Saturday, April 19, 2008

Worlds apart

Scene 1: Just another IT company in India

IT support team member: “Our network is really busy today. So many of our staff are accessing sites like Orkut and Flickr and BharatMatrimony.”

IT Support Manager: “Block them all. And block all proxy access to these sites as well. That will teach these nitwits a good lesson. Also keep monitoring the network for any popular websites that are accessed at work. Keep blocking them.”

IT Support team member: “O.K.”

IT Support Manager: “I’ll track your performance based on the number of these high traffic websites you have managed to block. Good luck.”

Next day dawns. Orkut, Flickr, Blogger, Livejournal, BharatMatrimony, TamilMatrimony, Facebook, MySpace, Webshots, BSE, Ebay, Gmail, Y!Mail, YouTube blocked promptly!


Scene 2: Just another IT company in UK

IT Support team member: “The network bandwidth usage is exceptionally high today. The log shows that 70% of the traffic is from people using sites like Facebook and Flickr. Shall I block these sites to solve the problem?”

IT Support manager: “I'll have to check this with the HR department. Will keep you updated.”

A week passes by. The network is still congested like a blocked nose.

IT Support Manager: “Mornin! I wanted to check with you whether we should block websites like Facebook in our organisation. Don't you think employees are wasting a lot of time poking each other when they are supposed to work?”

HR head: “I don't think that's a good idea. We want to be an employee friendly organisation. If we block these popular sites, we might lose good people to other organisations that allow them to poke each other on Facebook.”

IT Support Manager: “I see.”

HR head: “I’ll ask the Intranet manager to run a poll on this next month. Let’s see what the employees think. Are you happy with that mate?”

IT Support Manager: “Oh yes, sounds like a nifty idea. Take your time. Cheers.”

HR head: "See you at the pub at 5."

Two months pass by.

HR head: “Our Intranet poll shows that employees are not particularly happy about us controlling their internet usage. I personally agree with them. And moreover, they need some way to let off steam.”

IT Support Manager: “Blimey! I didn’t see that coming.”

HR head: “We don’t want them ending up in rehab, do we? As it is they work very quite hard. 7 hours a day at work brings in a lot of stress. Spending an hour or two on Facebook works quite nicely as a stress buster. We must not block them. May I suggest that you find another solution to the problem?”

IT Support Manager: “I never thought about all that. You are right. Facebook is here to stay. Thanks mate.”

Next day.

IT Support Manager: “We are buying additional network bandwidth to support all the Facebook/Flickr usage. Raise a Purchase Order ASAP. I also want you to monitor the bandwidth and get additional bandwidth as and when we need it.”

IT Support Team Member: “O.K. Cheers.”


Scene 1 continued: Back in India

Employee 1: “Darn, the IT dill-holes have blocked Orkut and all the matrimony sites yaar. What do they expect people in bench to do? What do we do in between all the coffee breaks?”

Employee 2: “Chal, let's go to PVR and catch the noon show.”


~==[[[ Abhi ]]]==~ said...

Funny take on a relevant topic. Liked th conversations:) Was waitin for some clogges to mention ths in their blog. I seriously doubt if any Indian company, IT or non-IT cares anythin about employees getting bored with the same old routine of coding, testing, bug checks et all. If only thy really did all they tell in ther recruitment campaigns.... Might be a big thng to ask, or is it?

Arun Sundar said...

How true! Very well written :)

anantha said...

And what's with all the forwarded emails?

silverine said...


Actually it is the entrance of IT Security companies like Websense, Checkpoint etc into India and their aggro marketing that led to all this. Their aggressive sales approach is what you see (or not see). I hope Indian HR managers see the light like that lady! :) Enjoyed this one!

Me said...


..hey went through your archives loved He-She series..

Anonymous said...

Ha ha :) Nice one.

Liked the way ur language changed to reflect the UK and Indian way of thinking/speaking !


Dewdrop said...

Good one. Enjoyed reading it thoroughly :)

Jam said...

Hey there,

From someone who has has the luck of dealing with IT Managers from both ends of the world, ie, India and the US, there have hardly been any instances where the Indian managers has thought of the employee morale, employee satisfaction, and the other 'softer' angles to work, whereas most managers in the US, especially the 'non-Indians' think quite seriously about these things.

Although brought out in a humorous fashion, this post cuts through the deep divide that Indian IT firms face today compared to their US counterparts.


Girl With Big Eyes said...

Agree with you, but they do try to do that in a different way. Live radio in the company, dance competitions, weekly tamasha sessions etc is what the HR thinks makes us happy. But yeh dil mange orkut! :)

Thanks Arun.

Forwarded mails still get through, don't they? Or are they blocked as well Anantha?

Hey Silverine,
Good to see you back!

Hey me,
Felt a little weird saying 'Hey me' as I am usually in front of the bathroom mirror when I say that :)
Thanks! More coming up in the he-she series.

Hey Vishy,
Glad you enjoyed it. I am trying hard to maintain my 'Indian English' so am quite aware of the differences! But people keep telling me I've started to develop an accent :(

Thanks and good to see you here.

Hi Jam,
Welcome back :) and thanks for your well written analysis of the underlying issue.
It's just one of the skeletons inside the cupboard and the cupboard is slowly opening for all to see the mess.

silverine said...

"this post cuts through the deep divide that Indian IT firms face today compared to their US counterparts"

Well said!! Something I have been pointing out to no avail!!

Anonymous said...

lol.. how easily we are taken in by talks of productivity and the like and live with all the nonsense that websense (and our companies) throws at us! 9.5 office hours and I sometimes find even GWBE blocked!!!

Anonymous said...

Addition to the post above - Employees too need to feel a sense of commitment and complete due work but blocking orkut is not the solution.. walking to the smoking zone and to the pantry is equally time consuming and ppl spend time away from work.So are you going to stop ppl from smoking? Its a 2 way road and employee and employer need to understand that!

Rinchen said...

Thankfully, my office hasnt blocked any of these sites till date. What else is there to do at work otherwise :P

Suresh Srinivasan said...

Hi blogmate, first time visitor.. nice one.... really worth reading... check out my blog too...!

Girl With Big Eyes said...

GWBE blocked?! Now it's getting personal :)
Good point anon. I guess the philosophy here is: control what you can and leave the rest to the headache of the PM :)

I am dreading the day blogs get blocked at work.


Tx Suresh.

αbhiʝiτh Mα∩ΩhαЯ said...

I don't know about the third scene, but scene 2 is appropriate.