When I was in college, I had no idea what it meant to actually "work" in an IT company. In my infinite wisdom, I assumed I'd be paid gobs of money to go to office in a big air-bus, wear a tie, sit in an air-conditioned room and surf the net.
I began to like my own version of the job profile. While I was yet to master the intricacies of tying a tie and somewhat averse to learning, I was sure that I could take sitting in an AC room and browsing the net to a whole new level.
I worked religiously towards my goal. To clear the written test and interviews, I pushed myself through a dozen aptitude books and tried my best to come to terms with fuzzy concepts like pointers and linked lists. Several times, I came close to including "Many years experience in sitting in bus" in my resume.
My hard work paid off. I cleared the written tests and blinked stupidly at the interviewer only occasionally. I was through.
My first few days of work were even better than I thought it would be. I took delight in dozing in my pushback seat in the bus. I persevered through the five-minute walk from the bus to my cubicle office, eagerly awaiting the cool embrace of the centrally air-conditioned office.
I took special pride in flashing my access card. In my first week at the office I flashed the card with gay abandon, often locking myself out. It took a lot of effort to not automatically fish the card out of my pocket while entering the restroom.
I discovered Kimberly Clarke tissue paper and liquid soap. I played with automatic taps and Nova Tech hand driers. I fell into the routine every IT professional goes through. Apply fragrant liquid soap, stick hands under automatic tap, take four times the number of tissue papers necessary to wipe your hands and face and then stick your hands under the hand drier.
I made frequent trips to the cafeteria. I sampled every food item available. I guzzled fruit juice and powered my way through veg puff and egg puff. I drank everything from lemon tea to soup at the dispensing machines and explored the variety of food each floor offered. I withdrew money from the in-house ATM's, yakked over the cell phone with my corporate connection and paid periodic visits to the shoe-polishing machine. In short, I was blissfully happy.
Then one day, when I least expected it, I was given some work.
My immediate reaction was that of horror. At some level I knew I was being paid to be productive but my conscious mind wanted nothing to do with it. I seriously considered retiring. After a fierce internal struggle and a lot of hemming and hawing, I agreed to do what was asked of me.
Now I gaze helplessly at the screen as the compiler objects to everything I write. I write and compile and gawk as my pretty code transforms into a seething mass of red, yellow and green lines. I struggle with "NullPointerException", "FileNotFoundException","JasperException" and "LeaveMeAloneIDontLikeYouAnyMoreException". My compiler and I are not on speaking terms at the moment.
My dreams are filled with EJB's, Struts, Beans, Servlets, JSP's and JDBC:ODBC drivers. I speak jargonese with my friends. I send and receive pointless forwards and do my best to avoid direct sunlight because I can’t take the heat anymore. I've installed an AC in my room. Now I find that on weekends I'd rather sit within the confines of my room than go out and get a social life. At home and public places, I stick my hand under the tap and wonder why the water does not gush out.
I have slowly come to realize that at the end of the day, you are here to work…and do lots of it. Having gotten over the initial fascination of all the luxuries an IT company can offer, I find that my happiness at the end of the day comes when my compiler and I both agree that the code is ok. I look to Google to guide me through the intricacies of programming and pray to Web Sphere Application Developer to put up with what I write.
God Forbid, I’ve actually started working.