Sunday, January 22, 2012

7 Years with Infy - Part 3

Joining Date : 18-Oct-2004,
Relieved Date : 28-Dec-2011

4th year was very special career wise. I luckily got a chance to lead a maintenance team. The current lead then was leaving the team (i guess to onsite) and did speak to me to know if i would. i agreed and started leading the team. it was a real gud experience, tried all my imaginations and knowledge. did update myself technically. Continued some of the gud ones from the earlier lead. And it also helped me that i directly reported to senior PM doing the PM role myself. team was about 10 members with one of them more experienced than myself. Not sure what the team mates thought of me, i believe it was positive as well. At the end of 4th year, got my H1 visa finally initiated. Its though very late, for me and for the vertical i was in, it wasnt bad. Personally i think it was the right time for myself. I dint get any traveling opportunity though in the same proj mainly becoz of the attitude i had shown to the managers of the team. Got out and looked out for onsite in other projects. Meanwhile completed the SCJP 6, it was then i felt that every java developer must take this certification in his first year, yeah i know I did it in my 4th :(.

Then came this lovely chicago opportunity. Had done 40k purchases on Hari's credit card. i was told that it was not a guaranteed long term and it only depends on my potential to get it extended. After some drama for a day or two on my tickets, finally i did take my flight to chicago. Tough retail client and great technology with scope. Again with very less awareness about anything needed and only with confidence i traveled by Feb 2009. First release went smooth with the help of a senior guy there, later my friend and i escaped, but it was one of the worst moments again in the first 6 months. With all possible stress, pressure, politics...etc. Again back to square 1, took my time to assess the situation, project, technology and ppl. With final help coming from the clients themselves, i slowly started gaining my hold, both on technology and environment. Sundar, this guy showed me, not taught me, but showed me what should be ones' attitude at onsite, infact no one had time to teach anything to anyone, everyone has to look for his own front, back and sides himself. Expectation on anyone on first day at onsite would be nothing less than 100% productivity and thats onsite for you.

On the other side i did get my first dollar salary and it was the first time ever i had money in my account even at the end of the month :D. Had the borewell dug as my first job for our home @ vellore. It was because of the pain we had during my college days when there was water scarcity at our locality, hand pumped liters and liters of water everyday, ofcourse everyone from family did their part, had always had this in my hit list to get the borewell done when i cud.

As work life came to my control in chicago, started enjoying in my own way, traveling around with friends, movies and indian restaurants almost all weekends, great friendships, first 4 wheeler the VW Passat, canon DSLR, Abercrombie, Netflix, Amazon, Snow ....etc. Have written many separate blog posts on my Chicago experiences already. At the end of 2 yrs, i had to make a decision first time to move out, out of Infy, for i dint see my path clearly with Infy. Tried my luck with a gud international company without success. i also decided not to extend my Visa. Commitments back home invited me along with the dryness that engulfed me. And so i returned by March 2011.

Ok, i have kept one special story away until now, yeah, the Parrot story. I dunno why and how, but i thought i got the spark, very soon after i got posted to Mcity, for a reason and went behind her literally. Bugged her for 3 yrs. Including every friend of mine, i also made many others know this intentionally/unintentionally. Wrote poems on Infy BB, texted her, mailed her, called her...did all one could dream of. Friends also scared me at times that i might get into ASHI (sexual harassment policy). I dint care much. I first approached her and took her to lobby with coffee in hand. told her in my raw language that i am looking((sighting) at her for some time and asked her if she was also interested. She replied she wasnt aware of any such thing and left me. While leaving did see a smile on her in a corner. And later i did continue, thru messenger and there was no reply and so a mail on Aug 17th and she ofcourse refused. It went on and after an year, did even speak to her on phone with the help of a best friendy (;)). She then started telling me about 'a kind of committed relationship' she already was in. Was sure she was trying to evade me with this. Another big email, chains again with nothing +ve. Meanwhile had email and chat fights with her friends as well. Usually its the lunch i loved those days. infact many a days i went to office for just to enjoy the lunch time. I would some how find her with her gang and continue to stare at her until one of us left the Food court. Since my friends knew abt my seriousness, they wouldnt disturb me. Her friends would start teasing her as soon as they find me staring at her. this went on for ever. Never approached or contacted any of her friends in person.

