Thursday, December 23, 2010

First Impressions

Today I complete one week in my new organization, and as far as first impressions go, it’s been pretty awesome. As much as I love previous organization (it was more than just a company where I worked: it was the company which selected me out of all the students in my batch during Summers- the only time I was ahead of anybody, given my abysmal grades and below average CGPA, it was the company which offered me a job when other companies froze recruitments, and that too AFTER it experienced the pain I inflicted on it for two whole months of the internship, it was the company where I made the best of friends and the worst of enemies, and finally it was the company which changed my life), the differences between the two companies are stark. Company D was already an established player in this field, it was mature, it had set processes (too many of them), it was almost saturated as far as the big ideas were concerned (and hence the focus was on trivial things like formatting, decimal points and team bonding to an annoying extent), it had all the necessary resources that we barely used, and of course, it didn’t pay. But it offered a great learning platform, it made my transition from campus to corporate life a smooth one, it offered a good worklife balance, and it sponsored free trips to luxury conferences in Hyderabad where I met my friends and celebrities (Chetan Bhagat). Most of all, it had a fully functional canteen which served me breakfast, lunch and dinner. And oh, it also offered unlimited access to gmail, gtalk, facebook, orkut and not to mention the job portals, where I spent half my office hours in the last few months. To summarize, it was an internationally branded foodcourt plus internet café, which paid you to learn, surf and eat. No wonder, it ranked as one of the best places to launch your career!

Now Company C is the exact opposite. While a big name in the banking industry, it is just starting off its research division, it has no set processes, no internal bottlenecks, no hierarchy, no review process, and no resources. Heck, it doesn’t even have a fully functional cafeteria. In fact the expansion is happening as I post this blog. Two days after I joined, we were moved to a different floor, which is still under construction. As I battle my way over plastic sheets and the smell of fresh paint, as I run downstairs when I want to use the washroom or get some water/coffee/tea and as I try to come up with new ideas, the autonomy somewhat overwhelms me. Suddenly, I am asked for suggestions, suddenly my opinion seems to matter, suddenly my experience is taken seriously, and suddenly, I am treated as a grown up. No trackers to track my leaves/trainings/projects/hours, no SMS and DTE to make me “accountable”, and definitely no birthday parties to keep me entertained. It surprises me that the mundane products which seemed useless in Company D seem to make sense now (and I have introduced similar prototypes, something I swore to death previously), it scares me that here I am the only person in the team, and it also makes me nervous that may be I am not ready for this responsibility, that may be I am not matured enough, that may be I do need constant supervision, and worst of all, may be they misjudged me and I cannot live up to the expectations. From a college kid who was used to spending half the time in the café and the other half on IM/gtalk and whose document went through four rounds of review before being sent to the US manager, I am suddenly the only person in a new team and working directly with a director, suggesting databases which the company subscribe to and new products and services it can introduce.

Things I like about my new company:1. The freedom, the complete creative liberty, the challenge
2. The management or the lack of it
3. The work culture and minimal non-work related frills
4. My India director, who interviewed me and who I could look up to as a role-model (something I lacked in company D)
5. The obvious operational stuff: location, brand, money, work-life balance

Things I don’t like about my new company:
1. The complete lack of social life (unlike company D, I don’t have the campus recruits to hang out with and being the only person in the team, I don’t even have work-related interaction with people. Plus the non-existence of internal IMs and gtalk has reduced me to a social outcast. There are days I spent without even talking to anybody. So, it’s a lonely life here, which is why I get more work done)
2. Blocked access to my favourite sites (no more salivating at front end consulting roles or branding profiles and wishfully applying on iimjobs)
3. No canteen (I have been living on biscuits and cornflakes for a week now)
4. The lack of resources (unlike Company D, where I had so much to read but was too busy socializing)
5. The lack of warmth and that’s what I miss the most about Company D


Anonymous said...

Its actually quite easy to guess which companies u talking about!!

Shrijit.S said...

'ORKUT' whoa! Do you live with flintstones?

ssoggo said...

Oh, I can so understand the feeling... Being the one responsible for sensible outputs. You're the only one who goes through your work before it's submitted, and the actual fear that if something goes wrong, you are actually responsible for it!!!

Nefertiti said...

@anonymous: It's very difficult to guess who u r though. Would appreciate an identity. thanks for dropping by though!

come on! dre r ppl who leave me scraps on orkut. got to reply at least na. n THAT'S ur key takeaway from the whole post?

Well I am preparing myself for lotsa flak!