Sunday, March 11, 2018

Why did I emigrate??

Hello all,

Migrating Penguin by MoiniI was a part of a conversation where people discussed about Why so many people from India move abroad. Many of the reasons which people thought were Money and Government systems. But in my personal view, its a little different. Here's my story:

I am an engineer by qualification (Diploma +Degree) in electronics from Mumbai, India. Although an engineer, I never worked in the same field ever again. I am in a rare profession of being a Proposal Specialist (Business Writer). After working in IT and non IT fields for about 12 years in India, I moved abroad.

On a personal front, I am into a serious hobby of Trekking (hiking). I have hiked over 400 small and big hills, forests,streams and natural wonders in the Sahyadri’ mountains. In short, hiking is my substantial involvement all along. I also have other hobbies and I come from a family with musically trained people.

In my tenure of 12 years in Mumbai and Pune, I realized some hard facts about working in India. They are my personal observations and were also the motivating factors that led me to think of moving abroad. Note: these are personal experiences and you may not agree with all of them. 

#1 Reason: Severe lack of Work-Life balance


Most offices that I worked for, shared this common quality of not having any respect for their employee’s personal time. Every employee has a personal life and a set of priorities, and this was completely ignored. Employees were treated like resources and were expected to be available anytime of the day or even weekend. As a hiker, I always had plans over the weekend (I was a serious hiker even before I started to work). However, I was always under the stress of missing a pre-planned hike because of some urgent office meeting planned frantically over a weekend. Point to note: most companies claimed to work only Monday to Friday but always ended up making their employees work over weekends. 

At times, I used to quietly run away from my office on Friday evenings, just so that people don’t catch me. I remember that some people used to take pride in the fact telling how they worked all over their vacation and then the company awarded them publicly as “dedicated employees”. This saddened me and always made me feel worse. 

To add to this, seniors in the company always spoke of various techniques used to make sure that their employees would put extra hours. Many of the seniors would be secretly showing off their skills to be able to extract more work out of their reportees. 

Weekday evenings weren’t comfortable either. There used to be calls set up as per the convenience of some one who sits in a different time zone. In one of my jobs, I was totally fed up with calls being set up every night at 9:30 PM. They used to go on until 11:00 PM and then some follow up emails until midnight. I would see my family being ignored by me due to some nonsensical urgency at work caused due to sheer Mismanagement. In all, the average work day was about 12 hours and some weekends..!!

The worst part - this was all extra work at no extra salary There’s no concept of over time in today’s world. 

After a decade of this pathetic work ethic, I got totally frustrated balancing my personal and corporate life. And started exploring what it was to work outside India. I discovered that corporate life is very different here and it was all the more considerate towards humans. I now have ample of time for my family, my hobby and all my personal needs.

#2 Reason: Over emphasis on “Work is God”


Since the very early days, every company and all other employees have constantly hesitated from accepting one important fact: **Work is Boring**. People keep explaining how their work is more important than anything else (sometimes they go to the extent of claiming it to be more important than Oxygen, Water, kids, family, hobbies!!!). But nobody accepts that in reality Work is Boring. This whole myth of “Work is God” creates a Rat Race and every employee’s never ending struggle to impress their managers and constantly prove that they hold their work above everything.

In my very personal opinion, humans were not designed to sit in offices. We were always hunter-gatherers. But our society has changed and we now use our skills to the best purpose by working in offices and contributing to the economy. What I want to highlight is- work is and always be an Adjustment. Even if my work is in my area of interest, there are parts of it which I get bored with. That doesn’t mean I want to stop working. But it calls for accepting it and possibly dealing with it. The sheer lack of this acceptance keeps people in denial. 

It creates a fiercely competitive war among work colleagues. Everyone in this Rat Race is obsessed with only showing how he or she is better than somebody else, while in reality they are not even interested in it. 

I was bored with this Work God myth and the resulting Rat Race. 

#3 Reason: Lack of a creationist mindset


Most IT companies in Mumbai/Pune are service stations for their clients abroad. essentially they are selling their employees time to service a client who has a problem. The sheer nature of this business is associated to being a good “follower” and not a “creator”. The idea is to please a customer. The idea is to not let ourselves fall in the eye of a customer in providing continuous service. This whole concept results in people being geared to do their work strictly in the conditions that are imposed on. No thinking out of the usual. No creativity, no honesty. There’s no scope to think differently. 

Contrary to this, If you look at the big companies abroad, it’s our own Indian folks who are at top positions. Had Sundar Pichai’s of the world not been where they are, they would most probably be servicing some American client and convincing them to keep their company’s business up and running. In conclusion, we all have creative sides and just like hunger and thirst, we need to satisfy our cravings to be creative at more than a Diwali Lantern. 

I was bored of being told to be a good follower..

I realized that I cannot make changes to the mass mindset and it is not possible for me to change everything in the limited time that I have. Better seek a place which gives what I want. 

Hence the move!!!

It will be important for me to also mention some popular myths about those who go abroad. I never found that these were the reasons, but are popular belief. 

Myth #1: People emigrate for money: 

While there are some countries that pay huge amounts, it’s unfair to assume that every person saves more money than in India. In fact Indians have started earning good sums of money in India itself and would probably save similar amounts at the end of the month when they are abroad. The money might look bigger and different, but it’s buying power is not very different.

Myth #2: People emigrate for good government systems: 

Atleast not me!! I had no issue in the Indian government system (irrespective of the ruling party). I had the patience to stand in a queue and wait patiently until my work got done. Yes Government systems are way way better than in India. But that’s not a reason to emigrate. You discover how good they are only after you experience them, not before you come here. 

Myth#3: Discipline: 

Yes.. there is a lot of discipline in countries outside India. But these are all things we get to see only after leaving our home country, not before. So no it’s not a factor that makes me move countries.

I will only conclude by saying that the brain drain is not just about money but more so about getting a life that helps me live like a human..!!

I hope I was able to explain my stand. I thank you for taking time to read this blog but also urge you to understand that you may have a different experience. Sorry if I have missed anything!! 

Thanks