After 2 yrs, suddenly she texted me, on mobile. initially, thot it was by mistake from her, but it wasnt. she continued messaging. that went on to calls. and i met her during bf/lunch/dinner/whenever possible forcefully. Most delicious moments where when she came out of the ODC to check emails in a separate machine opp to her wing. will catch her there most of the times and spent my most beautiful moments admiring and chatting her so close. With some hesitation tho, she did respond me all the time. She always enjoyed my compliments abt her. Our phone conversations went for hours at times, was about everything. But never once she agreed/accepted to love me. Infact i never ever myself formally used the word 'love' until one day. After 10 days of all romances and drama, she used a small fight to get away from me. Met her at lunch when she was alone and used her the formal word 'love'. she dint show any care. And back to square one, she started ignoring me completely again. After an year, on the 30th of Jan 2009, after a small email fight, she broke me completely by revealing her engagement that just had happened on 28th of the same month. I stopped. And as my travel tickets confirmed, i flew to chicago, oh yeah, at the right time. Never had a contact with her again, though i tried to reach her once on phone from chicago which she dint pick. It was just to talk as i missed her badly, suddenly after watching a movie.

Now, I kind of know where she is and how she is but nothing more than that :) Have realised that the spark wasnt that divine (Can i think otherwise? dont have a choice :D) as i thot it initially was, attractions/crushes did continue to be there at every point of time in my life and it never stopped, starting from my school days. It still continues. But atleast am matured enough now to stop myself at the right time. Had a crush at chicago as well, but i saved myself before crossing the limits. Though there were many other incidents, parrot story was the most special and most interesting and most impacted story of mine. :) i wish i speak to her in my life time once casually atleast.

Now, back to career, i came back to chennai, continued on the retail client but on a different project, as decided, started enjoying again. Did work very less and after 6 months of fun, i became serious in searching for a job. It was after pleasant experiences in the project. Luckily got thru TCS and submitted my e-separation(resignation) immediately. Until then my experience with the last team as a lead was fun as well from my point of view :). 3 months of notice period and am out now.

All through out, there were many friendships, had mentioned only a very few names. Most of them were real fun, many of them were good ones and atleast a few had sustained all the bad and good weather by now. What more can i ask for? Had fights with most of my managers through out my career, especially after my 2nd yr, guess there would be hardly any lead whom i had not fought. I carried my attitude against all odds. I believe, that was needed then and would be needed for ever as well. No regrets for anything. As long as i am convinced, i will go for it., watever.

Internal Certifications, when they introduced, i thot myself that it was a much needed one looking at many of the greatly qualified leaders above me. But the ways and processes that were defined for making it possible had lots of loopholes which i realised later on my own experience. Was one of the very important reasons for me to get out of Infy. And other future policies added fuel to my burning desire to get out. Its possible, that i might have accepted them had these been present when i initially joined Infy, unfortunately that wasnt the case :(:).

To conclude? no i dont have anything to conclude, its just the 7 years of experience, emotions, memories, dreams and thoughts that i am gonna carry forward i believe!

Am into Tata Consultancy Services when writing this post.

