Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bite my Bytes ;-)

I really don't understand why people find it offending, insulting even to be on the bench. I work in an IT company and I was on the bench for a really long time. It was a lovely time, because besides offering the uninterrupted comfort of idling, it was also very flattering really, to know that a bunch of sharp, efficient executives running a reputed multi-billion dollar corporation deemed it necessary to pay me a large sum of money every month just so that they can retain me and have the option of using my services sometime later. What can be more flattering than that? Besides, if you are on the bench, you are always potential. And potential can't be criticised. You are never given a chance to work so there is never a risk of failure. Office is 50 km from home, and since I wasn't doing much in office, I was actually being paid merely to travel back and forth every day. I know people who pay money to travel back and forth. So I was already better off than a majority of the working population.

But these days, I am involved in a software implementation project for a huge insurance company, who have engaged the company I work for because they don't much understand software themselves. And the computer engineers working in my company do not understand the insurance business much. So the project manager looked at the situation objectively and threw me into the mix, to act as a sort of middle-man between the client and the software engineers. Now, my job is simple - to explain to each what the other says. That's a very convenient arrangement for everybody involved... except me, because...well, because I know absolutely nothing about either insurance or software. In fact my only experience with the insurance industry is that I paid some money to an LIC agent about 6 months ago and got a receipt for it. That was all. So, I know as much about the insurance industry as the average chicken knows about the balance sheet of McDonald Corp. All I know about insurance is that a lot of people regularly pay a corporation a large amount of money, because apparently it is not a good idea to not do so; and that insurance companies make really lousy TV ads. But that is 12 volumes of Encyclopaedia Galactica compared to what I know about software engineering.

But I type my documents in large, friendly letters in a cheerful-looking font and as a result, I am coping well. I also highlight random words in bold and italics and underline whole random paragraphs for no particular reason and send the document back to whoever sent it to me in the first place. Apparently they take it seriously. It also adds to the overall visual clout, as you can see for yourself in the previous paragraph. I also use words like enhance and review quite excessively. It implies that you have gone through the entire passage and know a great deal about a lot of stuff - enough to decide which terms are important enough to be highlighted and which words should be left alone. Moreover, I always end my emails with "Have a good day" or "Good job, keep it up", so as not to seem overly critical and to add a touch of gentle consideration. I think they like me. 

If it weren't for the confidentiality clause, I'd have already warned you against buying an insurance policy from the company whose computer system I have been personally involved in designing. I am not allowed to name the company, but there is nothing against sharing an opinion, is there? So why don't you tell me where you plan to put your money, and I'll tell you if it’s a good idea ;-)