Let me share two things that happened this week to me , the “Indian techie”.
1. Incident 1
Me , a Caucasian friend and another friend who is visiting from India were on the phone yesterday . Caucasian friend has a team that is mostly in India and the rest of his team in US also is majority Indian. He is a first time manager and wanted our advice on some team dynamics . So for some topic he asked “so is this an Indian culture thing?” . I said “no” and our other friend said “yes of course” at the same time !
Dead silence for a minute and then we burst out laughing 🙂
There were four major themes we discussed about that team and three of the four , my friend from India had a different version of what is Indian .
I left the call thinking I must be from Mars
2. Incident 2
I had some spare time (it’s the first week of new quarter and the only time when I get to do geeky things without worrying about deals and stuff ) and offered to help some younger colleagues with optimizing SQL performance . They sent me the code and I did not have an explain log to see what was causing the performance issue . The one thing I noticed was that there were some subqueries in the code that was on the same table as the original query . So I thought maybe I can rewrite it to a self join and get a tad more performance . Except – what should have taken 30 minutes for a regular developer took me a few hours to make it work . I was miserable – including some yelling , screaming and cursing .
Here comes the irony . The code did perform better and my buddies were thoroughly impressed that a suit could actually write production quality code . I on the other hand was in extreme depression that I no longer can even do mundane coding very well . That is a big problem since I think of myself as a developer first and foremost .
So what am I ? Or as I asked myself yesterday in technical terms – WTF am I ?
I think of myself as extremely Indian . I was born and raised in a a small South Indian town . I speak English with a thick Indian accent . I don’t think of English as my first language . I speak Malayalam at home, and can speak several other Indian languages . I cook and eat mostly Indian food . I hear mostly Indian music and I read three Indian news papers every day on my phone . The only sport I follow is cricket . Yet – I no longer seem to be able to relate completely to the folks who live in India .
I am an accidental transplant into the world of management and sales . My identity right from school days has been that of an engineer . I try hard to stay on top of technology all the time . Yet – from an “engineer who also sells and manages” I seem to have morphed into “just an executive who can do a bunch of different things”.
Don’t tell me that “change is inevitable” or “you have to embrace change” . I know it , just don’t tell me 🙂