7 Years with Infy - Part 2

Joining Date : 18-Oct-2004,
Relieved Date : 28-Dec-2011

Package was 14844, and had to join on 18-Oct-2004 @ Mysore. My fresher package was almost same or better than my dad's package that time with his 30yrs of experience in TNHB. Came home quitting the motor servicing job. Went to Mysore, got into the campus, guy who came along, Rathish Kumar, became my room mate to share apartment. When i went in to the apartment, it was a like a 5-star hotel that i had never even seen in dreams. TV, Mattress, Room Service, Coffee supply, a dream life...that too to come to such a place from the blore shared acco was a...OMG. Especially the most lovely was the bathroom with the amazing shower. The shower head on rotation will change the flow of water and that was fun. havent still seen such a good shower yet after these 7 yrs. i believe they deducted 1500 per month for acco from sal.

Training was OK. I followed my own formula to prepare for exams and clear. it wasnt easy as anyone would say, Infy training is one of the worlds best. Guys would get a second chance to clear exams but would be thrown out if not cleared. It became more harsh for batches after us and did hear myself of ppl being thrown out. there were also night mare stories of ppl getting caught by all kinds of mischief. But, of all these, mysore stay was absolutely pleasant. With all the facilities and atmosphere and ambience.... Did have a glimpse of NRN once or twice for functions. For most of the functions, there would be free food and i regretted those days for being a pure veg(now am a pure non-veg :D, was veg for period of 5 years until chicago). Dint aim myself to top the classes but just to clear the training smoothly. But when they brought in this variable pay concept for trainees well, felt cheated as would have sure joined the race had i been told on time.

Chandramouli was one gud friendship i got who kind of met my wave length tho he talked always less. Rathish, my room mate was all fun. Basically a mallu, but a brought up Northiee, he is a real genius, but kept himself low always. Used to tell me a lot about north, hindi films, kerala....etc and we used to discuss abt a lot of topics. But sure was a little lazy guy. Even after we left training to our posted DCs, he used to frequently call me and kept in touch. Almost i believe even after 5 yrs he did have me in touch. i always told him that i would call him next time myself but i never did :(. Did meet many others but most of them dint match my wavelength and Nandini, tho i did admire her attitude, dint have time or circumstance to get along. There was all this romantic stories happening around and i had nothing along my way :(.

On my first salary, as i promised, went to blore and did treat my x-roomies in a local hotel. On my stay for months, did see around places in and arnd Mysore. The palace, i went with Rathish for Pankaj Udas Gazal, that chitti song....yeah i remember. Also been to Srirangapatna and Chamundi Hills. Traveled unreserved thro train to vellore. My training was for 4 months, long cycle, as i was from EE. On traingin completion, got the original posting to IVS, mysore. Without much idea about IVS, started trying for a swap to chennai posting. Alok, a very matured guy, who wanted a mysore posting, offered to swap and we together with his directions, pushed the HR to agree to the swap and did finally succeed. But then came a twist. one other chennai posted girl of my batch was asked to go on deputation to TVM, kerala for 4 months for a project along with abt 10+ others. after trying others she finally came to me. She did have tears, i couldnt do much, also i had this additional 4k allowance (:D) pushing me if i take this. So another swap happened.

Got into my first project in Infy in Trivandrum. A real god's own country. The first thing that comes to mind on hearing TVM is the green trees, was around there every where. First week was given accommodation by Infy at Arya Nivas. Train mates already praised the Hotel with me. Havent tasted such delicious dosas ever, not even at HSB. Made sure we get there every time we get a chance. Should be proud that it was by tamil ppl (i hope so). Hotel was very close to Railway station. Bus stand was also very close. There was also this India coffee House on a spiral building near the station which you should try. But the office was more than 10 kms away at Kazha kuttam. Usually took the prepaid auto in the morning. Got joined with other 8 guys of the team and together we got a duplex individual house. Guess the rent was 9k. It was 30 mins by walk from office, other wise auto/bus/shuttle. i preferred to walk which i usually did while returning late from office. Our team, most of them tamil, almost gave the others a rebel gang feel. we stayed late in the office while all the others left on time.

