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May 19, 2011 / Rohit

A Small Recap

There are certain things, which I was told and believed in when I was part of the technology industry. One of these which was repeated, in words and in writing,  was the claim that “we are the best.” The organization which I was working for was not the top-most in its sector by quite a margin. So the claim in itself was not a fact, but more of a goal or a hope. The company though labeled the statement as one of its “core values.” Which was drilled into each employee from day one.

Now the problem which I have is the arrogance of that statement. The reason given for why “we are the best”, was because the people who were hired were only the best. But this whole claim rests on the assumption that the people doing the hiring to begin with were/are the “best” and hence won’t make the mistake of hiring someone who is not. At the same time, if they do, then the whole argument breaks down.

Not everyone was the best.

Unfortunately for me, while I was within the company I started believing I was. I gained this hollow arrogance of thinking that I was a great computer programmer. If I would hear about somebody’s achievement, I would try to downplay their work or view it with skepticism. With time though I realized, maybe not totally, that  something was wrong. I wanted to believe that I was doing something deeply technical and meaningful, but all that I was doing was writing XML parsers for yet another test automation framework.

It was not all bad though. The pay was decent. I had flexible hours. The people whom I worked with were good. Many of my colleagues became good friends. But eventually, I lost interest in the work. And I really felt that I did not belong here.

When I decided to pursue my Master’s, I was told by my manager that I was good enough without one. That given my four years of work experience, I am already above those who have a Master’s degree. That I can learn so much more staying within the organization. I was told that I would get frustrated by the incompetence of the students around me because of my sheer awesomeness. That the fees was too high and it will be a huge financial burden for me and my family.

Each one of the above statements I have found to be false. Except the last one. The tuition fees is too high.

It was obvious to me that I was being told this, to keep me from leaving the company, rather than for my own benefit. But it still put me in considerable doubt. The major reason being the fear of the unknown.

I was leading an extremely comfortable life in Bangalore. To quit all that required a leap of faith. And one of the reasons I did it is because I believe that little jolts of discomforts are necessary in life.  They build character. They constitute what I call the good pain. Maybe it was that conviction which lead me to quit my job even before all the paperwork required for me to leave for my Master’s was finished.

It’s been 9 months since I started my Master’s. In this period I have lost quite a bit of arrogance. I have interacted and seen enough people who are much better than me. There is plenty I have learned technically. But more importantly, I have learned that there is so much I don’t know and never will know. Therefore being arrogant about my competence ever in life would be unjustified.

For four years Computer Science was fun, for the next four it was work. Now it’s fun again!


Leave a Comment
  1. Ankur / May 19 2011 10:18 pm

    dude totally fida on this honest blog post here … btw don’t u guys have project out there … make something awesome …

    • Rohit / May 19 2011 10:28 pm

      Thanks Ankur!

  2. Karma Chameleon / Jun 10 2011 10:03 pm

    Nice! (I really liked this post but cant seem to think of anything meaningful to say)

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