly related to competence. Here, I would like to throw some light on how we can navigate through such situations.

Understand that growth is a function of time

Success in any organization is greatly related to the time spent by an individual in the organization. So, if your manager has spent more time, then he/she is a more valuable asset to the organization than you, regardless of the competence that you bring to the table. For an organization, values such as greater understanding of the organization, loyalty, people skills, etc. are of great importance and they cannot be substituted just for greater competence.

Understand that management is a skill

We need to understand that management is a skill that requires great investment on the part of the individual who seeks to develop it. The way it takes dedicated effort to develop a technical skill, managerial skills also demand great efforts. We should stop valuing one skill over the other and consider that all skills are unique in their own way. Trust me, technical skills are much easier to develop and harness than almost any people skill.

Simplify your ideas

When we are smarter than our managers, we tend to get frustrated that our points are not understood. We think that our ideas are not valued, and we have to put in unnecessary explanation every time we are talking to drive home the point. We should look at such situations as an opportunity to improve our communication and people skills. Try to simplify your idea and present it in a lucid manner. May be your ideas are good, but they are embedded in technical fluff. If you make your ideas easy to understand, it will not only attract more takers, but you will also develop the art of simplifying complex communications.

Look beyond your shell

Most of the times we compare people wrongly. We compare different profiles and create judgments about competence. We might also have age bias which makes us think that young people are smarter than older peers. In an organization, everyone is essentially doing a different job (even if the profile is same) with its own set of complications (uniqueness, dependencies), so we should avoid creating judgments about competence, because they might not be actually true.

Success is not only a function of competence

You might feel that the system is not fair. But you must understand that success is a complicated phenomenon. People who are talented individual employees, might not become great leaders. At times, we might overestimate our capabilities and underestimate what others do because of our biases. We should understand that leading a team is a very difficult job then excelling in isolation. We should generally develop more respect for the leadership or managerial skill, which I believe is looked at by young generation as something that is a no-skill.

Also see, https://writesblog.in/2022/02/03/understanding-working-from-home/

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Shah Rukh Khan on Lata Mangeshkar’s Funeral

Lata Mangeshkar, Bharat Ratna recipient, recently passed away. She left a huge void that is impossible to fill. Many people came to her funeral to offer prayers including SRK. Today, am writing this post to exclusively talk about the trolling and bigotry that is on display. It is claimed by few that SRK spat on Lata Mangeshkar’s mortal remains.

How do I feel as an SRK fan?

Pained and disgusted. I don’t know why some people have so much hate for the person. The extreme love and extreme hate that SRK generates, sometimes baffles me. I know most of this hate stems from political reasons, but this political hate is sweeping minds of lot of people. For a true fan, SRK is the idea of love. He is the right guy who does the right thing, and hence deserves love in return. This is how we all have been brought up. That’s why we all connected to SRK. He was us.

What troubles me?

People are trolling a person who is paying homage to a departed soul. We weren’t always like that. We were positive people, by and large. We used to love more than hate or at least we used to value love more. Now, I think, we have become the opposite. We value hate more. We are so colored in our choices and judgements, that we have stopped thinking critically and with love. We simply get swayed with the ideology of hate and we don’t have the faculty to counter or reason it with love.

I can understand people not liking SRK’s acting, movies, or him as an individual but this hate knows no boundaries. Earlier we used to criticize but now we hate. Being respectful is cowardice now. Spewing venom is being expressive and being outspoken. Being good cannot be interpreted other than a weakness. We never give anyone benefit of doubt now. And what troubles me is that this hate is not only manufactured or agenda-driven, but also organic. This speaks volumes of how we are a hate loving society.

If I am walking down a road and I accidentally collide with someone, I say sorry, regardless of whose fault is it, because I know that everyone is walking down some path hurriedly. However, what I see now is that people don’t say sorry, they rather pick up a fight or abuse. I don’t know when we forgot giving people the benefit of doubt. It starts with at least not hating anyone if you don’t love them. It starts with prioritizing love or hate.

Who are these trolls?

SRK seems to be more comfortable with an ideology that is in departure to that of the ruling dispensation. Though he is not an outspoken political person but deep down no one is apolitical. And this is the reason why hate is being spread against him. And it is not about having an opinion that is different than SRK’s. Everyone can have an opinion and can agree or disagree, but the level of discourse or rather hate against anyone reflects how polarized we have become. Can we not step back, clean the slate, and think through?

What happened now?

As a society, we are made to believe that we need to cling on to some ideology to save us from some impending doom. We are made to believe that one ideology is correct and that the other one is wrong. And we create strong opinions based on that. This polarization is simply dividing us all. What I think is that we need to value people more than ideologies, so that we start loving each other more. And when we love each other, we accept our differences. And things start falling in place on their own. That’s what we need to do.