I personally was living my life. Felt settled for life and on cloud 9, was given a job which wasnt much technical. In other words, a dummy job. Was sure my PM would know whats right for me, for he knows my profile. it helped myself a lot as well for I spent most of my time reading fwds from all around the world and re-fwding the right ones to enlighten/entertain others. There was this virtual race of sending most fwds within freshers and being the first to send a best fwd....etc...not sure if its all there now amongst freshers....So when did i work? oh yeah, when everyone is left for the day, spent an hr or 2 and did my job. It was more than enough and we still got customer appreciation, tho it was an internal customer, a customer is a customer. we went around places(usually beaches) for treats and proj parties. Varkala was one of the most beautiful i have seen then. But there were lots of temples i wanted to explore around. Without right company, went around myself in the weekends. Been to Suseendhiram, Kanyakumari(3 hrs from TVM by bus), Aatukal Bagavathy and ofcourse Padbanabaswamy. Once in a while we went to tamil movies getting released, did watch chandramukhi there. we also went to a 'local' movie at a local Mahadeva theater with high expectations and it was horrible :D. There was this geetanjali hotel with tamil guys and daily food was manageable. One thing u would note is that most hotels serve only hot jeera(cumin) water instead of plain water.

An interesting incident that whole of our gang would always remember was the stay at Kazha Kuttam police station for an hr or so. It was after a night show movie from the city, we returned late night by bus, all 9 of us together walking to our home and at the junction, the police jeep saw us and followed slowly, when it came near, he dint ask us anything but to get into the jeep. Everyone was shocked and when one of the friends tried to show ID card, he dragged him inside and others followed without any hesitation looking at it horrified. On getting down at station, i tried to show the movie tickets, but he wasnt ready for anything. He just dropped us all in the station and left. Without knowing wat to do, slowly after some time, we gathered courage to call ppl that we know. Infy HR/Security (Not sure who) did speak and gave some confidence. After an hour or so, our TVM Infy security head came by to the station at around 2/3 AM and relieved us. we all 8/9 of us got into that single Indica(hope so), just to avoid confronting the SI(not sure, could be Inspector), tho uncomfortably and dropped us all home. Luckily none of us were drunk, infact all of us were teetotalers then. We were lil afraid next day in office, on how ppl wud take us as we already had our reputation. But surprisingly, everyone supported us including the DC head and assured us of taking relevant action. After a week we heard that the police guy was transferred from that location but we were also warned to be careful as that location was already marked sensitive. Anyways, we were proud be being part of Infy :)

i used to transfer to Hari to give it to my mom and my Mom recently recalled it saying the first big money was that 15k from Hari and i remember i did it intentionally as a surprise. When i came home @ vellore for my second vacation, there were some changes happening in the team back at TVM. So, when my manager called me to ask if i would agree to change my base location to TVM which would give me 1 lakh or something as relocation expense, i said no as already informed by friends. Then my whole team took to train closing the deputation at TVM and got my luggage from them at katpadi on their way to Chennai :).

It wasnt exactly chennai, but sholinganallur. And now, it itself is a proper chennai, so much of traffic, chaos and real estate hike. Continued in the same project and worked in sholinganallur for a month or two before moving to Mcity. Met this guy Venkatesh for first time and also Nandini whom i have met in training. Slowly we got better interactions and we moved to Mcity to continue. It was the first appraisal that taught me whats a profession, what you should expect and wat it expects...almost everything slowly started to make sense after the lowest rating i got. It was also the 2 other mates who worked with me on the dummy project who got the lowest rating. Its not NRN who shapes your career, not even your manager, its finally you and if you are not sure to what you want and wat is given to you, ofcourse, you will be screwed like myself. The rating did impact me and hurt me until i left Infy. Ppl whom i thot didnt make any sense in the way they worked, actually made sense. It brought the 1st significant difference in salary between myself and my other batch mates. The first dummy project made me take a slow start in the later projects as well. But on the positive side, the first 2 yrs helped me the later years, helped me make the right decisions and raise right questions. I never ever regretted any of my professional decision after that.

