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The Muse

June 26, 2005

Just plain lucky...

Since my last post, I have been busy with my new internship. I don't want to say how "challenging" and "hard" and "ultimately rewarding" it is - we've all heard that, read that and said that! Let's just leave it at me being fortunate and lucky and happy and having a lot of fun.

I also went to Las Vegas for a weekend trip with my friends. I'm not really a Vegas kinda guy, and all the crowd and lights and general flash didn't do much to change my tastes regarding travel. I'll take a quiet hike in Yosemite any day. We did drop in on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on the way, and that was a pleasant experience.

I was catching up on Thomas Friedman's columns in NY Times. He takes a keen interest in the state of Indian affairs and comments frequently on outsourcing and other business related issues. I had to laugh when I read about his description of how some tech companies [I'm guessing IBM, read this] were having doubts about setting up shop in Communist Bengal. They approached the state with qualms about worker strikes and all that, and what happens? Information Technology is ruled an "essential service", thereby workers cannot strike!

"India has the oldest civilization,the largest democracy and the youngest population" is a quote attributed to Shekhar Gupta of the Indian Express. All this does make one feel happy and proud, but the fact is we are all simply damn lucky. We might be the youth who actually witness - and get the credit - for helping the transition of a country from a poor, unnoticed and neglected state, to one assuming a central and pivotal role in shaping the course of the world in the next century. What an awesome experience it will be! [Do you remember the jokes that satired on students coming to the US by talking about how people will have to get visa's and work permits to work and study in India - well, its not that funny anymore!]

While we generally get praise for being smart and intelligent and hard working, Indians are really not considered to be adept at a lot of other areas, like marketing or in strategic development and so on. We got a name in the fields of technology and that is now the staple diet on which our whole economy and future is seemed to hinge on. You hear about some jackass selling private financial account information to some newspaper, that would probably report the color of celebrity's footwear as big news, and people start shouting about how this event is going to cost India dearly in terms of FDI and all that. Last week, there was a breach at CardSystems, a Credit Card Processing company here and 40 million [that's right, forty million] account information were compromised. So, what are we going to do? Crap is what I say...

So, my point to all the millions of professionals [read four] who are surely reading this blog, is to not stick with doing what they know and have done for years at work. Our juniors will take care of that, and its upto us guys to think about diversifying our talent and pave the way for the nature of tomorrow's workforce. We have the world's biggest corporations at our doorstep and we focus on doing just their IT work. Let's move to their management, their operations, their marketing, their advertising. Being good in one thing does not mean we just stop trying to learn things. We are surely not restricted in doing only certain kinds of jobs. I hear this talk about "settling" down and being afraid to start afresh. What the hell is that anyway? Upgrade a two wheeler to a four wheeler, buy a house and get a spouse?

Its important to keep learning and keep leading the way. If India is among the countries with the youngest workforce, and if India is moving forward because of it, the work you do is contributing to that change, and we all have a responsibility to use our intelligence and talent to the fullest. Look around you - how many people do you see who come in and do the same thing again and again...not because they love it, but that's who they have become and cannot let go.

Its great to be praised, and we might all have the feeling that we are doing something worthwhile already...but we might also get complacent and not use the momentum that we have.Let's take advantage of who we are, where we are and the times we are lucky to be born in.