I am an ordinary software professional like most of you would expect. I have a bike for commuting daily, a car which I take out when it rains, I have a broadband connection in my room, and an office provided laptop, headsets, laptop charger in my bag. Every morning I go to the office at 9 and come back by 6. My One of my neighbors works in a garment factory. He leaves to office by 8 and comes back by 6.30. Sad guy. “Sirji,I have more than 10 working hours a day, He often says to me.” I am not much of a talker, I smile and I leave. And life goes on…..
But today is a special day for him. Yes, it’s the September 2nd, 2016. And he is happy that he is having an off today. Oh for those of you who didn’t know, The country is on the verge of going to a grinding halt today as many central and local trade unions with affiliations with worker associations in banks, government offices, telecom, factories and other sectors have called for a country-wide strike. The unions are protesting against the “anti-people, anti-national and anti-worker” policies of the government at the Centre. They believe that the government is indifferent to the workers’ demands and effecting anti-worker changes in labor laws.
But for me, it’s no different a day for me. I walk to the parking lot to take my bike out to go to the office. I meet him there again, and he says me, “ Where are you going Sirji? They have blocked the roads. They are protesting all around. They pelted stones on two-wheelers as well. I give him a blank expression, and all that I am able to utter is a faint “Oh!!.” I curse myself for not checking the news before I left my room. I sit there on my bike and call my teammates. None of them were indifferent to me. Everyone was stuck in their homes. Oh, I forgot to mention why I didn’t see the news before I left my room right? We had an escalation since 3 days. I was working on it once I came to my room, and I was doing it till 3 AM in the morning. I was totally tired when I woke up at 8.30. Just brushed my teeth and skipped my bath and decided to wear the T-shirt and jeans that I had worn the last Thursday, and leave. I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic and waste another 2 hours there. Time is money you see.
I was confused on what to do. That is when my manager called me up and said. “Hey champ, how’s it going. I saw your 3AM mail. You are one hell of a hard worker. I like your dedication to work.” I thanked him for that and thought, maybe this time again my ratings will be good. And the hikes will be better. He continued talking and said, “ I have another good news for you. The office will remain closed today.” “Whoa”, I said and remembered not bathing once I woke up. So that’s the good luck jinx then 😛 I decide not to bath in the morning from now on so that I can get good news every day. But then my happiness didn’t last long. He continued, “Everyone is working from home. You can also join us. It will be fun”, he said. I said, “ Sure thing Sir!!” and disconnected the call.
The “I” here refers to almost all the normal engineers working in MNC’s, startup’s, production companies and everywhere else where a laptop and internet connection is all that is needed to do your work. No matter which business goes on strike and which part of the city gets submerged in water, I am left at the mercy of my laptop and internet to rot in front of it and work. No labor laws apply to me, no one fights for my rights. I am the one whose job is always at stake. My heart beat rises even if I see my manager wearing a pink shirt. After all, “You are paid so much , and work is expected out of you.” My work can get as simple as documenting a code change to as complicated as learning a new technology, understanding it, developing codes in it, and implementing a system which is robust and bug free in a span of 2 months” My job can be as simple as “ 2 hours of work a day to as complicated as 24 hours a day!”
My weekends can either take me to holiday destinations or to the secluded cubicle in the office. The chances that these two things occur is equiprobable , none of which is known before. This is why you shouldn’t be jealous of me when I leave late to the office at 10 and come back early by 6. Because behind the closed doors, I am spending 12 to 16 hours a day in front of my system trying to figure out what went wrong with my last code update, or debating with the procurement team on why the components were not delivered in time.
I am your Highly paid Engineer!! Save me from this exploitation!! Give me my rights!!!