All the while, stayed in S. P Koil, got friendship with uppili family, who actually helped with dinner for many infoscions lived around s. p. koil. Later, Uppili family slowly became family friends with me and my family. For the next one year, career wise, it was the same, i tried to just output the expected and started getting pissed off with the same project from the internal client. Had an interesting fight at the second yr appraisal and though the rating wasnt satisfactory appraisal discussion was for me. Finally got out of it and moved to a retail Java project, it was there i started learning a lot and delivering a lot. Though once dropped to a dummy proj again came back to dev work within 2 months and delivered and indeed got appreciation from the DM. Saravanan was my lead officially then and not sure if he played any part there :D. Got a role change after 3 yrs to Programmer Analyst. Did help my family on financial problems as much as possible meanwhile.

For the 4 yrs of my infy life, i always earned just about the expense for the month. ie, after transferring amt to family expense, paying all personal loans and rent, would have around 3/4 k for monthly expenses for my own which would be nill by the end of the month :D. i still managed to enjoy myself with a lot of trips to temples around with friends. Enjoyed chengalpet theaters with Saravanan in his unicorn, almost all possible movies and once in a while to sathyam cinemas as well. During my college days, had rarely gone to a movie, even after a lot of compulsion from friends, i kept avoiding them bcz of money. cant digest easily some one else paying me. And now this is wat i did compensate. i bought my first dream bike, blue pulsar 180, of my own money on my 4th year at Infy.

Ending Part-2, continued in Part-3.

7 Years with Infy - Part 1

Joining Date: 18-Oct-2004
Relieved Date : 28-Dec-2011

While doing my engineering, had always dreamt of getting an offer from Infosys especially for 2 reasons, 1. NRN, 2. Infy Recruitment Model. For freshers, originally Infy i heard only had the written test without any interview to clear. My final yr, I had reached about 10 interviews clearing the written tests but interviews were my villain. Was so nervous always for intws and was never sure of what to talk.
For EEE (Electrical and Electronics), it wasnt every IT company calling you for campus placement. Two core companies that i worried after loosing were LMW and Praxair. LMW was the more personal as it could have given me an offer at my birth place, Coimbatore. I trusted LMW so much after clearing the written test that i even dared to ignore an Infy campus interview conducted @ Chennai. Was so pissed off, that once i even shouted back at a concerned lecturer when she was angry at us for not getting thru interviews.

Got the degree. Getting a degree and without a job especially when many of your college friends and college enemies were with a campus job is ....yeah like "Life is Shit". Some of my friends took to chennai and blore in search of jobs. They would get in with 3 or 4 of the same kind to share the rent and then do job search. Rigorous search for atleast 2 continuous weeks and get pissed off, go home town, enjoy for a week or two, get pissed off there and come back and continue the cycle. Was just a spectator to these, My job search was only through net thru fresher job portals, applied frequently to infy fresher email id as well to get a call. Not because i was lazy to go out but dint have money to pay rent.

Then i got this call from my EE mate Karthikeyan after some two months at home. He got a job for me and there wouldnt be any real interview and its for a core company (Motor Service) @ white field, Blore. Package he told me would be around Rs. 2500 - Rs. 3000. Ofcourse, I decided to take it, now i got the source of money to pay the rent and search for a better job if possible. As Karthi was already staying at his relative's, asked for a 2 week accommodation to Madhan, my school friend, who was also staying closer to white field, at ramamoorthi nagar. This guy with other 5/6 guys sharing an apartment with 2 great rooms and a bathroom, all in search of a job. Of the two rooms, one was used purely for foot wears and the other for all kinds of living activities in addition to the space for everyone's luggage. When we all with full occupancy of 7 guys sleep at night in that living room, you cant even turn urself at sleep. Yes it was tht jam packed.

