Saturday, June 27, 2009

Social Imbalance: How much is IT industry responsible

Two facts, radically opposite to each other have only one in common, just the mere figure. The amount, I pay as rent per month is the same amount earned by one of my close relative holding a decent post in West Bengal govt, not to miss he is 6 years older than me in terms of professional experience. I am supporting my family and so is he and he has two kids, too. Socially also we don’t have hell and heaven status difference. There are for facts, things which I can afford, if need be but he may not.

For those, who are finding it unfair to compare a Govt. employee to an “IT” professional, let's consider one of the topper from either of Electrical/Mechanical/Production engineering dept. (I will tell you later why i am handpicking someone particularly from these backgrounds) from any reputed engg. college, who had chosen not to join the IT industry like the rest of us and went to one of the organization who does their respective core departmental work. I am sure, in most cases one working in those organization having same experience does not earn as much an IT guy does with the same work experience working in an equally good S/W company. I have not even considered millions of other people, who are from different professions and many of them, without earning even closer to what an IT professional does, are still happy in life. And not to forget, there is not much difference in talent between a student from ETCE/CS background and the one from the other backgrounds I mentioned above, the later ones might have just missed answering a question worth only 2 marks in the engineering entrance exam, which is the starting point for the ultimate race called life.

Have you ever thought of the difference of lifestyle between these two categories of people, the "IT"ans and the "rest". I am sure getting loan in time of need is not that easy for the "rest", they don't get frequent calls for credit cards; they don't dine out at McDs/Subway that frequently, watching a movie in a multiplex is still a luxury for them. And even if I turn a blind eye to these trivial incidents pretending as if there is no wrong doing because they don't earn so they don't get to spend, simple!!! But could we still be ignorant to the problems they face when it comes to basic amenities. Haven’t you realized the primary criteria to get a house for rent in any city today has to be your IT background, where will the “rest” survive? To have your own flat before you are even 30 is not only a dream for them, it is beyond that.

I sincerely agree and appreciate the economic growth IT has brought to India and to the world in larger context, it has obviously created a greater job opportunity for so many people, it has given that financial independence to the Indian youth, specially to the young women which was non-existent before. But have we ever thought how many of the IT projects are actually making our life better? What good is it doing to people’s cause? I don’t find too many assertive answers there & I don’t seem to have enough reasons to be optimistic. There is a growing tendency to categorize us as being “IT” people. Even though this “IT” tag is working in our favor today, is actually isolating us from the rest of the society and that is not good, even dangerous.

Even though it is not prominent today, but is not our progress and development in the areas of science and technology getting affected because most of the top brains are opting for engineering as getting an engineering degree is the easiest choice today to get a job and that too in the earliest stage possible in your life. A mediocre student, who would have otherwise struggled for his entire life to to survive, is leading a comfortable life whereas a brilliant Ph.D student from science background is not even making his living before 30, life is unfair correct? Some would say what’s wrong if IT is helping us to get better life which no one else could, my argument would be no one should enjoy what he is not worth of. How would a bright young be encouraged to opt for science/literature, when there are easier and probably better (at least in monetary terms) career opportunity in front. Would we still be able to see same quality and quantity of contribution in the fields of science and literature 10 years down the line compared to what we have today and what we had 10 years back?

During school days, I dreamt about getting that dream job of an IT engineer, wearing suit boot, working in an AC office, traveling all over the world, a pay cheque to start which was even more than what my father got at the time of his retirement. But today I feel I am suffering from lost identity. Barring your own circle consisting of friends/colleagues mostly from the same industry, who recognizes your position to its true value, for the rest of the society, you are just an “IT” guy, no matter what you do, which organization you work for and not even what education background you have. Anyway, it was my choice, and even though I failed to envisage the bigger world, I shouldn’t complain.

Neither do I have any ill feeling towards the IT industry nor do I question the talent of all those working in this industry. I am concerned about the social equilibrium getting misbalanced; I am worried about the difference getting larger between “us” and “them”; I am even horrified just to think how our life would be in future without any good book to read, without any soothing music to listen. I hope I am exaggerating the fact and I am proven wrong. I would be the happiest of all then.


  1. Very relevant post. I agree with you in most of the places. Would like to add one more fact. What about the stability of the job of an "IT guy" compared to Govt Jobs? Are these not a matter of concern too? Would have loved to see some comments on that too.

  2. Actually i thought of touching that upon, too but was apprehensive as how would it be taken by the others. Even though, loss of job is one of the most unfortunate incident to happen, but i guess to some extent, it balances out the differences between these two category.

    Today somehow, the wheel has started moving reverse, people have realized all is not that bad with the Govt jobs.Even in the matrimonial market, the govt jobs are making inroads:-P

    I do consider that IT industry is still in its early days compared to other fields. It came as a fresh air to the Indian economy and swpet out everyone else.All these years, people had to search for a job after completing their education and now the situation took a 180 degree turn, where people are coming to choose you.What better than, you have a job before you even completed your bachelor degree, you even dont need to complete your masters.In which other field, with a bachelor degree, you can even think of having a job? NONE!!

    But gradually, people are realizing there is nothing as free lunch. It jobs have its list of cons, some of them already visible on the horizon and some of them are yet to surface.At the end , it is individual's choice but i guess till now, the choises available were not evenly balanced.With the current econimic scenario, new US policies on outsourcing, increasingly instability of an IT job are atleast making that choises much more even than before and now it is upto us to choose.

  3. This is indeed a bitter truth. Probably the story is similar to what Leo Tolstoy depicted in his famous short-story, "How Much Land Does a Man Need?"...Did we really need, what we get?...Are we really happy with what we got?...

  4. @Srinivas,

    Whether we are happy or not, I am not sure as that depends on the invidual choice. But I am apprehensive about the direction it is going and the trend it is setting. And who does not know that we need no more than 6 feet only from head to toe!!


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