I worked in many different companies. NGO, small medium company, corporation. Volunteering, internships with no salary, paid internships, job contracts, employment contracts. I experienced many positions and responsibilities in let’s say – rather short time. I managed to gather such range of experience since beginning of my studies in 2006, until my travel to India in 2013 where I was working only with permanent employment (due to visa regulations it was initially only one year assignments, then after receiving OCI card – no defined time). And that approach made me feel good! I have a slight comparison between European and Indian corporate world (especially IT) and business approach. Are you curious if there are any similarities in the way you work? Let’s get into details.
Since I remember, in Poland, the country where I was born and raised, where I got my education and took first career steps, one always had to have “connections” to get the particular position or… huge luck. Education in Poland is free, so mass production of graduates (not necessarily well educated) is growing year by year, which creates huge competition in the market. Employers are perfectly aware of this, hands-heads to get the work done and to get a job is more than opened positions – so i.e considering fresher’s perspective: no paid internships are quite popular. Young people follow this trend to get any experience, to get any experience they need a company or references. India is the complete opposite situation. Students, especially of reputable universities, are not going to join the companies without any compensation. No paid job is no job done! Quite different approach how ie Indian Y generation fits into corporate standards.
Honestly speaking I noticed a trend in India that especially big corporations follow: recruiting fresh graduates on a large scale. HR (human resources) executives’ representatives come in person to – usually – one of the major university cities in the region and spend on the recruitment more or less two full days. From dawn to dusk, literally. Last year students (on average about 2000 candidates) are invited to attend assessment, which consists of several steps (online test, English communication, HR one-to-one discussion). Out of the total rollout, approximately 200 people are selected, who at the end of the recruitment process receive an offer letter with a joining date.
Joining the company or changing a job itself is not a big deal in India – I would rather say – quite easy one if you know what are the realities here. There are many open opportunities just waiting to be fulfilled, compensation can also be negotiated (if you change a job and go to another company, it’s around 30% hike of you previous CTC). The only snag is the location where we will work. From north to south of India – the company can rotate us from one place to another, even if the recruitment was conducted in another city.
While experienced people are less likely to agree to relocate, young people – especially just after graduation – do not get a choice. Either you agree to given conditions or – go and search another job. On the one hand, it is going well, it is easier for a natural, though a little forced, adulthood and independent, many of these people first travel to another city in India. Many of them travel for the first time on their own, for the first time they live without a family, have to rent the apartment on their own, care about the daily issues that they did not have to worry about during studies. Here a trip to another city/state in India is almost like traveling to another country. Other culture, customs, language, food, climate. Much to assimilate and adjust. On the other hand, I know it’s a very touching experience – family ties in India are really strong and beautifully cherished by their nature.
I can describe them by one word. Slooooow. Definitely slower than very pragmatic European style of work. Many companies that have decided to outsource their businesses do not find themselves quite fit for the Indian working style that initially seem to be little “sloppy”. Very often tasks are delivered at the very last moment, sometimes about to cross given deadlines. At the end of the day, work is done, but how much nerves or energy is wasted…
I heard family stories where a son talking to his father could not look directly at his face, where the mother threatened to throw her daughter away from house when she wanted to marry someone else than the one chosen by her family, emotional blackmailing on different different small and big issues is common and young people do not have much to say against their elderly words. Sometimes, such approach is also present in the corporate environment. 1. The boss is always right. 2. If he is not right – see point no 1. Discussions are cut and in various ways employees are tempered. Well, life is tough.
Of course, it depends on the experience/personal attitude of the superior – the more diversified the experience is, (for example, going for a business trips outside the city/state, spending some time abroad), the more likely we are to get our requests heard 😉
Working in a corporation gives you an entire range of social benefits – from health insurance, to retirement package. Quite similar to western culture. This is a synonym of financial security, compared to making money “locally” – without any records of earnings or paying taxes. The monthly salary, the privilege package is a social promotion and family pride.
Project type of work – the specificity of IT sector
Especially in IT sector where the corporations work on customer projects using same technologies – the employee rotation, whether for a ramp up or planned employee promotion and their career development is a bit easier. Opportunities and workplaces within same organization are almost always available.
Outsourcing projects to India and therefore expanding the IT giants that are already involved in the realization of requested projects requires obviously the cooperation between local units and Indian ones. Believe me – not everyone is ready for daily phone updates, daily huddles, reports, updates, mostly online communication, but to be honest: this specific activity of hanging on the phone is included in day to day activities.
Personally, what I find very difficult – is to understand the flow. Voice over the phone gets this unavoidable distortion, some extra noise is added – and voila! nothing can be understood 😉 question of adjustment and repetitive questions: please repeat!
Everything is in excess
I would not be myself if I had not looked at this topic from sustainability point of view 🙂 And that unfortunately puts small fear in my heart as both Polish and Indian trends looks similar. We have glowed at the capitalist gadgets, since everything is free, we do not care much, less responsibility is there. We drink coffee from free coffee machines, even if we do not feel like drinking it at all, we print emails and we say it’s easier to read, we lose pencils, pens and order new ones with zero cost. In the kitchen every single drop of water is wiped with three layers of paper towels. My passion for spreading the zero waste awareness is more difficult to implement and, what is more important to keep it maintained. How difficult is this to educate and implement something that was a complete natural thing for our parents’ generation!
It seems to me that it is already in all corporate people’s blood. Daily conversations, exchanges of emails, phones – sometimes it seems to me that the day consists of moments from going to one meeting followed by another one. No difference between these 2 work cultures.
WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME?
From the point of view of an individual who wants to survive in today’s world, work and money are the basic thing, but when you look closely, there are dozens of ways to simplify your life (to live for less money) or to plan your work efficiently (to earn more) .
We spend most of the day in our jobs – whether we work for someone joining the companies or in our own business. From time to time gossips about exploiting employees can be heard. That’s true, that happens also in India where I can say – for many companies it’s almost normal – extra hours, work on national holidays or weekends, sometimes shifts. I personally dream of such a working environment where at the end of the day I will not think: I wish I had worked so hard. How about you?
Or to live my life in work that gives me constant opportunities to grow, develop myself, educate and learn on a daily basis. So as I cannot say it is work but my lifestyle and passion.
Thank you very much for reading this article. I am curious what other conclusions have you managed to get out of your corporate career? Polish, Indian? Another? – please share some comments. And if you liked the article – share it, click “Like it” and subscribe to my newsletter.