Reached there, agreed for a salary of Rs.2750, i would get arnd 2500 in hand after PF and other deductions. Life was smooth with the great company of friends. Though except Madhan others were new to me everyone was very understandable and cooperative that i took advantage of continuing there for 2 months. It was not becoz i dint get another acco, but infact i dint try for one, i was already more comfortable staying with Mr. Madhan and his gang. Had never told him this :). And this was my first experience as a bachelor for my college days i was a day scholar. Wanna feel the job search, watch Cheran's "Thavamai Thavamirundhu". With my savings from my first salary, i bought a 3 wheel cycle for my nephew who was arnd 3 yrs old.

Most of us came back in the evening after everyone's job and job search, go for the 'bonda' break, spend about Rs. 5, each costed a rupee and that was delicious with the green chutney, chat, go for dinner and spend Rs. 10 to Rs. 15. Ceylon Parotta was a favorite for dinner. After dinner it was usually a cream bun or a cake. My Break Fast usually was a poori with masala (Rs.10/15) at a mess near my company. Reach there around 8.30, have break fast and report to work by 9. Its actually 2 buses to reach my company from home. You can also save Rs.2, by walking instead for about 2 kms and avoid the first bus. Ofcourse i used to do that. Room share was about Rs.330. Meanwhile Madhan got a BPO job and it helped him a lot that time. Some others took the 'credit card sales guy' job, they would return home and give their day stories, it was fun to hear on one side and pain on the other. This made me sign blindly to a cc sales guy when i was in Infy training, i hope to respect them always. My work was like a supervisor in addition to paper works. Also went to a nearby gas plant company to evaluate the condition of motors running there. Enjoyed my time there in company with Karthi. We used to get a special Lime Tea in the evening from an attendant there. It was the first time i had a lime tea and i used to wait for it daily :)

And i got the Infy call letter to attend the written test on 12th September 2004. So happy and i prepared with all the available material in the room, infact friends had got a pc as well shared. One/two weeks earlier Madhan had lost the Infy test, he was the most intelligent and efficient to my knowledge from our school when it comes to Maths. And he lost it only because of a wrong question on which he wasted a lot of time then.

With all inputs from every one and my preparations, i did go for the written test. It was the 10 aptitude questions and an added english test. i remember answering 6/7 aptitude correct, no idea abt english, was always bad in english. Test was in Christ college(have the emails still). With the heart pumping in my ears, saw the result after the noon with my name on the cleared list. Wow what a moment :). There is still my villain waiting, yes new Infy rules had included an HR interview, and i heard that ppl usually clear it easily as it is only a formality. Had another friend there telling it could fail as well. i think it was the next day to take the interview @ Infy Blore DC. First entry into Infy DC, interview was much better than my past ones, did answer a puzzle and dint answer one.

I did wait for some time for the result, meanwhile, Hari, school friend, called me to tell me that he got an Infy offer and willing to quit the TCS campus offer. He had also taken the Infy test on the same date as mine but it was just casually at Chennai. i believe he got the offer in a week after attending the intw and his training was in Blore, but i got nothing yet. Here in the room, friends already felt the burden of having accommodated me and asked me to leave politely. Yes i came in for a temp 2 week acco. Without the fainted infy offer, I was not interested in looking for another room and some how felt i should go back home quitting the job as well. Told them will leave by the end of the month.

On 29th of September, i vaguely remember that Ashraf, college friend, contacted me asking me to check my email, guess i had given him my login to check my emails as we dont freq check emails to save from paying browsing centers. He told me that i got the offer. Went to check, confirmed the offer and Oh yeah....the moment of my life....called my mom to shout loud that i got through....was the only most extra ordinary, joyful, personal happy moment i had, that i also expressed out as well. Moment of accomplishment! Moment of success! Ray of Hope! Brightness of the Future! It was so important because of the long experienced financial pain from the past. It came in as the pain reliever.

Part-1 ends here and continued in Part - 2