Understanding working from home

I never thought I would write about my experience of working from home but since it has been too long and I don’t see it ending anytime soon, I think it is still a topic that we can explore.

Employees are finding work from home as a new lease of life or freedom that they had never imagined would come onto them. This is particularly true for organizations that did not have work from home environment. This group of people is doing everything in their power to extend work from home. This might mean talking melodramatically in team meetings about the pandemic, talking about how productivity has risen sharply or how the home environment is helping them work and invest more in themselves. Though all of this might be true in some cases, but we should look deeper to understand how work from is impacting us.

Employees are enjoying working from home as this gives them full autonomy to be themselves. It is kind of making work a very informal affair from the comfort of your home. We have always looked up at work as a very formal endeavor that needs to be taken up seriously. Work is still not something that can be done enjoying. Although organizations take a lot of effort to make modern workplaces a fun place, it is still work.

My sense is people would enjoy working from home for some time (probably a few years) and then they will start yearning for the workplace. I am saying this for the following reasons:

  • Office is not only a place where we work. We spend a majority of our lives there. We interact with people there and for many of us those are the only people that we ever interact with (considering how lonely we all are). I think people would soon realize how smaller their social cirlce is becoming because the only factor that made them socialize and get out there no longer exists.
  • I guess people would soon understand how fragile their relationships are when they have to spend much more time together. I think when we increase the time we spend with an individual substantially, the relationship enters into a new paradigm. There is a likelihood of conflicts increasing. Since time immemorial the concept of a relationship is built on the fact that either of the partner works and that the workplace is different from home.
  • We would lose out on making meaningful relationships with people at work that can significantly improve our career and life in general. We anyways have everything virtual. Virtual friends, virtual relations, etc. The last thing we need is virtual work.
  • We might have instances of employee burnouts. Though it is claimed that WFH has increased productivity. But that is not true. Increased productivity implies an increase in the ability to get work done. A switch in environment does not fundamentally change how talented an individual is. What it does is change other factors like how much time he can spend working. And with work from home, you have more time to spend. Hence the productivity increase is an effect of spending more time working.
  • Work from home might sprung up employee tracking tools. This essentially means that your activity will be tracked. So, if you are thinking you can luxuriate at home and still be paid, then that is not going to happen. You will be asked to have work ethics even at home.  

Benefits of working from home

Though I fundamentally believe in the concept of office (a flexible one though), I believe we can leverage the current time as following:

  • While it is true that too much of spending time together can wreak havoc in a relationship, spending too little time is also a major problem. We hardly get to spend quality time with our loved ones, and this can be a perfect opportunity to fill this void.
  • This pandemic has been unprecedented, and we do not know how to process it. This might be a reason of increased attrition in companies. Sometimes people change jobs because they lose the connect with their current jobs. And if there is anything even barely enticing, they latch on to it as there is nothing that could hold them back. The switch is more for psychological than financial reasons. With working from home, such thought patterns have increased causing psychological unrest. We must channelize these thoughts and try to grow in our current jobs instead of hopping. This can be a good time to grow in your current company.

Also, see https://writesblog.in/2022/02/16/what-to-do-when-you-are-smarter-than-your-manager/

The filth on the internet

What drove me to write today is the kind of websites or news suggestions I get from Google. I see a plethora of obscene vulgar headlines about celebrities written to catch eyeballs. I have often instructed Google to not show me such articles, but they crop up on the browser every now and then. You know, I am a young, enthusiastic, driven blogger who is out there kickstarting his career by talking and spreading good. However, what I see around me is filth and the filth is being consumed in huge amount. I know, even I must have read few of such articles, and that’s how Google understands what I want. But trust me, I don’t want to see such articles. I may have stumbled upon them and probably read a few of them. But Google is misunderstanding me. It thinks I am majorly about that. It doesn’t know that 95% of me doesn’t want that or wants different things. There is a great force driving the consumption of such content and Google is just painting the whole town red with “what it thinks we want”. Which is wrong.

Creating obscene, below the belt content is not only a phenomenon that is associated with cheap, crass bloggers, what surprises me is that even good, reputed websites are creating such stories. The internet is full of such agenda driven and below the belt content. I am not saying that every news website is like this. What I am saying is that majority of the websites have such an element that is created specifically to grab eyeballs. Is it bad? See, for a grow up like me, I would simply ignore such things. For me, I don’t even find such stories objectionable, to me they are purely juvenile and even boring. But when I realize that not everyone is my age, my maturity, my background, I really wonder how such stories are consumed. Is this the literature that the current generation is growing up reading. And what I understand from my little bit of research is that such bloggers earn a decent income which fuels their ambition to get on with whatever they are doing.

The way I look at it is that money is making us serve crap. Whatever is selling is being created and produced. And the problem is that it is happening in abundance and with full impunity in the garb of freedom of expression. I am not being moralistic when I say this shouldn’t happen. I am just being commonsensical. That’s why there is some nobility in creating wealth by doing good. And not by doing anything.

I strongly believe that such sites should be ranked lower and lower in search results despite the high number of views they get. Google must develop a mechanism to understand what is good for us and serve us that instead of just profiling us based on few past searches. Google needs to be able to distinguish good versus bad content and penalize such stories or content creators by taking appropriate actions. Google should send out a message that talking about silly things is boring and in professional terms “not recommended”.

Many would argue that Google serves what you earlier searched for. That, there is a supply and demand for this, and it is perfectly economically balanced. To them, I would say that the answer is not so simple. It is often the case of supply creating the demand, and then the demand grows, which is met with further supply.

To the creators

I would urge the creators to create things with a good purpose. Before putting out anything, just pause and see how it could impact others. If you think what you are doing is not having any impact or is having a negligible impact, a price that you think you can pay for few bucks and still be morally upright, then think again. Everyone who reads content is moved. It triggers something in them, if not immediately but it does. And people are what they read. So, if you write stupid things, people move towards stupidity. If you write good things, people move towards goodness. Each and every word has an effect, no matter how insignificant that may sound to you, but it is true. The word “good” is important. This is perhaps the most important word. This word is more important than words like freedom of expression, right, liberty, equality etc. Let’s all understand that.

Brain drain- Satya Nadella & Sundar Pichai

Recently, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadela and Google chief Sundar Pichai were awarded Padma Bhushan, which is India’s third highest civilian award. While I can’t stop complementing what they have achieved in their professional lives, I wonder if they really need the award.

Both these bright minds achieved everything that they achieved in US. US gave them the opportunity that they deserved and an environment where they could showcase their talent and rise up the ranks. What India did was to give them birth and education. Giving award to them seems akin to the situation when your relatives suddenly become your best buddies and act unimaginably good to you once you become successful. It’s like clinging on to a success that was never yours and claiming to be a part or driver of it. India doesn’t own them by giving them an award.

Of course, I am talking about the loss that we have incurred by not having these two individuals in India, working for Indian companies headquarterd in India. And I know that India is not America. India didn’t have the environment when these two went off to US, and it still doesn’t have that. So, it is understandable that we not only make peace with the fact that an Indian origin individual succeeds outside, we also celebrate it.

What troubles me?

What troubles me is not the problem of brain drain. It is too big a problem for us to solve and I know we have been making some gradual progress. I don’t want to lament about whether the progress has been up to the mark. What troubles me is the lack of understanding of few basic principles. In my conversation with my colleagues, I often hear that America is full of dumb people and that it needs Indians to work on technical skills, which is what explains the elevation of Indians to top posts in global IT companies. According to them, just being born in a country gives you some magic trait that sets you apart from others, and that every country which recognizes the talent and creates a platform where that talent can flourish is simply taking advantage of that talent. Have you ever heard a more chauvinistic and outrageous comment than that?

They fail to understand that providing a platform and opportunity to everyone without any bias is something that we can learn from US and its companies. Indians have benefitted from this culture of global acceptance. I wonder if a foreign individual could ever become a CEO of a multinational Indian company, without Indians being up in arms about it. Yes, face it. It takes courage to give equal opportunity to everyone without preference.

For those, who can’t stop harping about how Indians have contributed to global IT success, let me tell you bluntly that what we at best do is provide ancillary services. Every major innovation is driven from outside India. Google, Facebook, or any other global conglomerate that you can think of is not Indian. In a nutshell, we are consumers and not creators. So, what we should ideally do is thank a global work culture that provides opportunity to every individual to work with transparency and hope that he/she can achieve success.

Role of India

India with its huge workforce can contribute significantly to IT industry. We can also be one of the key drivers of technological innovation because of our immense consumer base. It is fair to say that technological innovations would revolve around solving our problems. India can take a big share of the pie and for that to happen, we need product development firms in India and not just the service driven models that we currently provide. We need to learn from the innovations happening across the globe and try to build similar innovations within our country for local purposes. And most importantly, we must respect a global work culture and embrace it, as we have all benefited from it.

Pushpa – The Rise movie: This is not a review

Today I will talk about “Pushpa – The Rise” movie. I saw the movie some time ago and have been thinking of penning my thoughts. For the readers, let me tell you that this is not your usual movie review. I don’t know what decision you will make after reading this piece, as this piece is more relevant if you have already seen the movie. This article will however give you a perspective.

How is the movie?

It would not be an understatement to say that the movie has no soul. Well, when I say, “having soul”, I mean something that affects me or lingers with me deeply and not just scratches me on surface. If I go through an entire scene without being connected to it, I feel there is something lacking in that bit. For “Pushpa – The Rise”, unfortunately, the entire movie is sum of such bits. I have nothing against the story, as all such Masala entertainers are supposed to have similar stories, which is essentially anything but a story. There is a masala movie template I feel, and what the filmmakers are doing is simply filling up that template. I understand, it is a journey of a man who has been wronged by the system making him vulnerable and arrogant. The man is weird, which is what makes such movies interesting. The man is everything that normal people like you and me would want to become in a parallel world. I guess, the filmmakers know this fantasy and play around it – with their movies.

What is my problem?

My problem is not with the masala movie that it is. My problem is that the movie is not good. To prove my point, let me tell you that one of the finest movies I have seen in quite some time is KGF. And I believe that the movie deserves all the success that it got. The thing is, whenever any movie is successful for the right reasons, there are similar movies that ride on the wave and become successful although they don’t deserve it. It is like a wave that engulfs not only what started it but also anything that comes on its way. With the success of KGF, the appetite of Indian audience for such over-the-top, brash, maverick, unapologetic masala entertainers touched sky high. The filmmakers know this. And they keep dishing out movies to satiate this appetite. When a man is hungry, he likes almost anything. This really sums up the success of even average movies post a mega success of a similar movie (which actually deserved success).

Let me take a moment to thank people who do not jump on such bandwagon and be themselves despite recognizing evidently where the world is heading. Remember, how everyone started creating action movies after Salman Khan did “Wanted”. We know “Wanted” was Salman Khan’s ultimate lease of life. It catapulted him to the status of “Superstar”, one more time. During those times, there was a deluge of such movies and everyone wanted to hop on the trend. There were very few people like “Sharukh Khan” who refused to work on similarly themed movies. Why? Because that man is a trend setter and not someone who follows a trend. So, a big shout out to the man.

So, what is it that I am trying to suggest?

All I am saying is that every successful movie is not good because there are many things that drive success. Sometimes, we just feed into a hype and get engulfed by a wave as described earlier. A smart and discerning individual like me can make out if we truly like a movie (which should propel the movie to success) or if we should ignore it because it is just a substandard piece that is being presented in the garb of entertainment. This is what is called a matured audience; that gives where the due is to be given.

What’s wrong in making such films successful?

If you like such movies, then you certainly need to improve/uplift your taste. Let’s just say that you are settling for too little. The problem with the success of such movies is that the other deserving movies fail. And, if you keep feeding into what is being thrown at you, you will forever be fed that. To get good movies made, you need to fail the bad ones. My suggestion would be to be more discerning, quality-seeking, and demanding from our filmmakers. Only then we will get to see movies that deserve our attention and that deserve the success in return. Let’s fix this.

Surrogacy

Taslima Nasreen recently tweeted about surrogacy and her tweets created quite a furor. She used words like “readymade babies” and questioned whether the mother has the same feeling towards a child born through surrogacy as she has for a biological child. She questioned the concept of surrogacy and attributed it to poverty.

The good and the bad

Surrogacy on the face of it looks highly immoral. However, people who are not able to have offspring on their own can use this method to become parents. Taslima questioned the need of having one’s own children instead of adopting to selfish narcissistic ego. Well, I slightly beg to differ. If someone is not able to have children on medical grounds, and uses surrogacy, I would not call the person narcissist. I would not call that person anything. One good question can be, “What if someone wants to use surrogacy even if he/she is perfectly healthy?”. The answer to that would be “do not allow that”. And how do we not allow something. By creating a legal framework around it.

Surrogacy in India: What the law says?

Surrogacy in India is highly regulated. Commercial surrogacy which means that the surrogate mother receives compensation, is banned. This ensures that the rich do not resort to surrogacy other than on medical grounds. This also ensures that surrogacy is not a commercial business and is an act of altruism. The law also mandates that the surrogate mother must be a close relative of the would-be parents and the law seeks a “certificate of essentiality” from the would-be parents. Essentially, the law ensures that surrogacy is not misused, and that we do not legitimize the business of renting embryos. I think the heart of the law is in right place.

Were Taslima Nasreen’s comment uncalled for?

Yes, they were. I understand Taslima was lamenting about the social divide. She was concerned about the commercialization of surrogacy. Though the law tries hard that it is only altruistic surrogacy, that is allowed to flourish, and has checks and balances in place, we know that there are ways to get around the law and, in a world, which is so divided between rich and poor, doing that is not really difficult. So, can surrogacy be misused. Yes, it can be. Does it get misused? Yes, it does.

What we need to do?

Surrogacy is a boon for couples who cannot have children. And it is perfectly okay if they want to have their own traits in their children. We shouldn’t call this need a narcissistic urge. We just need to ensure that the law is not bypassed, and that surrogacy is implemented as per the law. The heart of the law seems to be in the right place, and the upholders of it must ensure that it is rightly implemented. And everyone who follows the law is a reasonably good citizen.